Reviewed by Matthew Brace
You’ve been flying for hours and you need a welcoming Singapore hotel with a super-easy check-in, a good wholesome meal, a quick swim and a comfy bed in a stylish room. You need the new Vibe Hotel Singapore Orchard.
The hotel is the first Vibe property in Singapore and offers a great blend of local efficiency and Australian charm. There’s a restaurant called ROOS, a walk-in Penfolds wine fridge and a poolside BBQ that comes alive on Australia Day and during sporting events.
As we checked in we thought how good the place would be for Aussie couples visiting the Lion City (or even Asia) for the first time. What a good way to be gently introduced to the wonders of this city while not totally giving up all the familiarities of home.
The hotel also has a much more affordable price tag than the city’s glamorous, flashy five-stars. But the lower cost does not mean reduced standards. We found the staff to be as obliging and pleasant as those we have met in some of the most expensive properties in Singapore.
The hotel’s location is also great for those with a healthy shopping habit, as it’s a leisurely 10-minute stroll downhill to the glitzy malls of Orchard Road. All these attributes have combined to hoist Vibe Singapore into the Top 45 Singapore hotels on TripAdvisor.
Look and feel
Vibe Singapore has some nice design touches, notably the semi-circular window booths in ROOS restaurant, which offer couples a chance to hide away from other guests. Behind each booth is a curved floor-to-ceiling window offering views onto a rock garden with foliage and running water.
The hotel has also retained its two glass-fronted ‘bubble’ lifts, which are great fun and becoming harder to find in Singapore hotels these days.
The outdoor pool area is a quiet retreat for lazy afternoons of floating and sunbathing but it transforms into an Aussie backyard for major sporting events; there’s a BBQ, a pool bar and a TV screen showing games.
If you are keen to find out more about Singapore, the hotel has started offering curated activities and in-house programmes (for a fee) centred on authentic local experiences. One example is Discover Hidden Gems, which involves a Vibe Guide taking you on food tour to different eating haunts around the city.
Best room for two
If you’re in town for just one night, maybe jetting off the next day to somewhere else in Asia, or taking a long-haul flight to Europe, a Deluxe room is probably just right.
The hotel refurbished the Deluxe rooms before opening, laying smart tartan carpets, adding super-comfy beds and cleverly hiding the room’s electrical wires inside a black frame rather the burying them in the walls.
Our Deluxe room had a bathtub, which was welcome after a long day trudging the streets.
If you’re in Singapore for longer than one night, treat yourselves with an upgrade to a Premium room. These are slicker than the Deluxe ones, with faux-wood floors, a more minimalist colour scheme, a large walk-in shower (plenty of room for two!) and an all-together more modern look. Premium rooms also come with Nespresso machines, which Deluxe rooms do not.
Food & Drink
ROOS all-day restaurant is the hub of the hotel and open from 7am to 10.30pm. The adjacent Lobby Bar is a good spot to grab a barista-made coffee in the morning, a cocktail before venturing out for an evening, or a nightcap when you get back.
The restaurant offers a good blend of Singaporean, Asian and Australian dishes. There’s barramundi fillet with black garlic and basil cream, rack of Australian lamb and (our favourite) fish noodle soup – a healthy broth of rice noodles, mackerel, bean curd and seaweed.
Breakfast was also good with the ‘Action Station’ serving eggs as and when you like them but, oddly, poached eggs incur an extra fee.
ROOS also boasts a walk-in Penfolds wine fridge, a kind of ground-floor mini-cellar actually in the restaurant itself.
As well as a good selection of Australian and New Zealand wines, ROOS has beer promotions from time to time. When we stayed there was a selection of tasty and refreshing ales from Taiwan on offer.
We were, sadly, too early to experience the new cocktail bar that is due to open soon.
Couples will love
Coming back from an evening stroll down Orchard Road, stopping off at the Lobby Bar or cocktail bar for a nightcap or taking a late swim in the pool before heading to their room for a view over the leafy neighbourhood and the promise of a deep sleep.