Park Royal Collection Pickering hotel review: Lush greenery and sustainability in an urban concept
A real marvel
As far as Singapore goes, to say there's a desperate sentiment to travel is an understatement. Especially since our tiny country falls short on space, natural wonders, and well, other states. Of course, we're not alone in this equation. In a global survey, dubbed The Future of Travel by Booking.com, 53% of travellers claim to have a greater desire to see the world. But not in a desultory manner — 53% also stated that they want to travel more sustainably, with COVID-19 revving up awareness about the impact that travelling causes on the environment and local communities. Within Singapore, there is the same moral conclusion. What stemmed from a prolonged hiatus of international travel has led to the environment healing up quite nicely. With this disparity of aftermath, 47% (nearly half) of Singaporean travellers would like to travel more sustainably in the future, with 73% expecting the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options.
A travel trend marked as Impact Awakening, was cited in the global survey report. And the most fitting way to experience this in our cosy island, has to be at Park Royal Collection Pickering — a testament to green hospitality.
You can't possibly miss the curvature of this edifice while driving or strolling through the streets of the CBD, in parallel to the legendary, albeit rousing space that is Hong Lim Park. In fact, its famed neighbour had plenty to do with Singapore studio WOHA who designed the hotel. Inspired by the man behind the eponymously-named park, Cheang Hong Lim, who bought out the land as a public area just so that everyone — no matter your social standing — could enjoy nature and greenery for free. Back in the 1800s, parks were only something the rich could afford to own. WOHA's vision for the hotel was meant to be an extension of the park, bridging nature into an urban property.
The ethos to public service is first noticed before you even set foot in the hotel, the entire walking pavement that surrounds the building is modelled in a stone granite surface. That way, even passers-by could experience the hotel without even being a patron. Cascading patterns are the first thing we noticed upon arrival in the hotel lobby, mimicking the visions of canyons, rock formations, and even caves. There was also plenty of intent to let light leak in, as opposed to bordering up the entire space. The real marvel had to be the plant-covered balconies and terraces cocooning the entire hotel, and by achieving that, the architects at WOHA were able to create 15,000 square meters of greenery, which was double the size of what the entire parameters were.
Evoking the rules of nature, which reads none — the spaces within Park Royal Collection Pickering breathe a new lease of life — we spotted a marbled wall that looked just like the texture of a tree bark, pools of water planted in our step, lattice timber, and the unifying use of wood that warmed up the entire place. Its moniker, garden-in-a-hotel, isn't a far-reaching one. If anything, the orientation where it sits, being South-West, has merit in the breeziness of the hotel. Once you're outdoors, lounging by the infinity pool, or taking a walk admiring the mini herb garden, you'll be hit with gusts of wind no matter the time of day. One attempt they did make to cool down the property, was using a special glass that cuts out heat, while letting the natural daylight come through.
The energy use of the hotel is also minimised with the building kept cool, and the use of solar lighting are planted with sensors, with the notion of running on low energy as much as possible.
As far as rooms go, there are 367 of them — comprising of different room categories. Our favourite had be the Lifestyle Collection room — a sleek hideaway marred with plenty of wood and moss green textures, and aligned with the serenity of foliage hanging from the windows. If you're booked under the Collection type, that also means a free pass to the Club Lounge at the top level — where breakfast comes with free flow champers. That is if bubbly's your thing in the morning. While you're there, snap a couple of shots at the rooftop terrace — because it's where you'll get paranomic views of our city's finest buildings — including WOHA's other creation, Oasia Hotel Downtown.
But even if you don't make to the top tier, Lime Restaurant at the ground floor boasts its own buffet spread that could potentially beat out the fare at the Collection Club Lounge. Simply by its array of local delights and Western classics — from lobster laksa, a winning durian gula melaka dessert, sashimi platters to angus cuts — there is something here for anyone. So much so that even non-patrons of the hotel flock here for a casual fest.