The Sybarite had the pleasure of conducting a Q&A with The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts Country General Manager Mr Gino Tan to discuss this beautiful landmark setting in Singapore.
One of the few heritage hotels in Singapore and ultimately a landmark in itself, The Fullerton is a well-known establishment steeped in history. As General Manager, how important is the historical significance versus the hospitality aspect? How do you marry the two or does the establishment merely speak for itself with your focus mainly on the standard of service and guest experience?
As a custodian of heritage, The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts values the unique history and culture of the locations in which we operate. We are dedicated to showcasing the rich heritage of our properties through the preservation and restoration of these historic buildings.
We aim to serve our guests with our signature “hospitality from the heart”, adding a special touch to every experience. “Hospitality from the heart” is part of our brand DNA and the Fullerton brand is established on delivering warm, personal hospitality experiences and creating memorable Fullerton Stories for our guests.
All new employees are required to go through a comprehensive orientation programme where the hotel’s mission and core values are introduced. Through training and a passion to excel, these values are cultivated within the staff and effectively delivered to the guests.
A very special characteristic of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is its rich history and heritage. The hotel is housed in the Fullerton Building, which is 94 years old this year. It was once home to Singapore’s General Post Office, the Exchange Room, Chamber of Commerce and The Singapore Club – all of which played a pivotal role in the history of Singapore. The historic building was gazetted as Singapore’s 71st National Monument and accorded the highest form of recognition for its national significance in 2015, when Singapore celebrated its Golden Jubilee. It also forms a key part of The Fullerton Heritage precinct, which comprises a collection of historical and contemporary properties which represent the intersection of Singapore’s past, present and future – including The Fullerton Hotel, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, The Fullerton Waterboat House, One Fullerton, The Fullerton Pavilion, Clifford Pier and Customs House.
Since the opening of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore on 1 January 2001, we have strived to be a guardian of Singapore’s heritage via active outreach programmes through which guests and members of the public alike can immerse themselves in Singapore’s rich culture and heritage. These initiatives include:
o Weekly complimentary heritage tours conducted by experienced tour guides, through which hotel guests and members of the public will go on a walking tour to visit key locations and landmarks and learn more about the precinct’s rich history.
o Promotion of the local arts and culture scene through regular exhibitions and immersive experiences held in support of meaningful causes. Art exhibitions are held throughout the year at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore’s East Garden Gallery, featuring a range of artworks created by local artists and beneficiaries supported by non-governmental organisations.
o An insight to Singapore’s rich heritage through The Fullerton Heritage Gallery, a comprehensive museum experience located at the lobby level which features rare postal archival materials dating back to the 1960s, as well as videos of pioneer personalities who have lived, worked and played in the precinct.
What is your favourite room category and why? Consequently, what are some of your favourite experiences that The Fullerton offers to its guests?
Each room category at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is uniquely configured to reflect the distinctive and historic character of the building. One of my favourite suites is the Governor Suite, which is beautifully designed with wall motifs that date back to the 1920s. With a living room that opens out to a magnificent verandah flanked by 20-feet Doric columns on each side, with stunning views of the Civic District and Anderson Bridge, the Governor Suite is the perfect location for guests to soak up the area’s rich history.
Visitors to The Fullerton Hotel Singapore should definitely try our newly launched Traditional Afternoon Tea experience at The Courtyard, which stays true to the English ritual with a classic assortment of finely cut sandwiches and delicate pastries. On selected days, a harpist enchants the high-ceiling atrium with melodious tunes. At The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, the Expressions Afternoon Tea experience is inspired by nature’s wild and diverse flora, delighting the senses with the whimsical ensemble of pastries in vivid colours, shapes and forms, served on a custom-made tiered stand.
Those interested in a taste of local flavours will enjoy dining on our local heritage dishes at Town Restaurant, including Fullerton signatures such as Town Laksa, Fullerton’s Hainanese Chicken Rice, Singapore Satay and Lobster Nasi Lemak. Those who prefer to enjoy a relaxing day by the poolside can head to the stunning 25- metre outdoor infinity pool at The Fullerton Hotel that is set against a backdrop of majestic Doric columns, and overlooks the charming Singapore River or the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi pods at The Fullerton Bay Hotel which offer sweeping views of the iconic Marina Bay skyline.
In the West, we’re somehow “over” Covid where we’ve developed a fatigue towards the rules and restrictions. Travelling has soared and it almost feels as if things are back to normal. Coming to Singapore which has opened up gradually, how are you preparing for the influx of travel and have you placed any restrictions on what guests are wanting to experience? Have you had to adapt any of your services and does this impact the guest experience?
