As many Australians discover, Singapore isn’t just a ‘stopover city’. Whether visiting for business or leisure, the Lion City is a showcase of shopping, sightseeing and business opportunities. Central to all of that is Orchard Road: and that’s exactly where you’ll find the Hilton Singapore Orchard hotel.

In fact, with the opening of a second tower in early 2023 – bringing the room tally to over 1,000 – this is set to become Hilton’s largest property in the Asia Pacific. But even now, the experience is already up there with the best.

Hotel location and first impressions

Sitting atop the Mandarin Gallery mall at Orchard Road, the lifts can whisk you directly between the guest floors and the shops below.

It’s a great neighbourhood to venture out and explore on foot, especially in December with all the Christmas lights and decorations on display. But before I take in the sights, I head up to my room.

To avoid plastics, this property uses wooden room keys instead. I’m told Hilton had to grant a ‘brand exception’ for these, as plastic keys are Hilton’s global norm. Hopefully, this catches on at other Hilton hotels, as many competing chains have already made the switch.

In the room, I find a lovely plate of fruit greeting my arrival, in recognition of my Hilton Honors Gold status.

Up on the 24th floor, my view is mainly of the buildings nearby. That’s the trade-off for staying right in the centre of the action. Speaking of which, the nearest MRT station is Somerset for the North South Line. You’re also a short walk from Orchard MRT station, connected to the Thomson East Coast Line as well.

Nearby, it’s shopping galore. There are a few reasonably priced brands like H&M, Victoria’s Secret and ZARA. But most of the street – and especially the nearby ION Orchard complex – is a designer metropolis.

Picture a Gucci around every corner. No, literally. A stroll for some window shopping finds a Louis Vuitton that only sells jewellery; a Fendi purely stocked with homewares and a Prada that exclusively sells hats. After all, why offer everything in one store when you can have a shop dedicated to every item in the wardrobe? This is Orchard Road, after all.

Hilton Singapore Orchard’s King Executive Room

Hilton Singapore Orchard isn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill Hilton hotel. It’s very much ‘new Hilton’ – what the brand aspires to become known for on a global scale. This brings a modern, sleek, suitably premium but subtly subdued design.

As a brand popular with business travellers, an in-room desk is always a must. But this workspace is relaxed and functional rather than the typical ‘office’ vibe.

Instead of a clunky closet, you’ll also find several open hanging spaces throughout the room. This takes a page from those many shopping malls nearby. After all, if you’ve just splashed out on a Balenciaga suit or gown, you wouldn’t want to stash such a significant purchase out of sight.

That premium feel carries into the bathroom. Upscale tiles of muted colours and a separate bath and shower sure beat the typical old ‘shower tub’ in many other hotels. It’s just a shame that there’s no mood lighting in here, particularly for the bath. The main bathroom lights are either ‘on’ or ‘off’ – something in between would make for a more relaxing soak.

Executive Lounge

One of Hilton Singapore Orchard’s best features has to be its Executive Lounge. With seating for over 200 guests, the sizeable space blends an ‘upscale apartment’ vibe with that of a typical lounge.

There’s everything from dining tables to more comfortable, relaxed seating. Each nook has a different feel. Some zones resemble a home lounge room – others, an office – and some a restaurant. There’s also a boardroom for any private meetings.

Arriving at a quiet time, I had no problem finding a seat near a power point. But these aren’t abundant – I imagine that’d be a tad trickier during busier periods.

As with other Hilton Executive Lounges, guests staying in Executive-level rooms are welcome here. This includes Hilton Honors Gold members who’ve landed an upgrade to the Executive floor. Higher-tier Hilton Honors Diamond cardholders get access when staying in any room type.

The Executive Lounge opens daily between 6:30 am and 10:30 pm. During that window, service includes:

  • Breakfast, from 6:30 am to 10:30 am.
  • Afternoon tea, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.
  • Evening drinks and canapés, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks and light snacks are available all day.

Breakfast finds a lovely spread of bread, meats, salads and cheeses. There’s also a good range of hot items suited to all tastes, with a chef at hand to make omelettes on request. I ordered one with the lot, which was perfect and a good, moderate size.

Afternoon tea offers sandwiches, scones and other light nibbles. In the evening, there’s a generous selection of pre-dinner bites with complimentary wine, beer and spirits.

