Travel may be steadily returning to our lives, but the two years of overseas vacationing we lost to pandemic restrictions have built up an affinity for staycations amongst Singaporeans that continues to stick around. It helps that there is no dearth of hotels on our island—small as it is, you can always find chic boutique options or big brand properties to spend a weekend at.
If a shopping fiesta is the break you’re longing for, then good news: there is a new Hilton in town, right in the heart of Orchard Road. Taking over the space once occupied by the now-closed Mandarin Orchard, the Hilton Singapore Orchard opened the doors to its 1,080 rooms just this year, accompanied by a selection of restaurants that make it easy to grab everything from breakfast to cocktails without stepping foot outside the property.
Of course, you might want to step out regardless, given that you’ll be landing right in the centre of Singapore’s shopping district, surrounded on all sides by luxury fashion stores and our best malls. But there are merits to staying in—at the very least, for breakfast at the hotel’s elegantly-designed all-day dining concept, Estate.
If you are anything like me, breakfast buffets are an integral part of why you enjoy staycations. The sheer variety of food and abundance of choice makes for a morning feast unrivalled by any other meal. Of course, you could order à la carte dishes from your table as an alternative, but it hardly compares to the indulgent pleasure of perusing all the options before making a creative plate for yourself, composed of an unlikely mix of dishes that may not belong together, but still taste amazing. And then you get to go in for seconds, thirds… and so on. This might be hard to imagine in a post-COVID-19 world, with hygiene concerns preventing restaurants from displaying their dishes openly and allowing diners to handle food.
Thankfully, you can expect a pandemic-safe breakfast buffet of epic proportions at Estate. With members of the team stationed at every corner, you never have to touch food or serve yourself, preventing any cross-contamination between patrons. Warm and helpful staff ladle food onto your plate as you point out what you want (and how much of it you want—there’s no shame in asking for more), sometimes even offering to ferry your plates to your table if you want to do another round of the spread before sitting down for your meal.
The same set-up is also available for dinner, and the food is stellar for both. Expect a classic breakfast spread in the morning, while the menu veers more experimental in the evening. Look out for hits like the Black Truffle Roasted Duck, starring succulent slices of flame-kissed meat packed with explosive flavour. If it is carbs you’re after, opt for the Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Octopus Confit, served with a delectable sauce and made with gluten-free pasta that tastes uncannily close to its gluten-filled counterpart. And if you’d like to fill up on oysters, the raw station has a great spread of fresh seafood, which the staff will dole out generously if you request.
The rooms at the Hilton Singapore Orchard display the same polished aesthetic the hospitality brand is known for, modernised with contemporary statement furniture and colonial design elements, like tropical-inspired art and a refined, monochromatic colour palette. You’ll get to enjoy plenty of space in your room—this is the biggest Hilton hotel in the Asia-Pacific region, after all—alongside luxe, marble furnishings that inject a dose of luxury.
Still, human touch is where the hotel really shines. From the buffet staff to room service, each member of the Hilton team delivers personalised, heartfelt service that makes you feel right at home. In particular, the hotel employs a number of elderly staff whom they have retained from the former Mandarin Orchard Singapore. These are the true heroes of the team, performing the most hectic, complicated tasks with unwavering smiles and practised ease.
“When Hilton Singapore Orchard took over the former Mandarin Orchard Singapore, we had an experienced team of long-service Mandarin Orchard team members whom we were motivated to retain,” says Cedric Nubul, General Manager of Hilton Singapore Orchard. “These are hospitality veterans whom we have a tremendous amount of respect for. Their years of experience means that they know the ins and outs of the hospitality industry and are incredibly passionate about their craft.”
In a climate of job insecurity and ageism-related layoffs, it is heartening to witness first-hand the effects of retaining and hiring older, more experienced members of staff. The evidence of their skill is in the seamless manner in which they serve their guests, from entertaining children in the restaurants while their parents stroll around the buffet, to eagerly exploring the hotel grounds with curious patrons. Service that warm and genuine is hard-earned and a wonderfully valuable commodity—hence, the real crown jewel of the hotel.
Find out more information or book a stay at Hilton Singapore Orchard at hilton.com.