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  • Mario Ng

Hotel Review: Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King)

Mondrian Duxton Singapore first opened in June 2023 to big fanfare. It is Mondrian’s first branch in Southeast Asia and it seeks to stand out from other more conventional hotel offerings. News articles termed Mondrian Duxton Singapore as a luxury boutique hotel while highlighting its location at Duxton, one of Singapore’s livelier neighbourhoods.


The neighbourhood is known for its vibrancy, where it lies between modern and vintage Singapore. You get views of skyscrapers in the background with short shophouses filling up the foreground. There is this nice mixture of beautiful architecture that allows Mondrian Duxton Singapore to sit nicely to soak up the energy.


A check on the Accor mobile application showed that there was an opening promotion until the end of 2023, allowing guests to get complimentary breakfast and a $30 credit on any of the hotel’s restaurants. We made sure to book a stay during this promotion so that we could gain an insight into this hotel that has promised a lot!

 

TL:DR

  • Forgettable service

  • Pool with a view

  • Nice restaurants

 

Service:

Service at Mondrian Singapore Duxton was quite patchy. We were not quite sure what to make of it.


When we first arrived at the hotel via a taxi, the doorman was quick to open the door for us. However, once we got out, he simply asked with a straight face if we had any luggage in the car boot. After I thanked him for opening the door and replying that there was none, he did not respond at all and kept quiet. He did not offer to take the bags that we were holding either. We thought that was quite a strange encounter but we just headed straight to the hotel. At the first-floor reception counter, the staff also did not ask if we needed any help with our bags but just told us that the reception counter was on the third floor. Another staff member led us to the elevator and brought us to the check-in counter.


Another strange encounter occurred here. Once we reached the check-in counter, the staff member on duty simply told us to provide two passports and a credit card. That was quite unexpected and not the welcome we were expecting. Nevertheless, we provided our identity cards and a credit card for her to process our check-in. After the process was completed and we were in our room, we realised we were only given one key card even though there were two of us. As it was a small issue and we were intending to be around each other throughout the one-night stay, we did not bother to head back down to ask for a second card. Maybe the staff member shared the same thought. Who knows?


The staff almost forgot to inform us that as part of the opening special, our stay came with a complimentary breakfast and a $30 credit to spend in the hotel’s restaurants. It was only when we started walking towards the elevator that she stopped us and let us know. She did forget to mention the hotel’s wifi and how we can access it. Perhaps this is something that can now be easily assumed to be available and easy to access. Still though.


The staff did, however, inform us that as part of the opening promotion, we were entitled to a 2 pm late check out instead and asked if we would like to do so. We were of course happy to accept this offer and told her so. It is always nice to get a guaranteed late checkout and we were happy we could obtain one as part of the opening special. Getting one on a public holiday was the icing on the cake.


Just when we thought that was the end of our ordeal, we were wrong. The next day, we received a call from the front desk at approximately 1.10 pm. We were asked if we needed assistance with our bags as it was already check-out time. I was confused as I thought our check-out time should be at 2 pm instead, The staff member then clarified that the check-out time was actually at noon but there was an opening promotion that allowed a late check-out till 2 pm, and proceeded to ask if we would like to make use of this offer. I informed her that we already told the staff the previous day during check-in that we would like to make use of the late check-out promotion. She then told me she would let the front desk know and wished us a pleasant stay at the hotel.


Maybe it is just me but it seemed quite bizarre how staff handled the late check-out promotion. They were aware that the guests in question were entitled to a late check-out at 2 pm. However, they chose to contact them anyway to inform them that check-out time was at noon. Only when the guests point out that they have a late check-out, then the staff member informs them that there was indeed such an offer. I do not understand why there is such treatment. If this is a promotion, hotels should simply be proactive and inform guests upfront and not create unnecessary anxiety. When they do this, I do not see how they can gain brand loyalty and encourage guests to come back for a second stay.

