Destination Guide


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Singapore, Photo by Mike Enerio

The island nation of Singapore is often portrayed as a flyover destination en route to other destinations in Asia. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the impressive Changi Airport is indeed a universe in itself, where weary travelers have access to a butterfly garden, free movie theater and swimming pools. But considering the phenomenal food scene and rich cultural experiences Singapore that await, it is perfect for a more extensive layover, both pre- and post-trip.


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The Capitol Kempinski Hotel

With 157 rooms, the understated and sophisticated Capitol Kempinski Hotel is the prime address for visitors to Singapore who are looking for high-touch service and amenities and a luxurious atmosphere.

Interiors view - Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore

Fullerton Bay Hotel

In a choice location right on the marina, this hotel is the younger, hip sister to the historic Fullerton Hotel (the two are connected via underground passage). Opened in 2010, the hotel boasts striking public spaces designed by André Fu. As with the Hong Kong-based interior designer’s other projects (the Upper House and the Opposite House), the bright public spaces strike a genius balance between understated and lavish, with massive floor-to-ceiling windows, sparkling, ultra-contemporary chandeliers, tile floors and splashes of pinks and purples. The modern but inviting aesthetic continues in the ninety-eight guest rooms, all of which have fabulous views of the harbor and South China Sea. Tech nerds will be in heaven here, with touch-screen controls that manage everything from blinds to massive flat-screen televisions). Other winning in-room details include a universal plug, an iPhone docking station, a laptop tray (for working in bed) and a yoga mat. The spacious bathroom opens to the bedroom via a sleek sliding door, and a Nespresso machine is on hand for that first jolt of caffeine.

The Fullerton Bay’s rooftop, with a glass-sided, eighty-two-foot swimming pool, holds groovy Lantern, a restaurant-cum-lounge that’s one of the city’s favorite hangouts for lunch or nighttime cocktails (the pool can only be used by guests of the hotel). A fancier vibe prevails at Clifford, the marina-side French brasserie whose ninety-two-foot ceiling is the only giveaway that you’re not, in fact, in Paris. Fullerton Bay guests have complete access to all of the Fullerton Hotel’s facilities, including a small spa, but design-conscious travelers will be hard-pressed to abandon the Fullerton Bay’s gorgeous setting for its more historic counterpart.

Facade at Raffles, Singapore


Tucked among the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Singapore, Raffles takes up an entire city block, with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, spa, gym, outdoor pool, hair salons, art galleries and a shopping arcade. The property’s famous Sikh doormen in their flawless white uniforms and turbans provide an atmospheric, if slightly anachronistic, arrival to the hotel. Throughout the compound are numerous tropical gardens with age-old trees and ferns, surrounding elegant whitewashed wings that accommodate the majority of the property’s suites. But the heart and soul is the iconic main building, with its elegant wrought-iron-framed entrance, soaring lobby with teak balustrades and balconies, and Art Deco light fixtures. A grandfather clock that may predate the hotel is the site of a nightly ritual when, at 8 o’clock, Noel Coward’s “I’ll See You Again” is played in the grand lobby. It’s not difficult to picture guests dancing the night away (the hotel used to host lavish balls in the spacious lobby) during its heyday in the 1930s.

As its address on Beach Road indicates, Raffles was originally on the coast, however through sea reclamation, Singapore has grown to the south leaving the hotel wholly landlocked. Guests should note that the hotel is an easy 20 to 30 minute walk from the Marina Bay Sands Resort and Shopping Center which is currently the center of the tourist experience in Singapore, with the associated crowds, lines and tour groups. Due to the fact that Raffles is only three to four stories tall in this business district, the rooms have primarily courtyard or city views.

The seven grandest suites are in the main building, with fine period furnishings, fourteen-foot ceilings, sumptuous fabrics and an old-world vibe (you wouldn’t be shocked to see Somerset Maugham reading in a corner). The remaining suites are clustered in wings that connect to the main building and are centered around two landscaped garden courtyards. Interiors throughout are grand, with antique furniture, teak floors, crystal chandeliers and marble-clad bathrooms. Raffles is known for its unparalleled service (each suite comes with its own dedicated butler, who is on call twenty-four hours), attracting everyone from royalty to Hollywood stars.

There are no fewer than nine restaurants and bars on the premises from the formal French restaurant, Le Dame de Pic, from Michelin starred chef Anne de la Pic to the more casual Bar & Billiard Room with its turn-of-the-twentieth-century pool tables and the Long Bar, , home of the Singapore Sling, which hosts jazz ensembles in the evenings. The intimate Writer’s Bar, celebrating authors such as Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling, is perfect for an after dinner cocktail. In keeping with its history, the hotel currently has a writer in residence program. Recently, while serving as writer in residence, Pico Iyer, wrote a must-read small book about Singapore and Raffles’ place in its history, This Could Be Home, Raffles Hotel and the City of Tomorrow.

The shopping arcade, spread across two stories, features such shops as Hublot, Minotti Furniture and Patek Phillippe, as well as a well-curated Raffles Gift Shop. In sum, the Raffles is a small universe in and of itself, but instead of gong the way of New York’s Plaza, another iconic property that thoroughly lost its way during the course of renovations, this Singapore grand lady has emerged with her heart and soul intact.

Additional intel included from Indagare Ambassador Jim Klaus

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