Shangri-La Singapore Garden Wing: a Hotel Review

February 27, 2023laurenslighthouse

I have to say, coming back to Singapore and staying in Orchard near my old childhood apartment, I never imagined we’d have a stay like this one. The Shangri-La Singapore (or “the Shang” as the locals like to call it) is truly a tropical sanctuary situated in the heart of a city. As the very first Shangri-La ever built, I didn’t expect it to be as grand and imposing as it is. But with a monumental lobby like this one and three stately hotel wings that each provide a different experience from one another, I knew that the Shang continues to maintain its name as an icon.

First Impressions of Service at Shangri-La Singapore

In spite of high season and the sheer busyness the hotel was experiencing mid-February on a Saturday afternoon, we checked-in very swiftly. As soon as we arrived at the long stretch for car drop-off and wide entryway, the attendants – who were by the way dressed in elegant and elaborate Tibetan warrior outfits reminding you where the name “Shangri-La” originated from – opened our doors, grabbed our luggage and provided us with our luggage tags. Before we knew it, we were already walking through the automatic glass sliding doors into the immense lobby of the hotel.

The Lobby Lounge

The reception staff apologized for the wait even though there was barely any wait at all. Though we arrived before 1pm, our room was just about ready and we didn’t even take a seat in the lobby before our key cards were good to go.

The Garden Wing

The Shangri-La Singapore consists of three different wings that provide their guests with three different experiences. The Garden Wing is for a resort-like stay, the Tower Wing is for a high-rise stay immersed in the city and the Valley Wing is for esteemed guests looking for a luxurious private getaway. All three meet together on the main level of the open grounds, which I like to call the sanctuary. This is where you’ll find the pool, access to the Health Club and the terrace walk that leads to the Orchid, an elegant al fresco spot perfect for romantic dinners and couple photos!

The Orchid

We had the pleasure of retreating to their tropical corner in the Garden Wing. Making our way over to our room for the first time, we actually exited to the outdoors into an elevator lobby adjacent to a tropical oasis. We were enchanted by what seemed to be a whole botanical garden at the foot of Garden Wing’s atrium. With a name like that for this section of the hotel, it’s definitely implied that there would be lush greenery here and there, but our imagination did not extend this far.

The “hanging gardens” of the Garden Wing

The garden display actually takes place on three different levels, from floors 1 to 3, the 3rd floor actually being the hotel’s ground level where the main lobby is located. You can walk through the green grounds via the Garden West Trail, passing waterfalls, ponds, viewing platforms and various lush plants. At the bottom level, you’ll catch little turtles swimming in their home before walking a few steps to the tall waterfall and koi pond found at the base of the wing’s elevator shafts.

Garden Wing elevator shaft

Garden Wing Deluxe Pool View King Room

All the rooms and suites of the Garden Wing can be entered from the open-air corridors facing the atrium. Before even entering our room, the Shangri-La’s Garden Wing appeared to give a resort experience amidst the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s Orchard district. A quick ride up the air-conditioned elevator and we arrived on the 8th floor to settle into our home for the next two nights.

First impressions? Impeccable. The dark wood of the doors, furniture and flooring accentuate the tropical atmosphere of the room. Though the Deluxe Pool View King Room is a standard room, it certainly doesn’t look or feel it. It stretches out to 50 sqm of space, inclusive of the large living area and the spacious resort-like balcony which I’ll touch on in just a bit.

Upon entering, you’ll notice the long entryway with a floor-to-ceiling armoire on one side and the double wooden doors to the bathroom on the other. The closet sliding doors and other cabinetry for storage found in the room have stunning dual vertical panels, one made of the dark wood and the other made of a tightly woven straw fabric that softens the aesthetic to the space, again enunciating its nature retreat character.

The closet space provides a ton of room, with more hangers than you may need and a top shelf for miscellaneous items. My favourite section of the wardrobe is the stack of slow-close drawers with glass panels on which the safe is placed. Now that’s certainly something I’d love to have in our home one day. The glass allows you to peak at what’s inside without having to open each drawer, and in preparation for each new guest arrival, housekeeping places the bathrobes, laundry amenities and hairdryer in the top drawers and the softest Shangri-La branded slippers in the bottom.

Adjacent to the closet, is the large coffee bar with a white marble countertop. The Original Nespresso machine sits nicely on top with the complimentary water cartons – an effort on the part of Shangri-La to reduce plastic waste – while the kettle and all the tea and coffee amenities can be found within the below cabinet. Just like the closet, the top drawers of the coffee bar have glass panels, but this time with sloped compartments to display the items housed in them nicely. I was definitely happy to be able to reach for the Shangri-La’s own branded tea selection in our own room, especially after experiencing their afternoon tea (more on that later)!

