Have you ever had a hotel room where you could turn the lights on, turn them off, order room service, adjust the air conditioning, use the TV and turn the fan on with just your mobile phone?

The Grand Park City Hall is fresh from an extensive renovation and a serious technology upgrade. It is also the first Singaporean hotel to have in room app technology that means you never have to turn on a switch, find a remote or stumble around in the dark looking for the air con control panel. All you need to do is download the app on your phone. Soon, you’ll be able to use the app and your phone’s facial recognition to check in and out. That’s what I call streamlining services.

One might ask, is this really necessary?

  • Frequent travellers, business travellers, or even those on a long haul holiday will tell you how tricky it can be to work out how to find and then use various controls.
  • The air con is often in Fahrenheit, you need to get up out of bed to turn off that one pesky lamp in the corner, you have questions about how the shower works.
  • The app takes care of all those pesky little problems – there’s even a live chat function where you can ask a question, any question, and get a speedy response from the attentive hotel team.

One might expect that a highly tech savvy hotel room might be ultra modern. Instead, the Grand Park City Hall’s rooms are minimal, yes, but still have a flair of old world glamour, with a muted grey colour scheme, black and white photos of the historic Singaporean district the hotel sits within, and moody hanging lamps. The bathroom sits inside a glass cube, breaking the mould of traditional hotel room floor plans – there are automatic blinds you can lower for privacy, but I like how it opens the entire space up.

There’s traditional Peranakan patterned tiles, floorboards instead of carpet (always a good choice) and plenty of beautiful pieces of photography that bring a bit of the building’s history into the space. The same can be said for the rest of the hotel, which stretches across 10 floors and occupies a historic Colonial-style building that feels like it has been restored to its formal prestige.

The hotel’s common areas, the lobby, the Tablescapes restaurant, are a study in chic interiors, with baby pink chairs, intricate metal screens and hanging overhead lamps providing the perfect spot to settle in for dinner for two. Then there’s the rooftop pool, where lounge chairs sit in the water, day beds sit alongside the waters edge and a mini gazebo perches on the corner. The gym has views down to the street below so you can people watch while you hit the treadmill. The best views are from the Crystal Club lounge, where Club room guests have access to breakfast, evening drinks and canapés and an outdoor rooftop lounge area where the brightly coloured windows of the Old Hill Street Police Station are just part of the almost 280 degree views out over the city. The view is a nice taster of what awaits outside the hotel – historic Singapore is just on your doorstep.

Whether you want to rejuvenate from your journey with controls at the touch of your phone or head out into the city, Grand Park City Hall is a brilliant spot to stay in Singapore.