The Robertson House by The Crest Collection transforms what was a very dated property into an impressive icon that pays tribute to the history of its surroundings.
Riverside Hotel Robertson Quay – previously Park Hotel Robertson Quay – is now The Robertson House by The Crest Collection.
The Ascott Limited’s newest hotel threw its doors open officially last month after extensive refurbishment and rebranding, and now brings on an old world colonial charm that offers a glimpse into the history of its surroundings, particularly the Singapore River’s importance to the Lion City in its role as a bustling centre for entrepôt trade in the region.
Named after Dr J Murray Robertson – the prominent municipal counsellor who helped transform the area’s swampy tidal land into a busy commercial hub during colonial Singapore, and for whom Robertson Quay is named after – The Robertson House is a breath of fresh air.
And it’s pretty impressive.
Particularly when compared to what it was before. Where Park Hotel Robertson Quay was staid and looked stuck in the ’80s, The Robertson House is a classy and contemporary blend of British colonial sensibility with a touch of the tropics. While not immediately evident from the unremarkable exterior, you’ll definitely feel the difference the moment you enter. Dark green hues and warm cream tones flourish the cosy lobby, while rattan furniture and plants dot the space. A large painting depicting a tranquil palm tree-lined landscape – perhaps what used to be this part of Singapore – adorn the back of the reception area.
You’ll instantly feel at ease.
The Robertson House offers 336 rooms and suites in seven different configurations. Most of the rooms are on the smaller side at 24sqm, ranging from the entry-level Superior Twin Room or Premier Room all the way to the Club Room with just minor features – bed sizes, view aspect, fixture placements, for example – differentiating them.
The Panoramic Riverview Room provides just a smidgeon more space at 26sqm, but offers a stunning view of the surrounding riverside landscape. Then there’s one Suite type, which gives a lot more room at 48sqm between its adjacent bedroom and living room spaces.
We had the opportunity to stay in the Deluxe Room.
We like that the theme you find in the lobby is carried over into the room. A beautiful black and white painting of Robertson Quay, probably from the late 1800s, is emblazoned on one wall. On another are pictures of indigenous plants, looking wholly like they were sourced from or inspired by the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings.
You’ll feel the same serenity from the lobby as well.
The room itself fits two people snugly. A fabulously comfortable queen bed takes up most of the floor space, leaving just enough room around to traverse without knocking one’s shins into furniture. It is flanked on one side by a small study desk, which comes in useful if you need to get some work done.
On the other hand, the bathroom is surprisingly spacious. There’s no room for a bathtub – sob! – but there’s plenty of space for manoeuvring even for those with larger body types. And for those whom such things are important, there’s Atkinsons as amenities for your bathroom pampering.
Speaking of in-room amenities, there’s a complimentary mini-bar programme here too. Aside from lovely little snacks, you even get a mini bottle of gin – exclusively made for The Robertson House by Tanglin Gin – and East Imperial tonic to make your own cocktail in the comforts of your own room. For those who don’t imbibe, there’s Dr Robertson’s Chai, a signature spiced Earl Grey tea blend specially concocted for them that you must try.
On the downside? While it’s great the hotel provides a water filtering machine for every room for your drinking needs, together with the coffee machine they take up precious real estate on your study desk. But who’s doing work anyway?
As for hotel facilities, the swimming pool, while not Olympic-sized, is big enough to do decent laps. The indoor gym is small and sparsely equipped, but that’s only because there are also outdoor exercise stations, offering a plethora of equipment for workout freaks ranging from weights and resistance bands to even a punching bag.
For dining, there’s Entrepôt. There’s a rather clever fusion Asian menu here that pay tribute to the myriad of cuisines that have influenced Singapore. And if you’re looking for a tipple, try finding Chandu, a hidden speakeasy bar. (We’ll be sending our editor there to check its cocktail programme out.)
Otherwise, you’re located right next to Robertson Walk, a bustling nightlife enclave with plenty of dining options frequented by locals and tourists alike (and also a haunt for the many expatriates who live around the area). Choices run from the casual such as Tapas;24 for some Spanish to Michelin-starred fine dining with Restaurant JAG, and everything in between.
The Robertson House may not look like much from the outside, but its refurbishment has transformed its interior from a dated concept to an enchanting storied property that is more than mere accommodations. Rooms are small but modern and comfortable, while Entrepôt and Chandu are excellent additions to Singapore’s dining and drinking scene. The hotel may be slightly out of the way in the quieter end of Robertson Quay, but is still an excellent base from where to explore Singapore’s historically important riverfront as well as the rest of the civil district.
The Robertson House
Address 1 Unity St, Singapore 237983 (Google Maps link)
Tel (65) 6593 8888
Rates check here
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