- Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge San Francisco
- Cathay Pacific Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
- Dragonair Business Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport
- Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong to Singapore
- Grand Hyatt Singapore Grand Corporate Suite and Deluxe Room
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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