Hotel Review: Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s “Thank You, Everyday Heroes!” S$118 Nett Staycation • Unbeatable Price But With An Underwhelming Experience

Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s “Thank You, Everyday Heroes!” Staycation

Mandarin Orchard Singapore is offering staycations for S$118 nett for “Everyday Heroes” which almost everyone in Singapore is eligible for, following the SG United’s very broad definition of frontline essential workers.

With such a low price unheard of at a prime location along Orchard Road, I booked a night with Mandarin Orchard Singapore for my first proper staycation ever since it got trending after the resumption of activities in Phase 2 after the Circuit Breaker.

Except that I was to learn that you do indeed get what you pay for.

Mandarin Orchard Singapore is quite a well-known landmark along Orchard Road among locals and repeat tourists alike, since the hotel has been up since 1971, then-known as The Mandarin Singapore, and was once the tallest building in Singapore.

Heading into the driveway of Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

SafeEntry check-in and temperature taking is done at the driveway lobby at Level 1.

Check-in to Mandarin Orchard Singapore

The hotel check-in is located at Level 5.

There are more than sufficient safe distancing stickers located in front of the front deck, especially when I checked in quite late at around 5.45pm since I arrived only after my frontline work.

To verify that I’m an actual “frontliner”, I was asked to present my staff ID during check-in. However, as my office doesn’t have one, my business card was accepted too.

I was assigned a room in the Orchard Wing, since the Main Tower is used by SHN guests.

My first thought was, wow the corridors look pretty dated. In fact, this reminds me of Asia Hotel in Bangkok. The Milelion wasn’t kidding.

Mandarin Orchard Singapore Deluxe Room

The first sight of my Deluxe Room.

A key card was already placed in the key card slot by the door for electricity, so I was greeted with cool air-conditioning. That’s a pretty nice and useful touch by Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

The TV greets me as I stepped into the Deluxe Room.

The overall layout of the Deluxe Room.

Being in a dated building, the Mandarin Orchard Singapore has the luxury of floor space, and the Twin beds are placed in an actual Twin formation rather than Hollywood Twin with both beds together side by side.

The bedside desk is placed between the two twin beds. Do note that there are no power sockets here, and you are unable to charge your devices beside your bed.

The lights, air-conditioning, and services can be controlled by a panel on the bedside desk.

A lounge chair is available by the window.

There is a working desk with 2 power sockets available.

These 2 power sockets are unfortunately the most accessible one in the room to charge up your devices. One is a regular 3-pin plug used in Singapore, and the other is a universal power socket.

The built-up view out of my Deluxe Room at the Orchard Wing.

Two bottles of mineral water are provided for in the room.

There’s also TWG English Breakfast Tea, TWG Grand Jasmine Tea, and Nescafé Gold Coffee with creamer and sugar provided in the room.

Checking out the toilet in my Deluxe Room.

Dry amenities are provided in the box by the sink.

Lots of space around the toilet bowl. This unfortunately comes without a bidet spray.

A standing shower is available with excellent water pressure.

The shampoo, hair conditioner, and body wash is placed in the standing shower.

There’s also a bathtub available. This comes without a curtain so be careful while you’re splish sloshing inside or you might splash water all over the toilet floor.

There’s ironing facilities, bathrobes, slippers, an in-room safe, and hotel laundry bags in the wardrobe.

I’m a little bit underwhelmed by the dated Deluxe Room look, especially on a prime location in Orchard Road, but I guess that’s still reasonable for a staycation which costs S$118.

But here’s where it started to go downhill.

Mandarin Orchard Singapore Breakfast

Breakfast is served at Chatterbox, which kind of left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended).

For context before I start here, I started off my breakfast enquiry the day before with the operator on the phone, who told me that it was an a la carte buffet.

The usual SafeEntry check-in applies when entering Chatterbox.

Confusion over Breakfast

And here’s where the confusion started.

My eyes immediately went to the dishes, since I understood that it was an a la carte buffet from the call the day before. Then I noticed the instructions.

“Your stay comes with one breakfast set per person daily.”

As such, I asked a waiter if it was an a la carte buffet, to which he said that it was and you just tick whatever you want. I also asked him what was in the omelette and he said it was plain.

So, fine. I continued to understand that it was an a la carte buffet. Until, like a typical Singaporean, I noticed the small bottom text which contains a triggering word:

“Any additional breakfast items is (sic) chargeable.”

So I asked another waiter, and he confirmed that it was 1 set meal per person only. Also, I asked him what could be added in my omelette, and he said something along the lines of like, “like mushrooms, onions, cheese”, although I have to say I forgot the exact words but the ingredients are there.

So that’s a lot of confusion to handle before the start of the meal.

To further add to this conflicting situation, I had requested in writing for the American Breakfast set meal with omelette for myself to be plated as per normal, and my friend ordered the American Breakfast set meal with scrambled egg to be without pork (ie. written “NO PORK” on the order chit), for good and serious reasons.

American Breakfast

The meal starts off with fresh fruits, a croissant, muffin, and choice of typical breakfast-y drinks like coffee and juices. This went on without a hitch, and came pretty fast on a trolley.

And here’s where the next confusion started. Remember my above request to have the omelette to be plated as per normal and scrambled egg to be without pork?

Can you see the mistake here?

Thankfully, in a twisted way of being thankful, both plates came without pork items and not the other way round whereby the scrambled was served with pork to my Muslim friend instead. Then again, I wonder if we would be charged extra if such a mistake were to happen, since it would have been a second plate.

Explaining the mistake, my pork items came on a side plate afterwards.

The portion of this American Breakfast set would have been okay if it were an a la carte buffet, but for a set menu where only 1 choice was available, the portion was rather small. I mean, there’s more ketchup than mushrooms on the plate here…

Check-out from Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Check-out from Mandarin Orchard Singapore was at an early 11am, which I did anyway just shortly after breakfast. All in all, I had about a 17 hour staycation at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. Checking out was fuss free with a simple key drop off.


With dated rooms and a budget breakfast selection comparable to Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek in KL, it was a little bit underwhelming to know that a 5-star hotel along Orchard Road in Singapore looks and feels like what I had experienced. Granted, I paid a really budget price of S$118 nett which would otherwise get me a staycation at Hotel 81 instead.

I guess Mandarin Orchard Singapore could survive when tourism returns with more well-off tourists paying for the prime location opposite plenty of shopping malls like Paragon and Takashimaya, or if queuing up for the next newest iPhone at the Apple Store located, well, just across the road. But for now, I don’t think I’ll be back for a stay even with the never-before-seen promotional price of only S$118.

One comment

  1. This was the hotel for my first of many Singapore stays back in 1989 so I guess it would be a little dated ( although one would hope for some renovations since ). I had never stayed in a hotel before and thought the mini alcohols were free…lol. I wonder if true buffet meals will ever return. Maybe never as the next pandemic will probably start when Covid-19 diminishes.

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