A rich history, financial prosperity, stupendous architecture, glorious public spaces, Crazy Rich Asians, top shopping and even better food: Singapore has all of these things, as well as some of the most expensive hotel rates in the world. That said, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including cool converted shophouses, designer digs and luxurious heritage hotels; and it’s not impossible to find a deal, particularly over the hot summer months. Across the board, rooms tend to be small (space is at a premium in this dinky city state), but what they lack in size they make up with in super service, excellent facilities and lots of little extras. Location isn’t a huge issue here either, as nowhere is ever more than 20 minutes away by cab, so it’s more about finding your own scene.
The best hotels in Singapore are:
Best for reliving the golden age of travel: Raffles
Neighborhood: Raffles Place
Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is the most majestic of Asia’s grande dames with a guest book that reads like a who’s who of the 20th century – Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana have all been guests. At the end of 2017, it closed its doors for one of the most expensive hotel restorations in Asia this decade. Now open again, it’s more opulent than ever.
Price: Doubles from SG$1300 (£738)
Neighborhood: Robertson Quay
Looking for a slower pace? West of the business district, beyond swinging Clarke Quay, the Intercontinental stands sentry on a historic wharf surrounded by cycle paths and greenery. Smaller and more homely than you might expect from this business-y brand, rooms come in earthy brown and copper tones with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over the surrounding waterways. Fuel up for the day with an al fresco coffee at the Quayside Lounge, pick up a complimentary bicycle and explore the area, ending the day with a few laps in the outdoor pool.
Price: Doubles from SG$334 (£190)
Neighborhood: Marina Bay
Cool, confident, shiny on the outside and inwardly stuffed with history and tradition, the Fullerton Bay is Singapore incarnate. Its 100 rooms have been designed by Hong Kong wunderkind Andre Fu and feature gold and copper hues, with glossy walnut furnishings and balconies overlooking the historic riverside district or the futuristic Marina Bay Sands. Late in the afternoon, head to the rooftop for a few laps. Afterwards dry off over sunset cocktails at the stupidly cool Lantern Bar.
Price: Doubles from SG$713 (£404)
Neighborhood: Central Business District
A mahjong tile’s throw from Chinatown, this flexible living space offers short and long stays to visitors who want a heritage hangout in the thick of the hipster mix (there are four fashionable bars and restaurants in-house, and drinking and dining enclave Club Street is just up the road). Being a historic property, each of the 20 rooms has a different layout, but all are dressed in a soothing palette of gray and dove white, with Hypnos beds, smart televisions and fully loaded Handy phones; some also have balconies, kitchenettes and washing machines.
Price: Doubles from SG$246 (£140)
Neighborhood: Little India
This heritage hotel was once a brothel and its interiors pay homage to the building’s hedonistic past.
Check in at the golden rhino, and swan into a world of red velvet, dark woods, animal prints and metallic palm trees. Singapore’s creative types hang out at artsy events held in the lobby lounge, such as film screenings, performance art and poetry readings. Rooms are teensy but beautifully put together, with a granny-chic look that blends floral screens with tassled ottomans and kooky artworks.
Price: Doubles from SG$546 (£310)
Neighborhood: Sentosa Island
This exclusive resort hotel set on jungly Sentosa Island is the preferred weekend break address for the city’s affluent crowd (as well as being the location of the first Trump-Kim summit). At its center are two former British military barracks, dating back to the 1880s, which have been wrapped in a coppery coil designed by Sir Norman Foster. All rooms come with balconies and views of the South China Sea, along with luxurious amber-hued interiors and spa-worthy bathrooms. Order a room service breakfast to enjoy on the balcony while you watch white and yellow cockatiels flitting between palm trees.
Price: Doubles from SG$1,200 (£682)
Neighborhood: Orchard Road
The neighborhood is known as the Beverly Hills of Singapore and this five star fancy, with its lashings of marble, crystal chandeliers and art collection valued at over £5m, fits right in. The facilities are celeb-worthy too – chauffeur-driven Bentleys, suited and booted butlers, a swanky Remede Spa and a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant. Rooms retain the sophisticated styling the St Regis brand is known for – all cornices and champagne tones, with lavish bathrooms. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool and tennis court.
Price: Doubles from SG$493 (£280)
Neighborhood: Orchard Road
Attached to the Orchard Gateway Mall, which in turn is attached to the MRT subway system which runs straight to Changi airport, Hotel Jen couldn’t be better connected. That goes for the smart rooms too, which come with sockets everywhere you need them, pummeling showers, proper hairdryers and blackout curtains that cut out every glimmer of light. Elsewhere, there’s a cafe and restaurant, sky gardens and snazzy rooftop pool with tiki bar and views stretching all the way from Little India in the north, past Fort Canning’s rolling greenery and on towards Marina Bay Sands in the south.
Price: Doubles from SG$245 (£139)
Neighborhood: Riau Archipelago
Perhaps you’re in Singapore on business and need a break; Perhaps you’re looking for an unforgettable city and beach holiday. Either way, the mesmerizing islands that make up Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago are just a 50-minute ferry ride away. The most enchanting of the islands’ resorts is Cempedak, an eco-luxe hideaway with a resident family of sea otters, villas shaped like crescent moons, sensational locally sourced food and a brand new jungle spa. Lie on the beach after dark and look for shooting stars in the inky night sky.
Price: Doubles from SG$450 (£251)