This year marks a decade since I’ve first stepped foot in Singapore. In these ten years, I have stayed in 56 hotels within the borders of the republic. While that may seem a lot, this number is still only a fraction compared to the 300-odd hotels in the country. Of the 56 hotels I’ve stayed in so far, there were a few good ones. Some were bad. Others were okay but forgettable. I also have my own favorites – memorable stay experiences which I’ve not forgotten to this day.
So what exactly makes for an excellent hotel stay? When I looked back on all the nights I spent in a hotel in Singapore, I did not focus on any particular theme but assessed the hotels holistically based on the following criteria – room quality, design, service, food and facilities. Many of these hotels also qualify for family staycations as they do very well in offering staycations for couples so versatility is another factor.
Without further ado, here are my personal picks for the best hotels to have a staycation in Singapore. Note that they are not are arranged in any particular order
St. Regis Singapore
This property screams opulence right from the moment you reach the driveway with art works from leading Southeast Asian and Western artists greeting you as you arrive. If unabashed luxury is your thing, the St. Regis Singapore certainly does not disappoint and the Sunday champagne brunch at Brasserie les Saveurs is perhaps the best testament to this. While the rooms are plush and spacious, guests also have free access to the wet area of the in-house Remede Spa which is also known for its signature Perfect Synergy treatment. Overall not a shabby proposition for a staycation.
Unique selling point: Guests can ask the in-house butler to pack and unpack their clothes, prepare hot chocolate as well as iron clothes free-of-charge
One of my personal favorites in Singapore, the world’s first Shangri-La hotel is a “mega” hotel with three distinct wings. There is the flagship Tower Wing, resort-like Garden Wing and the more opulent Valley Wing for guests to take their pick from. The F&B here needs no introduction with names such as Shang Palace, Nadaman, The Line and Waterfall having delighted guests for decades.
Unique selling point: Guests booked in the Valley Wing get to enjoy free-flowing champagne every afternoon in the Summit Room as well as complimentary minibar in the room
Fullerton Bay Hotel
Fullerton Bay Hotel has been around for only a few years but has been named by many leading travel magazines as one of the best hotels in Singapore. The hotel sits in a prime location and takes advantage of its unique bayside setting with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass windows that gives it a bright and appealing nautical theme.
Unique selling point: Stay here to get front-row tickets to fireworks displays and nightly light shows at Marina Bay. Entry-level rooms start at a spacious 46 square meters. The property is very generous with the complimentary in-room drinks with at least a dozen Gryphon tea bags and three dozen Nespresso coffee capsules. The rooftop bar Lantern and The Landing Point situated downstairs offer some mean evening drinks.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is also one of the few luxury hotels in Singapore to offer complimentary use of a mobile phone that comes pre-loaded with free calls, SMS and mobile internet usage.
Pan Pacific Singapore
One of the most value-for-money hotels in the luxury segment, rooms here start for well under SGD 300++ per night and depending on the tier, may include balconies that open up to wonderful views of Marina Bay. The F&B proposition here is fantastic – from the Chinese restaurant Hai Tien Lo down to the all-day-dining restaurant, Edge. Overall, this property has my favorite hotel restaurant ensemble in Singapore.
Unique selling point: This property has so many room types that you’d need to spend at least twelve nights here to go through them all. The Pacific Harbour Studio comes with a gigantic tub and access to the Pacific Club for a near 360 degrees view of the city
Hotel Jen Tanglin
The only non-luxury hotel in this list, Hotel Jen Tanglin is a property that immediately appeals with its cheery and youthful vibe. The hotel combines a very practical approach (think: cellphone chargers in public areas) with design-oriented aesthetics to bring about a fuss-free and fun stay.
Unique selling point: The club lounge here could very well be mistaken for a hipster café with faux brick walls and hanging light fixtures. The spread is also one of the best I’ve tried for a 4-star hotel club lounge in Singapore.