The Shangri-La team also provided us with a sweet welcome gift of fresh fruit, their own dried fruit packets and a box of various delicious chocolates which we certainly enjoyed throughout our stay. Below the top drawers of the coffee bar is where you’ll find the mini-fridge that contained chilled waters and even more storage space. This is one thing we noticed in our Deluxe Room – so much storage space!

The bathroom was definitely up to par with Shangri-La’s reputation. The marble-clad interiors and the bright lighting really elevated the space, along with the carved out wall piece behind the toilet. The pale stone contrasts well against the darker tones of the double vanity, mirror trim and other wooden features of the bathroom, such as the louvred doorway found at the edge of the bathtub that opens up to a glass window that looks out to the rest of the room.

The separate rain shower and full bathtub, both with their own detachable showerheads are certainly a nice touch for added convenience when bathing. And there’s a lot of hanging space here, including the towel rack over the tub, some hooks on the walls and the clothes line which is perfect for the times you need to dry your swimwear.

They also provide you with bathroom amenities in abundance, all well packaged with a perforated edge as the seal opener. It helps to know that the amenities are tamper proof! And you can never go wrong with L’Occitane en Provence as the brand of choice for guest hair and body care!

My husband still raves about the large soap bar with the Jasmine & Bergamot scent and how smooth it was on the skin. The shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion of the same scent were also a new-found fave for us when it comes to hotel bathroom amenities!

Heading over to the bedroom, our king-size bed was just right for us. There are two pillows per side with different levels of softness, so if one doesn’t work for you, you can use the other. There are light switches on both sides of the bed. We had to play around with them to figure out what they controlled, but appreciated the master light switch on the right side of the bed so we could turn off everything at the same time without having to get out.

Everything in this room is so large and spacious that it didn’t leave us feeling like we needed more. This was especially exemplified in the living area beside the bed. There’s a ton of seating space, what with the large sofa and armchair in front of the coffee table, and the two additional chairs at the round dining glass table across from it. At the dining table, you also have all the plugs you need for your electronics, which helped us charge up all our camera gear in one spot without burdening our night tables, and we used it comfortably as a work desk space as well. If you wanted to use it as a vanity, you definitely could as the large mirror

This living area brings out the garden atmosphere of the Garden Wing, notably with the artwork behind the sofa and the beautifully textured rug. Stunning touches to make you feel like you’re at a resort!

That feeling is then emphasized when you step out of your sliding doors to your scalloped balcony. The porch seating is a great spot to have a morning coffee and peering over the edge, you get a little privacy coverage from the layer of greenery while still overlooking to the view of the pool and the neighbouring Orchard residences.

Dining at Shangri-La Singapore

Afternoon Tea Experience

After settling into our room, we made our way back to the lobby at the Lobby Lounge for an iconic Shangri-La afternoon tea experience. We were seated at a cozy table by the window facing the pool which has a bit of privacy as the structural black columns separate the outer tables from each other.

They provide you with the menu when you first get seated, which shows you the names of each item plated on the three tiers of afternoon tea bites. On the other side of the menu is the tea selection with a given description for each, and it features an array of classic teas as well as Shangri-La’s signature mixes. All the teas are premium Shangri-La branded but we specifically wanted to try the Rose Veranda Signature Blend and the Shangri-La Tea. Both were so delicious and I wish we had taken a whole pack home!

The three-tier afternoon tea set arrived on a gorgeous golden curved tray carrier, and my did the treats look decadent. It’s the most colourful afternoon tea I’ve ever seen. The kuehs in the middle tier drew the most attention and were honestly our favourite to taste, each slightly distinctive from the other. The savouries were also like no other I’ve ever had and satiated our cravings for smokey, caramelized flavours.

Casual Dinner

Our dining experiences were incredible and the staff were always kind, although we were mostly left alone when we enjoyed a casual dinner in the Lobby Lounge after choosing a table in the quietness of the library area of the lounge. It was perfect for us as we’re usually self-conscious when filming and vlogging, so it was nice to not be disturbed and to not feel like we were disturbing other guests and staff either!

We really loved the Lobby Lounge for the tranquil atmosphere that it boasts, especially with the carpeted floors to help drown out the sound. So even though it’s found on the main floor where you’ll see the most traffic, it’s contrarily quiet, especially in the evenings when folks are dining at the Shang’s many other restaurants and bars.

We enjoyed our own company and of some delicious comfort food from their selection local cuisine on the rainy evening we had here, and ordered ourselves a Katong Laksa and Hainanese Beef Noodles. They hit the spot just right and reminded us of one of the many reasons we came to Singapore! The Lobby Lounge did a great job of maintaining the authenticity of their dishes, even in the bowls and trays they serve them in, while elevating the food in the subtlest of ways.

Breakfast at The Line

The Line is their main restaurant for breakfast, which is certainly evident as soon as you come down the elevator from the 3rd level or walk through the doors from the outside pool terrace area on the 1st level. The restaurant spreads out far and wide, with tons of seating both indoors and outdoors. The interiors present a casual aesthetic with a bright and shiny modern white, which certainly helps wake you up in the morning!

