Jul 30, 2023
Staying at The Clan, Singapore’s five
Share this article The Clan in Singapore is a luxury hotel in the CBD and in the
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The Clan in Singapore is a luxury hotel in the CBD and in the middle of Chinatown. Photo / Supplied
Getting there: It's about a 20-minute, largely straight-through drive from Changi Airport, where exit through Customs is so fast you have to check that it has happened. Should you wish, the hotel - full name The Clan Hotel Singapore by Far East Hospitality - will arrange to have you picked up by limousine, even from a range of Rolls-Royces but it comes at a cost. We were happy to swap for a taxi.
Location: In the CBD and in the middle of Chinatown on Cross St, one of the oldest thoroughfares in the city. It was a meeting place for Chinese immigrants and clan (think iwi, think hapū), and associations were formed for kinship and comfort. The ethos of the hotel, launched in 2021, is that its modern hospitality is inspired by the early associations, with curated experiences and personalised services.
Style: The Clan's marketing describes it as targeting "experience-driven travellers" and that it is a "contemporary, boutique-style" hotel, if a boutique can be more than 30 floors.
First impression: No flashy gold and glass entry this, more like a freight elevator with a concierge station to the side. We are greeted and our bags are disappeared. The "lift" doors slide open to a dimly lit small lobby with actual lift doors.
Check-in experience: Our black and brown lift opens to double-height reception with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows where dietary preferences are confirmed and check-in is smooth. We are then invited beyond a soaring screen to a welcoming tea ceremony. We are also assigned a personal Clan Keeper who will answer all queries, organise a guided walking tour of the neighbourhood if we want, have clothes pressed, shoes shined, anything we desire.
The room: We are in a Grand Premier Room on the 27th floor. There are 324 rooms: Deluxe, Premier and Grand Premier. The room is possibly more compact than standards in many countries but everything we need is there. This hotel largely aims at the business traveller and there is not a lot of storage space. There is a huge bed, large bedside tables and a fully-equipped desk. A sofa on the other side is quite narrow and instead of being for lounging, it is an excellent vertiginous perch. Grand Premier rooms are all on corners with windows to knee-height and Chinatown is right below, with the rows of shophouses that were first built in 1840. The 55-inch, wall-mounted smart TV is manoeuvrable, and sheers and blackout curtains operate at the touch of a button. There is a variety of pillows, including my first experience of a body pillow, which doesn't turn over and elbow you in the ribs but does fall out of bed. There is a Nespresso machine and regular teabags but also cloth-wrapped packages of oolong tea, cups and a heavy teapot so guests can have a DIY tea ceremony. We had been able to pre-select five types of soft drinks or snacks, which are in a basket waiting for us.
Bathroom: With stone walls and floors, ours had a bath, a wooden tray across which held a book tray, a cup holder and large block of delicious-smelling handmade soap and the fixings for a milk and oil bath or a bubble one. There's also a phone protector, really just an extra-strength ziplock bag you would never know you needed until your phone slipped beneath the foam. The skyscape view from the bath can be curtained. The large shower, with Vuudh toiletries, has a deep bench should you want to recline and regular and monsoon shower heads. The star, however, is The Waterlet, a combined toilet and bidet with individual controls and, how glorious, a heated seat, warmed not recently by another's nethers, but made permanently toasty by the power of The Waterlet.
Facilities: The Sky Gym on level 30 has modern equipment, fitness-on-demand personal training and Wing Chun dummies for kung fu practice. Also on 30 is the infinity pool, which is a great early morning wake-up as it is naturally heated. It has semi-submerged lounge chairs and an adjacent spa pool. There are shower suites and changing rooms up here for those with early or late check-ins. The Mahjong Room Is a business meeting space for seminars or conferences. Wi-Fi is free.
Food and drink: Lots of tea. The bar is on a mezzanine of the Qin restaurant and from early morning has all-day dining. There are no hard-copy menus. You can scan a QR code on your own device or look at a server's tablet. Breakfast is a buffet and necessarily caters for many ethnicities. Seeing a big pot of blue coconut rice was a first for me. The lovely colour comes from dried butterfly pea flowers.
In the neighbourhood: Just across the road is hip Amoy St, packed with narrow shophouse restaurants and bars. Down the road is Lau Pa Sat, a rebuilt Victorian hawker centre overflowing with food stalls. Also near is Ann Siang Hill, a beautiful green enclave of gardens and restored shophouses. Within five minutes walk are two Metro stations. It's Singapore — everything is on the doorstep.
Perfect for: Business travellers, couples or solo travellers.
Sustainability: A filtered water tap in the bathroom does away with the need to provide plastic or glass drinking bottles. The hotel has the SG Clean quality mark, a national assurance of the commitment and measures taken to uphold good hygiene practices.
Accessibility: Wheelchair access to the entrance, lifts, reception and car park. Accessible rooms are available.
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