The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel at sunrise, with the Singapore River in the fore
1. Robots Are Part Of The Team
One of the first things I noticed upon walking through the large front doors was a red robot shuffling around the lobby. Yes, I said robot. This robot, named Aura (Automated Room Service Associate), stopped right in front of me with an endearing short customer satisfaction survey on its LCD touch screen. Could I refuse? It was waiting for an answer. What is the etiquette for interacting with a robot? I contemplated for a moment, slightly perplexed. And then reached out. Tap. And with a few flashing lights, Aura shuffled on. Now I was living in the future.
Monitoring guest satisfaction is only the beginning of Aura’s capabilities. Need more drinking water or perhaps an extra towel in your room? No problem, Aura will deliver it to you!
Phone in your request and reception staff will program your room number into Aura and place the item you’re after in its flip-top carry compartment. Aura then autonomously calls an elevator, rides up to your floor, and dials your room phone to let you know its outside the door. Open the door and you’ll find Aura patiently waiting with the item you requested inside. How’s that for innovation?
Aura’s not the only robot on staff at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront. There’s also Ausca (Automated Service Chef Associate) to cook eggs at breakfast.
Ausca is situated at the Food Capital buffet on level 1 and also at the Club Lounge buffet on level 29 (I wish I could be in 2 places at once!). Staff stock Ausca with ingredients to make an omelette, scrambled eggs, or eggs sunny side up and Ausca notifies them when ingredients are running low.
Simply tap on your favourite type of eggs and watch in awe as your breakfast is prepared. Zip. Boop. Sizzle.
Ausca hard at work
Ausca taking a break
The Grand Copthorne Waterfront’s sister hotel, M Social, was the first hotel in the world to implement these robots in 2018. The Grand Copthorne Waterfront followed shortly after the successful pilot at M Social.
2. Guests “Live Like A Local”
When you stay at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, you’re not just a guest, you’re a local Singaporean too. At least on Saturday mornings when the hotel runs its complimentary Live Like a Local program.
At 9am guests meet at the hotel’s tour lounge and head over to the historical, yet very hipster, neighbourhood Tiong Bahru.
The first stop on the tour was a classic Singaporean food market where each guest was given S$5 to spend on breakfast. Yes, free money. And yes, this was a free tour. Our helpful tour guide, Margaret, provided guidance on names of different Singaporean foods before sending us on a hunting and gathering mission.
I tried bright red nonya kueh filled with peanut butter as well as black and white fried carrot cake. Oddly enough, Singaporean carrot cake is more like a fritter than a cake, and is made with white radishes, not orange carrots. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s absolutely delicious.
I was surprised by how far $5 stretched and more than happy to continue the tour to walk off my food coma.
We explored several streets while Margaret shared stories about past and current residents, local traditions, politics and religions. We walked past several housing developments, a community centre, colourful, lifelike wall murals, a temple dedicated to the monkey god and a community garden once visited by Prince Charles.
Monkey god temple
Classic Singaporean rolled pancakes called kueh dah dah
After all the delicious food and heart-warming stories, by the end of the tour I wished I was a Singaporean too!
If you’re lucky enough to stay at the hotel on the first Saturday of each month, you’ll also get to join in crafty or sporty activities that form the second half of the Live Like a Local program.
Activities are themed according to a Singaporean or international event celebrated that month and can range from cocktail making and cooking lessons, to terrarium making and drawing classes, to Tai Chi lessons and henna body painting.
Singapore is a teeny tiny country and unfortunately that means apartment and hotel rooms often resemble shoeboxes. It’s not uncommon to have bathrooms that are so small the sink is situated outside the bathroom in the main bedroom area.
That is certainly not the case at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Common areas feature large open spaces with modern furnishings and there’s even a large gym, outdoor swimming pool, and tennis court.
I stayed in a spacious deluxe room with a generous-sized working desk and comfy lounge. The bathroom was equally as roomy with marble floor tiles and a luxurious bathtub. My room included access to the 29th floor Club Lounge for an alternate breakfast restaurant and complimentary high tea hour and free daily cocktail hour.
Glass of bubbly at cocktail hour
This hotel definitely goes out of its way to make sure its guests feel at home.
City and river views from the Club Lounge
And dinner at the in-house Italian restaurant, Grissini, is nothing short of art on a plate.
The Bottom Line
The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel is not satisfied with guests that simply check in and out again a few days later, but wants to make sure guests are engaged and feel connected throughout their stay.
This commitment is evident in the smiling faces you see on staff and guests alike, and in the carefully crafted mouth-watering food on offer at the in-house restaurants. I was wrapped by the added extras like the Club Lounge, Live Like a Local program, outdoor tennis courts, and spacious hotel rooms.
But if I’m really honest… the robot had me at “hello”.