While Mondrian Singapore Duxton is an Accor Live Limitless (ALL) member and we were entitled to welcome drinks during our stay as an ALL Silver member, we were not informed about this. I have read reviews online that this happened to other ALL members as well and that the guests had to provide evidence that they were entitled to these drinks. That review was done in July 2023 and it appears nothing has changed for the past 4 months! ALL members seem to continue to be missing out on their benefits. Another thing we noticed was the absence of any ALL materials. While most ALL hotels have some form of Accor materials promoting its benefits, we did not see these at all. Instead, there were coasters in their restaurants promoting Dis-loyalty, another loyalty programme that the hotel is part of. This was quite strange as it gave guests the impression that Mondrian Singapore Duxton is not part of ALL. Perhaps this is their strategy and direction, since Ennismore, the company behind Mondrian, is in a joint venture with Accor. Having said that, it would be nice to have some clarity on the exact benefits guests get to enjoy. Thankfully, the points gained from this hotel stay were in my ALL account after three days. I was getting anxious that I had to write in to make a query!

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - No Accor literature but Disloyalty instead
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - No Accor literature but Disloyalty instead

On the other hand, the rest of the staff in the hotel were just excellent. We had lunch at Bottega di Carna and everyone was just great. We were there for a Sunday Roast and the server offered great suggestions and was just so friendly. The servers also made multiple rounds around the guests to make sure they could spot if anyone needed something from them.


When we went up to the roof to check out the swimming pool, the staff at Canyon Club, the rooftop bar, warmly welcomed us and we were welcome to head to the swimming pool. Similarly at Christina’s, where we had lunch after checking out, the servers were all so friendly and warm. They always had a smile and we felt so welcome. From our 24-hour stay at Mondrian Singapore Duxton, we felt as though two separate departments were running the hotel. We can say for sure that we wished we only encountered the second group of staff during our stay!

 
 

Hotel Facilities:

The hotel has a nice swimming pool on the rooftop and a small gym located on the fourth floor. Most would head here for the swimming pool with the awesome views. We have to say that Mondrian Singapore Duxton offers a great view of Singapore from its rooftop pool. On one side you get to see a modern city with multiple skyscrapers. Yet within the same frame, you can also see low-rise buildings that have been conserved. On the other side, you get to see Chinatown and the amazing architecture in this area. Further to the left side is something you always see in Singapore: Ongoing construction to build yet another building. This is how dynamic Singapore is, where there is constant construction to rebuild and improve the city-state.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - The famous swimming pool
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - The famous swimming pool

We made sure to head up first thing in the morning so that we could have the pool to ourselves. We usually swim before breakfast as this is the most peaceful time at the pool and very few people are at the pool at that time.


When we were there, we only spotted one lady who had just finished swimming and was having some alone time at the cabanas. By the time we finished snapping those Instagram-worthy photos of the pool, she had left the pool. By that time, we were alone at the swimming pool, relaxing and enjoying the view.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Checking out Pinnacle_Duxton behind the swimming pool
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Checking out Pinnacle_Duxton behind the swimming pool

The morning is also a great time to catch the peacefulness of the city and admire the sun rising from behind the skyscrapers. We were able to put in some laps before heading straight for a shower. It is always a good workout when you can wake up early for a swim before breakfast.


Unfortunately, we were all but ready for a light nap after finishing our breakfast. Hence, we forgot to head to the gym to check it out. We can only rely on the hotel’s website to show what the gym actually looks like.

 
 
 

Breakfast:

Breakfast is served on the third floor, at the hotel’s main restaurant, Bottega di Carna. The breakfast operates on a semi-buffet style, where guests can choose one main from a set menu, which revolves around egg dishes, and enjoy the rest of the dishes on a free-flow basis.


