York Hotel Superior Room

You’re looking at the dowdy mess of a Superior guest room at Singapore’s York Hotel, where a long six-night stay was booked strictly based on need (our apartment wasn’t finished yet), location (close to the myriad conveniences of Orchard Road, straight shot by taxi to my wife’s office), and cost (cheaper than the two adjacent hotels), three determining factors that intersected at just the right crossroad to make York the pick. This actually followed long stays at the other two hotels on Mount Elizabeth, The Elizabeth and The Quincy, both of which are significantly better — if still flawed — options for bookings of any length if you’re looking at this area.

Oh, the York is perfectly fine in that oh-fuck-it-it’s-only-for-a-few-nights kinda way, but six nights was four nights too many for me — and even two nights should be too many for you. Keep in mind that you’re going to pay upwards of at least US$200 a night to stay just about anywhere mildly reputable in the glitzy Orchard Road area, so by the time you factor in the lack of basic amenities included (or, not included, as it were) in the York’s most-affordable rate, in the end the comparatively low rate simply equates to a duplicitous bait-and-switch. The cost of getting online here is the biggest kick in the balls.

Orchard Road is certainly a fun, convenient launching pad for the rest of Singapore, but you can do better than York Hotel.

Pros:

  • Location – 5-minute walk from commercial heart of Orchard Road
  • Outdoor Pool Area – Spacious, uncommonly deep pool in quiet courtyard surrounded by tropical greenery
  • Bloated Main Lobby – Gleaming marble; sterile; thoroughly dated; in other words wonderful, from a certain point of view
  • Staff – Friendly, competent, and professional

Cons:

  • Value - At US$171 per night it was the cheapest of the three Mt. Elizabeth hotels, but easily the chintziest. Breakfast was not included in this rate; first in-room bottle of water free, the next S$11; in-room 12 oz. can of Tiger beer S$11.25 (it’s less than half that price at far-superior The Elizabeth); in-room Wi-Fi access is not included and costs S$8.50 for 2 hours, S$19.26 for 24 hours, or S$74.90 for 7 days. There is a public computer center on the first floor with two desktops, but Internet access is not free.
  • Comfort - To sleep on one of the twin beds is to lie on slightly padded concrete. The small flat-screen television included in Superior rooms accesses about 10 grainy analog TV stations and a handful of digital stations. Bathroom shower rumbled as if powered by a garbage disposal on the fritz.
  • Noise – While I enjoyed listening, through our room’s paper-thin door and walls, to babies wailing and frazzled parents shouting and housekeeping staff chatting and every single other fucking sound in the hallway, more pleasurable was the daily wake-up call, like a sumo wrestler shitting bowling bowls on the ceiling, that came at approximately 5:45 a.m. and continued with some regularity until around 8 a.m. The staff seemed puzzled by the disturbance, particularly since nobody was in the room directly above us for half of our stay.

Bonus Takeaway: A fine option for masochists and indifferent package tourists, York Hotel dazzled with its lack of in-room amenities, which in our facetiously named Superior room included an old electronic push-button pad, anchored in the bedside table, that controls the room lighting and air conditioning. After two separate calls/visits from the housekeeping staff, we learned that the trick to reviving it when the electronics funked out was to yank it out of the table and jerk the wires around until it flashed back on, then to gently slide it back in without jostling the wires.

York Hotel, 21 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore, 228516. +65 6737 0511.