Staying at the Swissotel Singapore Merchant Court

Winston Aldworth checks into the Swissotel Singapore Merchant Court.

Location:

About a five-minute walk from Clarke Quay and Raffles Place. A cheap cab from Changi will have you there in less than 20 minutes.

Check-in experience: Swift. We chatted briefly with two other Kiwis who had come in on the same Singapore Airlines flight. The hotel is well-suited to short stopover breaks.

The room: We were in 841, a Swiss Advantage Room. It’s a big complex, with 476 rooms in total.

Our streetside room was quiet — a relief in a bustling city — and mercifully free of the weird vogue for toilets and bathrooms being visible from the main room.

The price: A room like ours goes for $647 (with breakfast for two). It’s $584 without breakfast. There are heaps of different room categories, with a Swiss Executive Suite being the highest end, priced at $1048.

Toiletries: Swissôtel has its own range of bathroom amenities and Spa products, called Purovel. It’s made in Switzerland, smells OK to me and is a nice touch for the brand.

Wi-Fi: Plentiful and free, which is how it should always be. But this place goes a step further with free unlimited Wi-Fi on a Nutshell Portable Wireless Hotspot. Again, excellent for short stays, when you’re not going to invest in a data package.This is a superb idea and very handy when you’re wandering the streets looking for that restaurant or shop, or wanting to make a video call to folks at home.

Exercise: The gym has plenty of equipment weirdly spread out across a couple of connected rooms on two levels — in short, it does the job.

The outdoor pool is great. With a bar alongside, it’s a fine spot to float away the physical stresses of your flight.

Fellow guests: There are conference and business facilities tucked away somewhere, but everyone I saw seemed to be in stopover-ish family groups.

Food and drink: There are restaurants and bars on site, but you’ll want to get out and see the city for dinner and drinks. Don’t miss the breakfast buffet, where an automatic pancake machine dazzles the kids. There’s a terrific range of international breakfast foods — it’s the kind of place where a greedy-guts like me can’t resist having a poached egg on prawn dumplings. Go on try it — you’ll thank me.

Online: swissotel.com.

The final word: A fine destination for a quick stopover to break up the long-haul journey for Kiwis on the way to Europe.

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