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Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge and Straits Kitchen Review

Even though my Hyatt Diamond status had lapsed by the time I checked into the Grand Hyatt Singapore, I still received a string of benefits for using a Suite Night Award to upgrade to a Grand Corporate Suite. This included Grand Club Lounge access and breakfast at Straits Kitchen. We received a bill each morning but the charges were eventually removed at check-out.

Grand Club Lounge at the Grand Hyatt Singapore

To reach the Grand Club Lounge, you take the elevator to the 20th floor, then a flight of stairs up to the 21st floor. The reception area is really stunning, though it was largely unattended most of the times I was there. After checking in with the attendant on my second visit, I was subsequently addressed by name. As I explained in my previous post, this hotel had some major service issues, but the club lounge was the exception.

Grand Club Lounge Entrance

Grand Club Lounge Entrance

Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge

Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge

Off to the right of the reception desk is a separate room just for families with kids. Some club lounges have restrictions when it comes to kids (i.e. no kids under age 12 allowed), so I thought it was nice that this one not only allowed kids, but had a separate area where families could hang out so that other guests wouldn’t be disturbed.

Family Room at the Grand Club Lounge

Family Room at the Grand Club Lounge

The rest of the Grand Club Lounge was equally impressive – both aesthetically and in terms of the food that was served. There were lots of seating areas and on the few occasions we were up there, we had no problems being seated right away.

Grand Club Lounge Dining Room

Grand Club Lounge Dining Room

Grand Club Lounge Seating

Grand Club Lounge Seating

This is one of the few club lounges I’ve been to that didn’t offer an impressive view, but that’s to be expected when you’re in the middle of a city. What made up for it was the massive food spread. The club lounge was open for breakfast between 6:30 AM – 10:30 AM (closing at 11:00 AM on weekends), and 6:000 – 8:00 PM for evening canapés. In between those times, you can drop by for complimentary drinks and a limited pre-packaged snack selection.

Grand Club Lounge drink selection

Grand Club Lounge drink selection

I had breakfast at the Grand Club lounge one morning, just to see how it compared to Straits Kitchen. The drink selection consisted of lots of fresh squeezed juices to choose from as well as every type of milk you can think off (whole milk, fat free, 2%, almond, etc.). In terms of food, there was an Asian breakfast spread along with a variety of pastries, fruits, cereal, cheese, and smoked salmon. 

Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge breakfast spread

Grand Hyatt Singapore Club Lounge breakfast spread

Breakfast spread at the Grand Club Lounge

Breakfast spread at the Grand Club Lounge

Club Lounge breakfast spread

Club Lounge breakfast spread

Hot breakfast items

Hot breakfast items

In addition to the food spread, guests could also order eggs (pretty much any style) off a menu. I had scrambled eggs with turkey sausage and from what I remember, they were pretty much identical to what was served at Straits Kitchen…which is to be expected with a simple dish like scrambled eggs and turkey sausage.

Evening spread at the Grand Club lounge

Evening spread at the Grand Club lounge

The evening spread was also very nice and could easily substitute for dinner. In addition to a cheese spread, mini salad bar and generic sushi, there were usually three hot dishes. Some choices from the two nights we visited the club included crab cake, dum biryani, chicken meat balls, steamed prawn and chicken dumplings, spinach ricotta cannelloni, and roti john.

Evening canapes at the Grand Club Lounge

Evening canapes at the Grand Club Lounge

The service was always good at the lounge. My only complaint is that sometimes the servers were a little too attentive. It actually became difficult to have a conversation sometimes because of the constant interruptions, but I guess being overly attentive is better than not giving a damn (I’m looking at you, front desk management).

Straits Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt Singapore

Straits Kitchen has gotten a great deal of acclaim. Even Anthony Bourdain has sung its praises on his show, though I’m now questioning every endorsement Bourdain has ever given because he was pretty far off base here. The space is really beautiful and had no trouble packing the house with large groups, yet we never experienced a long wait. 

Grand Hyatt Singapore Straits Kitchen

Grand Hyatt Singapore Straits Kitchen

We were given the option to have breakfast at Straits Kitchen every morning, which offered a much wider selection than the Grand Club Lounge. I find anything beyond the basics  unnecessary, though I guess when you have such a diverse group of guests, you have a lot of palates to please. The spread at Straits Kitchen, however, was beyond breakfast. There was your standard western fare (eggs, sausage, waffles, pancakes, omelette station), along with Chinese, Japanese and Indian food.

Straits Kitchen breakfast juice station

Straits Kitchen breakfast juice station

If you come here late enough on a weekend, you could turn the buffet selection into an early lunch. At 35 SGD/$25 per person, do I think this breakfast spread is worth it? No. There’s no universe in which eggs and toast are worth $25 to me. Grab a pop tart on the way out the door and keep it moving.

Straits Kitchen breakfast -Indian station

Straits Kitchen breakfast -Indian station

We also had dinner at Straits Kitchen one night since we’d heard such great things about it (from Bourdain, mostly). Straits Kitchen serves hawker fare at a substantial markup – 58 SGD/$41 per person for the dinner buffet. Maybe it was because we’d returned from a hawker center that afternoon and might not have been as hungry as we should have been, but nobody seemed to be enjoying their food. The satay they were grilling up was a bit burnt and tasteless. I did like the curry from the Indian station and the fried carrot cake (which was even better than the one at the Tiong Bahru Hawker Center), but that was pretty much it. Even the ice cream, with it’s odd flavors (Durian and rose petal), was disappointing. 

