Boasting one of the world’s greatest variety of lodging options, it is sometimes not that easy to choose a hotel to stay in Singapore. As a commercial hub and major tourist destination, there are accommodations to suit all budgets. The likely problem you’ll encounter is deciding where to stay. Living in Singapore has allowed me to explore her many districts and over the years, I’ve checked out some 60 of her hotels so far. This guide is a compilation of my most loved city areas and hotels.
It is also worth noting that Singapore is not a particularly large city – it measures just over 700 square kilometers! However, the city state is a multi-racial society and this is reflected in its many colorful and distinct neighborhoods. You can be standing in Serangoon Road and feel like you’re in India one moment and walk a few blocks to Arab Street for a slice of the Middle East. Location can definitely play a big part in defining your Singapore experience.
My personal favorite area to stay in Singapore, Chinatown is also generally considered as the trendiest. This is where Singapore’s very first boutique hotel was built and until this day, the area is dominated by independent properties. For budget travelers, you also do see a lot of backpacker hostels in the area.
Chinatown has a lot of food options – from hawker stalls that locals frequent to Michelin-starred fine-dining outlets. In between, you also find a lot of tourist attractions so staying here will definitely save you some transport fare.
Accommodations in Chinatown mostly consist of boutique hotels and backpacker hostels so if you prefer to stay in another type of property (i.e. chain hotel), you are probably better off elsewhere.
Where to Stay in Chinatown
The Club Singapore – Recently refurbished, this is one of the few boutique properties in Singapore that has turndown service. Among the bells and whistles – guests can expect a refreshing welcome drink from the in-house bar, Mr and Mrs Maxwell and a couple of novellas placed at your bedside at night.
The Scarlet Singapore – one of the pioneers in the local boutique hotel scene, the property remains to be one of the most recognizable small hotels in Singapore with its sultry interiors and bold color scheme.
Naumi Liora – Rooms are tiny and some don’t have windows but the décor almost makes up for it. The location – right smack in the hip and happening Keong Saik Road – is also hard to beat.
Marina Bay & Raffles Place
Most visitors have one hotel in mind when it comes to the Marina Bay district but the area is actually host to a number of luxury accommodations. This is a good place to chill and have a drink while marveling the view from one of the many rooftop bars within the vicinity.
The views you see from the hotel rooms here are probably one of the best you could possibly get in Singapore. There are also plenty of malls within the area so you’ll never run out of places to shop if that is what you are after.
Aside from the sweeping views, the steel and glass buildings of Marina Bay don’t offer much in the way of character. Food is markedly more expensive than elsewhere. Raffles Place in particular is quiet during weekends and many establishments are closed
Where to Stay in Marina Bay
Mandarin Oriental Singapore – one of the most luxurious options in the city, the Singapore property of this award-winning hotel chain boasts of unblocked views of Marina Bay and well-appointed rooms. The swimming pool here is one of the most picturesque in the city and the club lounge deserves special mention for its champagne breakfast and premium offerings during evening cocktails
Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore – another hotel where one can get unblocked views of Marina Bay, the property may be synonymous to decadence but what really puts it on the map are its bathrooms with the soaking tub placed right by iconic octagonal windows.
Pan Pacific Singapore – with at least a dozen room types, guests are spoiled for choice here. The hotel also has some of the best in-house restaurants in Singapore including Hai Tien Lo for Chinese and Keyaki for Japanese.
The Fullerton Hotel – a heritage building turned into a hotel, The Fullerton is a fine example of a heritage building done right. Rooms are elegant and relatively muted. The swimming pool – surrounded by neoclassical columns – looks out into the civic district of Singapore
Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore – a relatively newer 5-star hotel surrounded on three sides by water and filled with plenty of natural lighting. Rooms start at a generous 45 square meters with balconies that sometimes open up to the bay. The rooftop bar, Lantern, is a top draw.
