February 18, 2020

Our CEO's guide to.... Singapore, Part II: Hotels

Craig Unsworth

A city of luxurious options

Singapore, as I said in Part I, is one of my favourite cities in the world - and an excellent host, at that. With nearly 500 hotels, and more than 70,000 rooms available every night, you’ll be spoiled for choice here. To help narrow it down, here are my three favourite hotels in the city.

The iconic

Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

If you’ve seen a single photo of Singapore in recent years, chances are you’ve seen the striking Marina Bay Sands Hotel. An architectural wonder, and arguably the picture postcard of Singaporean innovation, it certainly stands out.

A pool deserving of the ‘infinity’ name, Marina Bay Sands

A colossal hotel (it has 2,561 rooms!), it’s not your choice for cosy or intimate. But if you want to swim in the world’s most famous swimming pool, book in. The rooftop pool - with unparalleled views of the city - is for residents only. You used to be able to sneak in (I did it back in 2012 - sshhh!) but access is now controlled by your room key. So don’t even try.

Choose from either a garden (the space age Gardens by the Bay) view or a city view. I prefer the latter. For the ultimate in luxury, upgrade to a suite. I’d opt for the Merlion Suites: sky-high (floors 50 and above) retreats featuring either a private gym (seriously) or a billiards room with a pool tableland bar for entertaining guests. Of course, you get a dedicated butler service and your own private jacuzzi too.

The only negative I have is the hotel’s sheer size - it can be a bit overwhelming for longer stays. I usually choose MBS (as the locals call it) for one or two nights at the start or end of my trip.

A room with a city view is my favourite in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands

 Not ‘intimate’ but certainly ‘wow’
Not ‘intimate’ but certainly ‘wow’, the Marina Bay Sands foyer

 The definition of ‘lush’ greenery
The definition of ‘lush’ greenery, The PARKROYAL on Pickering

The eco-friendly

More than just a marketing tactic, the PARKROYAL on Pickering has set - and sticks by - strict eco policies. Its ‘hotel-in-a-garden’ ambition has also, certainly, been realised; with the entire hotel shrouded in greenery. If you want to feel like you’re on a tropical jungle retreat, yet in the heart of the CBD, this hotel is for you.

Upgrade to an Orchid Club room to access the exclusive rooftop lounge with 360-degree views of the city. What’s more, the lounge serves Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails - so you’ll more than get your money’s worth.

Eco-friendly junior suite at The PARKROYAL

 The Orchid Club lounge
The Orchid Club lounge, The PARKROYAL

Whilst upgrading, opt for a Deluxe Room too. You’ll get a huge bath tub (big enough for two) right by the window with lush tropical greenery for a view.

Choosing a negative about the PARKROYAL on Pickering, I’d have to go with the pool temperature (first world problems, I realise). It’s not heated and doesn't get the sun for much of the day. Whilst it’s the perfect post-city-wandering cool-off pool, it’s not one to sit in and relax on an evening.

 The (slightly chilly!) outdoor pool
The (slightly chilly!) outdoor pool at The PARKROYAL

The indulgent treat

Not, necessarily, one to stay in for a whole week - and possibly not one every expense account will allow, averaging $700 a night for a standard room - but my favourite hotel in Singapore is the Fullerton Bay Hotel.

The Fullerton Bay Hotel - my favourite in Singapore

Jutting out on to Marina Bay, with an exceptional view of the Marina Bay Sands and the City, the hotel is in prime position. Whether walking at dusk, attending meetings in the CBD, exploring Gardens by the Bay, eating amazing street food in the local hawker market (Lau Pa Sat), or exploring Singapore’s heritage architecture.

 The Clifford Pier
The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Lantern, at The Fullerton

 The ‘Cavenagh Suite’
The ‘Cavenagh Suite’, at The Fullerton
The stunning rooftop pool at The Fullerton

What makes the hotel, for me, though is its abundance of indulgent entertaining spaces. From civilised afternoon tea to late night poolside cocktails on the roof at Lantern and old-school dining at The Clifford Pier; you need never leave the hotel. (Do, though…!)

Upgrade to a Premier Bay View Room with Jacuzzi for your own hot tub on the roof. Or, for the ultimate ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ experience, it has to be the Presidential Suite.

Finding a negative is almost impossible - but the room rate per night is steep.

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