Hotel Review: The Great Outdoors Are Brought Into The Towering Vertical Oasis That Is Artyzen Singapore

This design-led hotel in Orchard Road delivers an overdose of Singapore heritage in its lofty locale.
by Kenneth SZ Goh

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

It is not often that a hotel room’s terrace is more impressive than the room itself. Don’t get me wrong, the rooms at Artyzen Singapore hotel hold their own with a lofty four-metre-tall ceiling punctuated with French window-style arches and a ceiling fan. However, the outdoor area of the Grand Terrace King room, where I was put up at a recent stay, steals the show.

The spacious semi-private patio, which spans 94 square metres and is shared with an adjoining room, is possibly one of the larger hotel room terraces here. It is almost akin to having a sky garden to oneself, complete with an outdoor daybed to ogle at the surrounding lush greenery, from shrubs, hanging planters to the intertwining trellises that soar up the wall.

Going vertical is something that Artyzen Singapore is going big on, especially when the 21-storey hotel is compactly built in a tight space along Cuscaden Road. It is the first hotel property by the Chinese hospitality group outside of China.

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

It is even more of a marvel that the hotel sits on the erstwhile site of a colonial bungalow, Villa Marie in a quiet residential district of Orchard Road. The lowkey enclave at the tail-end of the shopping district was recently put back on the radar with neighbours such as Editions Singapore (which sits directly opposite Artyzen) and Conrad Orchard, which opened in January after a major refurbishment. Also nearby is The Standard, which is slated to open later this year and Ming Arcade, which is two blocks away, is poised to make way for another hotel.

Villa Maria was built by Tan Hoon Siang, the great-grandson of well-known philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. The younger Tan named the 1940s-style mansion after his second wife, Ms Marie Winsdor, and lived here in his twilight years. In 2016, the Hong Kong property magnate bought over the mansion and its land, but it was only in recent years that plans to redevelop the land into a hotel took shape.

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

While Villa Marie was demolished, its colonial elements, such as the bungalow’s archways and verandahs, inspire Artyzen Singapore’s interiors, which was designed by award-winning interior design studio Nic Graham & Associates.

The interiors are also crammed with emblems of Singapore culture, from motifs of Peranakan tiles to eclectic-looking carpets bearing motifs of orchids and plants. This should sit well with guests, mostly made up of leisure travellers from Australia, Indonesia and Chinese.

Too cool for pool

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

The best vantage point in the hotel is its infinity pool, which is located on the top floor, together with the rooftop garden bar, which is slated to open later this year. The pool extends out of the building with its double-glazed glass panels. Swimming across the see-through glass windows gives a sensation of floating in mid-air, as you get an aerial view of cars that pull into the hotel’s lobby and the surrounding buildings.

Don’t miss the hotel’s daily line-up of wellness activities, from HIIT to meditation sessions at its wellness centre, which are free for guests. I stretched and flexed out at a tranquil Vinyasha yoga session and loosened up my joints at a freestyle movement party, and gained more self-awareness (and flexibility) in a meditation class. Another standout factor of Artyzen is that the hotel is pet-friendly, with rooms on level 14 dedicated to dog-friendly rooms, there is also a walking lawn for dogs by the cafe at the all-day Cafe Quenino on the first floor.

Besides the room, there are a host of activities to choose from. The spa treatment saw me through a full-body massage with gemstones. Gemstones and crystals are known to enhance one’s physical and emotional well-being. I enjoyed the therapeutic session, with a heated blue lapis gemstone placed in my palms, as the therapist gave a soothing massage around my neck, shoulders, back and feet by rubbing the lavender and sandalwood massage oil on my body. Stroking of the warmed stone in gradual and graceful strokes across my back, feels like warm honey running down my back.

The Room

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

Aside from the huge terrace, the Grand Terrace King room encapsulates nostalgia viewed from a modern lens. The black-rimmed archway structure brings to mind railway stations of yesteryear, while a sketched shophouse portrait is a centrepiece of the room’s feature wall.

The wood-panelled ceiling is so tall that it houses a fan, which serves more for aesthetics to complete the ‘colonial feel’, rather than for cooling purposes.

There is a strong concerted effort to add a dash of Singapore culture in the room, from the Peranakan tile motif wallpaper to the books on local buildings and lifestyle. While the room is inspired by the past, modern touches are plenty, such as the portable Bang & Ofasen wireless speaker and Dyson hairdryers.

Dining in the hotel

Photo: Artyzen Singapore

Also not to be missed is a visit to the hotel’s flagship restaurant Quenino by Victor Liong, which is conceptualised by the Australian-Malaysian chef, who also runs the two-hatted modern Chinese restaurant Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne. The contemporary Asian tasting menus are Liong’s amalgamation of flavours from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, some featuring ingredients from Australia, such as the dry-aged murray cod and Bangalow sweet pork. Familiar dishes like prawn otak, Cantonese-style roast duck and X.O. sauce are presented in Modern European techniques that capture the essence of the dishes.

Highlights include the roast duck served with sambal hijau and tosai, ama-ebi prawn otak toast and the most innovative dish was the dry-aged code in white soy cream and leeks, which has freshness, sweetness and crunch in each bite. Those that are afraid of spice will feel right at home here.

In a nutshell

A stay at Artyzen presents many highlights, from the sprawling green terraces to the infinity pool with a see-through glass bottom. Those who like a slice of Singapore heritage can appreciate the elements in the design-heavy hotel.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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