Andaz Singapore review: an atmospheric hotel that’s more than worth the vertigo
Soak up unparalleled views as you cool off in the skyscraper’s infinity swimming pool
Thanks to a limit of five people on all social interactions, mandatory mask-wearing (even outside) and the requirement to “check in” via an app wherever you go, it’s hard for venues in Singapore to create a sense of atmosphere. But after speeding up 25 floors in just a matter of seconds, I felt a buzz in the air as soon as the Andaz Singapore’s lift doors opened.
Situated between Kampong Glam, Little India and the Bras Basah Bugis arts and entertainment hub – and just 20 minutes from Changi Airport – the Andaz Singapore is perfectly located for both tourists and business travellers.
Why stay here?
This five-star hotel is Southeast Asia’s first Andaz outpost, a collection of boutique properties owned by the Hyatt. It opened its doors in 2017 – meaning it has operated for nearly as long under pandemic conditions as without them.
The hotel is located in DUO – a striking pair of 186m- and 170m-high skyscrapers clad in a latticework of hexagonal windows. The towers are the brainchild of the German architect Ole Scheeren (known for the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing and Prada Epicenters in New York and Los Angeles) and their unusual design makes them easy to spot from most places in central Singapore.
The 342 modern guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views over the city and, depending on what side of the building you’re on, the hotel’s infinity swimming pool directly below.
Designed in collaboration with Hong Kong-based André Fu, the interiors place an emphasis on wood, marble, natural light and clean lines. I was pleased to see a sign explaining that the windows had been equipped with solar control dots – a heat reduction measure that drastically reduces the amount of energy required by the hotel’s air conditioning units.
It’s easy to get lost along the dreamlike passageways connecting the rooms and suites (they evoked the Hogwarts staircases depicted in the Harry Potter films) and on two occasions I had to ask a staff member for help locating my room.
As with all Andaz hotels, all rooms offer a complimentary mini-bar with locally sourced snacks that are replenished once per stay.
What to eat and drink
In perhaps a brave move considering 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 suites (sadly the rule of five has prevented any of them from being used yet).
The main dining area seats 70 and its design is inspired by the traditional Chinese restaurants and tea-houses in Hong Kong which Fu visited as a child. All the furniture and fittings are bespoke, with textured velvet, lacquer and warm timber hues evoking an old world charm of 1950s Singapore. I visited 5 ON 25 in the evening, meaning I could soak up views of the glittering city skyline at night.
5 ON 25’s menu is created by head chef Lim Hong Lih, who puts a spin on classic Cantonese dishes and places an emphasis on sustainably sourced ingredients. I sampled an unforgettable six-course tasting menu, where each painstakingly created dish was somehow even tastier than the last.
A particular highlight was fried birds’ nest served with Sri Lankan crab meat, snow-white beansprouts and superior stock (an umami-like double-boiled chicken stock). I also adored the Boston lobster which was served stew-like, in a lobster broth with poached rice, spring onion and herbs.
A special tea menu features a selection of rare and unusual leaves, including 5 ON 25’s signature tea (a special blend of oolong, goji berries, osthmanthus and longan). I sampled a tea cocktail which was delicious but potent – more of an espresso martini than an Earl Grey.
For more of a casual dining experience, there’s the in-house Alley on 25 restaurant which offers all-day dining and is adjacent to the swimming pool. This is where breakfast is served and guests can choose between traditional western options (including, of course, the ubiquitous avocado on toast) or “local favourites”.
I selected from the latter and went for the kaya toast set (kaya being a popular Singaporean breakfast spread made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar). This came with brioche, soft boiled eggs and a selection of steamed dim sum (prawn har gao, chicken siew mai and a red bean bun). I’d take all that over avo-toast any day of the week.
What to do
The Andaz Singapore doesn’t have a spa but it does feature an infinity pool on the 25th floor of the building with stunning views across the city (in fact, it’s so high up that there’s a sign warning about possible lightning risks). Swimming spots need to be booked in advance at the moment because of Covid – but that’s easily done via the concierge.
Adjacent to the concierge desk is the Sunroom – a guest-only lounge featuring comfy sofas and armchairs, as well as complimentary refreshments. You can unwind here after a swim, or enjoy a pre-dinner tipple and/or nightcap.
There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness centre, but I can’t say I visited it during my stay – it was all about dim sum breakfasts and lazy poolside people watching for me.
How to get here
Singapore has just reopened its vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with the UK, permitting 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 evidence of their vaccination history, undergo a pre-travel PCR test and take a daily (self-administered) rapid test for almost a week after they arrive in the country. The guidance is changing all the time though; visit the Singapore Safe Travel website for the latest updates.
Prices and how to book
Rooms at the five-star Andaz Singapore start from 590 SGD (around £323) per night, or 620 SGD (£340) including breakfast. All stays can be booked at hyatt.com