Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mondrian Singapore Duxton hotel review

Must read


Singapore is experiencing an ongoing flurry of hotel openings — from Pullman Singapore Hill Street, COMO Metropolitan Singapore and Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore to the forthcoming Standard Singapore, Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa and the Conrad Singapore Orchard refurbishment.

But shaking up the scene is Mondrian Singapore Duxton, which debuted this July in a prime location that’s minutes by car to the city’s central business district, plus attractions such as Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. It’s also highly walkable to plenty of enticing dining and drinking venues.

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

But one mustn’t leave the 302-room (yet still boutiquey) hotel to indulge: It has everything from a signature restaurant by a world-renowned butcher to a cocktail bar serving tropical libations mixed from Southeast Asian ingredients. And there’s a popular rooftop pool to boot.

Here is everything you should know about Mondrian Singapore Duxton.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

What is Mondrian Singapore Duxton? 

When it opened in July 2023, Mondrian Singapore Duxton became the luxurious and artfully irreverent Accor offshoot’s first Southeast Asian hotel. Designed by Los Angeles’ Studio Carter, it retains some of the original Sunset Boulevard outpost’s attitude and playfulness while fitting neatly into the context of a hip and happening district of Singapore.

There is nothing staid, stiff or too proper about this property — and that’s exactly what makes it fun. On the approach, guests might notice the 20-foot-tall copper KAWS sculpture that stands guard in front of the contemporary tower portion of the property. This part also houses a selection of generously sized suites in a building where a peaked roof and windows are a play on the area’s historic shophouses (a type of building in Southeast Asia that houses both a business and a residence).

Inside the front doors, the arrival experience is full-on gilded glamour, with heavy green velvet curtains, a spherical light installation playing off the silvery ceiling and elevators ready to whisk you up to the third-floor lobby. Before even reaching the tucked-away check-in desk, guests can glimpse two of the hotel’s four alluring restaurants and bars and a couple of major art pieces.

Both business- and leisure-minded travelers have been calling the hotel their waystation in the city. The one thing they have in common is that they like to be in the middle of the action.

Daily Newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts

Where is Mondrian Singapore Duxton?  

You can catch a taxi at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and expect to pull up to the hotel’s motor court and gleaming gold entryway in just about 20 minutes. The fare should be around 20 to 30 Singapore dollars ($15 to $22). It’s also a short walk to the Outram Park MRT station. Whereas many of Singapore’s top hotels are in leafy residential zones or along tony shopping streets, this new arrival is in a central and cool-feeling neighborhood: Duxton Hill.

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

On the border of the city’s Chinatown, the Mondrian is surrounded by terracotta tile-roofed shophouses built between the 1840s and the 1960s, many of which have been renovated and now house top restaurants and bars, cafes, art galleries and design studios, not to mention a few other hotels. Within just a couple of blocks are eateries serving everything from Swiss and Korean to Italian-Japanese fare, plus speakeasies, bookshops and even a gelato shop peddling botanical-infused ices.

How to book Mondrian Singapore Duxton 

Prospective guests can book Mondrian Singapore Duxton directly through the hotel’s website, but as a part of Accor, it’ll behoove you to go through Accor’s platform, where you can take advantage of members-only rates — generally speaking, 5% off the best publicly available rates — as well as earn status and ALL — Accor Live Limitless points.

For Accor members, starting rates for the foreseeable future are hovering around SG$335 ($250) per night, which is very fair considering the level of luxury — and amenities — being offered in a city full of high-end hotels. Rates that include breakfast start around SG$380 ($283) per night.

The rooms and suites are petite but pack a punch 

Studio Carter managed to work magic in a relatively small space. The vast majority (292, to be exact) of Mondrian’s accommodations are rooms of around 236 square feet, regardless of the bed configuration and view, and they make the most of that space while feeling far larger, thanks in part to the wide panoramas revealed by the floor-to-ceiling windows.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

The decor palette features bold pops of color — purple ombre curtains, emerald-toned shower glass and shapely green marble sinks — not to mention a liberal dose of high-shine reflective surfaces (think: hammered metal minibars holding Lavazza coffee machines and a satisfying snack and drink selection). Accommodations still manage to feel serene, though, and not overwhelming. This decidedly glamorous-without-trying-too-hard material range ties the rooms to the public spaces that share it.

A 55-inch high-definition TV (from which you can order room service directly) and a Bluetooth speaker are standard in each room. Guests are also provided with unlimited complimentary water packaged in sustainable cardboard cartons designed to look like mini shophouses.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

There are a handful of Shophouse Suites, which are located in an adjacent building. They range from 538 to 1,377 square feet; if you’re looking to wow somebody, book the largest one, which has beautiful arched windows and a soaring ceiling; a dining space and kitchenette; a long, shapely bar for entertaining; a marble-accented living room; and a bathroom-closet configuration that could serve as home-design inspiration.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

My 484-square-foot Pinnacle Suite comprised three distinctive, visually impactful spaces and wrapped around a corner of the 11th floor, providing truly awe-inspiring views. As soon as I opened the door, the silky ombre curtains swooshed apart, revealing the city beyond — a fun trick to keep out the Singaporean midday heat when no one is inside. To the right was the minimalist open closet that, while small, was more than enough for a two-night stay. A full-size ironing board, as well as an umbrella, bathrobes and slippers, were tucked away in clever spots and hung on the black bars in front of a wall decorated with a calligraphy-inspired mural.

