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When it comes to Asia’s latest tourism boom, Singapore has helped lead the way, in part thanks to the popularity of the blockbuster rom-com “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Other factors that contribute to the island’s celebrity status include the 12 Singapore bars on 2018 Asia’s 50 Best Bars list; its foodie culture, which includes everything from hawker stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants; and the abundance of chic boutique hotels that make inventive use of the city-state’s heritage buildings, many of which are protected under “conservation status” laws.
Although some of the best of these properties have shuttered over the past few years — hotelier Loh Lik Peng’s trailblazing New Majestic Hotel and Wanderlust Hotel were closed in 2017 and 2018, respectively — last year saw the emergence of a new wave of upscale, cool boutique properties.
Here are six new options to book when visiting Singapore.
Ann Siang HouseIn March 2018, a heritage shophouse in Singapore’s Business District opened its doors as the 20-room Ann Siang House. (The name is an homage to wealthy businessman Chia Ann Siang.)
Rooms have a homey, clean and modern apartment-like feel and feature complimentary minibar snacks. There are a handful of room categories, including “The Active Studio,” which comes complete with workout and yoga equipment, and “The Culinary Studio,” which features a well-equipped kitchenette. White Label — a combination record store and bar with a DJ and live acts — and The Other Roof, a rooftop bar and restaurant, are among the property’s food and beverage outlets.
The Capitol Kempinski Hotel SingaporeOriginally slated to open in 2015 as The Patina, Kempinski Capitol became one of the city’s most long-awaited hotel openings. The 157-room hotel finally made its debut last October.
Both the historic Capitol Building and the adjoined Stamford House have been transformed into this European-style stunner, which features creamy latte tones, outstanding sound insulation and light-blocking shades. (Fun fact: “Crazy Rich Asians” had its Singapore red-carpet premiere at the adjacent Capitol Theatre.)
A saltwater relaxation pool and small spa figure among the comforts, while the ground-level restaurant 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung features a menu by the Hong Kong chef, aka “The Demon Chef,” who takes on Singaporean classics like chicken rice and “laksa” (spicy noodle soup).
Six Senses DuxtonMarking the first foray into city hotels for the luxurious Six Senses brand, Six Senses Duxton opened in April 2018.
Located in trendy, buzzing Tanjong Pagar, aka “Old Chinatown,” the 49-room Duxton comprises restored shophouses and features numerous room categories and sometimes eclectic design and layout schemes courtesy of interior designer Anouska Hempel.
Guests can opt for a variety of specialty suites, including the creamy Pearl Suite or the dark and dramatic Skylight Suite. The property also offers an authentic Chinese medicine consultation. Yellow Pot, its opulent restaurant and bar, serves up contemporary Chinese cuisine and delicious signature cocktails.
Six Senses MaxwellA short walk from Singapore’s famed Maxwell Food Centre — home to the Michelin-starred Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice — Six Senses’ second Tanjong Pagar property opened last December. Brighter in design and sustainably minded (the hotel’s amenity kit includes toothbrushes made from cornstarch that are completely biodegradable), Six Senses Maxwell is much larger than its nearby sibling.
Six Senses Maxwell features 138 guestrooms, a slender outdoor lap pool, two restaurants and several bars. Guests can take part in a “Singing Bowl Ritual” in the lobby that is meant to impart a sense of zen, or opt for a scoop of homemade ice cream from the Ice Cream bike, which travels along the alfresco dining veranda daily.
The Vagabond ClubThe Vagabond Club is Singapore’s first zero-carbon hotel. The 41-room property is as intimate as it is artsy; it’s located in a 1950s art deco building that borders Singapore’s Little India neighborhood and is just a couple blocks from the 24-hour Mustafa Centre shopping complex.
The hotel is part of Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio and Bonvoy Rewards program. Visitors who book one of the property’s cozy rooms will also receive complimentary use of a smartphone with unlimited data, local calls and some international calls included.
Also noteworthy is the property’s international Artist in Residency program.www.marriott.com
The Warehouse HotelOpened in January 2017 at Robertson Quay along the Singapore River, The Warehouse Hotel occupies a former spice warehouse that was built in 1895.
While retaining a warehouse-like interior, the lobby and 37 guestrooms are utterly stunning; dark tones and brown and tan leather are set against off-white walls.
Some clients may have rooms that overlook the river, including the loft-style River View Suite. On-site restaurant Po features menus from chef Willin Low, and offerings include Singaporean fare. Meanwhile, the Lobby Bar serves cocktails that incorporate quintessential Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients such as "pandan" (a tropical plant) and kaffir lime salt.