Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Nellie Huang
One of the highlights of our recent Southeast Asian trip was staying at the Clan Hotel. Here’s my detailed review of Singapore’s newest luxury hotel!
It’s been 3 years since I came back home to Singapore — so this recent trip to the Lion City has been a long time coming. Our stay at The Clan Hotel made it all the more special, as I was reminded of what the Singaporean identity means.
Towering over the restored shophouses of Telok Ayer, The Clan Hotel is a modern luxury hotel with a nostalgic story to tell. It pays tribute to the Singaporean heritage, by working with local craftsmen to produce unique furnishings, incorporating local food in the breakfasts, and spoiling guests with old-school Kaya snacks that I grew up eating.
The Singapore I grew up in was always looking out to the world, and never embracing local culture and identity. But times have changed, as I’ve noticed, and this hotel truly captures Singapore’s sense of identity and spirit through every single detail.
The Perfect Setting in Singapore
Sitting on the crossroads where the financial district and Telok Ayer meet, The Clan Hotel is just minutes from the Singapore River and cultural sites in Chinatown. This is where old meets new: the low-lying, terracotta-roofed shophouses juxtaposed against the towering skyscrapers of the CBD (Central Business District).
It was also here, where The Clan Hotel proudly stands, that settlers looking for new opportunities landed in the 1800s. Back then, the street was lined with bustling shophouses and sampans (wooden boats) that brought immigrants along the Singapore River. Today, the same street has flourished and evolved into a bustling entertainment area flanked by edgy glass-walled buildings, restored temples, and modernised shophouses.
The Clan Hotel was built to reflect the success stories of humble immigrants and their strong bond that lasted through the generations, from past to present. It’s evident from the hotel’s artwork and interior design, that it draws inspiration from the clan halls and shophouses of the Telok Ayer area.
Embracing Our Singaporean Identity
The whole experience begins at the dimly lit hotel lobby, where wall-to-ceiling glass windows, leather Chesterfield sofas, and black steel shelves provide an intimate setting for our welcome tea ceremony.
We’re warmly greeted by the in-house tea master, who serves us a pot of Nanyang Ritual Tea. He goes on to explain that it’s an exclusive curation (produced specially for the hotel) that blends Southern and Northern Fujian Oolong Teas, both famed for intense fragrance and taste.
I sip on the tea and eagerly tuck into the tau sar piah, a traditional bean pastry I loved as a kid. Kaleya (my 7-year-old daughter) surprisingly likes it, and even asks for a second serving of the pastry!
Rooms with a View
Our cheery Clan Keeper shows us to the Grand Premier Room. The hotel provides a personal-assistant service for guests of the Master Series rooms. The first thing I notice in our 29th-floor corner room is the view: massive windows on all sides reveal spectacular views of the Singaporean skyline. And perched by the glass are window sill sofas that let you sit and admire the panorama while sipping their signature Nanyang ritual tea.
The spacious room is designed with a distinctively contemporary style, but they haven’t forgotten to infuse some Singaporean character into it. The room features standing lamps with Oriental flair, polished teak tables, and traditional Chinese paintings. The bathroom is outrageously big, with a rainforest shower and a massive bathtub that allows you to soak while drinking in the view.
Having opened its doors in March 2021, the Clan Hotel Singapore already has 324 rooms across three distinct room categories — Grand Premier, Premier and Deluxe rooms. The other rooms are similar in design and style to ours, but slightly smaller in size.
The Sky’s The Limit
Perched on the rooftop (30th floor), the Sky Pool is a calming oasis offering a bird’s eye view of the surrounding heritage district. The pool itself is rather small and the semi-submerged lounge chairs do get filled up pretty quickly, but the views definitely make up for it. Next to the Sky Pool is a jacuzzi with warm bubbling water that my daughter loved!
Also on this level is the Sky Gym, complete with Fitness-on-Demand personal training, as well as a traditional Wing Chun wooden dummy for a well-rounded workout. It’s definitely one of the biggest hotel gyms I’ve seen. There are also shower suites available for early check-ins and late check-outs.
A Tribute to Singaporean Cuisine
Breakfast is a serious affair at the hotel’s only restaurant, QĪN Restaurant & Bar. We get to choose from an a la carte menu, and the multi-course breakfast sure is a spread. I go for the Singaporean teochew porridge (rice congee) and roti prata (Indian flatbread), while Alberto opts for the full English breakfast. Kaleya gleefully devours a generous portion of waffles with strawberries and maple syrup. All of these are served alongside a juice, coffee/tea, and a yogurt with mixed fruit.
Like the rest of the hotel, QĪN Restaurant & Bar is a modern Chinese restaurant that celebrates our local Singaporean culture. Executive chef James Tay serves up creative renditions of Asian classics, such as the Siphon Mushroom Tea, Chilli Crab Crostini and ‘Sang Mein’. He also designs a carefully curated list of daily specials to include popular Singaporean dishes like Bak Kut Teh.
Nostalgic snapshots here go beyond the plate – the restaurant interior also presents a rustic rendition of Asian décor, rightfully elevated with a generous view of the city. A stand-out design feature of the restaurant is the wall of Chinese medicine boxes, stretching from the staircase landing all the way up to the ceiling — to illustrate the life-long bond of the clans from the old times.
Free Precinct Tour of the Area
But what really wins me over is the local precinct tour that the hotel provides free of charge to Master Series guests. The 1.5-hour guided tour brings us into the backstreets of Telok Ayer and Chinatown, and various corners that I never knew existed. Our Clan Keeper may not be Singaporean, but he’s lived here for 15 years and knows the city better than I do (I haven’t lived here for 17 years).
The walking tour covers the key heritage sites and cultural spots that are located near the hotel, such as the Thian Hock Keng Temple and Fuk Tak Chi Museum. Our main stop is The URA Centre’s Singapore City Gallery, an informative showcase of how the Republic has transformed over the past 50 years (a great spot to visit especially if you’re traveling Singapore with kids!).
Throughout the walk, our Clan Keeper makes regular stops to share interesting nuggets about the history. We end off the tour with a stop at the famous Maxwell Food Centre, where our Clan Keepers gets us local drinks to sample and have a chat about Singapore.
Info about the local precinct tour:
• Every Wednesday and Saturday, 4pm (subject to availability and weather conditions)
• Guests to contact The Clan Keeper (for MASTER Series guests)
• For up to 9 guests, subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis
• Each tour will last about 45 minutes to 1 hour
COVID Safety Measures
The hotel has been certified by the SG Clean – a whole-of-Government initiative. This certification reflects the stringent sanitisation and hygiene measures that they have taken. All their staff wear masks at all times, payments are in digital form, and check-in info is sent to your email.
Overall Review of The Clan Hotel Singapore
The hotel is fantastic for those who have a soft spot for heritage and culture. The Clan Hotel has incorporated the Singaporean identity into every single detail and staying here will give you a better sense of the country.
It’s definitely a place I would return to when I’m in Singapore again.