Many of us dream of jetting off to far-flung destinations for our vacation. The Maldives for a beach holiday, a romantic European tour with our other half or to Scandinavian countries for the adventurous ones. Unfortunately, there are times when a proper holiday is just not on the cards.
We are often have to deal with challenges like work commitments, young children that require tender loving care and just general duties that we have to fulfill.
I know, it sounds like a bummer but there’s something to be said for staying in Singapore — staycations! Fact: Singaporeans are quite obsessed with staycations, and it’s no wonder why.
Apart from our world-class shopping malls, our tiny island is packed with plenty of luxury hotels that are specially designed by award winning creatives people. It’s truly a treat and a phenomenal experience to stay at one of these urban hotels.
With that in mind, our team went on a hotel test drive and did a hands-on review of all the luxury hotels that boast an amazing view. From our mesmerizing skyline to the lushest greenery, consider letting these gorgeous hotels serve as a substitute for your holiday.
Image: Pan Pacific Singapore
1. PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE
Most of us would be familiar with the Pan Pacific Singapore. It has always been the hotel of choice for many business travellers. However, I came with the intention to seek respite from my hectic workload.
I was hosted in the spacious Harbour Studio Room that measures about 46 square metres. The room came with all the necessary amenities.
What stood out for me was, of course, the view from my window. During the day you get to enjoy a panoramic view of some of Singapore’s best landmarks, like Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, Fullerton Hotel and the Singapore Flyer. When night falls, the lights come on and creates an ethereal skyline. For those of you who want to get more out of the night skyline, be sure to look out of your windows at 8pm every night for a 13-minute light show called Wonder Full by the waterfront.
I would also recommend everyone to get a room that comes with Pacific Club privileges. It’s situated at the top of the hotel at level 38, with a 360-degree view of the entire bay.
Apart from the picturesque view, all the frills at the Pacific Club will seal the deal. That includes 24 hour access to refreshments (guys, their fresh apple juice is to-die-for) and cocktails, champagne breakfast in the morning (indulgence at its best!), afternoon tea from 3pm to 5 pm (my personal favourite because they serve delicious scones with clotted cream) and sunset cocktails and canapés for two hours in the evening. You will be hard pressed to find a reason to leave the hotel grounds.
Above all, the level of service from this hotel is really worth a mention. I was impressed at how attentive the staff was to the little details throughout my entire stay. They made it a point to address me by my surname and remembered how I always liked a cup of ice cubes on the side whenever I ordered the apple juice.
If you are looking for a staycation that makes you feel absolutely spoilt and well-taken care of, this is the place for you. — Cheng Jee Yan, fashion writer
Rates start from $390++ per night for the Harbour Studio Room. Pan Pacific Singapore is located at 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square Singapore 039595. For more information call +65 6336 8111 or visit https://www.panpacific.com/.
Image: W Singapore
2. W SINGAPORE
I am a city girl through and through, so beaches and idyllic resorts have never appealed to me. But in recent years as the going got tough in my workplace, I find myself dreaming about escaping to a place that’s far from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, somewhere that’s intimate and relaxing.
For those who are in search of an atmosphere perfect for a hideaway but not looking for a full on beach vacation, I would highly reccomend W Singapore. Situated near the coast with lush greenery, it’s the true oasis of modern luxury. I was quite impressed with the architecture and decor. The front doors open to a foyer with an impressive fountain and luscious red carpet on the stairs leading up to the concierge. The service was great and pretty consistent throughout. We could always find someone to attend to our needs.
I was hosted in the Fabulous room (don’t you just love the sound of it already?) on the fifth floor. The room was decently sized, and while I typically don’t care much about the bathroom, it turned out to be my favourite feature. The bathroom had a large bathtub, with sliding windows that grant you an unobstructed view of the television. Soaking up all the bubbles in the bath while enjoying my favourite shows on the flat screen (with Bose sound system no less!) is definitely an ideal way for me to destress.
The balcony opens up to overlook the swimming pool with lots of greenery and a sea of luxurious yachts; this makes me feel like I am truly living it up with people from the wealthiest ZIP codes in our country. — Cheng Jee Yan, fashion writer
Rates start from $425++ per night for the Fabulous room. W Singapore is located at 21 Ocean Way, Singapore, 098374. For more information call +65 6808 7288 or visit http://www.wsingaporesentosacove.com/.
Image: Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
3. SOFITEL SINGAPORE SENTOSA RESORT & SPA
The allure of a great staycation is escaping the drudgery of daily life for just a bit, and that’s what I found at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. Of course, it helps that it’s located at Sentosa island, set apart in lush greenery with a rustic resort motif, complete with hammocks that any guest can relax on.
While the deluxe junior suite was spacious, the highlight of my time there was the incredibly beautiful bathroom. Mosaic tiles, a gorgeous vanity and a gigantic tub that I only wish I could take home with me. Of course, the idyllic setting means that there will be the occasional fly or bug, particularly in rainy weather, something I wasn’t prepared for.
However, the one thing I really enjoyed about the hotel was the fact that it’s geared towards creating an experience for you. Right from check-in, to wandering around the resort, the staff were helpful and friendly, and I never felt inclined to check my phone at any point – the true indicator of a social media-addict enjoying her time.
