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High Tea has become one of the best litmus tests of how a hotel can impress its guests. Singapore's Raffles Hotel is no different. The entire hotel, a vintage colonial building surrounded by gardens and lush tropical plants, is one of the must-see attractions for visitors. Not only is it the original property of the hotel chain, it is a landmark building for the city.
Lots of planning needs to go into partaking in this tea service. No, we're not talking about which hat to wear or whether the finger sandwiches have crusts or not. Although very important, these thoughts can't happen until you make a booking for high tea. And The Tiffin Room at The Raffles takes reservations no more than three weeks before you want to partake in the pomp and circumstance. Fortunately, we planned ahead for our own tea time. Here's how it went:
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel News / W Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Resorts / → All Tags
Just the other day we thought we had covered all that was new on the Asian hotel scene but it turns out there's yet another hotel to watch out for---W Sentosa Cove in Singapore, a 240-room property on an island outside Singapore's city center.
The resort was initially set to open in August but now it's set for September 16. And to celebrate the opening the hotel has put together two "Welcome" packages, the first which starts at $306 US a night.
The Island Glamour Welcome package includes one night in a Wonderful room, breakfast for two at the Kitchen Table, and cocktails for two at the hotel's WOOBAR. The Marvelous Welcome package, on the other hand, ups the offerings with a stay in a Marvelous suite, breakfast for two, cocktails, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and complimentary two-way airport or local address transfers. A minimum stay of two nights is required and the package starts at $627 a night.
We found rates for the Island Glamour package are actually going for $309 US a night so it's slight $3 increase but the good news is that the welcome packages are both available through December 30th. Sadly, it doesn't include internet which is about $15 a day.
That's the Garden Wing tucked back there
Here's a fun little fact: The Shangri-La Hotel Singapore is actually the original property of the Shangri-La collection. Sure, many travelers know it originated in Asia (the "Shangri-La" name kinda gives it away), but you'll find its flagship just off Singapore's popular Orchard Road...set back into a lush grove of palm trees and birds-of-paradise.
We've already shown you the dual, exquisite lobbies and inside a suite within the more exclusive Valley Wing, but finally we have a glimpse at what the most recent renovation has created: refreshed rooms in the Garden Wing.
UPDATE, 6.21.12: The W Sentosa Cove is now opening September 16th while the W Guangzhou is set for December 31, 2012.
While the latter is scheduled to open in October, W Sentosa, located in an upscale marina residential community outside of Singapore's city center, is gearing up for an August opening. Which is good news for any Lady Gaga fans who heard about her recent stint in Sentosa, and have been wanting an excuse to go see the place for themselves.
But out of all the new Ws opening this year and next, which one in particular strikes your fancy?
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What did TripAdvisor rate "Trendiest Hotel of 2011?" This one: the Hotel New Republic in Singapore's Chinatown. Don't let that color your judgment however, since our recent stay proved that "trendy" here doesn't mean it's overcrowded, packed with scensters or cheap furniture to look "cool." Instead, the New Republic is a quiet 30-room design-focused hotel that has expertly renovated a historic Chinatown shophouse into a place we sincerely wish we had booked for more than one night.
To be completely honest, of all the hotels we've experienced in Singapore, the New Majestic is the first one we'd return to on our next trip. It is ideal for travelers who seek out unique spaces that reflect the spirit of the destination (ah hem, not a big chain hotel) and for those who desire to be outside of the business district, in the heart of culture. And maybe those who want a funky pool too.
Rooms at the New Majestic begin around $200 per night, which we paid. There really aren't any bad rooms, but we'd try for the second floor where each room has either a balcony or a patio, some of those patios with outdoor soaking bathtubs. It's details like thisand there are many of themthat give you a sense that the New Majestic is having fun...fun with design, fun with being in Chinatown and fun with having you there, doing things like taking an al fresco midnight bath by the light of a lantern.
There once was a time when this HotelChatter writer used to book a hotel based solely on the glossy photo of its pool. Those were the days of pamphlets, however, and now with the internet, we've got far glossier photos in a multitude of angles. Still, nothing beats actually being there, seeing a stunning pool and being able to dive in, as we recently did at The New Majestic Hotel in Singapore.
You've probably seen photos of the New Majestic before, without realizing it. The "floating beds" are frequent favorites of design magazines and it was named "Trendiest Hotel" by Tripadvisor in 2011, but the pool gets enough attention on its own. You see, it sits above the lobby and has three large porthole windows that allow guests downstairs to look up at swimmers.
