My first stay with Millennium Hotels was at boutique hotel Studio M Hotel when it first opened. While I liked the stay, I found the hotel too expensive and crowded for staycays. I only truly developed a liking for Millennium Hotels when I stayed at M Hotel a few years later.
M Hotel was not spectacular, but it was above average enough at the price one pays – as a business hotel, the hotel was not crowded on weekends. It had a decent pool, either for suntanning or serious soaking. The gym was also well-equipped and they have Café 2000 that offered good food for breakfasts, lunch and dinner (which offered BBQ for weekend dinners and Champagne brunches on Sundays). This meant that you can actually stay in the hotel throughout the stay without stepping out of its compounds and just be a hermit for the staycay.
If you are lucky, you can even score a room at SGD150/night if you book just 1 day before the stay (subject to availability, but since it’s a business hotel, it usually has vacant rooms over the weekends). The package won’t include breakfast, but there’s always Food Panda and nearby McDonald’s.
In 2017, I decided to focus on attaining the Premium status – a Premium member can enjoy club lounge access even if you are not staying in club rooms and once attaining the status, a member is entitled to 2 upgrades to club room, even if you book the lowest-tier room (Superior). I managed to accomplish my goal by end 2017, by devoting all my staycays at my favourite: M Hotel.
Unfortunately, I could not find time for staycays after attaining my status. During the 1 year of that status (the status will expire after 1 year, unless one keeps clocking enough stays), I only managed to stay at Orchard Hotel, Copthorne King’s Hotel and Grand Copthorne Waterfront.
That is not to say, my journey to accumulate the points was not uneventful. I had to keep writing to their reservations team to chase for points not credited to my account, which unbeknownst to me at that point of time, was the start of my nightmare with Millennium Hotels.
My stay at Orchard Hotel was my first after attaining my Premium status (which was actually half a year after “joining the club”). Despite all the promises, I could not get early check-in and neither could I get late check outs. There were other little perks not accorded to me (they were insignificant, like welcome drinks) but when viewed together, I realised that I had gone through the stay while being treated like a non-loyalty member.
It was hard not to be salty, especially after all the concerted effort to attain that status.
My next stay at Copthorne King’s was just as bad. Like I mentioned in my review, I was again treated like a normal customer. Worse still, I realised just days before the stay, that the management had changed the Terms and Conditions to the benefits of Premium members without a single notification: Premium members will no longer be able to access Club Lounge when they stay in non-club rooms.
How not to be salty after all the effort to attain that status, and not being able to enjoy perks that I was promised?
The only saving grace of Copthorne King’s was actually its inhouse restaurant: Princess Terrace. If breakfast is in the package, then one will have breakfast there, which serves super decent local fare, given the history of the eating place. If not, the Penang Buffet, which starts at 6.30pm at Princess Terrace is a full blown Peranakan gastronomic experience.
Nearer to my expiry, I realised I had to expend one of my 2 entitlements to upgrade to Club rooms, despite my busy schedule (other than losing 1 entitlement, I also had to give up my “Birthday Treat” of 2 nights’ stay at Club Room at a discounted rate). After some research, I settled on Grand Copthorne Waterfront.
I had stayed there a few years earlier and never returned – the rooms were old and the breakfast place (at the hotel lobby) was horrible (overcrowded, understaffed and food uninspiring). I only decided to return to experience its Club Lounge, which by comparison, was the best Millennium Hotels has in its Singapore’s offerings.
And like I mentioned in my review, I was short changed once again. Learning from my previous experience, I decided to be a bit more pushy. I called the reservations team right after I booked my room to passive-aggressively make them promise me I would be upgraded to Club Room, even though the Terms and Conditions said “subject to availability at check in”.
At check in, despite showing my upgrade voucher, I was still only upgraded to a Deluxe Room. I had to show my upgrade voucher again to proof that I was entitled to a Club Room upgrade (the receptionist had insisted I was only entitled to a one-tier upgrade) before I was given Club Lounge access, but with a Deluxe Room.
Therefore, after attaining Premium status, I had never, ever stayed in any of Millennium Hotel’s Club Room, because the chain just did not feel like realising their end of the deal.
I’m somewhat conservative in mindset in that, if I belong to a lower tier status, I would not demand to be treated like someone from a higher tier – when I was still earning my Premium status, I had never once asked to be upgraded for nothing. Yet, when I finally attained that status, I found I was never treated like a Premium member. I had to push the staff before I was even given a morsel of Premium status treatment.
Which was the reason why I decided, after my unfortunate stays at Orchard Hotel and Copthorne King’s (which was the tipping point) that I would not endeavour to renew my Premium status.
I mean, with that kind of treatment, my money would be better spent serving to earn a premium status with Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton.
I was teased for even trying to earn a premium status at Millennium Hotels, considering that it was a small player not known to have good services. I had (naively) thought my good experience at M Hotel could be found in their other establishments (assuming that the good service culture could be diffused to the other hotels). I have spent good money and time to experience and find out (for myself and my blog readers) that those were wasted on a loyalty programme that did not treat its loyalty members fairly, like I mentioned after I stayed at Copthorne King’s.
Someday, I would stay at M Social (for its novelty) or M Hotel (for the peaceful environment and decent business-dedicated rooms), but no, I won’t work towards being their loyalty member again, when they treat their loyalty members like a normal tier customer.
I had good memories at Studio M and M Hotel, but good times don’t last 😊
Interestingly (and ironic, perhaps?), after my membership ended, I received this eDM in my inbox saying they have improved their program. But well… I have made up my mind.
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Till then, stay wanderlust!