The first thing you should know is that Hotel Jen is that adorable kid sister of the Shangri-La chain of hotels. And like every adorable kid sister, there’s something magical about this place.
The concierge of Hotel Jen is sort of like the closet leading to Narnia.
It’s simple, and sparsely decorated, with a couple of large armchairs, and a minimalistic concierge desk encased in aluminium and wood. To a casual passerby, it would have been so easy to overlook this gem that’s crammed in the middle of the Orchard Gateway stretch.
But like the magical closet, the concierge is the merely the doorway to a sprawling treasure trove. 20 stories high (that’s high enough for you to catch a glorious, bird’s eye view of the whole of the city, all the way to the sea), with an infinity pool overlooking the city, you’ll quickly realise that you’ve arrived at an exclusive clubhouse that’s smack in the middle of the city.
I think everyone should be familiar with the mundanities of checking in to a hotel, finding your way to the room, unpacking, etc. So let me just get right into the juicy bits.
First, the hotel room.
My staycation room was (and still is) located on the 20th level, and I got the Superior City View room. I mentioned earlier that the view is glorious, and it really is. In fact, the first thing that I did was to dash over to the window, throw the curtains wide open, and send a photo to all my friends, my family, le boyf, and the cat.
When I got over the heart-thumping experience of having a room with such an amazing view that also comes with a bay window seat to boot, I started exploring, and poking around the room.
A gripe that I have is the room layout. It’s rather…strange. Instead of the typical bathroom layout, the shower area, toilet (bowl) and wash basin/sink are all in 3 separate compartments. There’s little privacy, and you’re not able to do stuff that you would normally do in a bathroom (ie. wandering around butt naked while washing up at the sink, doing your business, then getting into the shower). While the bathroom and toilet are enclosed separately, the sink is located right beside the corridor, directly in front of the wardrobe, and is entirely open.
While the bath area isn’t the most comfortable, the rest of the room is large and airy, and more than makes up for that minor bit of awkwardness.
The windows are perhaps the best feature in the room. It’s a full height and full width window, and even comes with a super comfy bay window seat. This means that you’ll be getting a generous amount of natural sunlight, and a spectacular view. For light sleepers, don’t fret, because the curtains are superb with the light cancellation. There’s also a sliding door with cozy wooden panels that doubles up as a divider for the sink area.
I later found that the room comes with its other little luxuries and comforts upon further inspection. To quote the hotel’s website, the room comes with:
- Tea and coffee station
- 24 hour in-room Order-In
- 40-inch Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) system
- Fast, free WiFi to keep you connected
- International direct dialling service for when you just need to talk to someone
- PressReader access to over 2,500 newspapers and magazines
- Steam iron, ironing board and hairdryer to keep you looking sharp
- Electronic safe to protect anything precious
Here’s a pack of complimentary biscuits – a very sweet surprise! A little gesture goes a long way, and I felt instantly warmed by the simple generosity of Hotel Jen.
This being a staycation, I was determined to make the most out of my stay. And Hotel Jen (or just Jen for short) makes it so easy for you to want to just lounge around. In the evening, we wandered (with some reluctance) out of the comfort of our room for some dinner.
Here we are at [email protected], the hotel’s signature restaurant. It was a Saturday night, which meant that it was Seafood Buffet day! On Friday and Saturday nights, Hotel Jen whips up a wide selection of seafood for $60++ per pax. The rest of the nights, it’s the international buffet which, unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to savour.
Delightful, cheeky green place mats that compliment Hotel Jen’s multiple coloured theme.
The seafood buffet is contained in this area, lining the entire row while chefs busy themselves behind the seafood counters. If you don’t fancy yourself much of a buffet eater, you can also order from an a la cart menu.
Exceedingly fresh oysters, and “Asian Lobster Thermidor”.
An alaskan crab station.
These two laksa dishes are highly recommended by the hotel staff, and taste really good indeed.
There are numerous stations at the seafood buffet. It’s a local themed buffet, which means that you’ll get to savor lots of local flavours, such as the laksa fried rice that I posted about above, chana masala, fish curry, braised vegetables, black peper crab, and a DIY rojak station. These local delights are cooked with a gourmet flair. On the flip side, if you’re a local yourself, you might find it a little redundant to be paying a premium price for food that can be found at most places around the island.
After your main course, kick back, relax, and enjoy a round of dessert. There’s a wide selection of desserts to choose from, but I could only manage to get yam ice cream (too full). Which is coincidentally a hot favourite amongst the guests.
If you’re not up for swimming at night, grab a drink at the poolside bar and relax on these comfy deck chairs (or sofas). It’s a beautiful place to just chill with friends, and I spent an absolutely romantic evening lounging by the pool, soaking in the sights and the cool night air.
