Clarke Quay, Singapore — GREETED BY SWEET smiles as we checked in this beautifully-reviewed hotel on this side of the city state, we knew instantly we are in for a great stay.
We are spending our last six days here at Fragrance Hotel Riverside, one of Singapore’s best hotels of choice, especially for travelers and businessmen. This is not our first time here in Singapore but we’re still as excited as if we’re here for the first time.
Located by the famous Singapore river, thus its name, Fragrance Hotel Riverside enjoys good reviews from those who have decided to make it a home while in this Southeast Asian nation known to be one of the most progressive countries in Asia. The hotel is popular for its friendly and hospitable staff, and for its great location.
To be in Clarke Quay, a central area easily accessible through the public transport — MRT (Circle and Purple Lines) and buses — to not spend much on your hotel accommodation is a lot. Clarke Quay is known for its vibrant night life you can’t find anywhere in Singapore. This is where ‘business after office hours’ happens as great food experience, and fantastic bar strips are ready to provide Singapore visitors an experience to remember.
While Singapore is already a destination of choice for Asian travelers, for most Western travelers however, it is often the country to “stop and cool down” after weeks of exploring the neighboring countries Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, among others. Unlike the unique, exotic experience the said countries provide, Singapore is more modern, complete with good transportation and communication facilities ahead of its neighbors. Since ‘cooling down’ is such an important phase after traveling around the region for weeks and before hitting the last ride back home, a good hotel is necessary when in Singapore.
Here’s a word of caution though. When you choose to stay at this hotel, expect not more than your money’s worth for considering the standard of living here, hotels in Singapore is much more expensive than other Southeast Asian countries. Note that Fragrance Hotel Riverside is not a five-and-up-star hotel but a three-star hotel with a great service to boast about for its staff takes their commitment to serve its guests to heart. At least that’s what we believed and experienced.
Since our main purpose for this visit is a mixture of business and leisure, we needed a hotel room just to have a good night rest at the end of every tiring day — of meeting people, and experiencing what it is to be in this city (which by the way ends at 3am already). This for us was an excellent choice as its Superior Room complete with a double bed, a shower/comfort room, mini-bar, and ample space for our luggages, is good enough for two. Having been to a lot of hotels with the same price range here in Singapore, this has been so far, the best choice. Plus we saved ourselves from spending much on transportation as it is just 3-5 minutes walk to the MRT and bus stops. The famous Chinatown is also just 10 minutes walk away.
If you’re traveling solo or in twos like we are, a Superior Room maybe enough. But should you need a bigger room or a room with a balcony, go for either De Luxe Room or Family Room. Family room is good for those who are traveling with a kid as it could accommodate three guests.
You can fill the mini-bar in your hotel room with drinks. For coffee lovers like me, a coffee and tea sets are also provided.
Should you fail to include breakfast on your booking, just walk around for a good food. Cheaper food choices (less than SG$10) are just by the main road or in the food court inside the stone-throw away mall, Central Clarke Quay. If you are looking for more premium restaurants, just head on to Clarke Quay for any food that would suit your palate.
Moreover, tours are also offered by a tenant at the hotel lobby. For all other needs, a 7-eleven store is just beside the hotel.
Swim in, Hit the Gym
For its price and location, Fragrance Hotel Riverside is already a good deal. But what makes us appreciate our stay here even better is its swimming pool and gym. They’re not as grandiose as those in five-star hotels but for us, it serves a lot of purpose.
An early morning dip or a dip by mid-day is that one little luxury we appreciated a lot. Kim and I opted to give it a go on our third day as our schedule was not too tight. There was no way we’d go for a night swim as we’re mostly out during the night. Say, age gap. For the gym buffs, that little room full of weights is already a real treat when not in your home country, right? Yes, it’s part of their amenities for their guests.
Fragrance Hotel Riverside may not give everyone a complete, satisfying experience the big hotels here could provide but it is equipped enough to satisfy the needs of those travelers whose eyes are set for what’s the real value of a stay is all about: a warm welcome, a good service, a little comfort, some extra little things to do, and a good mixture of experiences while in a foreign land, away from home.
Other photos grabbed from Fragrance hotel’s website. Check them out at www.fragrancehotel.com.