Speaking of hipster cafes, the lobby café called Jen’s Kitchen-on-the-Go frequently has collaborations and pop-up events with independent and quirky food brands in Singapore
The only boutique hotel in this list, Hotel Vagabond suits savvy travelers who have seen it all and are looking for something different. One only needs to have a glimpse of the lobby to see exactly why. This proposition seems to have proven effective. It has achieved a lot in less than a year, rising to become one of the top-rated hotels in Singapore.
Unique selling point: This art-focused hotel has perhaps one of the most interesting hotel lobbies in Singapore, with a golden rhino for a reception desk, plenty of metallic trees as well as those elephants in the room.
Grand Hyatt Singapore
An oldie but a goodie, this hotel has been delighting guests for almost 40 years with its prime location steps away from the heart of Orchard Road. Although a chain hotel with hundreds of rooms, this is a property where one easily feels at home. I can’t help but associate Grand Hyatt Singapore with its delightful staff members who always go out of their way to make small talk with guests – as was my experience when I stayed there and also during the times I ate there.
Unique selling point: The suite-like Grand Deluxe Room is spacious and boasts of a separate living/working area -a value for money proposition in a luxury hotel.
Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore
A veritable institution in Singapore’s hotel scene, the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore makes for a very fine staycation. There’s something about the rooms here, especially those with floor-to-ceiling windows facing Marina Bay that make them seem much larger than the 51 square meters that they’re supposed be.
Unique selling point: One of the finest hotels in Singapore I’ve encountered service-wise, staff members go out of their way to please guests. Then there is of course the iconic octagonal bathroom window overlooking Marina Bay which makes for an unparalleled bath experience.
W Sentosa Cove
Probably the hippest hotel in this list, this design-oriented property needs no introduction as a staycation option as it’s proven to be very popular for this purpose. Boasting a relatively intimate setting in Sentosa right in the playground of the rich and famous, the W is also a top pick for couples looking for some r&r.
Unique selling point: This is a property where you get whipped cream and sprinkles on an ice cream cone instead of a traditional fruit basket. The party never seems to end at the W with the occasional DJs at the lobby or you can have a private chill out session in the room courtesy of the BOSE sound system and wide catalog of lounge music
Personally, this is my favorite hotel in Singapore. The lobby and some F&B outlets are located within heritage buildings previously used by the British Royal Artillery while the rooms are in a separate modern low-rise structure. With a very strong service culture by the staff and spacious rooms even at entry level, it’s hard to find fault at this ultra-luxury resort. Its lush surroundings and three-tiered swimming pool easily makes one forget about the hustle and bustle of city life. For a quick escape without having to go out of town, this is THE place to do it.
Unique selling point: A coordinator gets in touch with guests long before they’ve checked in to arrange little nuances for the stay, down to the type of beverages to have in the minibar which are complimentary. In the afternoon, guests can lounge around at The Library for a delightful afternoon snack. The resort is also pet-friendly so you can very well bring your little furry ones along for the staycation!
A recent makeover has made this quite a compelling place to stay in Singapore at a fraction of the cost of other luxury hotels. The Intercontinental Singapore is the only Peranakan-inspired 5 star hotel in the country with plenty of traditional patterns and tiled floorings permeating the property. The F&B here also enhances the experience. Ash & Elm in particular, is notable for its open kitchen concept and creative menus.
Unique selling point: Guests who have access to the Peranakan-inspired club lounge can treat themselves to an unlimited number of three-tier high tea sets every afternoon on top of evening cocktails. Every Saturday, one can also join a complimentary walking tour of the surrounding heritage district.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
While an airport hotel doesn’t immediately sound appealing, it must be noted that the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is not your typical transit hotel.
Unique selling point: With a resort-like setting, it’s hard to imagine that one is in the middle of an airport especially when lounging around in the pool area. Aviation buffs can request for rooms with windows that overlook the Changi Airport runway.