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet spread

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet spread

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet - Chinese station

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet – Chinese station

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet - Indian station

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet – Indian station

When I ran out of things to try, I reluctantly sampled the chilli crab, but couldn’t get myself to finish it. On the Singapore Episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain goes to a hawker center where a live crab is brought out and the handler explains how these crabs are nice and meaty because they come from the Ganges River which means they eat…”Dead people!” Now I tried to convince myself that since Straits Kitchen was Halal certified they wouldn’t serve animals that had ingested any kind of human remains, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head – especially after googling Singapore chili crab and learning that pretty much all of the crabs come from the Ganges River. Aside from a small bite of actual crab meat, I stuck to using the chilli sauce as a dip for the roti, which was delicious.

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet - Singapore Chili Crab station

Straits Kitchen Dinner Buffet – Singapore Chili Crab station

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the food served at Straits Kitchen. The service at both breakfast and dinner was good and it’s a beautiful space, but the food was probably a 3 out of 5. It’s decent for people who have hangups about eating at hawker stalls, but if you judged the local cuisine solely by the food at Straits Kitchen, you might wonder how food became Singapore’s claim to fame.

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Ariana Arghandewal

7 Comments

  1. You can have much better food, reach much higher peaks, at Hawker stalls for any given type of food. But for a restaurant, with everything in one spot, inside with air conditioning and without the need to chase around different hawker centers for the best of everything I think Straits Kitchen does a good job.

    It is very expensive for what it is when you think of it as hawker stall food. It’s not super expensive for a hotel dinner.

    Leave aside breakfast, that’s not the right meal to judge the restaurant.

    I think Straits Kitchen is:
    * a great way to introduce the unfamiliar to the genre of food
    * very good for a hotel restaurant
    * convenient especially on heavy downpour days (which is when I had lunch there)

    So I love Straits Kitchen for what it is, think it’s a great hotel meal, but would never compare it to the best of hawker food. It’s good food, offering a reasonable example of different hawker dishes all in one place, in a convenient and comfortable environment. And you pay for that convenience. FWIW.

    • I wouldn’t mind going back there for breakfast, but most of the food at dinner was just bland. As far as introducing people to local fare, you could go from stall to stall at a hawker center just as you’d go from one station to another at the buffet. But I agree on the convenience factor for those staying at the hotel who want to avoid bad weather or simply don’t like going to hawker centers.

  2. Agree 100% with GF. In general with food in SG: the fancier the place the more disappointed you will be, as in general the food competition is so fierce in SG that the quality of food at Hawkers stalls and small ‘hole in the walls’ is so good (and safe – have you seen how strict the government is!). Although it is the tropics you have to let go of the idea that SG is a developing country and you don’t eat street food or at ‘hole in the walls’. GDP per person in higher than the US (yes, really!).

    ps. crabs are by their existence bottom feeders. They keep the oceans clean of all corpses. Even CA Bay Area Dungeness crabs!

  3. Ariana, I think you did a really comprehensive and detailed review of both the Grand Hyatt Lounge and the Straits Kitchen. I am a Singaporean and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt with my family for 2 weeks in July-August 2015. I am a Diamond member and used Points+Cash and 2 Free Hyatt CC nights + 2 Suite upgrades for my stay in a 2BR Family suite- the Grand Hyatt was kind enough to convert the regular Duplex Suite stay which you get for the Suite Upgrade to the Family Suite plus let me use that even for the 2 Free Chase CC nights I redeemed (which Suite upgrades are not supposed to be used for).

    I agree totally with your review of the Lounge although I will never complain about too much service, especially since I now live here in the US where we get little or no service in hotel lounges.

    As for Straits Kitchen, I think you’re a little harsh. I think the breakfast that they offer for 35SGD is incredibly good value for money considering the spread (Western (American+Continental), Chinese, Malay and Indian), the food quality and the ambience. And seeing the long lines out of the restaurant on weekends, I think many agree. While you may think 35SGD (25USD) is a lot to pay for breakfast, I think you should measure against what can you get for the same dollars in a 5* Singapore hotel or at a Grand Hyatt elsewhere. I think if you used that as a yardstick, the breakfast (free for Diamonds also) is a GREAT deal.

    As for lunch and dinner, I agree that this is not the place to go if you wanted top-rate Singapore hawker food. Let’s face it – this is a halal certified restaurant in a 5* hotel in Singapore – no one should expect them to have the best hawker food in Singapore! But they do a good version of it that is very acceptable to many people. I would argue that if you wanted better Singapore hawker food, you could get that at the top floor Food Republic food court at Wisma Atria about 10 minutes walk away, which assembles some of the best hawkers in Singapore. You’ll spend about 20-25SGD for a good meal but at Straits Kitchen, it is a nice air-conditioned ambience, everything is clean, there are people who will clear your plates etc.

    All in, good review and I really do like your blog, so keep up the great writing!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Paul. I think I might have focused the review too much on the comparison of Straits Kitchen vs. hawker stalls. Really, I’m basing my negative review on the bland food. As for breakfast, I think when you’re a simple creature of habit like me, you find the extra stuff excessive – certainly others might appreciate and even take advantage of the extensive selection. Thanks for the tip on Food Republic. On my next visit to Singapore, I will check it out!

  4. No problem, Ariana. And I hope you give the Grand Hyatt another chance next time as well. It really is in a very good location and not as expensive as the Marriott just next door (go figure!), or compared with the other 5* options that one may look at – IHG/Hilton etc. – in Singapore.

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