M Social Singapore staycation review: Of perfume workshops & a lesson in cocktail mixology

Staying at M Social Singapore over two nights stirred memories of when I took overseas trips alone. The day I had the means to afford solo travel, I quickly packed my bags, booked my flight and accommodation, said a little prayer, and traipsed away to the cosmopolitan juggernaut that is Hong Kong.

As a solo traveller, I revelled in intentionally getting lost amongst alleyways, buildings tightly packed together, my thoughts, and the uncertainty of where this directional confusion would take me. It’s all very poetic and something I miss dearly now as countries shuttered their borders to keep an invincible and deadly enemy out.

M Social Hotel Singapore Facade Night

The most accessible way to snap me out of this wanderlust rut is, of course, through a staycation—or so I’ve been told. But I never quite understood what good a staycation would do for someone like me—single, partnerless, and quite frankly, utterly bored with the city.

The premise of paying top dollars to stay in a space that’s literally an extension of my comfortable room is somewhat perplexing. There’s really nothing much that separates home living from a hotel experience other than that it gets cleaned once a day and a hotel breakfast that’s much too filling for me to function properly without taking a nap before noon. It’s all too much and in some ways, wholly unnecessary.

The M Social aesthetic

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Shot on Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G

This reticence would be something I had to consciously leave behind as I embarked on this staycation in M Social’s Premier Loft that has been kindly arranged by the hospitable folks here. M Social, for those not in the know, is the swanky, avant-garde hotel that sits in the middle of several very expensive apartment complexes, and counts as neighbours such storied establishments like P.S. Cafe, Common Man Coffee Roasters, and Singapore Repertory Theatre.

The interiors of the rooms in M Social were designed by the doyen of design, Phillipe Starck, and it shows. We’re talking about artful pairings of hard reflective surfaces with warm woods and soft furnishings, a penchant for bold tile patterns, and a restaurant that’s a riot of colours and patterns every which way you look.

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But these aren’t the reasons why I enjoyed my stay here. Unlike other hotels dishing out enticing offers that hinge on affordability as a draw, M Social instead chose to focus on the experiences that make a stay here one that is memorable, entertaining, and, surprisingly, educational.

I am, of course, talking about the two workshops that come bundled with every staycation package booked. Their Mix & Stay package, which starts at S$180++ for a one night stay for two guests, comes with a complimentary cocktail making workshop led by the mixologist of M Social’s restaurant Beast & Butterflies, Vladyslav Yesepiv.

Have your cocktail your way

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In this workshop, Vlad will guide you on a journey of crafting a cocktail made up of flavours of your choosing. He starts with a glass of basic gin and a selection of up to eight colourful liquid flavourings for your perusal. It’s all very science-y, albeit without the precise measurements. It’s a cocktail, Kevin. Lighten up.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more interesting, Vlad hands out blowtorches for everyone to share. This would be used to caramelise a heap of sugar on a piece of fruit that has been cut into half. This sugar will eventually harden and become a sugar disc for you to use as edible decoration on your craft cocktail.

The most challenging part of this whole affair was the mixing. The tip is to ensure your mixer bottle is sealed tight against the glass or risk cocktail splashing every which way during the mixing. It’s all very practical and educational as Vlad implores us to employ all our senses in the making of this craft cocktail. Before I knew it, one hour was up and I, of course, finished every last drop of my creation.

A spritz and a spray away

Day 2 at M Social started with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, croissant, and a flat white. I saw other diners enjoying several plates of nasi lemak, which is quite perplexing for me whose breakfast at home is just a cup of coffee.

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One quick nap later (I’m on holiday, Susan. Get off my back) and it was off to the perfume workshop held in collaboration with local perfume atelier, Maison 21G. This workshop comes bundled with the Bottled Up Happiness package that starts from S$240++ for a one night’s stay for two guests.

As the name suggests, the perfume workshop is an activity centred around the art of scent where you’ll learn how to create a unique aroma that defines your personality and style. Trained staff from M Social will guide on this olfactory journey through a selection of over twenty base scents using both technology and the good ole’ nose.

