The Asian metropolis is heating up with an influx of intriguing hotels—each with a big-name designer, fantastic food, and memorable art.

By Maria Shollenbarger
January 13, 2016
Credit: Courtesy of The South Beach; Franz Navarrete

It used to be that there were more or less two places you’d stay in Singapore, and they were at opposite ends of the hotel-design spectrum: the old-school Raffles, with its grand lobby and burnished teak floors, and the slick Fullerton Bay Hotel, a favorite of socialites and financiers. But this year, the city is suddenly very busy with hotel openings and renovations (including, it’s rumored, an imminent overhaul of the Raffles itself). Three in particular—a colorful Philippe Starck gem, the no-expense-spared Patina, and the intimate Club Hotel—are on our radar.

Credit: Franz Navarrete

The South Beach

Clocking in at 654 rooms across several floors of a Foster & Partners–designed tower and an adjacent low-rise, the South Beach is full of bright colors, eye-catching designs, and energetic service. Philippe Starck is behind the interiors, including public spaces that combine Peranakan Chinese, Indian, Moorish, American, and European décor references, and guest rooms with richly veined marble, glovesoft leather upholstery, and oak finishes. The place to be is one of the two rooftop terraces, each with an infinity pool and views of the Central Business District. Downstairs, the dining scene includes savory small plates at Laugh and an East-meets-West menu at the oddly named ADHD (short for, in this case, All Day Hotel Dining), where the chefs turn out faultless Caesar salads, prawn lollipops, and elevated local street food inspired by Singapore’s hawker centers. Doubles from $320.

The Patina Capitol Singapore

The centerpiece of the Capitol Singapore development on Stamford Road is the ultra-luxe Patina. Opening this spring, the 157 rooms and suites comprise two structures (a 1909 Venetian Renaissance building and a Neoclassical building from 1930) with original features like mullioned windows and high ceilings. The great designer Jaya Ibrahim, who passed away last year, layered the interiors in rich herringbone and lattice-work patterns. Paintings and porcelain selected by the Patina’s owners, the Kwee family (noted Singaporean developers and collectors), fill the suites. Eru, the sprawling restaurant downstairs run by Lima-based chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, serves ceviche, tiraditos, and other Peruvian specialties. And Pure & Co., the hybrid sweetshop and bookstore next door, sells Peruvian chocolates, Assouline titles, and other gifts. Doubles from $650.

Credit: Franz Navarrete

The Club Hotel

You can’t get more centrally located than the Club, a colonial stalwart in Ann Siang Hill recently reopened after a chic upgrade by Singapore-based Australian designers Matthew Shang and Paul Semple. The 18 rooms and two suites have Midcentury-inspired beds upholstered in nubby tweeds and gorgeous brass lighting. The bathrooms feature quirky portraits and Bamford soaps and lotions. And the view of the glittering skyline towering above old Hokkien shop-houses from Tiger’s Milk, the rooftop pisco bar, is quintessential Singapore. Doubles from $200.

While You're There:

The first thing visitors will notice about the National Gallery Singapore, which opened in November, is its size: housed in the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, it has nearly 700,000 square feet of exhibition space, displaying the world’s largest collection of modern Southeast Asian art, along with rotating exhibits and events. Its restaurants also make it a serious dining destination, with cuisines ranging from Italian (at the gorgeous rooftop Aura) to Indian (at Saha, which relocated from a shop-house in Duxton Hill).