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Reviewed 20 April 2012

I totally agree with the previous reviewer. In many ways, whether or not to stay at this hotel should be a simple matter of taste. Do you want to step out of your hotel tower straight into the activity and retail mayhem of Orchard Road, or do you want the peace of a low-rise colonial building set atop a hill surrounded by glorious rainforest? If your preference is the latter, this hotel SHOULD fit the bill. But for every plus at this place, there's a minus to cancel it out. Probably easiest to list:

LOCATION: May be the greatest strength of this hotel and its biggest weakness. Early morning walks under the forest canopy of Fort Canning are a stunning way to start the day, especially when followed by a swim in one of the hotel's two impressive pools and breakfast. BUT leaving this oasis is a bit of an ordeal. To reach the shops (or business centres) one must either get a taxi (they are relatively cheap) or walk down many steps, cross a couple of roads and go through a shopping centre carpark to get to Dhoby Ghaut interchange, where trains are fast, clean and ruthlessly efficient. While the hotel is a haven to return to at the end of the day, walking back up the precipitous stairs in the equatorial heat after a shopping spree is exhausting. Few taxi drivers know the hotel.

ROOMS: Developers have done a nice(ish) job transforming this one-time country club, but the design of the rooms -- certainly the deluxe ones -- while admirably quirky, was the source of our greatest irritation. The location and configuration of the bathrooms is ridiculous. Situated against the only window, the prospect of a bath with a view initially feels inviting until you realise that all of Singapore can see you too. With no mirror over the basin, like the previous reviewer, my husband had to stand in, or lean over, the big bath to shave. Having to lower blinds -- very slowly as they're motorised -- every time somebody wants to pee let alone shower gets very annoying, especially as the rest of the room is plunged into darkness. It is probably the major fault with this place. (On a very minor note, one small bar of soap to cover three wet areas is not enough, nor does it make sense to have the tissues on a desk at the other end of the guest room. The hairdryer is not top quality.) Our bed was curiously located in the centre of the room with a desk and the room's door behind it. The room was too narrow for bedside tables, leaving nowhere to place a morning cup of tea but on a shelf above your head. The potential problems with that are obvious.

THE POOLS: Fantastic. There's a lap pool and a resort-style pool, as well as a paddling pool for toddlers. Again, on the downside, there is very little shade against the brutal heat and there is no drink/food service. It definitely lacks a 'resort' feel. In the whole time we were there, we saw three other people using the pools. Most of the time we had them to ourselves.

BREAKFAST: I see others have been impressed by the breakfast, but by south-east Asian hotel standards, we found it pretty dull and very limited. There is something for everybody, i.e. a nod to Chinese/Japanese/Indian/European but very, very few options within each category and they never change (this was probably more irritating over a week, than it would be for shorter stays). If there were gluten-free options available, it was purely an accident.

COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS: This is a lovely touch every evening at 6.00.

SERVICE: Two requests -- one to move to a more conventionally laid-out room (most of them are, aside from the bathroom factor) and a late check-out -- were both refused on the basis that the hotel was full. This may have been true, but there was little evidence of a full house.

BOTTOM LINE: For a peaceful Singapore stay, this hotel should be a no-brainer but until management fixes some huge flaws -- the lack of opaque window coverings, some strangely configured rooms and a sterile pool environment -- I would suggest staying somewhere else.

Room Tip: Opt for a premier room over a deluxe one. They're bigger and the bathrooms are inside. Ground floor deluxe rooms with private courtyard look great.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank LookMumNoKids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hfc_GM, Front Office Manager at Hotel Fort Canning, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2012

Dear LookMumNoKids,

Thank you very much for taking time to write this review.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience that you had experience during your recent stay with us.

We take great care to ensure that important matters such as these are properly managed. On this occasion we have clearly not succeeded in meeting to your expectations.

From your description of the room, we deduce that it was one of our Deluxe Rooms with unique bathroom design feature. We do have some other rooms for guests who prefer a more traditional layout, and we would have gladly changed your room should you have informed us of your preference.

We have also addressed your feedbacks to the various departments concerned for immediate improvement to be made.

With regards to your request for late check-out, should the hotel experience heavy bookings and arrivals on that particular day, we were inclined to deny a late check-out time, which is normally subject to room availability.