I also stopped by around lunchtime to do a few hours’ work. Smiling staff member Jimmy came by to offer coffee, but then also returned with a selection of light bites – a pleasant surprise.

Dining at Hilton Singapore Orchard

With five food and beverage venues in addition to the Executive Lounge, there’s a lot to taste at Hilton Singapore Orchard.

For buffet territory, head to Estate for all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. That morning meal is also gratis here as an alternative to the Executive Lounge.

Options span local favourites through to homely comforts. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with satay: this is Singapore, after all. I’d also recommend Estate’s signature black truffle roasted duck, followed by a deliciously sweet Champagne raspberry jelly.

But take note of the price tag. Including GST and service charges, expect to pay around SG$96 (AU$104.60) from Sundays to Thursdays, and almost SG$116 (AU$126.25) on other days and during public holidays. Other venues may appeal more if you’re like me and prefer to dine in moderation – and à la carte.

The weekday lunch special is a great find at Chatterbox, with three courses from SG$52.65 (AU$57.40). This includes scrumptious (and pleasingly boneless) Mandarin chicken rice: a staple of Chatterbox for over 50 years. But for something out of the box, look to Ginger.Lily.

The Orchard Trail afternoon tea experience isn’t to be missed here. Follow the journey through savoury and sweet, served up in a storybook as a nod to the land’s past.

Ginger.Lily also mixes up creative cocktails. I tried the Hendricks-based Seashell, designed to mimic the ocean with edible bubbles and even crabs ‘swimming’ in a net. Top marks for creativity, but while I’m normally a Hendricks drinker, this concoction wasn’t to my taste.

I’m glad I tried another signature, In Full Bloom. It’s a tastier peach liqueur mix, served in an infuser. Patience isn’t just a virtue: this drink rewards it.

In the Michelin corner…

On an emptier stomach, I make my way to Osteria Mozza – the brainchild of celebrity chef Nancy Silverton. It’s an outpost of the one-Michelin-starred Los Angeles restaurant of the same name, but with some Lion City tweaks.

Before the food even arrives, I can’t help but notice the waiter’s pronunciation. Every spoken Italian word is pure ‘perfetto’ – and that mirrors the experience ahead.

The mozzarella di Puglia (Apulia) surprises with bacon-like vegetarian peppers, and the modern twist on a Caesar salad is a real crowd favourite. I’m told that when it was once removed from the menu, regular diners demanded it back.

The delightfully cheesy fonduta ravioli is perfectly balanced with a sprinkle of 25-year-aged balsamic vinegar. But the dish of the day for me has to be the orecchiette. Intertwined with sausage and Swiss chard, it’s the perfect balance of silky, crunchy, sweet and savoury. A simple scoop of gelato is a great way to finish.

Before it’s time to depart, I make one last stop at the two-starred Shisen Hanten. Not only is this Singapore’s highest Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant, but under chef Chen Kentaro, that’s been true since 2016.

Upon learning that I’m a gin drinker, staff suggest something departed from your traditional G&T. This is more of a ‘G&tea’, a refreshing blend that perfectly strides the line between sweet, savoury and spice.

Unable to choose just one thing to start with, the restaurant’s ‘five signature appetisers’ catches my eye. I make my way through a refined popcorn chicken and then alternate between land and sea. Pork, prawn, beef and jellyfish. The beef was my favourite, but I was pleasantly surprised by the pear-like jellyfish.

I continue with one of the restaurant’s other top sellers: soup with foie gras chawanmushi and crab roe. It’s another satisfying surprise, and you’ll want to scoop right down to the bottom with every bite to enjoy all the flavours dancing on your palate.

To finish, the crunchy deep-fried diced chicken is a very nice contrast to the previous course. With Szechuan chilli peppers, it’s marked as a spicy dish on the menu. But it’s not a punch-in-the-mouth kind of spice: it’s pleasant and balanced – I’d definitely order it again.

Facilities at Hilton Singapore Orchard

When you’ve spent days exploring the culinary delights peppered around Hilton Singapore Orchard, a visit to the gym is a must.

This one is ready and waiting for you 24/7 – so there’s no excuse! Make use of the great cardio gear to get the heart pumping, or explore the gym’s vast array of weights and other floor equipment.

