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2024-06-09 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine Slinging it in Singapore

Slinging it in Singapore

New hotels are springing up all over the Southeast Asian Island country. BETH LANDMAN checks in to three.

The view from the rooftop jacuzzi at The Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore

Jaw-dropping architecture, multi-cultural heritage, massive shopping emporiums and exciting culinary experiences have long made Singapore a prime travel destination, but there were people who bristled at laws perceived as draconian.  Upon arrival visitors used to be greeted with landing cards promising death to anyone trafficking in narcotics, signs on the street still warn of 7-year jail time plus caning for rioting, and littering, jaywalking and gum chewing are all verboten.  But somehow, when you stroll the pristine streets late at night without looking over your shoulder, and hear locals tell you that if you lose your wallet, the only people who will pick it up are those who plan to bring it to the police station, strict laws don’t seem as off-putting.   

There are many types of hotels, from the Marina Bay Sands, with its wondrous construction – a large ship rests atop three towers- to the legendary Raffles which dates to the 19th century and has a bar that gave birth to the Singapore Sling. 

The Auriga Wellness center at Capella is inspired by phases of the moon

For those seeking an exotic, resort-style retreat, Sentosa island is within the city limits and only a short drive from downtown Singapore.  Lush and tranquil, it is the only place in the country non-residents are allowed to own land, and is home to some magnificent estates. CAPELLA, located on 300 acres of the island’s rainforest, is adorned with nearly a thousand works of art, and has spacious suites and villas, some with an outdoor jacuzzi or plunge pool. The hotel’s Auriga Wellness center, complete with an herbal steam room, ice fountain and experimental showers, bases its treatments, including wraps, scrubs, strong massages and facials, on phases of the moon. Dining options include Cantonese styled Cassia, and Fiamma, overseen by Mauro Colagreco, whose restaurant Mirazur in Menton, France, garnered three Michelin stars. 

Colonial meets Modern art at CAPELLA on Sentosa island

For pure urban luxury, THE FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, situated in Singapore’s bustling Heritage precinct, is the perfect place, with some first-floor rooms sitting directly on Marina Bay, giving the impression that you are on a stately boat. Massive windows offer a panoramic view of the water and skyline, and it’s a stroll to many cultural attractions including the Asian Civilizations Museum, the Sands SkyPark Observatory, and the towering “Supertrees” and indoor waterfall at Gardens by the Bay, which was featured in Crazy Rich Asians. There is a massive mall across the bridge with everything from Dior to a Daniel Boulud restaurant, but if you stay put, the hotel has La Brasserie, with locally flavored French-accented dishes such as Hokkaido scallops with parsnip, celeriac, almond milk, samphire and truffle; king salmon with caviar, uni, kohlrabi and passionfruit vierge; and lamb with leek, garlic and sherry.  Save room for the lavender creme brûlée. 

The grand arrival area at The Fullerton Bay Hotel

More laid-back, cool hotels are springing up in Singapore as well, including the Edition, the Standard and THE MONDRIAN, which recently debuted in Duxton Hill, the city’s vibrant Chinatown, offering a bit of an edgier experience. Check out Duxton’s art galleries, grab a coffee at the hotel’s sleek barista café and hit the social scene on the rooftop at Canyon Club (Singapore’s answer to SkyBar, the Mondrian in Hollywood’s hot club opened by Rande Gerber in the late ’90s). The Mondrian is all about nightlife – there’s also a cocktail lounge named Christina’s (complete with a DJ) and a booming bar called Jungle Ballroom.

A KAWS (artist Brian Donnelly) “Companion” sculpture guards the Mondrian

Singaporeans like efficiency. Returning home should be as unblemished and organized as the rest of the Singapore experience. Electronic arrival and departure information provided to the government now make clearing customs a breeze, and there is a security line at each gate, so no need to wait in a massive group with myriad other voyagers.  

Singapore: it’s worth giving up gum for. At least temporarily.

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