We hope that these incidents do not mar your memories with us. Once again, thank you for your valuable comments. Should your travel plans take you to Singapore again in future, we hope to have another opportunity to be of service to you.

Kind Regards,

Jasmin Faruk
Front Office Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2012

This is one of the more difficult reviews for me to write, because there was so much that we liked about the Hotel Fort Canning -- and so much that really, really annoyed us. Until management addresses the shortcomings I can’t recommend staying there. But once it does, the hotel promises to be a great addition to Singapore’s lodging options.

I'll start with the less-good qualities -- I'd prefer to end on a more upbeat note, and the problems are fixable.

The central issue with this hotel is that it is located in a heritage building, a factor that inevitably requires design compromises. One of them is noticeable as soon as you walk in the front door: there's no hint of a lobby. Instead, two large staircases confront the guest, masking a bar. It turns out the lobby is located to the left, slightly behind the staircases. Improved signage would help immeasurably, as we wandered around with our bags behind us, wondering where to check in.

But by far the more serious problem is the unfortunate choice guests in rooms facing Ft. Canning Park must make: would you like privacy, or natural light? You may not have both.

I was appalled that a hotel of this calibre would put guests in this position. I would not stay there again until management resolves the issue by installing appropriate sheers.

The conundrum results from the interplay of several layout decisions that the designers made, and appear not to have thought entirely through. First, each room has dramatic, floor-to-ceiling windows, executed in completely transparent glass (I suspect a more reflective glass was not possible because of the building's preservation status). Second, the floorplan places the bathroom right next to the windows. Thus, as my first photograph shows, our third-floor room directly faced a walking path in the park -- and indeed, we confirmed that from the path you could see our room's toilet very clearly.

The only option for room privacy is to use the room's elaborate series of motorized shades. But, as our second photo shows, that means completely blocking natural light, defeating one of the room's chief design advantages.

Adding a layer of sheers would solve the issue beautifully, and would not be that difficult. With those in place, the rooms would be really pleasant.

But there’s another urgent problem, too. In those first two photos (of the bathroom and shades), take a look at the sink. What's missing behind it?

A mirror. A mirror! How on earth can any competent hotel designer forget to put a mirror behind the sink? Instead, there’s a whole wall of mirror next to the bathtub, where it’s completely irrelevant.

So how is any male guest supposed to shave? We found a tiny, useless makeup mirror in the bedroom. At my 6’2” height, leaving the mirror on its stand was not an option – it was still about 2 feet from my eyes. I like not slashing myself up when I shave, so that left two choices:

1) Hold the mirror in one hand while shaving. Wish you had a third hand for those spots where normally you'd use your second hand to tighten your skin.

2) Stand in the bathtub to shave. Hope you don't trip going back to the sink to rinse your razor. (This is the option I chose.)

For what this hotel charges, guests should not be standing a bathtub to shave. Since the obvious answer – reversing the positions of the bathtub and sink – is probably too difficult, the addition of a proper-sized mirror behind the sink would seem the right answer.

The third problem with the bedrooms is the lighting. Not the lights themselves, but the monstrously overcomplicated device for controlling them. Instead of providing switches for particular sets of lights – e.g. switch A for the lights above the bed, switch B for those in the soffit, etc. – the controller provides an utterly impenetrable series of pre-programmed “moods”, forcing the user to scroll through about half-a-dozen permutations and combinations before finally getting the preferred option. This is an excellent way to wake a drowsy spouse up when all you wanted to do was cut all the lights save the reading light.

That’s a lot of stuff we didn’t like. But here are also wonderful things about the hotel that would make it a great choice, once these very basic problems are solved.

The first is indeed that it’s a heritage building – it’s wonderful to see an old building find a new use. The second is the location. Although not all taxi drivers know where the hotel is (it’s easy to get confused by the signage coming up the driveway), the site is actually very convenient – just a short walk to the Quays or to the MRT interchange at Dhoby Ghaut. Third, we thought the hotel’s isolation was a great advantage; couldn’t ask for a quieter environment. Advantage four is the pools; the lap pool is actually long enough for distance swimming, and the play-pool gets to about 5’/1.7m deep. Fifth, breakfast in the Glass House every morning was a treat – the spread itself was fairly standard, but the environment was relaxing. And sixth, the staff were really helpful.