For something a little more relaxed, head to the pool. Whether that’s for a lap, a soak or a seat nearby is entirely your call.

The hotel also has in-house ‘Magic’. No, not the sorcery kind – the telephone service. One call and your questions are answered, and any requests are handled. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen.

I called one evening to ask if I could nudge an in-house dinner reservation back by 30 minutes. The person who answered couldn’t directly access the booking system but said they’d reach out and call me back soon.

An hour passed, and the phone hadn’t rung. I tried to call Magic again, but there was no answer this time. Wanting an answer to my question, I looked up the direct number for the restaurant (Estate) and gave that a whirl. Nobody answered that either. So I raced down to dinner, only to find that I could have easily been half an hour late – which would have made it possible to finish some time-sensitive work before dinner, rather than during the meal.

I also found a glitch with the hotel’s express Executive floor lifts. When heading down from your room, there’s a sign that reads ‘levels 1-6’ – and the Executive Lounge is on six. Destined for that lounge, I called for a lift, only to find it didn’t actually go to the sixth floor.

I sent that lift on its way, tried again… and got another lift that also didn’t go to L6. Finding the ‘express’ lift anything but, I wanted back to the general lift lobby for a ‘regular’ lift to the evening snacks.

In the grand scheme of things, these are small detractors. But when a King Executive Room can cost upwards of SG$600 per night (including tax and service charge), attention to detail is ultimately what sets premium hotels apart.

Earning and spending points at Hilton Singapore Orchard

As you might have guessed from the name, Hilton Singapore Orchard is attached to the Hilton Honors loyalty program. That’s your ticket to earning points with each stay when booking direct.

Here’s what you can earn on all eligible spending when staying in-house, including room folio charges such as dining.

Hilton Honors earning rates by tierPoints bonusTotal earn rate
Member10 Points per US$1
Silver20%12 Points per US$1
Gold80%18 Points per US$1
Diamond100%20 Points per US$1
Room keys at Hilton Singapore Orchard hotel
The higher your Hilton Honors tier, the more points you’ll earn with every stay.

Once you’ve accrued a nice pile of Hilton Honors points, the best way to spend them is, of course, on hotel stays. The program now uses dynamic pricing, so the number of points needed for each booking can change.

Expect to part with more points during peak periods and fewer points during quieter times, and when paid room rates are lower. To illustrate, here are some example flexible room rates and the points required to pay for the same night in full, based on a weeknight overnight stay in January 2023.

Spending Hilton Honors points at Hilton Singapore OrchardPoints requiredCash rate (same night)Value per Point (SGD)
King Deluxe Room60,000 PointsSG$545.270.909c
King Premium Room60,000 PointsSG$569.070.945c
King Deluxe City View Room189,000 PointsSG$635.580.336c
King Executive Room (as reviewed)205,000 PointsSG$687.840.336c
King Executive Suite458,000 PointsSG$1,538.470.336c
Cash rates indicated include GST and the hotel’s mandatory 10% service charge.

Based on the above, the real ‘sweet spot’ is using Hilton Honors points for a King Premium Room. That happily costs the same number of points as the lead-in room category. Booking a King Deluxe Room is still good value on points when a King Premium Room isn’t available, though.

You can buy Hilton Honors points at competitive rates, or even transfer them from Amex Membership Rewards.

Summing up

Hilton Singapore Orchard is one of the nicest Hilton-brand hotels that I’ve ever stayed in. And I make that comment as somebody who’s had Hilton Honors Gold status for a good decade or so. It’s modern, it ticks almost all of the boxes for both business and leisure, and the location is hard to beat.

Yes, the room rates are certainly pricey right now – but they’re about what you’d expect of anywhere comparable in Singapore. That’s also a by-product of travellers packing their bags and crossing borders more freely. Room rates adjust in line with demand: and demand is high.

That said, a King Executive Room doesn’t cost much more than the next-best room category. Particularly for those who don’t already have Hilton Honors Diamond status, paying around 8% more is certainly worth it for the lounge alone.

Also read: Speed through Changi with Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Programme

Photography by Chris Chamberlin, who travelled and stayed as a guest of Hilton Singapore Orchard.

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Hilton Singapore Orchard was last modified: January 25th, 2023 by Chris Chamberlin