The Singapore story is cleverly woven into this new luxury hotel’s software, granting guests a chance to appreciate how the city-state has progressed on the back of hardworking early migrants, and to bring home a memorable destination experience.
The Clan Hotel Singapore sits in Singapore’s central business district and within the Telok Ayer heritage zone where some of Singapore’s oldest architecture remain in glorious, conserved forms. There are storied temples and museums to be discovered alongside both new-age and established F&B venues. To encourage hotel guests to appreciate the surroundings, the hotel conducts precinct tours that not only highlight interesting landmarks but also tell the fascinating tale of how Singapore went from small trading port to global city.
For travellers who enjoy exploring their vicinity on foot, this district will not disappoint. Spanning out from here are many key tourist landmarks, such as Chinatown, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Gallery Singapore, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, and Gardens by the Bay.
There are 324 rooms across three categories – Grand Premier, Premier and Deluxe. All are handsomely furnished in earthy tones and dark wood, with Singapore’s blend of modern skyscrapers and conserved shophouses providing a stunning portrait beyond oversized windows.
The rooms are sized from 24m2 for Deluxe rooms to 36m2 for Grand Premier rooms – and every one makes clever use of space. There is an open wardrobe, a spacious desk against natural light, a wall-mounted flatscreen TV that can be extended out for a comfortable movie night in bed, and a cosy nook where one can enjoy complimentary tea and peppery Bak Kut Teh (pork rib broth) cookies.
Only guests of Grand Premier rooms will get to luxuriate in a bath, but bath tub envy is unlikely elsewhere since a generous space is allotted for the shower area.
Now, this is where it gets exciting for guests.
The property has built a beautiful backstory, one that transports guests to olden Singapore when new Chinese immigrants sought shelter and the comfort of familiarity with clan houses. The hotel promises the same care and protection to all guests.
The hospitality promise is delivered through the hotel’s Master Series, a signature experience that is built around the promise of customised attention. Eighteen Grand Premier and 60 Premier rooms are offered under the Master Series.
The guest journey begins before the stay, when the traveller is invited to build a complimentary in-room snack hamper from a list of quality treats such as the hotel’s own craft beer, The Orient Brew. It then extends to an airport meet-and-greet, luggage forwarding, luxury transfer with check-in completed en route, a heart-warming tea ceremony at the hotel by the resident tea master, the allocation of a personal Clan Keeper to take care of every need, a room and hotel orientation, and a curated experience of the exciting vicinity.
Of course, with arrivals into Singapore still heavily restricted, the attentive airport meet-and-greet and transfer service has translated into a convenient pick-up service between staycationers’ home and the hotel.
Should isolation and minimal contact be preferred, the hotel has self-check-in kiosks in the lobby.
In my case, I wanted to experience every touchpoint the Master Series has to offer. I made friends with my Clan Keeper Sam Gil, who invited me to pick out a craft soap for use during my stay, piqued my interest in the mysterious Inner Circle Guide, and helped with private in-room dining arrangements and bookings for gym and pool access.
I soon discovered that The Inner Circle Guide is a collection of lifestyle and entertainment recommendations, handpicked by hotel associates who combed the vicinity. Hotel guests can identify themselves at participating Inner Circle Guide merchants and earn surprise perks and attention.
Clan Keeper Sam led me on a precinct walking tour on the second day of my stay, and provided narratives on the role Telok Ayer played in Singapore’s founding days. Despite being born and raised in Singapore, the tour impressed me with sights and places I have never noticed. We spent some time at the Singapore City Gallery, where I acquired newfound respect for our urban planners. An icy sugar cane juice stop at the iconic Maxwell Food Centre (established in 1928 as Maxwell Market) towards the end of the walking tour was very much welcomed.
The Singapore story continues throughout the hotel through The Clan Collective, a programme where the hotel collaborates with select local craftsmen, artists and influential figures to bring about unique guest touchpoints that link the destination’s past with the present as well as highlight the local community and culture.
The lobby’s stunning art installation, which comprises 150 painted aluminium panels folded using the Chinese golden venture paper folding technique and suspended from the ceiling, is the work of local artist Grace Tan. Named The Pact, the artwork symbolises the close bonds between early Chinese immigrants.
The Clan Daily Special in-room dining menu, which features some of Singapore’s favourite hawker dishes, is curated by local hawker cuisine expert and author, Leslie Tay. Even The Orient Brew is a result of The Clan Collective – the white chrysanthemum lager was created by the family-run The 1925 Brewing Co. just for the hotel.
Just as how the hotel fuses Singapore’s storied past with luxury expectations of today, Qin, the hotel’s sole restaurant, does the same with its modern interpretation of classic Chinese dishes.
Qin, which means kinship in the Chinese language, presents home-cooked favourites such as steamed egg custard, chicken rice, braised beef brisket and prawn noodles in creative ways. Take the steamed egg custard for instance – a clear mushroom broth is prepared by the table using a coffee siphon; while simple in taste, the fragrant broth accentuates the savoury egg custard and made this humble dish an outstanding one.
Bearing Singapore’s multicultural background in mind, some dishes also reflect South-east Asian influence. I enjoyed the Margaret River Angus short ribs, charcoal-grilled to juicy perfection and dressed in a spicy peanut foam and refreshing Balinese sambal matah.
Qin’s fusion thread continues through the restaurant’s interior. The dining hall on the fourth floor is an elegant space with an Art Deco hint, featuring dramatic floor to ceiling windows, gleaming granite and brass furnishing. The space flows one level up, to the bar above, with an impressive wall and ceiling made of traditional Chinese medicinal drawers.
Over at Qin Bar, an extensive wine and liquor list is complemented by Qin Tales, a series of signature cocktails inspired by the Singapore story. These cocktails bear curious names, like The Roar, 43 and Pu Luo Chung, which open doors to even more fun facts about the city-state.
Managed by Tung Lok, one of Singapore’s leading restaurant chains, Qin also conducts the hotel’s breakfast service, offering an a la carte menu with a daily chef’s special.
Sky Gym and Sky Pool with a heated Jacuzzi on level 30, the top-most floor of the hotel, grant guests more of that splendid, unblocked city views the hotel affords. Besides the usual modern fitness equipment, the Sky Gym also has a space where guests can work out to on-demand personal training videos.
For business guests, the hotel offers two event venues – The Den and the Mahjong Room are perfect for small-sized meetings. Power breakfasts and business lunches can also be hosted at Qin.
I love a great story, and The Clan Hotel Singapore has a wonderful one to tell. The Singapore coming-of-age story is woven coherently throughout the hotel’s software, and conveyed brilliantly through hotel associates who are genuinely proud of the hotel product and the surrounding heritage area. Two nights at the hotel feels like more than just a stay away from home; it was also an impressive way to appreciate the destination.