The only real drawback is that the resort is located a little far from the main attractions of Sentosa, which means that you need to catch a ride on the island beach tram, a bus or even hop onto the Sentosa Express monorail. However, if you’re simply looking for a nice stroll on the beach, uninterrupted by work emails, then you’ll be glad to know that the resort has a back entrance directly onto Palawan beach. — Emily Joosten, intern
Rates start from $580 for the Deluxe Junior Suite. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is located at 2 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa, Singapore 099891. For more information call +65 6708 8310 or visit http://www.sofitel-singapore-sentosa.com/.
Image: ParkRoyal on Pickering
4. PARKROYAL ON PICKERING
The PARKROYAL on Pickering is a truly beautiful and atmospheric hotel to stay at. Having wandered past the already iconic architecture many a time, it was exciting to finally step inside the rooms and experience staying at the eco-friendly hotel. Overall it feels like an oasis in the middle of the city, as it is brilliantly located for a weekend staycation if you’re looking to head out for a few drinks and a dance at nearby Boat Quay.
I stayed in the Orchid Club Deluxe Room, which is part of the Orchid Club package. Essentially these rooms are on the top two guest floors of the hotel, which make for stunning views. The room had windows everywhere and so much natural light, which is beautiful to experience. You can see all across Singapore, and when you step outside to leave the room, there are water features and greenery everywhere, so it is really an urban paradise.
One of my favourite aspects of the experience was the incredible infinity pool with its iconic cabanas that are fondly called the “bird cages”. If you want to read, relax or take a dip, the pool overlooks the whole city, and makes for a really special experience, especially come sunset.
My experience of the Orchid Club service was slightly marred, as the benefits were not fully detailed upon arrival, which resulted in a miscommunication about the champagne breakfast timings, and therefore no breakfast (or champagne)! I therefore wouldn’t recommend spending the extra money on an Orchid Club room package, as the main draws of the hotel can be experienced without it. If you are there on business, the Orchid Lounge was a nice spot to hang out and get some work done, and includes snacks and coffee to fuel you throughout the day, but otherwise, the magic of the rooms, architecture and landscaping is enough in itself! — Jennifer McGeever, fashion writer
Rates start from $400++ for an Orchid Club Deluxe Room, standard rooms start from $290++. ParkRoyal on Pickering is located at 3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289. For more information call +65 6809 8888, or visit their site for bookings.
Image: Jennifer McGeever
5. CAPELLA SINGAPORE
The Capella resort is a piece of paradise within Singapore, and quite frankly I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a getaway from urban life and the daily grind. Set in lush gardens, a short walk from Palawan beach and with landscaped, cascading pools to lounge by, it’s a retreat from the concrete jungle and almost transports you to a Bali-like state of being.
The hospitality matches the incredible surroundings, with the staff being super welcoming and attentive. In fact, every guest is assigned a personal assistant for the duration of their stay, who they can call up for help with restaurant bookings and other advice. One of my favourite aspects of my stay at Capella was The Library, a guest-only lounge where you can relax and hang out with refreshments available throughout the day. They even have the same afternoon tea offerings that the in-house restaurants serve in the lounge, so you can have a private afternoon tea there! The colonial architecture is absolutely stunning, and the grounds make for a relaxing and ambient stroll, though make sure to spray some bug repellant for venturing around, the greenery is in abundance!
The sea-view rooms have a beautiful vista of the South China Sea as well as the cascading infinity pools. Even a standard room comes with insanely large windows, and a bathtub overlooking your balcony, a perfect place to unwind with a glass of wine. The hotel uses Aesop bath products, which smell so divine they are a definite bonus! The mini bar has free flow soft drinks are complimentary with the room, so you can ask for it to be restocked when you please.
Another fun fact: You get your very own walk-in-wardrobe! Granted, you may not need it for a weekend’s worth of clothes, but it’s a fabulous perk all the same. Oh, and if you have the time, make sure to check out the resort’s Auriga Spa, it was the best spa I’ve ever experienced, with 5-star service from start to finish. Even if the treatments seem out of your price range, paying a small fee to use the facilities such as the hot and cold showers, steam room and bubbling plunge pool is well worth it. — Jennifer McGeever, fashion writer
Rates start from $680++ for a Premier Room, with advance booking of at least 30 days $544++ and for bed and breakfast from $730++. Capella Singapore is located at 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297. For reservations call +65 6591 5000 and visit their site here for more details.
Image: The Ritz-Carlton
6. THE RITZ-CARLTON SINGAPORE
Staying at The Ritz-Carlton was almost enough to make me feel like royalty. The staff was incredibly attentive, helpful, and extremely apologetic about a small mishap that happened at some point (which wasn’t at all a big deal). I stayed in the Premier Suite under the “Suite Escape” package (from $680 a night), and the room comes complete with panoramic views of the entire marina bay area and (if you’re lucky enough) a view of the Singapore Flyer from your bathtub.