So despite the problems, the hotel has a lot going for it. But it needs to get the basics right before it’s worth staying there.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms facing Ft. Canning Park; ask if room allows both natural light and privacy.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Christian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hfc_GM, Front Office Manager at Hotel Fort Canning, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2012

Dear xtnjohnson,

Thank you very much for taking time to write this review.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience that you had experience during your recent stay with us.

We take great care to ensure that important matters such as these are properly managed. On this occasion we have clearly not succeeded in meeting to your expectations.

From your description of the room, we deduce that it was one of our Deluxe Rooms with unique bathroom design feature. We do have some other rooms for guests who prefer a more traditional layout, and we would have gladly changed your room should you have informed us of your preference.

We have also addressed your feedbacks to the various departments concerned for immediate improvement to be made.

We hope that these incidents do not mar your memories with us. Once again, thank you for your valuable comments. Should your travel plans take you to Singapore again in future, we hope to have another opportunity to be of service to you.


Kind Regards,
Jasmin Faruk
Front Office Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2012

I thought this hotel was just fantastic! It had a really interesting layout and felt exceptionally luxurious. The only criticism I had was our room had a very disappointing suite area with a not so comfortable couch and it just wasn't a practical use of space. The bedroom made up for this as it was absolutely beautiful. We ate in the restaurant there and it was also beautiful. Great experience!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank coco55555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hfc_GM, Front Office Manager at Hotel Fort Canning, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2012

Dear coco55555,

Greetings from Hotel Fort Canning Singapore, an oasis in the park!

Thank you very much for taking time to share your recent stay experience with us.

Your compliments to the hotel are very much appreciated.

We have reviewed the concern that you have highlighted and it have since been emphasized to the involved department for improvement to be made.

Once again, thank you very much for taking time to write this review and we look forward to welcoming you and your partner back to Hotel Fort Canning in the very near future.

Kind Regards,

Jasmin Faruk
Front Office Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2012

Very Beautiful great location.

This beautiful hidden gem in the park was a prefect location in Singapore, the breakfast is amazing, the park is gorgeous, the location is super convenient in the heart of the shopping area. The staff very efficient.
The rooms are great. the bed is like sleeping on clouds. its great over all.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Sandra S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hfc_GM, Front Office Manager at Hotel Fort Canning, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2012

Dear Sandra S,

Greetings from Hotel Fort Canning Singapore, an oasis in the park!

We are flattered by your compliments and it is very satisfying to know that you have given us full score for this review.

I am thrilled to know that you felt like you are sleeping on the clouds, and I am pleased to share with you that our sealy posturepedic mattress is especially selected to provide great support for the back and body as well as the ultimate comfy when you are slumbering.

Once again, thank you very much for taking time to share your experience with us. We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you and your partner back to Hotel Fort Canning.


Kind Regards,

Jasmin Faruk
Front Office Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Fort Canning for about 12 days while we explored Singapore. We found that we loved this boutique hotel for its great hilltop location, as well as the surrounding park and pathways. The MRT, Clarke Quay, the Riverwalk, the Singapore Museum are all very accessable from this hotel. The rooms seem to have many different configurations and are very modern and very comfortable. There are 2 pools, with one being a true lap pool. They are almost deserted as many of the guests are out and about or perhaps there on business.
There are juices and cookies and coffees available in the lobby throughout the day and wine and appetizers in the early evening! The breakfasts are very good and we really enjoyed the cappuccinos. There is free WIFI. There always seemed to be events going on at the hotel, either weddings, seminars, a car show, and a couple of rock concerts in the park up the hill. We were always notified that these events might be noisy and they never inconvenienced us. The staff were very helpful and the hotel was very gracious in refunding a reservation I had made in error. We really appreciated that. We found this hotel too charming and too well situated to move.

Room Tip: Ask to see a different room if you are not comfortable, as there are several different sizes and configurations, especially the bathroom arrangements.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Sara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hfc_GM, Front Office Manager at Hotel Fort Canning, responded to this reviewResponded 6 April 2012

Dear Sara M,

Greetings from Hotel Fort Canning Singapore, an oasis in the park!

We are ecstatic to know that your stay experience with us was an enjoyable one. It is our utmost pleasure to have you with us.

Your compliments in this review are very much appreciated and we will like to thank you for giving us a full score for it.

We look forward welcoming you and your partner back to Hotel Fort Canning for another staycation.


Kind Regards,

Jasmin Faruk
Front Office Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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