Voco Orchard Singapore is the hot new hotel in the heart of town. What's changed since it took over Hilton? I went on a staycation to find out.
The popularity of staycations have peaked these few years (no prizes for guessing why), and pleasingly, the latest hotel launches have been saving our weekends. I had the chance to check out the new Voco Orchard Singapore, so I invited a friend who was in need of a breather – and boy, was it a good break from the grind!
The hotel is housed within the former Hilton Singapore building, and while much of the classic interior remains the same, the amazing hospitality made the stay for us. There’s real heart to this hotel. From the moment we stepped into the lobby to the end of the stay, the staff at Voco Orchard Singapore made sure to check in with us regularly to ensure we had everything we needed. It was the little things – like immediately responding to a minor issue with a keycard (a technical error prevented us from using it to get to our floor), or kindly talking us through the meal recommendations at the restaurant (it was like talking to a friend!) – that gave us a memorable staycation.
The room: Cosy, familiar and sustainable
Expect a familiar interior that harkens back to the building’s Hilton days. Whether it’s the sequoia marble bathrooms or the old school carpets, not much has changed, save for a few sustainable touches (more on this in a bit) and unique finds in the welcome kit. A tiger plushie on the coffee table caught my eye as soon as I stepped into the room. Beside the plushie was a scented soy candle, a welcome note and a deck of conversation cards with cues like, “If you were a cocktail, what would you be?” Toss a few of these questions at your companion to get a drinking sesh or late-night chat started.
On to the main feature of the room: the wonderfully cosy bed. Is there anything more comforting than to sink into plush bedding and a marshmallow-thick duvet for a good snooze? I think not. One thing’s for sure, these duvets will keep you warm and toasty on chilly nights (not that we have many of those here, but one can hope – or turn up the AC!).
Cosiness aside, I was pleased to find out that the beddings at Voco Orchard Singapore are created with the planet in mind. Over 150 recycled plastic bottles are turned into bedding, with fabric cases that are produced according to the Better Cotton Initiative, which supports sustainable cotton harvesting. The environmentally-friendly touches don’t end there: the toiletries are organic, sourced from luxury sustainable brand Apotheke.
Side note: for a more modern stay, I’d say to give the deluxe rooms a swerve and go for the suites. Judging by the images online, the suite options feature a distinct interior refurb, with a contemporary and homely space accentuated by touches of teal, mustard and blush.
A dip in the pool and 5 o’clock tipples
If holing up in the room isn’t your plan of choice, there are multiple spaces in the hotel to check out. Chill by the rooftop pool to catch the sunset, tan or take a dip. The space is compact, but it doesn’t get too crowded as capacity is regulated. Alternatively, work up a sweat at the gym if fitness is on your agenda. For us, a pool sesh was on the cards.
After working up an appetite following our dip in the water, we headed to the Club Lounge. We were guided to a table (the staff helpfully recommended a window seat for a good view) for cookies and tea. When the clock struck five, it was time for tipples and canapes to fuel our late afternoon tête-à-tête. The bites included a refreshing salad, savoury chicken teriyaki skewers, a slice of buttery marble cake and more. The platter was pretty filling, so I’d suggest ordering one to share if you’re planning on having dinner soon after, as we did.
Off to Opus Bar & Grill for dinner and cocktails
With multiple restaurants in the building, staying at Voco Orchard Singapore means you don’t have to look far for meal options. (Not that it’s any trouble to nip out for a bite; the hotel’s neighbouring malls offer options aplenty!) As dinnertime rolled around, we dropped by Opus Bar & Grill on the first floor. The mood is set with ambient lighting, friendly staff and an open kitchen that allows you to dine with the grills in full view.
We started with – you guessed it – more drinks, a cocktail for me and a mocktail for my friend. One of the signature cordials is the spicy martini, a passion fruit-tinged concoction that’s seriously spice-forward, featuring Beefeater London dry gin infused with chilli padi. It might be my lack of spice tolerance talking, but I had one sip and it instantly woke me up! (Psst: just ask and the bartender will be happy to adjust the spice level to your fancy.)
The seared Atlantic scallops and Angus tenderloin were highlights of the night. No surprise, as Opus Bar & Grill prides itself on its selection of premium steaks and sustainably-sourced seafood. The scallops had a succulent sweet taste with every bite, complemented by sweet corn puree, pickled fennel, edamame and pancetta crumbs. As for the beef, you can’t go wrong with the most tender cut on the menu. Fresh off the grill, the 50-day grain-fed Angus tenderloin boasted a delicious smoky flavour. We also tried the halloumi and Impossible burger – both of which were delectable, though the steak and scallops stole the show.
Whatever you do, make sure you save space for dessert. The staff’s recommendation of Fruity Tutti was the perfect pick to end off the meal. This combination features wild berries compote, vanilla creme chantilly, berries sauce, torched meringue and berries sorbet topped with golden crumbs. Creamy, tart and saccharine all at once, it was the ideal harmony of flavours.
Breakfast in bed? Yes, please
Now, I’ve had hotel breakfasts that were less-than-stellar. But waking up to the in-room spread at Voco Orchard Singapore was a real treat. The hotel offered the option to place our orders online the night before, and the food arrived the next day with no early morning decision-making needed.
This spread left us well and truly satisfied. Think avocado on toast (with a really generous portion of avo, might I add), a breakfast platter and a stack of pancakes. On the side, the oft-overlooked pastry basket was filled with toothsome bites. I loved the mini chocolate muffins that had a gooey centre (it took much will to share!), as well as the deliciously buttery croissants.
We washed it all down with freshly squeezed orange juice and an aromatic brew from TWG Tea before the food coma set in. A movie (the smart TV function wasn’t available yet, but the staff provided a HDMI cable to plug into a laptop) and a light nap later, we checked out of the room to hit the shops, feeling refreshed and well-rested. One of the perks of a staycation along Singapore’s most popular shopping belt: retail, spa and food options are just a stroll away.
My take? Voco Orchard Singapore isn’t a swanky stay, but its amazing hospitality, delectable menus and convenient location make it an inviting, fuss-free choice for an affordable dose of R&R.
Voco Orchard Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883