We are heartened by the resumption of international travel, and are confident that this will provide a welcome uplift to Singapore’s economy and tourism sector. Now, more than ever, we continue to keep an eye out for the well-being of our guests and anticipate their needs, to ensure that their visit to Singapore will be as memorable as ever.
The safety and well-being of our guests and team members remains our top priority at The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, and we are continuously enhancing our cleanliness practices and safe management measures at both our properties. This has also instilled greater confidence among our guests, who are able to experience an elevated level of protection from their point of arrival.
Both The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore have received the SG Clean certification, as well as the prestigious SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence and Safety Label by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification services. We are progressively introducing a range of new technologies to create a more convenient guest experience, and in alignment with our commitment towards more environmentally-sustainable practices. This includes contactless hospitality services such as the ability for guests to check-in and check-out via their mobile devices and a newly launched digital concierge service, which enables guests to access hotel information and book hotel facilities conveniently via their mobile phones.
In your own words, what sums up The Fullerton experience?
At The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, we encourage our guests to embark on journeys that are deeper, enriching and more rewarding when they stay in our one-of-a-kind, landmark luxury hotels. From National Monuments to much-loved city landmarks and ultramodern buildings, each of our hotels has its own unique character and story to tell. Each is a living part of the city fabric.
Beyond cookie-cutter hotel offerings, our vision is to create a destination which provides guests and visitors with heartfelt hospitality and unforgettable experiences. With us, guests will be fascinated by local stories that immerse them deeper into the cultural experience, and drawn to spectacular entertainment and enchanting surprises. Each stay at The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts’ heart-of-the-city locations guarantees an array of exciting experiences to choose from – ranging from heritage and culture immersion, wellness, culinary classes, city exploration and many more, enabling them to form a plethora of postcard-perfect Fullerton memories that will stay with them long after they leave.
At The Fullerton Hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Jade, for example, guests can enjoy not only delicious dishes prepared by Executive Chinese Chef Leong Chee Yeng and his team, but a display of his intricate gelatin sculptures of birds and other animals which are elegantly presented with his dishes.
Can you explain a few differences between The Fullerton and The Fullerton Bay hotels and perhaps which type of guest is more suited to each?
Both The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel offer experiences which are tailored for guests from all walks of life – whether you are travelling with your family, looking for a romantic getaway or taking a business trip.
Residing within an iconic heritage building, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore offers guests a perfect blend of the old, wired with the new. Its 400 guestrooms and suites offer panoramic views of Singapore’s skyline, overlooking historic landmarks and icons including the Singapore River and Merlion Park. It is the perfect location for families and travellers who are seeking an experience steeped in heritage and culture – offering a taste of sumptuous local cuisine at Town Restaurant and afternoon tea at The Courtyard, as well as proximity to nearby museums such as the Asian Civilisations Museum and National Gallery Singapore.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a 100-room modern boutique hotel, housed in a jewel-like structure built entirely above water at the Marina Bay waterfront, providing heritage call-backs amidst a modern establishment. The guest arrival experience has been carefully choreographed to celebrate the transition from the past to present as one steps into the Art Deco-style Clifford Pier, a former landing point for Singapore’s early settlers – which now serves as the main entrance and lobby of the hotel – before walking through the sleek modern building. With its elegantly designed dining venues, including The Landing Point – which stretches along an indoor promenade paved with bespoke marble mosaics and is a popular spot for a leisurely afternoon tea experience with friends – and the stylish Lantern rooftop bar – which offers panoramic views of the Marina Bay waterfront as you savour gourmet snacks and signature cocktails – The Fullerton Bay Hotel is ideal for guests who are seeking quiet luxury in a tranquil urban sanctuary.
What does the future look like for The Fullerton? Any exciting or upcoming events?
As international travel continues to resume at a fast pace, we are heartened that we have seen an increase in hotel bookings from overseas travellers, and we look forward to welcoming international guests back to our hotels. We have a host of key events and celebrations lined up at our hotels in the upcoming months. Throughout the month of September, we will be commemorating the milestone 50th anniversary of the iconic Merlion, with activities including a family weekend stay paired with an afternoon teatime bumboat ride along the Singapore River, and a birthday cake-cutting event on 15 September.
We are also especially excited about the long-awaited return of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix at the end of September, after a two-year hiatus. Both The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel are located in close proximity to the Singapore Grand Prix circuit, which make them sought-after accommodations of choice for mostly international travellers who wish to enjoy an immersive first-hand experience of the exhilarating race.
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