The same motif was emblazoned on a three-tier tiffin that held a tasty array of local kueh sweet treats inside each layer, making for a fun and unique welcome amenity. For my toddler, there were also a miniature embroidered apron, a paper chef’s hat and a cupcake to decorate using containers of toppings on an artist’s palette. The bronze-hued glass desk, lit by a neon M light, was an excellent place for her to get creative — and a bit messy — over the pale wood floor without potentially dirtying the velvety dove-gray rug of the living room area with a sofa, an armchair, a coffee table, an ottoman and a TV.

Though an extremely soft king-size bed nearly maxes out the bedroom space with little room to maneuver around it, the feeling was still somehow expansive thanks to two glass walls. The space was downright cozy when all the curtains were drawn across not only the windows but the back wall, where a metallic arched portal led to the bathroom and another segment of glass revealed the bathtub with a view. One tiny gripe: When the back curtain was closed, it covered the air-conditioning vent, and things got quite stuffy for a bit before we realized why.

The Mondrian Singapore Duxton-branded Sleep Magic Phone Detox kits laid out on the bed’s two top pillows were a nice touch, and I enjoyed the challenge of “putting my iPhone to bed” at night in its own special sleeve. Built into the back of the sculptural suede-like headboard on each side were a full array of well-labeled switches for controlling the day and night curtains, a reading light, ambient lighting and so on — as well as international outlets and USB-A and USB-C ports. The suite had several other well-placed plugs, all international. The lighting throughout the suite was very attractive yet also functional and easy to navigate as opposed to the overcomplicated systems so often found in hotels.

The bathroom utilized space beautifully, with not only a nice-sized bathtub housed in its own little room but also a separate walk-in shower and a small separate room for the toilet. The shower, with bergamot-scented Malin+Goetz for Ciel Spa body wash, shampoo and conditioner, had strong pressure from the rainfall (and also handheld) showerhead, but there was one downside: Water leaked out the purple glass door. The vanity had an LED-lit mirror and plenty of storage for our toiletries, plus a separate makeup mirror.

Ultimately, even with a husband and a toddler — plus a baby on board — sharing the space, we had more than enough room, thanks to the clever layouts.

4 distinctive eating and drinking outlets speak to many moods and tastes

Mondrian knows that its audience — especially in a foodie mecca like Singapore — loves great food and drink, and its offerings reflect that. Located on the third floor, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Bottega di Carna, is also the site of its comprehensive buffet breakfast, featuring everything from bountiful fruit, salads and charcuterie to typical American favorites (pancakes, eggs, bacon and more).

There are also Asian standards, abundant baked goods and made-to-order dishes such as a chili crab omelet and scallion noodles (the breakfast buffet is SG$45, or $33, if not included in the nightly rate).

The sprawling restaurant of beautiful marble tables, leather chairs, velvet curtains and a Tracey Emin neon installation, with a sizable skylight framed by lush flora, was abuzz each morning. However, it really shone at night when chef Dario Cecchini’s specialty, beef, was in the spotlight. It was hard to walk by en route to the elevators without noticing meaty aromas wafting out of the kitchen. Early evenings were populated by families, while the vibe felt date-appropriate as the night progressed.

While devouring cloud-like focaccia topped with just-charred rosemary, I mostly followed the lead of our server when ordering the zucchini noodles with basil pesto (SG$18, or $13), rich carpaccio di culo made from rump cuts (SG$28, or $21) and pici pasta with Francesina braised beef (SG$28, or $21), though the sweet and savory artichoke tart with goat’s cheese and acacia honey (SG$12, or $9) proved my favorite.

Unable to eat undercooked meat (and unwilling to offend the chef by ordering a fine steak well done), I only had a taste of my husband’s USDA 44 Farms Prime filet mignon (SG$98, or $73), but its succulence has stayed with me. The branzino filet (SG$48, or $36) with grilled artichoke and salsa verde was substantial but refined. Four out of five desserts contained alcohol, so I sampled the Valrhona chocolate fondant and was not disappointed.

If alcohol were something I was seeking — and we didn’t have our toddler along — we would have decamped to Jungle Ballroom next. The cocktail bar is open until 2 a.m. and is slightly trippy in the best way possible, from the art and decorative disco balls down to the libations. Mixologist Adrian Besa showcases a slew of well-researched (and tasty!) regional Southeast Asian ingredients, such as longan.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

Up on the roof is Canyon Club, with Tyler Shields photography and a ’70s energy in keeping with the swinging pool scene.