We chose the chili crab omelette and Eggs Florentine, while we went about to see what the buffet had to offer. Honestly, Mondrian Singapore Duxton’s breakfast does not provide the most variety. Rather, it offers mostly Western dishes with fried noodles, yam cake, and glutinous rice as the Asian options. The rest were the standard bread and pastries, salad, cold cuts, cereal, and muesli.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton breakfast service - A la carte menu for breakfast
Mondrian Singapore Duxton breakfast service - A la carte menu for breakfast

The hotel seemed to have chosen their favourites at other hotels’ buffet breakfasts and decided to have them in Mondrian Singapore Duxton instead. There is nothing wrong with this approach of course, as long as the quality can justify it. We thought the quality of the food was decent and not particularly spectacular. We enjoyed the chilli crab omelette and Eggs Florentine, although the chicken sausage was just ordinary. The baked beans looked and tasted like what you could obtain from any local hawker store selling Western food but we liked the yoghurt and granola. The smoked salmon was good and I also enjoyed the cheese.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton breakfast service - Muesli, yoghurt, and fresh fruits
Mondrian Singapore Duxton breakfast service - Muesli, yoghurt, and fresh fruits

Overall, we thought it was an ordinary breakfast that filled our tummies. We are not exactly big eaters so we were full by the time we finished all our food. Having said that, we know that some vacationers especially look forward to breakfast during hotel stays. Unfortunately, Mondrian Singapore Duxton’s breakfast service might not be the breakfast that you are looking for.

 
 
 

Food:

Overall, Mondrian Singapore Duxton’s restaurants serve some delicious food. On the day of our arrival, we made a reservation for a Sunday Roast at Bottega di Carna. We were looking forward to this as it offers great value, compared to a proper dinner at the same restaurant. When we arrived, the server was very helpful in suggesting that we get only one portion of the Sunday Roast and order a plate of pasta to complement the 1-portion Sunday Roast. She reasoned that the portion is quite big and we might have trouble finishing two entire portions of it. We took her suggestion and got a Frutti di Mare Risotto, which is a seafood risotto.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Starters at Bottega di Carna
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Starters at Bottega di Carna

We first enjoyed some complimentary warmed bread with olive oil. It was a good start to the meal. Next up, the appetisers were quickly served. Comprising 4 unique dishes, all of them tasted delicious. The signature beef tartare went well with the sourdough and we were excited for the rest of the dishes. The cured meat was simple, clean, and fresh, while the zucchini was refreshing. We were surprised at how good it tasted and we were thinking we would order it if it was offered as a dish on its own. The stewed cod wrapped in balls was also good. When mixed with the tomato salsa, it was a perfect combination. So far so good!


Next, the main course and what we were looking forward to. The huge platter came with three types of meat. A few thick slices of 200-day grain-fed beef black Angus ribeye, pan-roasted red snapper, and a huge chunk of a woodfired spring chicken. It came with two types of sauces, neither of which we remembered, but we preferred the yellow sauce.


There were also plenty of side dishes, comprising baby potatoes, broccolini, and Tuscan beans with rosemary salsa. The server was quick to bring us the three side dishes after initially serving the main platter. We forgot momentarily that we also had side dishes. All of them tasted great, which made us wonder why there was such a difference in standards between the hotel breakfast and the lunch, both of which are held in the same restaurant!

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Sunday Roast and seafood risotto at Bottega di Carna
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Sunday Roast and seafood risotto at Bottega di Carna

The server then brought us the seafood risotto. Oh, how wonderful it tasted. If there is one thing we can see ourselves eating every day, it has got to be this seafood risotto. It was so yummy and came with lots of ingredients. We might have regretted ordering only one portion of this sumptuous risotto.


By the time we finished our main course, we had almost filled up our bellies. The server then came right on time to ask if we would like any coffee or tea. Our Americano and iced mint tea came in no time and were the perfect complement to the huge portion of tiramisu that was our final course. It was such a great end to our meal as we devoured the tiramisu. At the end of our meal, we realised we had cleared all the food that was served to us, except for a few potatoes that we could not enjoy due to space constraints. All in all, a great meal!

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Ending the meal with a plate of tiramisu at Bottega di Carna
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Ending the meal with a plate of tiramisu at Bottega di Carna

We also decided to have a simple lunch the next day after check out, at Christina’s. Located on the first floor, it is just beside the entrance to the hotel, in front of the pick-up point. It is a nice cosy place that serves some unique dishes. Kaya Toast, Chili Crab Scrambled Eggs, Rendang Crispy Fried Chicken Wings, Laksa Noodles, and the Bulgogi Burger are just some of the dishes that are served. Guests who prefer more conventional Western options may also opt for Acai bowls, Avocado toasts, and the red snapper.


