Fairmont Singapore delights in providing a distinctive brand of relaxed opulence in the heart of the city-state’s central business district
There is no better place to soak up a hotel’s ethos than its lobby. At the Fairmont Singapore it is immediately apparent that the property is making a successful play for the laid-back luxury market. The clientele seems largely relaxed, the lobby filled with lively chatter rather than the hushed reverence often observed in the region’s stuffier establishments, and men in business attire are outnumbered by those in Guns ‘n’ Roses T-shirts, France football shirts and the like.
A certain quirkiness also pervades the space, largely thanks to a revitalisation of the lobby that took place in 2013. The undoubted centrepiece is a lighting installation of 800 hand-blown, crystal glass balls that swirl from the ceiling. Equally striking is “Diversity”, an artwork by textile designer Claudia Caviezel that revels in a kaleidoscope of red, pink and yellow and dominates the wall behind the reception desk.
The 365 guestrooms in the north tower underwent a transformation in the same year, emerging with a modern take on the iconic culture of early Straits Chinese immigrants and their descendants, who became known as Peranakan. Along with pleasant touches such as a choice of six different pillows, a plate of fine welcome chocolates and Le Labo toiletries, it is the room’s pervasive sense of place that lingers in the memory. The murals found above each headboard are a case in point, created by local digital artist Andre Tan and splicing Singapore’s past and present with Peranakan batik patterns. The bespoke carpet, meanwhile, draws its inspiration from the hand-painted clay tile flooring found in early Peranakan homes. The scintillating views from the Fairmont’s north tower may reveal the skyscraping majesty of modern Singapore, but its rooms recall a simpler time, when new lives were being built and intriguing cultures forged.
Time to heal
Shopping until dropping is a feature activity for many visitors to the city-state, but tramping Singapore’s mall acreage in those Manolo Blahniks can leave one feeling weary. Avail yourself of a High Heals experience at the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa: perfect after a rabid rendezvous with the retail sector.
Guests do not have to step far from the hotel to stumble into numerous retail outlets, with Raffles City mall part of the same complex as the Fairmont. Revolving around Robinsons department store and
a gourmet supermarket, Raffles City offers seven floors of local and international brand stores, with many offering special discounts for tourists.
Just across the road from the Fairmont is Chijmes, a repurposed former Catholic convent that now houses numerous food and beverage options in delightful surroundings. Grab a table at one of the restaurant-bars, most of which are set around a central lawn dotted with trees, soak up the relaxed after-work atmosphere and observe. Wharf Oyster Bar is an excellent option for a drink thanks to their 100 flavours of mojito, including caramel cinnamon, lychee and even a Singapore sling variety.
In off the green
A former home of ruling Malay kings, as well as Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, Fort Canning Park is a short walk from the Fairmont and provides a pleasant chunk of green slap bang in the central business district. With colonial remnants including the old fort gate, a butterfly garden and a spice garden, the park is a charming spot to whittle away a few hours.
A touch of Glam
The Kampong Glam area is the place to go for chic boutiques, eclectic restaurants and live music. Top of the list is the SingJazz club, situated in a colonial-era building on busy Jalan Alan. The cream of local musicians and a rousing roster of international acts play jazz and jazz-inspired music well into the night.
Tel: +65 6339 7777. Address: 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore. Website: fairmont.com/singapore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms: range from the 39-square-metre Deluxe Rooms and refurbished Fairmont Premier Rooms up to the 199-square-metre Penthouse Suite. Suggested accommodation: Signature Executive Rooms offer two balconies, a large sitting area and the hotel’s signature Peranakan-inspired styling.
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