There is lots to like about the Fullerton Bay Hotel. The hotel amenities and rooms are beautifully designed (providing that you like modern architecture), the location is central to the Financial District (I was travelling on business) yet also next to the Marina District with its many shops and restaurants, and the service was friendly and helpful (though hardly a unique attribute for high-end Asian hotels.)
The rooms and bathrooms are of adequate size though certainly not generous. They are well appointed and, with floor to ceiling windows, offer fantastic views of the Marina. A nice fruit plate was waiting in the room (though it was not replenished during my six night stay which is often the case in other high end hotels) and there was lots of bottled water that was replenished daily. The Bose docking station was a nice touch. There was a good desk and chair in the room, which was important since this was a business trip.
The hotel's location is excellent if you are here solely on business or a combined business/pleasure trip. While there is lots to do around the Marina area, it is relatively new and still has a bit of a sterile feeling. (I stayed at the St. Regis on Orchard Road before my meetings started and there is much more vibrancy up there.) Be sure to watch the nightly laser and water show over by the Marina Bay Sands Hotel; you can see the show from the roof deck of the FBH but it is a 10X better experience watching it from the other side. There are 10 or so restaurants within a couple of hundred meters of the FBH: the ones I went to were adequate but nothing stood out.
My rate include internet and breakfast. Both were first rate. The Internet was easy to access, connectivity was excellent and download speeds were pretty good. The breakfast buffet was also excellent, with lots of fresh fruit, both Asian and North American hot dishes, pastries, cereal, and a fresh omelette bar.
All this sound pretty good so why not five stars? Despite all these pluses, there were several, albeit relative minor, issues that tarnished the hotel's shine.
1. Room service food was very disappointing. I had lunch twice, selecting an Asian option both times, and I was delivered a meal on par with what one would find in a North American food court. Both times the meal came quickly (about 15 minutes) so I suspect that they keep prepared menu items in warming trays. Anyway, avoid room service unless you are really desperate.
2. The food at the Lantern Restaurant on the roof top deck was also mediocre. (I hear the Clifford is quite good but after three pretty crummy meals at FBH, I did not want to pay up for a meal from a team that has a pretty lousy track record.)
3. I called for a laundry pick up. They forgot. Fortunately, I was here for another couple of nights so it was not a problem waiting another day for it to be done. (Laundry is very expensive, though not out of line with other high-end hotels charge.)
4. There was a problem with the light beside the bed: a wiring malfunction that caused one light to flicker even though it was turned off. I asked to have it checked and was assured on my return that it had been taken care of. I turned the lights off that night and the light started to flicker again. Normally I would have just unscrewed the bulb but access was restricted by screws. I called down at 10:00 pm (I was still jet lagged and just wanted to go to sleep) and had to wait 30 minutes for them to deal with it. This is a reasonable waiting period but it should have been fixed the first time I asked.
5. The pool is beautiful. Unfortunately, the are only 8 loungers (and no chairs) around the pool. There are also 3 shaded "pods" near by. Whenever I went up to the pool, there was no place to leave my stuff because the 11 places available were all taken. The roof deck area is first and foremost a bar/restaurant and the pool is sadly nothing more than a water feature. This was just a bad design decision.
6. The gym is small and poorly equipped.
7. The rooms are already starting to show some wear and tear. Most noticeable are the hairline cracks in the bathroom sink and the poorly fitted closet doors. Management is going to need to stay on top of these areas or the hotel will run down quickly.
Bottom line: Don't get me wrong, this is a great place to stay. However, management needs to up its game if they want to maintain their reputation as one of the best hotels in Singapore.
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