Bugis, Kampong Glam, Jalan Besar and Little India
Another one of my personal favorite areas to stay in Singapore – Bugis, Kampong Glam and Little India offer a mix of both character and modernity. You can go explore one of the temples one moment and step into a shopping mall the next. There is also a great variety of hotels in the area – from hostels to big-name luxury hotels.
Suitable for all budgets. Plenty of food options – Western, Chinese and even Middle Eastern. Steps away from some tourist attractions such as Arab Street and the Malay Heritage Centre. Bugis Street is popular among locals and tourists alike for cheap shopping.
Certain parts, such as Jalan Besar, are not well-served by the MRT
Where to Stay in Bugis, Kampong Glam, Jalan Besar and Little India
Intercontinental Singapore – the chain hotel to stay in this area, rooms are recently refurbished and feature a hint of local Peranakan sensibilities.
Hotel Yan – a small and relatively inexpensive hotel with flair. The rooms are a bit on the small side but are practical and well-appointed. The property caters a bit to the younger crowd.
Hotel Vagabond – a boutique hotel filled with flamboyance, guests can expect to see – among other things – a golden elephant in the lobby and a brass monkey by the bar. There is no shortage of gold-colored objects in this art-deco style hotel. All rooms come with plenty of photographs of exotic places – from Cuba to Africa – that’s sure to trigger the inner vagabond
Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Beach Road – a relatively under-the-radar property due to its branding as a serviced residence but the infinity pool at the top floor actually gives Marina Bay Sands’ pool a run for its money
Parkroyal on Beach Road – a reliable mid-price option just a few steps away from Kampong Glam, this Parkroyal hotel boasts of a newly-renovated Orchid Club Lounge. The Premier Rooms are of good value.
Singapore’s premier shopping stretch, Orchard Road is a magnet for tourists seeking the latest fashion finds. There is a good concentration of hotels here including some of the most lavish options in the city state
Many travelers, including first-timers to Singapore, choose to stay within the Orchard stretch as it is after all the premier shopping street of the city
Consisting of mall after mall, Orchard Road is a bit wanting in character. Many of the food options are from chains that can be had elsewhere in the city and are priced at a premium due to the higher rent.
Where to Stay in Orchard Road
Marriott Singapore Tang Plaza – probably the most centrally-located hotel in Singapore if Orchard Road is your definition of this city’s focal point.
Grand Hyatt Singapore – a few steps away from the Orchard-Scotts junction, the Grand Hyatt is an older but nevertheless compelling option in Orchard Road. The suite-like Grand Deluxe King is the room to choose if you prefer extra space without breaking the bank.
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre -for those traveling as a family, this particular Holiday Inn is one of the few hotels in Singapore that offer a 2 double bed option which can fit up to 4 persons in some of its rooms.
Hotel Jen Orchardgateway – centrally located being just above the Orchardgateway mall and Somerset MRT station. Guests can expect little touches such as citrus-flavored water in the lobby, mobile charging stations throughout the hotel and a spectacular rooftop pool.
St. Regis Singapore – for unabashed luxury, the rooms at St. Regis come with a butler who will pack and unpack your belongings, iron your clothes and prepare hot chocolate at your beck and call
Shangri-La Singapore – an institution in Singapore’s hotel scene, this Shangri-La is the very first in the world and boasts of three wings – the resort-like Garden Wing, the ultra-luxurious Valley Wing and the newly-renovated flagship Tower Wing.
Clarke Quay & Robertson Quay
A favorite area for expats, the Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay area is proving more popular among travelers these days as a place to stay with a slew of hotel openings. The riverside location also offers a bit of a change in terms of the urban landscape
Plenty of food choices here though many of them can be quite expat-oriented. Clarke Quay is a convenient area for party animals for a shorter walk from hotel to club
While not lacking in commercial areas and food options, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay may not be the ideal place for those wishing to get a peek at local life
Where to Stay in Clarke Quay & Robertson Quay
Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay – a sophisticated no-frills hotel, the naturally-lit lobby boasts of a high ceiling. There is even a pool – not bad for a Holiday Inn Express.
Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay – rooms are clean and very spacious even at entry-level though a renovation is due. The club lounge has breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline
M Social – this hotel designed by Philip Starck has been quite popular with the younger crowd since it opened. The loft rooms get booked out easily so it’s wise to make reservations.
The Warehouse Hotel – new boutique hotel built in a heritage building, the rooms at this chic property are designed with plenty of contemporary flair. Look out for the customized Ashley & Co bath amenities and creatively-concocted cocktails at the bar
Singapore’s version of a resort island, Sentosa these days has something for everyone – from family-friendly options to couple-oriented accommodations. Prices here have a reputation for being high but bargains can be had for those who have the flexibility of staying here during a weekday
Many of Singapore’s top tourist draws – such as Universal Studios and the S.E.A. Aquarium – are located here so Sentosa is quite convenient if your Singapore visit revolves around these places
May be a bit inconvenient to head out to the mainland. Depending on the hotel that you’re staying in, the only option may be via taxi. Hotel shuttles are usually provided but schedules differ depending on the property. Prices for food are often at a premium compared to the mainland
Where to Stay in Sentosa
Capella Singapore – arguably the poshest hotel in Singapore, this lush resort has hosted plenty of A-list celebrities. Even the smallest room is 77 square meters in size!
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa – step into this expansive resort and you’ll feel like you’re somewhere else in Southeast Asia rather than dense Singapore. Amenities include a children’s play room which makes the resort highly suitable for families. The cliff-side restaurant, Il Lido is highly popular for romantic candlelight dinners.
W Singapore – Sentosa Cove – a hip (sometimes overly so) hotel located right at the playground of Singapore’s rich and famous. The rooms give off a party vibe but somehow, the hotel remains popular with local families especially during weekends.
While not top of mind as an area to stay in Singapore, Balestier Road is actually quite a compelling option for Singapore regulars who are looking for a change of environment
The area offers a good peek into local life without actually having to head out to the Singapore heartlands. Balestier Road itself is host to plenty of famous local food – from bak kut teh to sliced fish soup.
Not very centrally-located if your intention is to visit Orchard Road or the usual attractions such as Sentosa, Marina Bay or the ethnic quarters
Where to Stay in Balestier
Ibis Novena – on most days, this is the cheapest chain hotel in Singapore with prices often going below US$100 a night (a rarity in Singapore). A regular shuttle also makes it easy to get to the MRT
Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park – Undoubtedly the most upscale hotel in the Balestier area, this Ramada is located at a charming neighborhood close to some tourist attractions such as the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and some local eateries. Rooms are sophisticated yet simple.
The east coast of Singapore spans a big stretch from Katong up to Changi Beach. Certain sections offer a slice of a charming but fast disappearing side of Singapore. East Coast Park – a popular haunt among locals – lines the southeastern portion of the city.
Neighborhoods with character (especially Katong), a more relaxing option compared to the central areas, plenty of wonderful local food
An overwhelming majority of hotels located in the east coast of Singapore are not near any MRT stations.
Where to Stay in the East Coast of Singapore
Hotel Indigo Katong – Surrounded by charming Peranakan shophouses, it comes as no surprise this property decided to implement the same theme in its interiors. Peranakan sensibilities abound – from the floor tiles to the in-room amenities. As a visitor to Singapore, this is one of the more “uniquely Singaporean” properties to stay in
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport – an airport hotel by definition but its presentation is anything but. The lush pool area is a crowd favorite.
Capri by Fraser Changi City – an functional hotel-residence concept which basically means the rooms come with a kitchenette and microwave oven. The hotel sits adjacent to Changi City mall which in turn is close to the Expo MRT Station.
Village Hotel Changi – popular among transit passengers and locals alike, the hotel has a languid, chalet-like atmosphere which is helped no less by its location close to the beach