It serves frozen cocktails (SG$22, or $16) along with throwback classics, lots of refreshing seafood and some more decadent dishes, too — see snapper ceviche with tiger’s milk served in a coconut shell (SG$37, or $28), the Old Bay crispy oyster bun (SG$32, or $24) and a delightful burrata with market tomatoes and turmeric vinaigrette (SG$28, or $21).

Downstairs, just inside the hotel’s entrance, is colorful Christina’s, which serves coffees, bowls of acai (SG$14, or $10) and grains (SG$18, or $13), a blue cheese-topped take on Singaporean specialty kaya toast (SG$16, or $12) and a miso-glazed beef cheek Benedict (SG$22, or $16) in the morning and keeps the party going from there. Throughout the day, some people hold meetings here, while others nosh on bulgogi burgers (SG$28, $21) or work on their laptops (banquettes and tables are well equipped with power outlets). By night, the eatery transforms into a wine bar, complete with a DJ.

The food choices are extensive, with a handful of independently operated restaurants opening throughout the coming months on the hotel’s ground floor — for example, the 22-seat izakaya restaurant, Suzuki, designed by Kengo Kuma, which debuted this fall.

Wellness is DIY at the fitness center 

While it’s not giant, the 24-hour fitness center has all the Technogym essentials to get a complete workout in. Plus, its design is in keeping with the rest of the hotel, meaning it’s quite pretty, with reflective, rosy-hued surfaces, fun lighting and wood floors. It’s the opposite of many hotels’ sterile-feeling gyms.

The equipment includes treadmills and a stationary bike that looks out giant windows to the neighborhood, as well as an elliptical machine, a full set of free weights, a bench and multifunctional weight machines. There are exercise balls and ample space to roll out provided yoga mats for a session. Boxed hotel-branded water and fluffy towels are plentiful.

The rooftop pool is the place to be 

While the upper-floor rooms of the 13-story tower offer excellent views of the duality of Singapore’s cityscape, the long infinity edge of its rooftop pool is where you can really appreciate the expanse and contrast — orange-roofed Chinatown shophouses, gleaming skyscrapers, sculptural temples and more.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

The glittering T-shaped pool is more than a place to take in the view, though. It has a groovy 1970s Hollywood vibe (tunes are even pumped into the pool via underwater speakers) that feels akin to a resort pool scene, thanks to the peach-cushioned cabanas and abundant trees. There is no cost to book a cabana, but advance reservations are necessary from 11 a.m. onward (it’s open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), though I got lucky on a Sunday afternoon and was able to snag an empty one for an impromptu break.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

For what it’s worth, the pool is friendly and not just for adults — my toddler loved the shallow entry section, while the length makes swimming laps appealing for those so inclined. There are also built-in benches and contoured sections with water jets for those seeking relaxing relief from the hot, humid Singapore weather.

Reasons Mondrian Singapore Duxton might not be for you 

  • If your priority is to tan at the pool all day, you may want a hotel with more sun beds.
  • Unless you want to spring for a shophouse suite, the room size isn’t the most conducive to traveling with kids who have graduated from a crib.
  • Depending on where in the city you plan to spend the most time, you might want to pick a resort on Centosa Island for fun instead or out by Orchard Road for some of the city’s best shopping.

Accessibility 

There are four available Duxton Accessible Rooms in the hotel, which each measure 236 square feet and feature a double bed, an accessible bathroom and a 32-inch-wide door, plus the standard amenities of the other accommodations. For the hearing impaired, there is a phone light and a visual alarm.

KATHRYN ROMEYN/THE POINTS GUY

Elevator buttons — with Braille — and keycard scanners are placed low for easy use by those in wheelchairs, and the hallways are well lit with easy-to-read room numbers (though sans Braille). There is no pool chairlift; however, the rooftop restrooms (and others in public spaces) are accessible with bars and hearing-impaired assistance, and less mobile guests may appreciate the relatively tall toilets.

Checking out 

Maybe it was the contrasting textures (shiny, velvety, silky, marbled) or the captivating artwork — my family was especially drawn to watching Dawn Ng’s “Waterfall IV” video installation, which depicted what looked like a radically pigmented iceberg melting). Or, perhaps it was all the vivid colors in the rooms and public spaces. (It was likely also the pool!) Regardless, I found myself consistently marveling at the artistic and appealing design of the hotel over the course of our stay.

Service was always on point, whether it was near-instant delivery of an extra-firm pillow and an adapter or cheery high-fives for my toddler from staff and the thoughtful surprise of strawberries with chocolate dip at breakfast for her. Everyone seemed to want to please, even if there were very occasional missteps (such as housekeeping not cleaning our room until late in the afternoon even though we were out most of the day). As someone who likes being able to walk places and explore the food, culture and shopping of a destination, the location cannot be beat.

With its unique combination of amenities, artistry and flavors, the hotel won me over, and I am already looking forward to my eventual next stay at Mondrian Singapore Duxton.

Related reading:



Source link

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article