Saturday Wedding Banquet Dinner on December 2020:
My summarised review:
Service (pre-commitment): 5/5 (post-commitment): 1/5
Food (food tasting): 4/5 Food (actual day): 2/5
Carpark: 3/5 (narrow entrance)
Resources provided: 5/5
Ballroom size and design: 5/5
Our queries and requests were extremely accommodating and prompt before we signed the contract to host our banquet 1.5 years before our event. Probably because it was handled by the banquet director (Geraldine). After we signed our contract and went ahead to pay for about 16 tables in instalments, we were referred to the "Senior Business Development Manager" (Vasanthi) who did not seem to be able to respond coherently to our emails.
During the Circuit Breaker from 7 April 2020, we did not receive any updates from the hotel whether there were any changes to our present arrangement until we asked on 19 May 2020. We considered cancelling the banquet without any penalty 90< days before our wedding however, we decided to place our trust in this hotel and go ahead with our original plan.
When the government's regulations relaxed 2 months before our wedding and allowed wedding ceremonies to accommodate 100 pax, we received news from our private solemnisation venue on the updates of our arrangements and not from the hotel. They only updated us when I asked, citing that they did not receive any news before. And only then we learnt that the suite is unavailable for the bride to rest/change/do make up/use the toilet and we cannot choose 5 of the perks that were offered to us, citing that it was due to "government's guidelines". She told us that the suite was unavailable because they were accommodating SHN guests until end of October and will only be able to update us then if we can use the suite. But at the very least, they provided a function room for the bride to change and do her make up. In November, I had to ask her again whether there were any updates about the suite and only then, she told us that they were extending their SHN services. So we had to book a room from another hotel nearby during our banquet date.
2 of these perks included vouchers for boutiques and to purchase wedding bands. I am unsure why the government will not allow them to give us these vouchers. One of these perks included "butler passed canapés during cocktail reception". While I understand that this was clearly not allowed during the pandemic, I do not understand why they cannot serve them individually as they do with the drinks. I was quoted $100++ to have the servers serve canapés to the guests at their tables. But at the very least, they provided a function room for the bride to change and do her make up.
Thereafter, many of our emails were not responded or were only addressed between 3-7 days. When I asked her about my queries, she said that she "did not receive my emails" or was "on off" or because she received my emails over the weekend (but did not reply during mid week). She also only just updated us that they will be extending their accommodation for SHN guests after I asked on 11 November.
Prior to the food tasting, she was supposed to meet us and bring us to the food tasting venue. However, she said that she fell sick and gave me the contact of another person who will bring us there. The food was great, and there were no complains from our family members. However, we decided to change our fish from Soon Hock to Red Garoupa.
Only 1.5 weeks before the wedding, we were informed to arrange an appointment to test the AV and go through the programme. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze in time to do it.
During the banquet, we realised that the chef had added curry leaves to the fried rice, which ruined the taste and the rice was hard.
Before the banquet concluded, the staff told me that they served Soon Hock instead of Red Garoupa citing that the fishes had "fishy smell", which I found difficult to believe. It seemed to me like they just mistakenly ordered Soon Hock instead. It was disappointing that they did not inform me earlier, neither did they update the virtual menu and it reflected as "Red Garoupa", which led my guests to argue with one another whether it was Soon Hock or Red Garoupa.
After the banquet, we thought our stress and worries have concluded. But we had an earful from friends and family members on how horrible the Chinese and vegetarian food were. Guests who ate the vegetarian food said that coffee shop food tastes much better.
It's been 4 months since the wedding and they have not given us everything they owed which were part of the package. I had to keep sending emails to ask Vasanthi if there are any updates on the refund and vouchers they owed us. We received the room vouchers via mail after 2 months, cheque refund for the money we have paid but not used after almost 3 months, and till date we have not received any closure on this phenomenon as they still owe us the buffet dinner vouchers and IHG points.
So in summary, for those who are considering holding your banquet with this hotel, you may try your luck and hope that you don't kena a coordinator that has little initiative and require many follow ups that lead up to your big day. In my opinion, don't count on them to watch your back. Find out from your friends what needs to be done for wedding banquets, because from my experience they (or at least she) don't really tell you what to expect unless you ask. I did not even know what to ask because I have never organised a banquet before. I was only be able to identify the gaps after I have experienced them. So I had to count on my experienced friends to coordinate with the coordinator instead. You may also consider this hotel also if don't mind the possibility of them changing the menu spontaneously on the actual day without notifying you in advance.
For those who have further questions about my experience, I will be happy to address them to the best of my abilities through email at [email protected]
. I will also be happy to communicate through Whatsapp, just drop me an email and I can give you my number.