Have you ever had a cab driver sing Creedence Clearwater Revival songs for you?
From the Changi Airport, to the cab ride, the restaurant, to the hotel, Singapore’s hospitality rivals that of any other country.
It starts with the cab ride. When you hop in the cab in Singapore, you’re probably going to get a friendly, talkative driver. You may even find them singing. It seems they are aware they might be your first impression of Singapore.
After the fare, the cabbies will typically offer their business card, along with best wishes for your travels. You’ll also find the fare is reasonable. You can get most anywhere in Singapore for less than a $10 U.S. fare.
Hospitality just gets better from there. The Singapore hotels are really good at it.
At the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, for example, you will often have five or six hotel employees ask if you need any assistance. That’s just on the walk from your cab to your hotel room. This treatment isn’t just for high rollers, or those staying in the presidential suite. This is for the typical hotel guest in a standard room.
Simply asking a question of the hotel concierge can yield a pleasant surprise. For example, one guest of the Mandarin Oriental really enjoyed the Singapore National Day parade (like the U.S. Forth of July parade), and asked where they could get a Singapore flag as a souvenir. They got one the next morning, complimentary from the hotel, along with a singed note of appreciation from the hotel manager. Again – this was a standard guest in a standard room, not a celebrity.
This same level of service applies at many of the area hotels – Pan Pacific, Marina Mandarin, and more. Expect to have every door held for you, and your every need attended. The concierge at each of these places will be unbelievably helpful, with a wider smile than you’re used to seeing.
The high degree of hospitality and helpfulness in Singapore is no mistake. Several schools in Singapore offer degrees in the area. The coursework at these schools often involve six-month internships at top hotels around the island. One degree program in Singapore is done in conjunction with the University Of Nevada –Las Vegas, which itself is a top ranked hospitality degree school.
The pleasantries will continue at dinner, where servers will be plentiful. Your beverage will not go empty. Note that there will be a couple of tweaks at dinner. First, you might not have napkins, as many places in Singapore use fingerbowls. This is a carryover from the past, where fine restaurants used fingerbowls with water and lemon for guests to clean their fingers.
Second, dinner will probably include a variety of foods you have never seen. Order the chili crab or pepper crab, which are Singapore’s trademark dishes. And use your fingerbowl.