Conrad International Singapore stands tall amid other giants

Travel Weekly associate editor Grant Flowers recently stayed at the 2-year-old Conrad International Centennial in Singapore. His report follows.

SINGAPORE -- The Conrad International Centennial is one of the newer additions to the panoply of hotels that grace the Marina Centre here.

Conrad, Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and Pan Pacific all have hotels in a space of no more than a few acres in this very modern section of the city.

The Conrad International is operated by Hilton Hotels USA. The Conrad name, which derives from Hilton founder Conrad Hilton, is part of an agreement with Hilton International, which is owned by the British firm Ladbrokes: Hilton Hotels USA is permitted to operate in cities that already have a Hilton International but must do so with the Conrad brand.

The 31-story, 509-room Conrad opened in late 1996, and is one of several tall, sleek buildings in the area -- located across the harbor from the central business district -- and is in the midst of shopping malls and office developments. Singapore's new convention center is also nearby. The Conrad's modern, multicolored structure fits in well with the area.

Compared with other Asian cities, Singapore is easy to get around in, and guests should have no trouble finding transportation at the Conrad: Taxis are plentiful, and it is a short walk to the nearest rail station (called Mass Rapid Transit).

Inside, the Conrad is a big, modern hotel. The huge lobby is filled with commissioned artwork. The couches and chairs spread throughout the space and throughout Oscar's, a ground-floor restaurant, make it obvious that the lobby is a place for people to meet.

From the start, the service at the hotel was uniformly excellent, and employees went out of their way to be helpful.

The lower levels are also home to other areas, including a business center and a fitness center.

One of the hotel's secret spaces is an outdoor pool and patio area where dinners and special events are often hosted.

The hotel's in-house restaurant, the Golden Peony, occupies a well-lighted, stylish space on the second level. The restaurant serves Cantonese cuisine prepared by a handful of chefs from Hong Kong. Whatever the influences, the results are terrific, but expect a lot of courses.

Guest rooms have the same modern look as the rest of the hotel. The contemporary-style rooms are decorated with an emphasis on light browns and wood furnishings, which together provide a bright look. The rooms are large, and guests have plenty of space to move around.

More than half of the rooms have king-size beds, and the linens have thread counts approaching infinity. (Always a great thing but even better after a day in the equatorial sun.) The bed is also the residence of a teddy bear that the hotel provides for guests.

The bear is a perfect companion for another of the Conrad's amenities, a rubber ducky in the bathroom. Like the bedrooms, the bathrooms are also large but have marble floors. There is a separate shower stall, and there are acres of sink space.

There is an executive lounge on the 30th floor, and guests who stay on the top three floors have access. From the lounge, guests can see nearly the entire country -- including the harbor and downtown -- while choosing from a selection of complimentary foods and beverages.

A dedicated concierge is stationed near the lounge. This person can handle all of the hotel functions, such as checkout.

Among guest accommodations here are 25 suites.

Since the Conrad serves mainly corporate clients, meeting spaces are plentiful, including a ballroom that can seat 500 people.

Room rates start at about $150, double, for a superior room with a king bed. Moving up to a deluxe raises the price to about $175. A deluxe room on an executive level is $205. Conrad International Centennial Singapore: (800) 445-8667

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