We decided to have a light meal consisting of laksa noodles and red snapper. Both turned out delicious, as is the expectation at Mondrian Singapore Duxton. The laksa noodles is a vegetarian dish but we did not realise it until after we got home when we commented why we did not see any prawns or fish cakes, the usual ingredients in a bowl of laksa. The bowl of noodles was probably so good that we did not even realise it during our meal. We enjoyed every last bit of it.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Lunch at Christina's
Mondrian Singapore Duxton - Lunch at Christina's

The red snapper was also delicious. The sauce, which is a mixture of coconut, chilli, sesame, coriander, and lime, gives a powerful kick whenever you have a taste of it. It went so well with the fish and broccolini that I had to consciously remind myself not to enjoy too much of the sauce. Before long, the fish and vegetables were all gone.


If there is one great thing about Mondrian Singapore Duxton, it is the standards of their restaurants. From the service standards of their staff to the quality of the food, everything was top-notch. We were always satisfied and happy whenever we stepped into one of the hotel’s restaurants to have a meal. If they can fix the breakfast situation, I am very sure more guests will be enticed to book a second stay at Mondrian Singapore Duxton.

 
 
 

Room:

At 22 square metres, the room in itself is not big. However, when we entered the room, it did not feel that way at all. Perhaps it was because there were many mirrors in the room that it felt larger than it was. This is a testament to the architects and designers of Mondrian Singapore Duxton.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - View from the bedroom
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - View from the bedroom

When you first enter the room, the open wardrobe is located on the side of it. Large enough to handle multiple clothes, you can also put your luggage at the bottom. There is a drawer where there is a hidden safe and amenities like the hairdryer, laundry bags, and a small make-up mirror. Those extremely comfortable bathroom slippers are right at the bottom, just waiting for guests to slip them on.


The ironing board and iron are cleverly hidden at the side by another mirror, which acts as the last line of defence to check your grooming before you leave your hotel room.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Open wardrobe
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Open wardrobe

On the other side is a mirror that is also the sliding door of the bathroom. The sliding door saves a lot of space and helps to make the room feel larger. The mirror is also very welcome as it is aesthetically more pleasing than just having another door frame.


The bathroom is honestly a little small, although it can perfectly fit one person. Strangely, there is no bidet available. Hence, this is something for guests to take note of. Surprisingly, there is also no soft closing for the toilet bowl. We accidentally got a shock a few times when we closed the cover before flushing. The bathroom consists of a standing shower that was just great. The water pressure is perfect and guests can enjoy the powerful pressure while cleaning themselves with Malin + Goetz toiletries. As part of the hotel’s sustainability measures, the toiletries are wall-mounted, which is great for guests really as there is no need to call the concierge requesting another bottle of shampoo. This is becoming the norm in most hotels and it is simply a win-win situation.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - The bathroom
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - The bathroom

In our bathroom, there was a screeching sound whenever we turned on the tap. We were not sure why, but just assumed it had something to do with the water pressure. Do be warned though, that because of the design of the bathroom, what you do in the bathroom can be easily heard in the room. It is not soundproof at all. However, if you are a couple living in the same room, this should not be of concern!


We saw another mishap after a shower. Only after I finished showering that I realise the water flowed out of the bathroom to the living area. It turned out that the drainage was unable to collect the water quickly enough and it overflowed into the room. Thankfully, the bathroom had sufficient towels to soak up all the water. The room appears to have vinyl flooring and I am not sure how long it will last if water keeps flowing out every time guests shower. The towels laid on the floor to soak up the excess water will not help matters either.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Water leaking from the bathroom
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Water leaking from the bathroom
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Bathroom with visible paint peels
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Bathroom with visible paint peels

The paint in the bathroom seemed to be peeling off already, even though the hotel is less than a year old. Maybe it is because of all the heat that caused the paint to start peeling. You do not usually see this in other hotels because most five-star hotels use wall tiles in their bathrooms. To be honest, we were quite surprised to see this at Mondrian Singapore Duxton.