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Thus far into our exploration of Singapore's funky Wanderlust Hotel, we've taken you inside the Space Suite, the Typewriter Suite and of course into a regular room, as bright purple as it was. Now's the time to have a look around the lobby that gets it in so many design publications, and a few other surprises.
There's something about Singapore hotels you should know. Once you go above tourist class into luxury level, almost every hotel has a pretty lovely swimming pool for beating the high temperatures. Below, in the "affordable" category of hotels where the Wanderlust rules, it's extremely rare to find a pool. The Wanderlust has compromisedthere's a small outdoor deck with some designer patio furniture, a postage-stamp of a lawn and a sunken, rainbow whirlpool. While too small for a swim, it's plenty large for a late evening soak with a beer.
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You know when you walk into a hotel room, and it's just so different, and you're not really sure if it's going to be "different" in a good or bad way, but you stick it out anyway? Yeah, that's exactly how it was for us recently at The Wanderlust Hotel in Singapore.
Having seen the art-filled Wanderlust in design publications for a few years now, we just had to stay. Booking for one night via Tablet Hotels cost us $233.05 Singapore dollars total, which is $183.70 USD for the lowest category room, on the Pantone color-themed second floor. Checking in amidst all the funky furniture of the lobby made us feel cool just for being there (more on the public areas tomorrow), which should always be the goal of a well-designed space, and the friendly reception assigned us Room 205. The color? PURPLE.
For the Sake of Hotel Art / Hotel Art / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Dale Chihuly / → All Tags
Is the WiFi free? Does the gym have good machines? All these things get noticed when checking into a hotel, but what about the atmosphere of the placespecifically the art on the walls or on the floor? We're highlighting properties around the world that do their artwork right, and the specific pieces you should stare long and hard at when next you drop by.
Today: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore's's double dose of Dale Chihuly.
The vibrant, delicate works of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly are rarely found on display in hotels, but a few stand out for sure. There's Las Vegas' Bellagio and it's entire lobby ceiling stuffed with the blown-glass sculptures; there's the Resorts World Sentosa with its own gallery of his pieces for sale; and there's also the Ritz-Carlton Singapore, which not only has several specially comissioned works, but also a whole lounge named for the artist.
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Okay, so we've already showed you all around the Space Suite inside Singapore's Wanderlust Hotel, but now we're going inside another of the boutique hotel's themed rooms and this time, it's not so out of this world. It's the Typewriter Suite.
On the top floor of this 29-room hotel in the Little India neighborhood sits a range of themed suites, each conceptualized by local design company fFurious. And once we walked into the place and saw those huge typewriter keys above our heads, and the custom bench plus that mid-century modern couch, it was decided: should we return to Singapore and to the Wanderlust, this is the suite we'd want. It's kooky enough to have novelty appeal, but not so crazy that it's uncomfortable.
On Keong Saik Road, in the end of Singapore's Chinatown district, sits the Hotel 1929.
Despite its name, the hotel hasn't been around since 1929; it's the old shophouse building itself that has the history. Instead, the Hotel 1929 only opened as recently as 2003, part of the Lion City's little blow-up of boutique hotels, and it's actually only a block over from a far more famous, sister boutique property in the Unlisted Collection: The Hotel New Republic.
Although we didn't sleep here (yet), what we love about the 32-room Hotel 1929 are its low rates for such a chic propertyfrom around 150 SGD per night ($118)and its easy walking distance to both the cultural awesomeness of Chinatown and modern Singapore, as evidenced by the photo above.
Oh yeah, and the lobby and the hotel rooms feature modern designer furniture you're more used to seeing at the Museum of Modern Art than in a place you're only spending so much for. We're such fools for fancy furniture and architecture, let's face it.
Look, Singapore is a hot place both literally and figuratively. If you're heading to to the Lion City for more than a couple days on business, or staying for any length of time for vacation, then you must make a decision: a hotel with an awesome pool or a hotel with no pool. Obviously we favor the former, and we've actually been in love with hotel pools since the days of browsing printed pamphlets to choose a place (no flashy website photography then!).
Our latest awesome pool find is at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore. You'll find no waterslides or in-water chaise lounges here, however; the design is simple and sleek and all about the stepped sides. They're for showing off, you see. Hop up from your sunlounger and walk right into the water, then lean back on the steps and get a tan from there...or just watch as the zig-zag Missoni bikinis pass.