Collage Perfume Workshop
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First, you’ll be guided to take an online quiz where you’ll be asked questions such as what matters the most to you (feeling safe and secure or searching for adventure) and what comes most naturally (building on tradition or inventing new ways). A few clicks later and you’ll be presented with two options each of a perfume mix for day and night.

From there, you can go with what the quiz suggests, or you can mix and match scents that entice you the most. The latter would be slightly more challenging, especially if you’re not well versed in the science of aromachology.

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I went with a scent mix I call ‘Obvious’ since I’m of age and know exactly the type of scent that excites me. Mine is a mix of 2.5 grams of Vetiver Virtuoso and Sleek Sandalwood for a scent that lasts a very, very long time. I love this smell, obviously, and while I do kick myself for not attempting to veer further from the familiar, I love what I love, and the nose wants what the nose wants.

A gastronome delight

Guests who love food won’t be at a loss for food options at M Social. The property is, after all, located within walking distance from two other sister properties—Grand Copthorne Waterfront and King’s Centre.

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Grand Shanghai – Shot on Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G

The Triple Treat package starts at S$240++ and is frankly one of the more interesting food packages I’ve seen a hotel dish out. The Triple Treat, like all the other packages, comes with breakfast for two guests and a dinner adventure that spans not one, not two, but three restaurants across M Social, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, and King’s Centre.

Dinner commences with starters at Grissini, Grand Copthorne’s Italian pride and joy, followed by a short walk for mains over at Grand Shanghai at King’s Centre for some authentic Shanghai fare. Dinner concludes with a scenic walk across Robertson Bridge for desserts over at M Social’s very own Beast and Butterflies where you’ll get to enjoy sweet treats such as Orh Nee Brûlée and Thin Crusted Apple Pie.

Final thoughts

Two days felt like such a long time to be temporarily disconnected from the world, especially since this is my first real break from work since January 2020. It helps that the staff at M Social was such a joy to communicate. A request for my name to be changed on the room’s television was promptly acceded and met with a sincere apology, although this problem could have been avoided had the hotel asked how I preferred to be addressed.

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Another thing I found perplexing was the design of the shower tap that’s completely smooth, shiny, and cylindrical such that it becomes impossible to bring the water back on after soaping yourself since there’s absolutely no grip on the surface—I had to reach out for a dry towel for grip. I also couldn’t, for the life of me, get the television to connect to my iPad using Airplay or to my laptop and phone using Chromecast. I ended up watching my Thai Boys’ Love series on my laptop, curled up on the extra-comfy couch.

Yet, these minor issues in no way marred my experience of this staycation at M Social. No property is perfect; that much is true. But what matters most for me is that effort is made to make your stay a fulfilling and pleasing one. And in that regard, M Social delivers.

Collage Grissini M Social
Grissini – Shot on Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G

M Social’s location away from the hustle and bustle of city life almost makes a stay here a deliberate one. It’s where guests can go to escape from the throes of people in town and bask in the calming stillness of the Singapore River on a cool night.

I deign to say that the package prices are cheap (even when it clearly is) because, for M Social, it goes beyond cost. It’s less about pricing and more about delivering ultimate value for money in a time where everyone is more aware of how far each dollar can stretch. If you’re looking for a staycation that lets you extend your pennies even further, you can’t and won’t go wrong with what M Social has to offer.

Special offer for readers of SethLui.com

From now till 30 November 2020, quote GCWGSMSS when you make a reservation over the phone or through WhatsApp and enjoy these perks:

  1. 30% off food at Grissini
  2. 1-for-1 desserts at Beast & Butterflies
  3. 20% off food at Grand Shanghai

Price: $ $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

M Social Singapore

90 Robertson Quay , Singapore 238259

Our Rating 4/5

M Social Singapore

90 Robertson Quay , Singapore 238259

Telephone: +65 6206 1888
Telephone: +65 6206 1888