Before I start getting into some of the things we’ve been doing in Singapore since arriving here last July, I want to share about our stay at Orchard Parksuites, the serviced apartments that served as our temporary home for our first five weeks in the city.
When we moved to London, our temporary place was chosen for us, but when we moved here, we were given a choice. This presented us with a unique opportunity – did we want to stay in the exact same apartments I lived in the first time I moved here in the late 90’s, or did we want to choose somewhere new? I was obviously leaning towards staying in the same place we lived in before because having life come full circle like that is just cool. Plus, back then the apartments were brand new and all I could remember about them was how incredible they were, but I was wary, too – a lot can change in 20 years!
I did a little online research, but couldn’t find anything more comprehensive on Orchard Parksuites than short booking site reviews, so this post is here to, hopefully, help anyone in the same position I was a year ago understand the pros and cons of staying at Orchard Parksuites.
ORCHARD PARKSUITES HOTEL & LOCATION
Orchard Parksuites is 22 years old this year, but you would never know it from the outside or the hotel’s indoor common areas. These areas are just as beautiful and majestic-looking to me now as they were in the 90’s. The entrance to the hotel with its marble floors and high ceilings feels very grand and luxurious. The sitting areas off to the side are comfortable and always impeccably clean. The pool is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (more on that down in the amenities section), but my favorite place in the hotel is the outdoor area leading from the hotel to the pool and tennis courts. I always felt like a princess wandering through my castle when I walked by the grand columns and beneath the skylights as I made my way up the stairs as a kid. (And still do now!) Twenty years has not worn down the beauty of these areas of the apartments one bit.
The other thing that deserves mentioning here before I get to the sole biggest selling point of this hotel is the kindness and attentiveness of the staff. Everyone was always smiling, always willing to help, and I’m pretty sure I never opened a door for myself in the entire five weeks I stayed there. Absolutely no disappointment in this department from the cleaning staff to the people at the front desk – they’re all truly outstanding.
But the thing that sells Orchard Parksuites more than any other is its location. When it comes to convenience, you can’t beat it. The MRT is steps away, as are about 20 shopping malls, multiple theaters, various markets, and hundreds (maybe thousands) of eating places from hawker stalls to fine dining. This is the heart of Singapore right here, and if you’re new to the city, this is a great place to be as you adjust to the Singapore way of life. I feel like the location alone more than makes up for the few cons we discovered while staying at Orchard Parksuites.
ORCHARD PARKSUITES APARTMENTS
While the common areas of the hotel still look as new as they did back in 1997, the individual apartments are definitely showing their age. We stayed in a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment on the 11th floor that was supposedly one of their updated units, but our apartment still looked pretty dated, particularly in the kitchen and second bathroom.
We have since discovered that kitchens with no windows and separated from the rest of the home are par for the course in Singapore, but at the time we thought it was just our place at Orchard Parksuites. I felt like I was cooking in a small, dark, slightly moldy-smelling closet, and I was not a fan. However, as far as the necessities being provided – cookware, dishes, appliances – we had it all here except a dishwasher. Our particular unit came with a washing machine, but not all of them do, in which case using the on-site laundry is your only option.
I have no complaints about our living room, dining room, or bedrooms other than to say a little art on the walls wouldn’t hurt, but otherwise they were perfectly fine. Not luxurious, but comfortable. The bathrooms could use a major overhaul, though. Our master bathroom shower was constantly malfunctioning, and the second bathroom just might have the same tile in it that was there in 1997. The cabinetry in both bathrooms, like that in the kitchen, also had that funky we’re-not-exactly-sure-what-this-scent-is-but-it’s-not-pleasant smell about them. It was totally livable, but not what you’d expect to find in an apartment at this price point.
As far as in-unit amenities, our apartment had two nice TV’s, both with loads of English-speaking channels (I watched a LOT of TV in those early jet-lag days!), a safe, free WiFi, in-room phones, and my favorite – a “Handyphone” – and man, did it come in handy. Our Handyphone was a mobile phone with data that we were free to use during our stay at Orchard Parksuites. Given the trouble we had setting up a bank account, and the fact that you have to have a bank account before you can get a mobile phone plan in Singapore, the Handyphone was my best friend during those first few weeks of trying to find my way from place to place! Definite perk there, but that certainly wasn’t the only one we discovered while we stayed here.
ORCHARD PARKSUITES AMENITIES & PERKS
In addition to the prime location in Singapore, I feel like Orchard Parksuites has quite a few other things going for it, too.
Pool & Tennis Courts
The pool, my goodness, it’s like an oasis. Just gorgeous. And the whole time we were there it was never very busy. We loved it out here so much that we ate our breakfast at one of the tables beside the pool every morning. It was a great way to start the day.
In addition to the pool, Orchard Parksuites also has tennis courts (and equipment) and an outdoor grill area available for use. We never used either, so I don’t really have an opinion on them, but they did look nice!
Gym & Sauna
I used the gym nearly every day that we stayed here and loved it. Lots of different equipment and machines available. The only issue I came across was a lack of gym etiquette on behalf of some of the other guests. Not really the hotel’s fault, but putting a couple of signs up with gym rules might help solve the problem.
I didn’t use the sauna/steam room that was available. I mean, this is Singapore, everyday life feels like walking through a perpetual steam room, so I think I’m sweating out enough impurities as it is. :)
Free Weekday Breakfast
Probably my favorite perk after the pool was the free buffet breakfast provided on weekdays. I am a huge fan of buffets and this one didn’t disappoint. A wide variety of foods were served every morning, and while the choices didn’t vary a lot from day to day, I never got bored of what we were offered in our five weeks there. I completely blame my initial Singapore weight gain on this breakfast!
Not having to clean my house for five weeks was a super nice perk, too. We were so busy in those first few weeks that even having something as little as having our trash taken out for us every day was a huge help. Our cleaning ladies were always so nice and pleasant to be around, too. They very quickly learned our preferences and accommodated them without having to be asked. Big tick in the pros box on this one!
While we were staying at Orchard Parksuites, they were running a promotion that provided a choice of grocery, taxi, or shopping vouchers in amounts determined by the length of our stay. Given our issues with setting up a bank account, we chose to receive all of our vouchers as grocery vouchers and ended up hardly needing to buy any groceries out of our own pocket while we were staying there. As far as I’m aware, the promotions the hotel offers change from time to time, but they almost always have some sort of deal going on, so something to check into or ask about while you’re staying there.
Personally, I was very pleased with our choice to stay at Orchard Parksuites. The complaints I had about our individual apartment were not a big enough deal to me to recommend someone look elsewhere for a temporary apartment in Singapore. I feel like the pros of staying here far outweighed any negatives. Were Orchard Parksuites to redo the interiors of their apartments, I don’t think it would even be a question as to where to stay, but as it is, I think the choice boils down to what’s more important in your situation – location and convenience or a swanky, modern apartment. Simple as that. For me, location wins every time!