A lot has changed over the pandemic. Mask-wearing is almost ubiquitous; we discovered the wonders of not having to transmute and pantless Zoom meetings (nothing weird, mind). Then, there are those who chose to use this time as a metamorphosis of sorts (not to turn into a cockroach, you fans of Kafka). Like the new hotel Hilton Singapore Orchard that is built over the bones of the previous hospitality resident, Mandarin Oriental.
From the outside, the silhouette looks the same—the building's roof still retains its exaggerated xieshan-inspired canopy—saved for the brand's name—"Hilton"—emblazoned to the side. Inside, however, the hotel pays homage to Orchard Road's colonial history and agricultural heritage, botanical references are strewn throughout.
Reflected in the hotel’s artwork and design motifs, there's that warmth of the past, where the abundance of fruit orchards, nutmeg plantations, and pepper farms used to populate Orchard Road. These are shown through a contemporary lens where the Hilton Singapore Orchard embraced an eco-friendly experience—in-room motion, air-condition and light sensors are a staple in every room and suite. Keycards are so yesterday; now access to your rooms can be done through your smartphone.
Energy consumption at the Hilton Singapore Orchard is reduced through the through new tech and intelligent design: single-use plastics are diminished thanks to an on-site custom-built filtration plant that purifies and bottles drinking water.
We saw these bottled waters in the King Executive Suite. Even the bathroom utilised shampoo and liquid soap to be dispensed from a family-sized containers. Gone are the days of tiny toiletries that one would squirrel away with, now it is replaced with pragmatism.
The Hilton Singapore Orchard features a sprawling area for conferences and meetings. In the anticipation for tourism to explode, there are 16 "highly-versatile spaces bathed in natural light". If you're hoping for a grand wedding, try the Grand Ballroom that accommodates up to 900 guests. It's set in a multi-tiered amphitheatre-style Imperial Ballroom where you have a panoramic view of the city.
A proper hotel isn't complete until we talked about the restaurants Hilton Singapore Orchard always wanted to bring in. There's Osteria Mozza (which was still under construction when we were there); all-day dining restaurant Estate; Ginger.Lily that serves up cocktails and pastries. If you're looking for nostalgia, Chatterbox is still in the building's ambit.
When Singapore lifted the travel restrictions, tourism started to balloon. At the reception, we had to wait in line for 20 minutes before checking in. Seeing the influx of Indonesian tourists (it looked like they were on a tour) chased the pessimism that these past two years have fomented, we didn't mind the wait as the world slowly regains some sense of normalcy.
Hilton Singapore Orchard is located at 333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238867. For more info, or to make a reservation, guests may visit Hilton Singapore Orchard or call +65 6737 4411.