- Free Wifi
My wife and I stayed at the Ibis Hotel in Novena for 19 nights and had a very enjoyable stay. For starters, the hotel is a quick trip up the expressway from the airport, although be mindful that our taxi driver did get lost and tried to drop us off at the wrong hotel up the road. Once we arrived, we were given a no fuss early check in at 8.30am as they had a room available and we had just flown a red-eye flight in. Very nice.
Although we did not use too many services of the hotel, we did ask for a few things from housekeeping during our stay - trivial stuff like more toilet paper or an extra hand towel, because they weren't replaced or had been taken away after they had cleaned the room. The hotel has a policy that says that if you have a problem, they'll fix in 15 minutes and the one time we called the front desk with a request (of more toilet paper) it took about half an hour. No problem right, except somebody (and I won't name names) was sitting on the toilet and the paper hadn't been replenished, nor a spare roll left. Also, do not leave your spare door card in the power slot if you get your room cleaned because housekeeping will take it away and you'll be left with one door card. You also need your card to access the elevators up.
The hotel also offers a free shuttle van that holds eight people and can take you to Novena MRT or Orchard Road. It leaves the hotel (and the other 2 locations) at set times a couple of times a day, which is great when it's raining. But sometimes the van runs late and you either wait, walk or catch a bus or taxi.
The hotel offers free wifi, which is great, unless you're using it during peak times, which is basically in the evenings. During those times we found wifi very, very slow. But there are 2 computers downstairs in the lobby if there's anything you need to quickly check online. But if you are loitering around the hotel lobby, be careful of the frequent drop of condensation that falls from the air-con vents above. I think they were fixing this during our stay, but by the time we checked out, there were still small pools of water on the floor around the hotel lobby. We also made a phone call to a local mobile phone and spoke for over 15 minutes and the bill when checking out was $1.
We had a room on the 4th floor, facing outwards onto Balestier Road. Not much of a view unless you like looking at petrol stations or lighting and bathroom shops. The rooms were very clean and simple, all we really needed since we were out from 9am and only returned very late in the evenings to shower, watch a bit of TV and sleep. There are 16 TV channels with several in other Asian languages, CNN, News Asia, an Aussie channel, 2 sport channels and also a cartoon channel. There's also the typical Ibis info channel, which lists the daily room cost (we saw it fluctuate from as low as $148++ to $228++ during our stay, and even saw them adjusting it onscreen whilst we sat there watching TV. They also have the weather, which wasn't updated for several days at times and they also list their exchange rate.
We slept well every night and although the bed was a little hard and the pillows a little too high for our tastes, the room was very quiet. We could hardly hear any outside traffic from our 4th floor room, and only the odd scraping of a chair on the floorboards from above now and them. Fair enough we heard the odd person slamming their door shut or talking loudly in the hallway, and even kids running past, but that's not the fault of the hotel and during our long stay, it was far and few between.
The room has a small shoe box fridge that will chill 2 small bottles of water and tetra pack sized drinks overnight. Just don't do what I did and fill it with 12 tetra pack drinks because it took 3 days to even cool down. Leave 5 or 6 small drinks or 2 600ml bottles in there and they'll chill overnight. Air conditioning was maybe a little noisy, but not annoying, but the range of temperatures and fan speed and reaction time allowed us to cool or warm the room quickly and easily.
After storing 2 suitcases in the room, one on the large desk and the other on a cushioned seat, it only left the desk chair or the bed to lounge around on, which wasn't a problem. The bathroom is a little tight which means you'll have to brush you teeth one at a time in there. And when you're showering, be careful not to knock the shower lever and accidentally turn it off as you move around in your triangular shower cubicle. At least it's a glass screen so you don't have to put up with shower curtains molesting you whilst you wash.
One of the big draw cards of the hotel is it's location on Balestier Road. The MRT is a brisk 10 minute uphill and downhill, mostly covered walk. But if you're feeling lazy and didn't take the shuttle van, you can catch the 131 or the 21 bus 3 stops to the station (and shopping centre). The bus stop is only around the corner from the hotel and buses run very frequently. You also have the option of catching a bus to your destination instead and not worrying about the train. All bus shelters have a list of the buses and their routes on panels (all which remain graffiti and vandalism free).
There are many local eateries down the road from the hotel, on both sides of the road, plus a 7Eleven only a couple of hundred meters away. There are a few local favorite eateries within walking distance from Ibis, including a couple of places that boasts to have the best chicken rice, and another that boasts to have the best durian in Singapore. And since you can't take durian on the bus, train, taxi and/or your hotel, what better place to try it.
Taxis are so common around the area because of the nearby hospitals and the business of Balestier Road, so be careful not to scratch your head as all the passing taxi drivers will veer over to you thinking that you're flagging them down. Be aware that there is a new building (when isn't there a new building being constructed) being built across the road and you can hear a bit of that noise if you're in your room during the day.
If you're a non-smoker, I'd avoid the 3rd floor. If you are, I'd ask for the 3rd floor. There is an outdoor smoking 'room' located between rooms 328 and 332 and I'd imagine that smoke will inadvertently drift into the hall and possibly into your room. I saw one gentleman standing with his foot holding the smoking room door ajar, while he happily smoked in the hallway on level 3 (you can see because there are windows on level 4 that look down into the smoking room).
Ibis Novena is a hotel we would happily stay again - if the price was right. Considering the length of time we stayed, we had a very comfortable and enjoyable stay. The hotel caters well for the solo traveler, families and friends (we had more family fly in and join us halfway through our stay taking up another 4 rooms, and only one didn't end up on the same floor as us). It's location allows you to experience a bit of the heartlands of Singapore (except for the expats and their families living around the area), with all the main tourist haunts only a quick bus, MRT or taxi ride away.
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The Guest Services Team
Great little hotel. Nothing fancy, but all the basics were there. It was new, clean and the bed was reasonably comfortable. The location was within walking distance to the subway and the mall. Internet was free, although it took a little while to get it going. The restaurant downstairs offered a limited menu, but the good was not bad, and the price quite acceptable.
We very much appreciate your comments regarding your stay at the Ibis Singapore Novena.It is always a pleasure to receive positive and constructive feedback so enable us to improve further.
I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.
Thank you for sharing your experience and we are grateful for your support and look forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you back to Ibis Singapore Novena.
The Guest Services Team