Thanks to a five-person limit on all social interactions, mandatory mask-wearing (even outdoors), and a requirement to “check in” via an app wherever you go, it’s hard for places in Singapore to create an atmosphere. But after accelerating 25 floors in seconds, I felt a buzz in the air as soon as the Andaz Singapore elevator doors opened.
Located between Kampong Glam, Little India and the arts and entertainment hub Bras Basah Bugis – and just 20 minutes from Changi Airport – Andaz Singapore is perfectly located for tourists and business travelers.
Why stay here?
This five-star hotel is Southeast Asia’s first Andaz outpost, a collection of boutique properties owned by Hyatt. It opened in 2017, which means it has operated almost as long under pandemic conditions as without them.
The hotel is located in DUO – a striking pair of 186m and 170m high skyscrapers covered in a latticework of hexagonal windows. The towers are the brainchild of German architect Ole Scheeren (known for the China Central Television headquarters in Beijing and the Prada epicentres in New York and Los Angeles) and their unusual design makes them easy to spot from most places. from central Singapore.
The 342 modern rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the city and, depending on which side of the building you’re on, the hotel’s infinity pool just below.
Designed in collaboration with Hong Kong-based André Fu, interiors emphasize wood, marble, natural light and clean lines. I was delighted to see a sign explaining that the windows had been fitted with solar control points – a heat reduction measure that greatly reduces the amount of energy required by the hotel’s air conditioning units.
It’s easy to get lost along the dreamlike passageways connecting rooms and suites (they were reminiscent of the Hogwarts stairs depicted in the Harry Potter movies) and twice I had to ask a member of staff to help me find my room.
As with all Andaz hotels, all rooms have a free minibar with locally sourced snacks that are restocked once per stay.
What to eat and drink
In a perhaps brave move given Singapore’s strict Covid regulations, the hotel opened a new restaurant, 5 ON 25, in January this year.
Described as “a deeply romantic take on the classic Chinese supper club,” the Cantonese restaurant was designed by André Fu’s studio and features two lavish private dining rooms (unfortunately, the rule of five hasn’t stopped any diners yet). between them to be used).
The main dining room seats 70 people and its design is inspired by the traditional Chinese restaurants and Hong Kong teahouses that Fu visited as a child. All furnishings and fittings are bespoke, with textured velvet, lacquer and warm wood hues evoking the old world charm of 1950s Singapore. I visited 5 ON 25 in the evening which meant I could soak up the views of the glittering city skyline at night.
The menu at 5 ON 25 is created by Executive Chef Lim Hong Lih, who revisits classic Cantonese dishes and emphasizes sustainably sourced ingredients. I sampled an unforgettable six-course tasting menu, where each meticulously created dish was somehow even tastier than the last.
A particular highlight was the fried bird’s nest served with Sri Lankan crabmeat, snow-white bean sprouts and premium broth (an umami-style double-boiled chicken broth). I also loved the Boston lobster which was served as a stew, in a lobster broth with poached rice, spring onions and herbs.
A special tea menu, created by tea sommelier Li Guan Yi, features a selection of rare and unusual leaves, including 5 ON 25’s signature tea (a special blend of oolong, goji berries, osthmanthus and of longan). I sampled a tea cocktail which was delicious but powerful – more of an espresso martini than an Earl Grey.
For a more casual dining experience, there’s the on-site restaurant Alley on 25 which offers all-day dining and is adjacent to the pool. This is where breakfast is served, and guests can choose from traditional Western options (including, of course, the ubiquitous avocado on toast) or “local favorites.”
I chose from the latter and opted for the kaya toast set (kaya being a popular Singaporean breakfast made with coconut milk, eggs and sugar). This came with brioche, boiled eggs and a selection of steamed dim sum (shrimp har gao, chicken siew mai and a red bean bun). I’d take it all on toast any day of the week.
What to do
The Andaz Singapore doesn’t have a spa, but it does have an infinity pool on the 25th floor of the building with stunning city views (in fact, it’s so high there’s a sign warning possible risk of lightning). Swimming spots need to be booked in advance at the moment due to Covid – but this is easily done through the concierge.
Next to the concierge desk is the Verandah — a guest lounge with comfy sofas and chairs, plus free refreshments. You can relax here after a swim or enjoy a pre-dinner and/or nightcap.
There’s also a 24-hour fitness center, but I can’t say I visited it during my stay – it was all about dim sum breakfasts and lazy people by the pool who watched me.
How to arrive
Singapore has just reopened its vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with the UK, allowing quarantine-free air travel between the two countries. Only unvaccinated Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders can enter Singapore on a non-VLT flight.
There are strict rules associated with VTL flights; passengers must provide proof of their vaccination history, undergo a PCR test before travel and take a daily rapid test (self-administered) for almost a week after arriving in the country. Advice changes all the time though; visit the Singapore Safe Travel website for the latest updates.
Rates and how to book
Rooms at the five-star Andaz Singapore start from SGD590 (around £323) per night, or SGD620 (£340) including breakfast. All stays can be booked on hyatt.com