"Isn't that Regency House you're going to?" my cab driver asked, enquiring about the destination I had inputted into the taxi booking app moments after I boarded her cab.
"That's right," I told her, assuring her that I was indeed heading to one of the latest openings in Singapore's accommodation scene. "It has just rebranded and changed its name to Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard."
And henceforth we began our journey to the newly revitalised serviced residence standing at the junction of Penang Road and Oxley Road, close to Orchard Road, both of us every bit curious as to what Adina's debut in Singapore would bring to the city's ever-changing accommodation scene.
Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard occupies the former Regency House Singapore on Penang Road.
It would probably take a while for the general public, taxi drivers and visitors included, to become more familiarised with Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard, yet this rebranded property already has many things going for it.
One, naturally, is its prime location near the Orchard shopping belt. From the 88-room serviced residence, a five-minute walk in either directions will lead to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT and Somerset MRT stations. Besides countless retail and dining offerings, other attractions in its immediate vicinity include the lush Istana Park and the historic Fort Canning Park.
Two, Adina's arrival brings a long-time and solid apartment hotel brand from Australia into Singapore, one that incorporates an overlay of cutting-edge design, Aussie-influenced touches and warm personal service as its hallmark offerings.
G'day to an Aussie-influenced stay
In some ways, Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard feels more like someone's tastefully decorated residence much more than a hotel - and I guess that was what Far East Hospitality had in mind when it leveraged its long-standing joint venture partnership with Toga Far East Hotels (TFE Hotels) to bring the Aussie way of life to the Singapore hospitality scene.
The welcome hamper is filled with Australian-inspired treats.
The property has a relaxed and easy-going demeanour that Australia is so famous, starting with Joseline, the front-desk manager who checked me in with efficiency and friendliness in the double-height lobby. She promptly suggested that I could explore the local precinct through self-guided tours on foot or with the in-house bicycles, and should I be feeling peckish I could simple order from the assortment of gourmet snacks that line Ryan’s Grocery at the lobby.
As well, she also made sure that I received the tantalising check-in treats – Bulla yogurt popsicles in all four flavours, with the corresponding number of wet wipes no less – because she knew my two children were joining me for the stay. "You have to make sure they try all the flavours," she urged.
The dedicated service – thoughtful, attentive but not intrusive – would come to define my brief stay at Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard.
What makes a place home
There are three room categories at Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard – Studio Superior, Two-Bedroom Superior and Three-Bedroom Superior.
My Studio Superior room certainly felt like home, a space that I would want to kick back and lounge in after a day of work or shopping. The calm, contemporary interiors are kitted out in a soothing palette of beige and brown, while black-and-white portrait drawings and orange cushions add a pop of character to the space.
The Studio Superior room is one sleek package with an open-concept floor plan.
Having just undergone a fresh revitalisation, the Studio Superior room is one sleek package with an open-concept floor plan combining the living and bedroom space, alongside a well-appointed kitchenette (starring a washer and dryer) tucked within 36sqm. A high table separates the dining from the living area, where there's a king-sized bed and sofa, and the TV console in between.
My two children, aged five and seven, were most intrigued by the welcome hamper of delectable treats – Serious Popcorn (from New Zealand), Harvest Box nuts (Australia), Fossa chocolate with packaging that looks more like novel, and bathroom amenities by Sydney-based INK&WATER. And there was also a box of Sourbombe that no one, kids and adults alike, was able to resist.
And did I mention the Fedora hat? That certainly capped the Aussie-influenced experience, and a handy memento which will certainly come in handy for a shopping jaunt or a poolside break.
Thoughtful amenities and services go a long way
The swimming pool on the rooftop boasts views of Orchard Road and across the surrounding buildings.
As a serviced residence, Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard isn't chockfull with amenities – or guests. But whatever amenity it has, it is offered generously and accompanied with personalised service.
The rooftop is a delightful space to chill. From this vantage, guests have a fantastic bird’s eye view down Orchard Road and across the surrounding rooftops, including to the recently-restored Shell House clock tower.
The swimming pool offers ample features (cascading waterfalls, jacuzzi pools, etc) and plenty of space for everyone, while the surrounding skyscrapers and malls make an impressive backdrop for morning laps.
Yoga lessons or stretching exercises could be conducted by the poolside, while BBQ pits are available for small groups of friends and families to gather together. A gym overlooks the pool.
From Mondays to Fridays, continental breakfast is served at the poolside lounge, but the cafe also provides coffee and snacks for guests on the go. Despite its simplicity, a couple of things stood out.
One was the 'Make Your Own Sandwich' experience, where guests could customise their own paninis with their assortment of cheeses and hams available; two was the warm and thoughtful service by Aunty Alice, the matronly attendant who made sure that items were swiftly replenished at the breakfast pantry while ensuring my kids had what they needed at the table.
The attentive and smiley resident manager Nancy also made it a point to personally ask guests for feedback on their stay at Adina.
Warm breakfast and service can be expected at the breakfast lounge.
The best of worlds
Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard offers an excellent balance of apartment practicality with hotel luxury. The well-kitted amenities comprise living, sleeping and dining areas and a kitchenette, including a washing machine with dryer, as well as a cafe, swimming pool and gym on the premises.
Plus, its location at the edge of the city's prime shopping belt will surely appeal to anyone. It's close enough to the glitzy malls that line Orchard Road, but yet there's enough distance away from the famous shopping belt to make a stay feel less frenzied.
So comfortable and pleasant was my experience at Adina Serviced Apartments Singapore Orchard that I wish I was an actual resident, rather than a media guest enjoying a brief sojourn at the property. This is certainly an as-yet discovered gem that I would recommend to visitors to Singapore.