Singapore’s best hotels to book this year
Check in to one of these outstanding abodes for design-forward and ultra-luxe stays across the Southeast Asian hub
For more than 200 years, Singapore has served as a gateway to Southeast Asia, offering an exhilarating stopover to those in transit, as well as a booming destination in its own right. Today, traders and tourists still flock to uncover its humming hawker centres, the futuristic Super Trees at Gardens by the Bay, the 84-acre, orchid-filled Botanic Gardens – and not least to rest their weary heads at one (or several) of its world-beating hotels. Here, we’ve whittled down our list of nine of the absolute best berths to book now.
The Warehouse Hotel
One for design lovers. The hotel’s moody interiors tell a story of its many uses, from a 19th-century godown warehouse to goodness knows what during the 1930s, where it provided a base for some of Singapore’s more louche pursuits. Famed for its bootleg liquor, the area became known in local Hokkien as ‘Chiu Long Lo’ or Spirits Shed Street, and today the hotel continues to preserve this, er, spirit with its Lobby Bar – a firm favourite among discerning Singaporeans. Rising to the first floor, rooms are spacious and carry the same mid-century hallmarks of dark woods, striking black ironwork and brass accents, which impress on first arrival. A rooftop pool overlooking the Singapore River completes the offering.
High Life says: Don’t pass up on a visit to The Warehouse’s restaurant Pó, where you can delight in the eponymous popiah, a sharing dish of self-assembled spring rolls, enthusiastically perfected over the course of a meal.
The Capitol Kempinski Hotel
While the commanding symmetry of the hotel’s exterior oozes a sophistication equal to its interior, you’d be wrong to assume that the loudest noise here would be the rustle of the day’s Straits Times. Bustling bars, lively European restaurants and even an American diner and German delicatessen ensure that The Capitol Kempinski is in sync with the beat of Singapore’s vibrant downtown. Nearby are boutique galleries such as Mulan, the historic Fort Canning Park and the essential watering hole of Tess Bar & Kitchen – all within a five-minute walk.
High Life says: After a long day, unwind at the on-hand spa, where the Singapore Massage combines traditions from the country’s major Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia
A true all-rounder, The Ritz-Carlton (also opening image) is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Mer spa and a contemporary art collection to rival the city’s National Gallery, a mere 15-minute walk away. If Hockney and Warhol aren’t to your taste, then views from your bath across Marina Bay – as seen through the hotel’s iconic octagonal windows – will satisfy your aesthetic needs. The auspicious octagonal shape is a sign of the feng shui principles on which the hotel is built – details that you’ll discover are present in many of the hotel’s features.
High Life says: Splash out on a Club room for access to five culinary ‘presentations’ a day and free-flowing Champagne, all enjoyed from the hotel’s panoramic top floor. A dedicated kids’ programme also guarantees happiness for all.
The Clan Hotel
This hotel pays homage to the Chinese immigrants who settled in Singapore and set up clans to foster kinship in a foreign land, a tradition continued at The Clan today. Rising above the adjacent historic Chinatown, the property is testament to Singapore’s meld of old and new. The aesthetic is an effortlessly modern twist on Chinese cultural heritage, especially its tea traditions. Each floor unveils different scents of China’s most famous export, while walls are decorated as if the entire hotel were a tea caddy. There’s even a resident tea master to underwrite the authenticity.
High Life says: Head to the infinity pool, which offers a welcome cool-off and views that serve as a pocket history of the city state.
While Singapore boasts a constellation of five-star hotels, several more affordable openings have brought their own charm. Lloyd’s Inn is a design-led concept set within a quiet, verdant neighbourhood, offering eight distinct room types, from the compact to the commodious, which align with any budget. Inside-outside bathrooms and an energising plunge pool are inviting reminders of your location on the equator. Breakfast is in keeping with the local vibe, with vouchers for something either western or more homegrown at a coffee shop or kopi tiam, where coconut jam kaya toast can be dipped into soft-boiled eggs.
High Life says: If you’re looking for exceptional value, then look no further. Lloyd’s unique concept, hospitality and attention to detail set it apart and the local setting offers something different.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
Once the primary arrival point to the Straits Settlements, the historic Clifford Pier is now the embarkation point for old-world waterside opulence. True to the pier’s 1930s origins, the hotel’s restaurants and bars are a study in monochromatic splendour – afternoon tea at The Landing Point best illustrates the refined perfection of the hotel alongside its heritage. Rooms and suites are set across its upper floors, where the Art Deco theme gives way to cladding in burnished wood and brass, drawing inspiration from the yachts of the surrounding bay.
High Life says: The rooftop poolside Lantern Bar offers unrivalled views of the Marina and the cityscape, making it a perfect spot for an evening cocktail or restorative dip.
JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach
JW Marriott is a bold Philippe Starck and Foster + Partners design statement, located in the heart of Singapore’s downtown core and ideal for those restless to explore as much as possible. The hotel’s art-filled atrium signals a strong nonconformist leaning, which carries through to rooms, where clean minimalism prevails, punctuated by the occasional burst of modernist, gallic flair. The JW Marriott sits within the wider South Beach complex – home to a spread of sensational restaurants, cafés and bars, with gin slings available at Tonic and hearty burgers and fries at Crafted. The National Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum and leisure hub of Clarke Quay are also a short stroll away through the waterside Esplanade Park.
High Life says: For taste of Cantonese classics, head to Madame Fan housed within the opulence of the former NCO Club. If you’re not game for the classics, then Fish Pool, a dive bar in name only, could be for you. Sashimi, crudo and ceviche are paired with a live mermaid performance within an Olympic-grade diving pool… Yes, really.
Hustle and bustle make up much of Singapore’s excitement, but travellers and locals seeking serenity head for Capella on the island of Sentosa, where the stunning façade of the colonial-era officers’ barracks signals a more sedate pace. The sprawling grounds spill down towards the sea, with a striking Norman Foster-designed extension home to many of the hotel’s facilities, including a sublime spa, where the sights and sounds of the tropics feature in glorious technicolour. This retreat is perfect for families, too, being within throwing distance of the Universal Studios theme park, golf courses and the idyllic Tanjong Beach Club.
High Life says: An escape to Sentosa is a holiday within a holiday and it’s only a 15-minute taxi or cable car ride away from the city centre.