The luxurious suite has separate living and bedroom areas, both of which have their own TVs which are great if you and your partner want to watch different things at the same time or you just want to have a few friends over to hang out for the afternoon. The bathroom is stunning, with marbled details and a rain shower, his-and-her sinks and robes, and a tub that you never ever want to leave. The hexagonal windows are of course iconic features of The Ritz Carlton, and I probably took about 20 pictures of the view during my stay.
If you’re a local who’s never had the time to sight-see in your own country, this hotel is perfectly located for visiting places like the National Gallery and Gardens by the Bay, or just popping out to Marina Square for some shopping. I do like that the hotel is still tucked away enough for you to feel somewhat unplugged from the outside world - though the rooms come with free WiFi if you want it. Perhaps my favourite part of the Suite Escape package was the breakfast buffet for two at Colony.
The breakfast buffet alone almost makes the entire experience worth your while, especially if you’re a huge foodie. Colony has seven kitchens with an array of cuisines to suit absolutely anyone’s taste. Aside from the usual western breakfast favourites, there’s The Ice Bar with salads, cheeses and cold cuts, The Steam Basket with noodles, soups and dim sum, The Patisserie which serves up all sorts of breakfast pastries, and The Wok that serves up local delights like carrot cake. Breakfast ends at 10.30am so I highly recommend getting up early and enjoying a drawn-out feast! — Alyssa Dhaliwal, beauty writer
The Suite Escape package starts at $680 a night. The Ritz Carlton Singapore is located at 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039799. For reservations: contact 800-6011-355 or visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/singapore
Image: The Fullerton Bay Hotel
7. THE FULLERTON BAY HOTEL
Unlike most of the hotels on our list, this hotel is not a towering wonder. It has a completely unique charm to it that sets it apart, and it left me feeling almost like I’d stepped into another world. It doesn’t hurt that it’s got its own road in for more privacy and a readymade boardwalk to stroll along the water. The hotel is polished to a T, with top notch service, and gorgeous chandeliers strung up near the entrance that frame The Clifford Pier restaurant perfectly. I stayed in the Premier Bay Room (rates from $740++) which comes with more space than the Bay Room and an area to lounge about on the balcony.
The balcony itself sits on the water, with an unobstructed view of Marina Bay Sands (and the light show that happens at night, if you’re into that). There’s a well-stocked Nespresso machine in the room, TV channels to keep you occupied all night, and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows to gaze out of as you daydream from the bathtub. I went for a swim at the rooftop pool before heading out to Lau Pa Sat for some yummy food I’m normally too lazy to travel to eat. The next day, I took a leisurely walk past the Merlion and across the Jubilee bridge to wander around The Esplanade. The best thing about an indulgent staycation, is taking a break from the monotony of everyday life, even if that means splurging a little and exploring places you wouldn’t normally go to.
The stay came with breakfast at La Brasserie, which was a wonderfully posh affair (especially the decor). There’s a buffet area at one end, and cosy intimate seating throughout the rest of the restaurant with more floor-to-ceiling views of the bay waterfront. Definitely a wonderful escape for someone who enjoys a more historic grandness in hotels. - Alyssa Dhaliwal, beauty writer
Room rates start from $550++ a night for the Deluxe Room. The Fullerton Bay Hotel is located at 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326. For reservations: Contact +65 633 8388 or visit www.fullertonbayhotel.com
Image: Shangri-la Orchard
8. SHANGRI-LA HOTEL
The hallmark of a perfect staycation: Feeling as if you just came back from a holiday. This is exactly how I felt after a weekend at Shangri-La Hotel for its recently-launched Time Out package.
Let me tell you why it ticked all the right boxes for me. I stayed in a Deluxe City View Room in the Garden Wing on the (highest) 9th floor.The spacious nature-inspired room and balcony was tastefully appointed with tropical tones – think brown, green and orange; the 50sqm room made me feel like I was in an island resort. Later, I stepped out onto the expansive balcony and was instantly rewarded with a gentle breeze and an impressive view of the verdant surroundings.
A freeform swimming pool is also a definite plus point. There’s no better way to feel like you’re on vacation than taking a dip in this expansive swimming pool or simply lounging poolside. And while you’re at it, here’s a cute Instagram idea: Borrow one of the hotel’s inflatable swan floats that’s made available to guests who’ve booked the Time Out package.
Also, what’s a weekend escape without great food? During mid-day, my husband and I padded down to the hotel’s soaring Lobby Lounge for the complimentary three-tier tea set consisting of petite sandwiches, scones and tea cakes. There is also a choice of tea or coffee, refillable in either iced or hot versions.
Apart from all that outdoorsy stuff, the hotel package provides an Apple TV with access to Netflix shows to keep you entertained. The cherry on top of the cake? You get to make an appointment with a personal mixologist who will arrive at your doorstep with a bottle of Prosecco and a choice of three mixers (strawberry, mango and raspberry), which he stirs up on the spot! — Xin Hui, features writer
Rates start from $465++ per night for the Deluxe City View Room. Shangri-La Hotel is located at 22 Orange Grove Rd, Singapore 258350. For more information call +65 6737 3644 or visit http://www.shangri-la.com/.