Marriott South Beach: Luxe Hip With Heritage Flair

My experiences with any 5 stars hotel chain stay are dependent upon the type/size of the room, service received across the board, quality of facilities, the exterior, interior, and location.

But beyond these factors, other elements can make any stay special. In the case of JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, I inclined towards the well-conserved NCO Club building with stylish entertainment concept, the sleek South Beach Tower building it occupies, fabulous view from the infinity pool, and the spa facility.

Aircraft-metal-designer-chairs: Marriot South Beach
Aircraft metal designer chairs

Immensely impressed by the collection of arts hanging around the hotel, I didn’t miss the large contemporary art wall at the main hotel entrance. Even the art wall in the elevators keep rotating its seawater creatures with different lighting to match it. Opened in late 2016, the original South Beach Hotel been rebranded and managed under the Marriott International group. The designer is well known French, Phillipe Starke giving a distinct point of view.

 

South Beach – Environmentally Friendly with Green Technology 

The canopy South Beach
The canopy South Beach

The hotel occupies part of South Beach complex, situated at the edge of Downtown Core near the historical War Memorial Park and Padang. The glass-encased complex features two towers of 45 storeys, designed by  Foster + Partners – a British company famous for other international landmarks such as London’s ‘the gherkin’, the futuristic interior roof of Hong Kong International Airport, Apple’s headquarters and it’s international retail shops. The wave-shaped canopy is the distinguished feature provides cooling effect drawing air currents to cool the area beneath it and collects rainwater. Aside from the installation of solar cells, the slanting facades functioned to catch winds and direct airflow to the spaces on the ground floor. 

 

NCO Club – History Relived in Taste of Luxury

NCO Club is located on reclaimed land on Beach Road. As the road’s name implies, it was actually the original seafront prior to about 1900 when reclamation work started. 

The hotel occupies three heritage buildings part of the old Beach Road Camp and the legacy of Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC). The most notable one for being low-rise, as I walked pass along the Beach Road is the Non-Commissioned Officers Club (NCO Club). It originally opened in 1952 under name British Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) Britannia Club. Looking at the old and new South Beach towers, I juxtaposed life then and now. 

Our guide mentioned that the building provided not only safe haven to the newly arrived army from the harsh tropical sun, but a place to unwind and enjoy their rest and recreation hours for thousands of British servicemen, and families. It overshadowed from other existing buildings at the time which were used as drill house, home to volunteer corps and to store weapons. Dubbed as “The Far East’s most luxurious club for the British fighting forces of land, sea, and air”, the NCO club has been restored to its glory with trendy entertainment and culinary options:

  • Cool Cats – Our guide mentioned this is the main place to listen to proper jazz, blues and R&B in town. There are 14 signature cocktails, each paired with a moment in time and a distinct flavour profile. Try ‘Lady Ella’, and you will travel to 1935 when Ella Fitzgerald won the crowd at the Harlem Opera House. I don’t drink, but this sounds a cool concept.
  • Fish Pool – While the original Nuffield Swimming Pool that used to be beside NCO Club has been demolished, the diving pool remain inside NCO Club where twice-a-week (Friday and Saturday) mermaid performances are held. Advance booking required at this raw bar as it’s usually full according to our guide. The bar collaborated with the famous Louis Roederer, the independent and family-run champagne producer founded in 1776. Exquisite oyster and caviar from France can be indulged pairing with the premium champagne of the Tsar, Cristal.
No mermaid performance otherwise would’ve been packed – Fish Pool, NOC Club
View of the Raffles Hotel from 1st floor NCO Club
  • Madame Fan – Upper floor housed this modern Chinese restaurant lead by renowned London-based restaurateur, Alan Yau (founder of Wagamama and Michelin star’s Hakkasan). The ambiance is elegance with ‘a progressive, etiquette-free lifestyle dining concept’ – not too uptight. There is plenty of private dining room suitable for big group booking.  Amazing dish creation can be sampled here such as Double Boiled Four Treasure Soup with sea cucumber, fish maw, dried scallop, and crabmeat served in a young coconut.
  • Stag’s Room – The glass-covered private room where wine from private estates can be sampled with pairing as curated by the hotel’s sommelier.

Sky Gardens and Pools

There are 2 sky gardens, and 2 outdoor pools to spoil the guests. The infinity pool on the 18th floor is exclusive to guest only,  showcases 180 degrees panoramic view of Marina Bay and Downtown Core. At Flow18, favourite local cuisine such as wagyu satay can be ordered while relaxing at the sky garden. Our guide said the area could be hired for any event or function. Check the view here as I shared the video on Instagram.

Spa In Style

Not all Marriott chains come with an in-house spa, so this is a treat to indulge in spa, treatment or massage. Some of the facilities offered at Spa by JW are Vitality Pool (Jacuzzi), sauna and steam rooms equipped with Starpool systems that incorporate colour, aroma and music therapy. Our guide showed the ‘zero-gravity’ inversion therapy chair that can be fully reclined to provide a soothing back massage while relieving spinal tension. I was very intrigued to try it!

Room and other facilities

Well, I’ve been toured to a double room with two single beds showing the view of Suntec Convention Centre/Suntec City and Singapore Flyer – small to my liking but the classy interior make up the lack of space. Our guide mentioned how the hotel gives attention to details in the interior such as the chairs around the hotel and in each room are designed using aircraft metal. Another clever concept is a built-in pantry right by the room door for guest to place post-meal tray when ordering room dining, and then butler can collect the tray from outside through a little ‘window’. “No leaving tray on the floor outside the aisle and certainly hygienic – first of its kind in Singapore”, said our guide.

Beach Road Kitchen serves all-day buffet in sort of stylish canteen and open plan concept. Hotel suits both leisure and corporate travellers. 

Beach Road Kitchen - Marriott South Beach
Beach Road Kitchen for all-day buffet

Looking to book a room at JW Marriott South Beach? Standard room rates start at around US$320 (or cheaper with advance booking) for Deluxe Room King or Twin.

Have you stayed in this hotel or been to any of its facilities? Are you a Marriott Bonvoy loyalty member? Which of Marriott chain worldwide is your favourite?

More details on NCO Club here.

Live to thrive.

SOTG.x

P.S. The hotel tour has been organised by Travel Massive Singapore.


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