11 APRIL 2016

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Article from BTNews 11 APRIL 2016

ON TOUR: A different Singapore hotel

In bustling Singapore, a business city full of classy hotels, BTN’s Richard Cawthorne discovers a property with a difference.

The Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore has a flavour all its own. If you want an idea of what’s in store, go to social media and you will find one of its hashtags is #ThatJenFeeling. Business-orientated it may be, formal it is not. 

The 565-room property, formerly the Traders, opened in January after a S$45m (£22.5m) refurbishment to give it its new identity. It is one of 10 Hotel Jens under the management of the Shangri-La group across the Asia-Pacific region and as the newest incorporates the latest ideas in design and presentation.

As general manager Clifford Weiner, a one-time member of the food and beverage team at the London InterContinental on Hyde Park Corner, puts it: “Hotel Jen has been designed to meet the priorities of a new ‘Jen-eration’ of travellers on business or leisure. That ranges from constant free connectivity to local knowledge, from 24hr fitness facilities and room service to authentic regional dishes.”

Weiner added: “I love the energy at the new hotel. It offers a lot of value for travellers who appreciate the ingenious details done well – stylish and comfy rooms, enthusiastic and upbeat staff, convenience and accessibility. 

“As well as offering travellers greater flexibility to blend the boundaries between business and leisure, we are pioneering support of small and local businesses as well as showcasing upcoming brands from the local food and beverage scene.”

For our visit, BTN was allocated an Executive Room on the 17th floor, No 1715, overlooking the pool, which is on the roof of the Tanglin Mall. The room came with Club benefits, including access to the Club Lounge presided over by guest service leader Merajoy Amoncio and featuring a daily happy hour from 17:00-19:30. This became a highlight of my stay and that of a fair number of other guests too judging by the regulars who made themselves at home there. 

The lounge is staffed from 06:30-22:00 and accessible at other times with a room key. It features an extended weekday buffet breakfast from 06.30-11:00 and what is described as a ‘Jen’erous’ weekend brunch from 06.30am-noon. There are mid-afternoon nibbles from 14:00-16:00 and coffee, tea and soft drinks all day, 24/7. 

The contemporary guestrooms boast wallpaper designs highlighting different Singaporean themes, including orchids and goldfish, plus free wi-fi and USB charging outlets.

The Shangri-La influence is apparent in high-pressure walk-in showers and king-sized beds with lighting that makes them seem to float and 300-thread-count linens. Executive suites also include a pull-out sofa bed, a small pantry, a microwave and an SMEG fridge. 

Another feature is a range of versatile meeting rooms that can accommodate 10 to 300 people and include professional event-planning support, optional LCD projector, business and secretarial services and electronically-controlled ambient lighting.

All-day dining is taken care of with authentic South-East Asian cuisine at J65, a new restaurant with the look and feel of a local farmer’s market. It is also the setting for a lavish Saturday-evening seafood buffet which appears to attract most of the local population as well as hotel guests, and all the more fun for that. The large and modern lobby, with its open lounging areas, also houses Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go, a café and snack bar offering artisan products including locally-roasted coffee.

Local dining, culture and shopping – with Orchard Road only a 10min walk away and Singapore's noted Botanical Gardens just round the corner  are also highlighted in another Hotel Jen innovation, the Heart Map, where staff and guests can contribute personal tips about what to see and do while in the city, still one of the most rewarding for a visit – business or pleasure.

For a last word, here is Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts president and CEO Greg Dogan: “The Hotel Jen experience delivers what matters most to guests today. They appreciate important things done well; demand quality, comfort and value, together with honest, authentic service; and want privacy and efficiency without unnecessary fuss or intrusion.”  www.hoteljen.com/singapore

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