Singapore: A Boutique Hotel City

A booming tourism industry has led to the development of unique properties By: Gary Bowerman
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is combines classical and modern design. // © 2012 Fullerton Bay Hotel
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is combines classical and modern design. // © 2012 Fullerton Bay Hotel

The Details

The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Hotel Fort Canning

Naumi Hotel

New Majestic

The Porcelain Hotel

The Sultan


Tourism is booming in Singapore, with 2011 seeing a record 13.2 million arrivals and  an estimated $2.6 billion in earnings in the hotel industry. Singapore’s international hotels are well regarded by business and leisure travelers, but Singapore is also emerging as Asia’s most impressive city for boutique abodes. From Chinatown to Little India, and from Marina Bay to Fort Canning, uniquely designed hotels offer alternative stay options. Here are seven top picks.

Overlooking Marina Bay, one of Singapore’s most beautifully crafted designer dwellings is at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Younger sibling of the sumptuous Fullerton Hotel, this 98-room property combines classical and modern design with ancient nautical maps hung beside contemporary art works and exquisite chandeliers. The rooftop pool and lounge terrace afford jaw-dropping city and bayside views.

Inventive Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng is the brains behind sister hotels New Majestic in Chinatown and Wanderlust in Little India. Opened in converted adjoining shophouses in 2006, New Majestic’s 30 artfully themed rooms were created by some of Asia’s top interior designers. Bold colors, eclectic styling and the excellent Majestic modern Cantonese restaurant have earned the hotel several prestigious awards.

Housed in a converted school and opened in 2010, Wanderlust’s experimental interiors are inspired by the theme of ‘curious voyagers,’ with each of its four levels created by a different designer. The photogenic industrial-glam lobby bar — styled with stainless-steel bar stools, antique barber chairs and colored window panels — more than merits a visit even if clients aren’t staying in the hotel.

Singapore’s colonial history is evident at Hotel Fort Canning, which is housed in the former British Military Administration Building, dating from 1926. Perched on a hillside in the middle of the city, it is surrounded by lush tropical greenery, and the elevated location yields photo-friendly views of Singapore’s skyline.

Themed around the history of fine china, The Porcelain in Chinatown is easily spotted by its intricately handpainted, blue-and-white mural on the side of the building. The smallish rooms are styled in blue, white or celadon green color schemes with bathroom tiling, ceiling lights and mirror frames all incorporating Chinese porcelain patterns.

Located in the lively district of Kampong Glam — historically home to Singapore’s Malay and Arabic communities — The Sultan occupies a whitewashed cluster of former shophouses. Inside are 64 rooms individually designed in accordance with the history and architecture of the building, plus the Moroccan-themed Pasha restaurant and terrace.

Naumi opened in 2007 following a deluxe makeover of the old Metropolitan Hotel. Designer armchairs by Poltrona Frau, a giant origami trellis on the exterior and a rooftop infinity pool are among the highlights. The owners recently acquired The Saff boutique hotel, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar revamp and will reopen with 79 rooms as Naumi Liora in June. 

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