In the bedroom, there is a table that contains all the room’s food and beverage options. A Lazzava coffee machine with Lazzava coffee capsules and Monogram teabags is provided for guests. Two bottles of Alkaline water are also provided. This is where we think might have been a missed opportunity for Mondrian Singapore Duxton. While many hotels are already installing water taps in hotel rooms, Mondrian has decided against it. Instead, recyclable cartons are used. Perhaps it is due to the design of the hotel rooms that make it an engineering challenge, but it would have been better as a sustainability measure if such water taps were installed instead. I cannot imagine the number of trips hotel staff have to make to deliver water bottles to guests. The number of bottles used is also another matter altogether.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Caffeine options
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Caffeine options
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Minibar
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Minibar

The minibar is hidden in one of the cabinets and you can see all the chilled drinks. These are chargeable so if you are in urgent need of a beverage in the middle of the night, think carefully before reaching out to grab a drink!


A few snacks are also provided and these come in the form of some chips and snack bars. During our stay, there was a bag of oatmeal cookies that stated it was baked fresh daily.


Unfortunately, because the room is only 22 square metres, they were unable to provide a working table, or so we thought. I realised that our room design differed from what was shown on the hotel website. While the website stated that their rooms come with a “table with panoramic views”, our room did not have one. The “table” was used to hold the alarm clock, phone, and writing materials. Not that we are complaining though, as it was a good place to place our valuables while we were in the room.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - View of the bed
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - View of the bed

I did a quick check on other reviewers who stayed at this hotel and it seems like their rooms had a table! It is quite strange how our room just did not have any table. I have no idea why there is this discrepancy in our room. Perhaps the sub-contractor ran out of materials during construction and the promised delivery did not arrive. Or the table might have been damaged previously and the one has not arrived yet. Either way, our stay at Mondrian Singapore Duxton was getting stranger by the minute.


What this also means is that you will need to work on the bed while watching television. I tried it and I must say that it was easy to get distracted. Ultimately, I paused the show on the television and focused on my laptop while lying comfortably on the bed. It was not the most uncomfortable seat I have sat on! I would happily do it again the next time I am on a staycation.


There are also universal plugs on either side of the bed. This is great if a couple consists of two workaholics. Both can focus on their work while still spending quality time together on the bed. The bed also happens to be comfortable and the two pillows for each person act as a great back support while putting the laptop on your lap. Another plus point is the USB-C plugs that are installed on either side of the bed, in addition to the USB-A plug. This is one of the perks of staying in a new and modern hotel as these amenities can be provided to guests. We were able to charge our iPhones and Macbooks easily without the need to bring our bulky plugs along.


For those who forgot to pack their charging cables along, fret not. Mondrian Singapore Duxton offers wireless charging via their alarm clocks. I did a test and found it was working perfectly. Another good decision by the designers at the hotel is to have amenities that guests will appreciate.

Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Phone and alarm clock in lieu of a mini sofa
Mondrian Singapore Duxton (Duxton View King) - Phone and alarm clock in lieu of a mini sofa

The bed itself, as mentioned earlier, is comfortable. After having our lunch at Bottega di Carna, we proceeded straight to our room where we promptly planted ourselves on the bed after changing. My partner enjoyed a well-deserved afternoon nap while I caught a few episodes of Suits on television.


The television comes with Chromecast and this was great given the variety of television channels was not fantastic. The only English movie channels are HITS Movies, HITS, and Paramount Network. Go figure. Guests can take advantage of having Chromecast to catch their favourite programmes rather than only being able to rely on the available television channels. The television also comes with useful information so you can check out the different restaurants, amenities that the hotel offers, and the room service menu. Do take note though. While the hotel website states that there is 24-hour room service, the fact is that it is available only between 7 am and 11 pm daily, with the last order at 10.30 pm. Why the hotel cannot update the website until there is 24-hour room service, we will never know. Of course, this should be of no issue to the majority of guests. However, for those arriving on a late flight, do be warned. You might want to grab a bite at Changi Airport first before heading over.