Singapore is an expensive city to visit. Fortunately, with hotels like the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay, you can stay in the heart of the city in a stylish room at a reasonable price. I’ve stayed there twice, enjoyed it each time and recommend it as a great value option!
Location: The Holiday Inn Express is located a block from Clarke Quay, with lots of restaurants, bars and clubs for evening entertainment. You can also walk to China town and Club Street with many more choices in 15-30 minutes. It’s about 30 minutes by taxi from Changi Airport and a 10 minute walk from the next MRT station. That’s a little long in the heat of Singapore, but still doable. I generally prefer to stay close to dinner and evening entertainment spots over daytime attractions, making this a good choice compared to the many hotels near Orchard Road!
Service: The service was excellent on each occasion. The front desk staff had our reservation ready, acknowledged by Platinum status and had us in our room quickly. Each time, we were assigned a nice room (they are all the same category, but there are some key differences), a welcome gift was offered and the check-out was equally quick and friendly. The staff at the pool and restaurant were equally friendly and did their job well – the buffet was stocked and tables were cleared quickly, despite the restaurant being busy. The housekeeping staff was on top of its game as well, leaving the room in perfect condition each day.
Room: The rooms are small, but functional and very stylish. The most interesting feature are the angled, floor to ceiling windows that give the room a very open feel. The high headboard, dash of color and artwork add a touch of boutique hotel. Another nice feature is the sliding floor-to-ceiling window to the bathroom, which gives you a choice to open up the room or close it for privacy. There is a laptop-size, drawer style safe, coffee/tea facilities and an iron/ironing board provided and enough space for luggage. If you are planning to work, there are a desk, work chair and plenty of power outlets. The bathroom is held in dark stone, which looks a lot more expensive than any other Holiday Inn Express I’ve stayed at (or many more upscale properties). It’s pretty small, so the sliding window is helpful, and functional. The free wifi in the room and around the hotel was fast at an average of 30Mbps and reliable, like in most of Singapore.
Insider Tip: Make sure to request an outside facing room – they cost the same. Some of the rooms have windows to the interior, so people can look in from the hallways – or you have to close the curtains all day!
Restaurants/Amenities: Like all Holiday Inn Express (HIE), the hotel offers a free, hot buffet breakfast for all guests. There is plenty of seating in different indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, some is bar style along a long, communal table, some bistro style with small tables inside and out, and some is lounge style outside. It’s probably the best designed breakfast space I’ve seen at a Holiday Inn Express or any other select-service restaurant in this category! The buffet area is small and can get crowded, especially during weekends. The staff is on top of it though and kept everything stocked and clean. The choices and quality are in line with other HIE hotels, with a selection of fruit, pastries and yogurt, as well as eggs, meats and some hot, Eastern breakfast choices. There is coffee, tea and juice on the main buffet and an espresso machine (hidden) in the bar area that also has to-go cups if you are in a hurry!
If you are looking to relax from a day of sightseeing or shopping, there is a pool and jacuzzi on the rooftop. The pool is long enough to lap swim and the two jacuzzi are cool and refreshing to relax in the Singaporean heat! There are comfortable loungers and umbrellas as well, and all of it has nice city views!
On the same rooftop is a small gym that is well equipped with cardio and weight equipment. Unfortunately, it has the only design flaw I found with this hotel – it’s open to the outside and has no air conditioning. With temperatures around 30 degrees celsius (85 Fahrenheit) and high humidity most of the year, that makes for a tough workout – you’ll be sweating by the time you start your workout!
Conclusion: At around $100/night during our weekend stay, the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay is a bargain for Singapore. You get a new, modern and stylish hotel in the heart of the city with free breakfast, fast wifi and a pool and gym to boot! With prices for full-service chain hotels often above $250, that’s a great deal, I’m willing to accept the long’ish walk to the metro and I’m sure I’ll be back on a future visit.