I am sitting in the hotel, where Somerset Maugham stayed and allegedly wrote, as did Rudyard Kipling. I have been to Singapore many times, but never stayed here. It is something I have wanted to do for some time. I am not disappointed, which can happen when one has an image in one’s mind of a place and harbors expectations. I have stayed at the Oriental in Bangkok, where Maugham also stayed, so wanted to try this one. I enjoy his short stories from the region.
I have stayed at luxury hotels around the world, so I know how to judge quality and what to compare. Each is good in its own way. This one has a distinct character, because of its history. That cannot be produced, no matter how much one pays. This one is special. The hotel, which was built over one hundred years ago, maintains the feeling of colonial times...but with air-conditioning and modern conveniences. I read some negative reviews on Tripadvisor, but cannot relate to anyone of those experiences. Until now, everything has been flawless.
The reception could not have been friendlier or easier. Our welcome drink was the best Singapore Sling I have ever tasted. I almost turned it down, because of previous bad experience and because of jet lag. Fortunately, my wife convinced me to have one. I could have had another...
The room is larger than I had expected and certainly much larger than the average hotel room (often called a “suite” but usually is just a room). This is a suite. One enters through a sitting room, proceeds to a large bedroom, and then finds a two-room bath at the rear. The ceiling is about three meters high with ventilators. Of course, there is air conditioning. There are two rattan arm chairs on the veranda, if one wants to sit in the garden. One has the feeling of being in a colonial mansion of the 19th century.
The pool is big enough (after all, we are in the middle of a city) and rather pleasant, if one disregards families with children. It is a matter of picking the right time. We had a gin and tonic, which one does in Asia in the afternoon.
We ate in the Asia restaurant, and I had excellent Singapore noodles. Service was just as one expects in Asia: friendly and efficient. Breakfast could not have been better. The dining room was opulent, the offer extensive, the quality excellent, and the service flawless.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.