Singapore’s other historic property besides the Raffles, the Fullerton is housed in the city’s former post office in a stone-clad building that dates from 1928. The lobby is massive, with several sitting areas, cafés, shops and a busy vibe (the Raffles feels more tucked-away and elegant). The hotel conversion was masterfully executed, however, and the rooms are comfortable and more contemporary than the historic setting would imply (flatscreens, large bathrooms, minimalist color scheme). Some of the original details were painstakingly restored and rooms on the second floor have soaring, high ceilings. The best rooms face the marina (in September, when Formula 1 comes to Singapore, they are booked months in advance, as they overlook part of the racetrack).
The sizeable pool hovers over the busy downtown district and there’s a small spa. Lighthouse restaurant, with its stunning rooftop bar and panoramic views is one of the city’s best spots for Italian cuisine. The Fullerton is a great option for travelers who are looking for a historic setting (ie, not one in a skyscraper) and who don’t mind the big-hotel vibe.
Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
Normally the name Ritz-Carlton doesn’t inspire visions of great art, but in the case of the Singapore branch, an incredible contemporary collection is what sets the hotel apart from the many other luxury options in the city. Many of the thousands of pieces, including sculpture, painting and large-scale installations, were commissioned for the hotel. There are pieces that leave big impressions, like Frank Stella’s oversized sculptures from his Moby Dick series, but also smaller gems by the likes of David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Rainer Gross. It’s truly a world-class collection and if you have time, ask for the iPod tour at reception; it’s really worthwhile.
The 608 guest rooms were all completely overhauled in 2011, giving the property a sleek, contemporary feel. Interiors are spacious and airy, with a bright caramel-and-white color scheme, lots of mirrors and large windows many of which have stunning views of the marina and beyond. The recent renovation also updated the in-room technology (LCD televisions, Bose sound systems, Nespresso machines). The only floor that has not been totally renovated is the Club Level, where snacks, drinks and meals are served throughout the day. But the stunning views from this 32nd floor distract from the somewhat tired décor (the hotel is planning to renovate this floor later in 2012). The sizeable pool on the ground floor is surrounded by lush gardens and vegetation, drowning out (almost entirely) the sound of the nearby traffic. High Tea in the Chihuly Lounge, presided over by the American glass artist’s Sunset) is a Singapore tradition.
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