When you first spot the JW Marriott building you realise it’s going to something different. The tall Foster-designed structure is sail shaped and stands out as unique and distinctive in the area. Built on the site of the old army barracks, the modern buildings and complex incorporates a number of historically listed buildings, such as the old Drill Hall that is now the Ballroom.
Watch My Video tour and overview of The JW Marriott South Beach
The hotel originally opened as the “South Beach Hotel” before JW Marriott tok over and made changes to the back office, lobby, tweaked the Philippe Starck designed rooms and created a new restaurant across the way from the main hotel building to primarily serve breakfast. They also created a Spa, which was not included in the original hotel. They hotel officially opened as JW Marriott South Beach on 15 December 2016.
There is a lot of “wow factor” across the interiors the hotel. The lobby has a vast screen at the main door that shows spectacular montages and artworks. The main reception area is the full length of the building and filled with eclectic and eccentric furniture and artworks remaining from the original Philippe Starck format.
The bedrooms are packed with technology, such as multi-country and USB charging stations and electronically controlled blinds and windows. The logic behind all the lights and other controls is a bit confused, and it takes some time to fathom out how to switch everything off and on. Fellow guests I was travelling with admitted it had beaten them and they had to call the main desk for help to switch lights off. I did find I had to play around at bedtime to get things closed down.
Whilst not huge, the room is full of light with floor-to-ceiling windows, lots of mirrors and white decor. The bed is vast and comfortable with high quality linen. There is plenty of storage. I loved the large sofa along the window that allowed you to lie down and enjoy the view.
The bathroom looks fantastic. The basin is a long white bowl, although it is a bit fiddly to shave in as does not hold a good depth of water and is hard to rinse out. The bath is a large standalone white bath. One quirk was the plug is right in the middle and I found as one sat in it tended to open. However, it was a great size and very comfortable to soak in. The separate shower is a huge room with a large shower head and great water pressure. The toilet, also in a space with a door, is a Japanese-style one that has heated seat and privates cleaning features.
Personally, I loved the rooms and modernity of them. They may not suit everyone but I like the contemporary and quirkiness of them. It felt luxurious and premium.
On the 18th floor is a large fitness centre and infinity pool. The sides of the floor are open and so it has great views across four sides.
The breakfast, included in my fare, was a big spread of both Western and Asian style food. You have to leave the hotel building through reception and walk across a covered area to reach it. This did not trouble me but some of my fellow travellers were more frustrated by this as they could not access it directly form within the hotel itself.
Service was excellent overall, although housekeeping was a bit erratic and inconsistent across the week I stayed. The venue is luxurious and slightly quirky. I liked this hotel a great deal. I found the location to be excellent as the Metro was right under the hotel and it was within walking distance of the Marina Bay. There were also large shopping malls across the road as well as Raffles Hotel.
Disclaimer: I stayed at the JW Marriot South Beach as a guest of Seabourn Cruises and Singapore Tourism Board whilst attending the naming of the Seabourn Encore cruise ship.
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