The next day, just before check out, I went out for a stroll around the compound and found other ammenities that I was really keen on exploring, but didn’t have the time for.
The club lounge is where our complimentary American breakfast buffet is held. I got there late, and there weren’t many people left. I’m guessing everyone is at the star attraction – the infinity pool, and I’ll get to that in just a bit.
The club lounge is lovely, airy and spacious, in a cafe-like setting with the most comfy armchairs and cheery oranges and greens. As with the hotel rooms and other parts of the hotel, the club lounge has got large windows that let in all that glorious sunshine and natural light, something that I absolutely adore.
A really cute couple enjoying their morning breakfast and the marvellous city skyline. If you look closely, you’ll see Marina Bay sands and the seaport just ahead. I got really excited about the view, but boyf had to be a wet blanket and say – very pragmatically – that “it’s just a port, it’s not even the sea”. Well without a sea, how can there be a port? I retorted, rolling my eyes at him.
Here’s the rest of the club lounge. I didn’t manage to get a shot of it, but further left is a Mac station, and next to it, is a charging station for your mobile devices. I should also add that apart from being a spot for holidays and vacations, Hotel Jen also caters to business people with its complimentary function / meeting rooms. The Mac station will be a nifty bonus for all you workaholics out there. Fancy catching up on some work whilst having a magnificent view of the entire city right before your eyes? Now you can 🙂
I had a lovely time at breakfast. It’s food, glorious food with all that bacon and eggs, an assortment of sausages, hashbrown (the hashbrown was awful though. Please avoid that one), plenty of pastries, all sorts of cereal, milk, juice, coffee, tea and other beverages. There’s even a section dedicated to our local home cooked morning delight – porridge with pickled lettuce, preserved olives (I’m not sure what it’s called) and preserved peanuts. I’ve missed these so much!
After breakfast, I made my way to the star of the show – the infinity pool, otherwise known as [email protected]
Furnished in the same lively orange and greens, the pool side is a brilliant splash of colours and patterns. It screams out HELLO SUMMER here at the pool, as the water sparkles brilliantly in the sun, and the trees wave gently in the breeze.
It’s the perfect place to laze around in the ice cold water whilst being surrounded by the open city view, chatting with friends as they perch on emerald, batik patterend rattan seats. Or just sprawl out in the sun and get a lovely tan on the deck chairs. The Singapore sun is merciless, so remember to slather on the sunblock!
These cheeky, gorgeous loveseats are innovatively designed, a blend of modern architecture with a traditional balinese spa touch. The perfect way to idle the afternoon away with your honey bun 🙂
It’s also a nice place to
scope out a couple of chicks catch up on some reading 🙂
There are several massages availble for you to enjoy, such as the Reviving Leg Massage, Scalp, Neck & Shoulder massage, Aromatherapy Massage and even a Singapore Massage (wha..huh?). Be sure to check these out too. THey are rather pricey though,
starting at $50++ for 30 minutes all the way to $190++ for 90 minutes.
And finally, what’s a pool without a poolside bar 🙂 Treat yourself to a lovely glass of wine or a can of beer under the hot afternoon sun. With yet another mobile charging station, you can be assured that you’ll still be contactable by the outside world.
For the health buffs or the bored (or if you’re a ‘dry duck’), hitting the gym might be the way to go. It’s a 24 hour gym so you won’t be missing out on any part of the action even after a long day of shopping and activities.
Here’s the Bamboo Sky Terrace, and…
A gorgeous Zen garden for an indoor nature reserve experience.
Finally, I returned to the hotel room. I had a couple of hours to go, so I whipped out my laptop, boiled some water and made myself a hot cup of tea.
A final glimpse at the bay window sofa area and the view outside.
In spite of its state of the art equipment and amenities, the hotel doesn’t attempt to dazzle you with fancy interior furnishings, overtly lavish decor, or pompous hotel staff (not exactly impressive, but mostly inevitable). At Hotel Jen it’s the painstaking attention to the thoughtful little details that will capture your heart. Somewhere between finding that little bag of sweets tucked away in my hotel room cabinet drawer, and realising that there are charging stations at every amenity area, I quickly started to get a sense that that their number one priority is not to impress you, but to ensure that you’re comfortably settled, and very well taken care of.
I was so totally reluctant to leave at the end of it all! A staycation for me is nothing more than a short rejuvenation retreat to pamper myself, and Hotel Jen has certainly met my expections and beyond. It’s well worth the price for 4 star price with 5 star quality ammenities and services. I’ll definitely be back for more 🙂