They serve buffet here but they really know how to do a buffet. I’m talking over ten stations, more than five different cuisines and enough variety that you’ll never need to eat the same thing twice to fully be satisfied. We’ve never seen or experienced anything like it before, it felt like a trip around the world.

Starting from further in, there is a full noodle bar for made-to-order noodle soups (laksa anytime, any day for me!); an Indian station that was fully complete with Indian breakfast must-haves; an Asian station that featured stir-fried noodles, vegetables, fried rice, Chinese donuts with soy milk, dim sum favourites and a whole self-serve congee bar with condiments galore; a Western station followed by Mediterranean light bites and an omelette station; a salad bar; a Japanese cold section; a fresh fruit bar; a station with layers of pastries both savoury and sweet; a health area with yogurts, chia seed puddings, granola and more; a fresh juice-of-the-day section; and finally, the self-serve coffee and tea station.

If you’re dining here on a weekend, make sure to select your time slot a day in advance and choose your preferred breakfast time (ideally before 8am as it gets busy). The line at The Line – pun unintended! – goes fast though, so even if you came later in the morning, you don’t have to wait long for a table or for our food at the stations. But the freshest stuff is always available at the beginning of the morning! After dining here twice, it’s safe to say that the quality of the food was best earlier in the day and so was the crowd. The early bird always gets the worm in this case!

Other Dining Spots at the Shang

The Shangri-La offers many more food experiences within their property that we didn’t get to try but hope to when we visit again:

  • The Rose Veranda serves an even more elevated afternoon tea experience
  • NAMI Restaurant & Bar serves Japanese cuisine
  • Origin Grill & Bar serves Western cooking with farm-to-table dining as well as cocktails
  • Shang Palace serves traditional Cantonese cuisine
  • Waterfall Ristorante serves Italian cuisine
  • Shophouse by Shangri-la situated in the lobby is a market-style spot for pastries, sweets and coffee

Shangri-La Singapore Amenities

The Swimming Pool

Despite Shangri-La Singapore being a very family-friendly and kids oriented hotel, we felt we could retreat to a quiet escape quite easily. Yes, the pool is a haven for the kids as they love being in the water, but a morning dip was always effortless to squeeze in. There were always some guests doing laps in the early morning around 7am, but the pool was wide enough for us to enjoy a tranquil moment. We also came back in the afternoon and in the late morning the day we checked out to soak in as much time on the loungers and in the water as we could.

The pool is placed perfectly between all three wings of the hotel, which makes it quickly accessible to all guests. We admired the view of the Garden Wing which is closest to the pool and the unique layers of balconies including our own! There are sun loungers on all sides, some in the front row, some tucked a little further back in shaded spots, and the pool attendees provide you with two towels: one to cover your chair and one to dry off with.

The Health Club

The Health Club certainly felt like a club! To access the gym, you’ll enter the reception area to sign in and walk through either the men’s or women’s change room. The facilities aren’t grand but have quite a number of amenities. Each locker can be locked by code and contains a hanger and hooks for your belongings. There are fresh towels, slippers and a water dispenser in the locker area, and you can find other bathroom necessities near the washroom and showers.

The best part is that the Health Club also provides you with unlimited access to the sauna, steam room and indoor hot tub jacuzzi found inside the changing facilities! We soaked in there after getting a sweat in in the fitness centre.

The gym is exactly what we had hoped in terms of size and variety in equipment. Of course it had quite a few of the cardio machines, but the free weights and bars, benches, workout machines and even a Smith machine were what we sought out most. I enjoyed the various abs machines as those are often hard to come by! There was also plenty to go around so there was never a time where we had to wait our turn, even when the gym had a number of guests that Sunday afternoon.

The atmosphere is also incredibly welcoming, with the high ceilings and the way the gym is oriented to wrap around the corner of the building. It faces out to the pool as well as the large waterfall display at the foot of the Garden Wing, which are a peaceful sight to see through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It’s definitely one of the better hotel gyms we’ve ever frequented!

Conclusion

We couldn’t be happier with our stay at the Shangri-La Singapore and it was honestly a dream to be able to stay at the first one ever built! To see it become what it is today was a treasurable experience and we’d love to come back some day – next time with kids! – to watch how it evolves from now to then!

This post was written in partnership with Shangri-La Singapore after a PR stay. As always, all opinions are my own and Shangri-La Singapore truly lived up to its name!

Comments (2)

  • Diana

    June 18, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Lovely writing! My search for for a nice hotel in Singapore brought me to your blog.

    1. laurenslighthouse

      June 18, 2023 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you Diana! If you’re looking for a luxury experience in Orchard, Shangri-La’s an iconic place to stay at!

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