Suddenly Singapore: A Magical Must List

Five years ago, Crazy Rich Asians reintroduced American audiences to Singapore, the island nation known for its futuristic skyline, affluent avenues, and multicultural menus (English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil are the official languages here). Now approaching its 60th anniversary commemorating its independence from Malaysia in 1965, it's time to revisit my trip to the modern metropolis...

I had the privilege of being invited to stay at the city’s “first luxury boutique hotel,” the Scarlet Singapore. Situated a block away from the bustling Chinatown and Little India districts, the hotel promises an indulgent experience for visitors, having gone through a revamp that transformed all 75 guest rooms and five suites into a jewel-toned paradise. 


The entrance, flanked by a watery portal, leads to the stunning lobby that’s decked out in Christian Lacroix velvet and multi-colored designer fabrics. The guest corridors are dressed in textured reds, purples, and fuchsia, adding to the intimate ambiance that runs throughout the rest of the property. Our “premium” room was ensconced in a full-bodied matte gold with subtle mix of orange, topaz, and chartreuse, an ornate headboard made of luxe black velvet, draperies with elegant trimmings, and a chaise lounge perfect for decompressing after a full day of walking throughout the city.

If the chaise lounge doesn't work, there's always SODA, the open-air Jacuzzi patio where you can soak and recharge, or FLAUNT, the fittingly named fitness center where cardio chasers and weight trainers can work on their bodies.

As tempting as the Scarlet’s amenities were, I knew I had a lot more to cover and experience. And here is where I netted out…


1. Stand across the street from the Marina Bay Sands and marvel at the awe-inspiring, futuristic architecture of the resort’s three towers and connecting rooftop bar-restaurant-pool-garden.

2. Take an elevator to the top and try a honey rose daiquiri at Ce La Vi, the hotel’s rooftop bar.

3. Surpass the lines at Universal Studios on Sentosa Island and go ride the Skyline Luge before lounging on the sands of Palawan Beach.

4. Do some window shopping in the giant Louis Vuitton pod that overlooks the harborfront. Perhaps splurge on a new leather wallet.

5. Learn about the Seven Circles of Hell at Haw Par Villa, a creepily fascinating park full of handpainted statues and macabre dioramas. Admission is free, but you'll need some money for the 20-minute train ride.

6. Order some fried carrot cake (for lunch, not dessert – trust me) at one of the city’s “hawker stations,” outdoor food courts that serve the some of the most delicious street food you’ll ever taste.

7. Drink a Singapore Sling at its birthplace, The Long Bar inside the famous Raffles Hotel. (The fruity cocktail is over a century old.)

8. After that, swing by the nearby SunnyHills for a free sample of their signature pineapple tea cakes.

9. Ride the Singapore Flyer at night for a gorgeous (and romantic) view of the city and its sparkling skyline.

10. Walk the suspended, vertiginous Skyway up in the Supertrees of the breathtaking Gardens by the Bay.

11. And while you’re there, cool off and explore the highlands amidst waterfalls, orchids, and exotic plants inside the Cloud Forest, an awesome conservatory. (NOTE: If you're visiting in September or October you'll need plenty of cooling as those are Singapore's most humid months as well as palm oil harvesting season in nearby Indonesia – beware of heavy air pollution.)

12. Drain your wallet on Orchard Road among the dozens of shops, boutiques, and cafes that line up the city’s most popular shopping strip.

13. Before heading back to your hotel room, take a foot bath and get a pedicure and massage at Beauty Empire, just two doors down from the Scarlet Singapore.

For more info, tips, and guides, go to Visit Singapore.



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