Singapore is a dream desti for a short break, whether it’s a biz roundabout, long-haul layover, or the start of an epic Asian sailing voyage. And because we know you’re tight on time, we’ve cherry-picked the very best, colour- and flavour-packed discoveries in this roarin’ city-state.
Updated November 2018.
Dripping with deco-esque glamour and repping an unbeatable waterfront situ, the Fullerton Bay Hotel has the hands down sexiest, swankiest beds in town. Most rooms have balconies – ensure you snag one – and should you decide to leave your crib, there’s the spectacular Andre Fu-ed Lantern bar for sips, The Clifford Pier and La Brasserie for sups and a gorgeous rooftop pool for lounging.
Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore, +65 633 8388, facebook @fullertonbay
Beauty sleep clocked, it’s time to explore the Little Red Dot, and luckily this doll is one small, compact and easy town to get around. Zip to groovy Art Deco hipster hood Tiong Bahru for an amble among dreamy ‘30s archi, artisanal coffee shops, boutiques and art galleries. Artsy 40 Hands builds brek plates and cakes to go with your fair-trade cuppa Joe, plus it’s on the doorstep of ample shopportunity. Pop over the road to browse for holiday lit at indie Books Actually and pick up a beautiful illustrated tome for home at children’s book shop Woods in the Books. Avoid Mondays however, when most places are closed.
40 Hands, 78 Yong Siak St, Singapore, +65 6225 8545, 40handscoffee.com
Strangelets, 7 Yong Siak St, Singapore, +65 6222 1456, facebook @imalittlestrangelet
Books Actually, 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore, +65 6222 9195, booksactually.com
Woods in the Books, 3 Yong Siak St, Singapore, +65 6222 9980, woodsinthebooks.com
Pecky post purse workout? Time to sample Singapore’s famous hawker centres. Admittedly the lack of air con, stark strip lights and plastic plates aren’t for everyone, but they really are the best way to enjoy the tantalisingly eclectic cuisine – from Hainan chicken rice to delightful Malay popiah, and creamy coconut laksa to Indian curry roti prata. Two good rules of thumb: BYO wet wipes, and trust the stalls with the longest lines (yes, you’ll queue).
There’s no point walking in this four-shirt-per-day town, so hop into a taxi to either Maxwell Food Center or the super basic but good Chinatown Complex – both are a 10-minute drive from Tiong Bahru.
Maxwell Food Center, Kadayanallur,1, Kadayanallur Street, Singapore, ph: 069184 – facebook @MaxwellFoodCentre
Chinatown Complex, 335 Smith St, Singapore, facebook @Chinatown Complex
To the east and south of the food courts respectively lie Telok Ayer and Duxton – two interconnecting heritage nooks flush with indie retail, java and hip pitstops aplenty. Begin your retail assault with a short stroll to admire the charming Peranakan shophouses and shady tree-lined streets of Telok Ayer, where cafe-florist Shop Wonderland offers an engine-revving sugar-n-caffeine hit plus pretty blossoms. Skipping southwest, duck into ramshackle colonial treasure trove Tong Mern Sern Antiques, then follow it up with a SoCal-inspired gent’s credit flex at Monument Lifestyle. When your tired feet will take you no further, nearby OD Massage will answer your reflexology prayers.
As the mercury dips (a little) late afternoon, it’s prime time to venture to the luscious Botanic Gardens for a wander through mani’d grounds and tropical greenery, plus gorgeous ginger and orchid gardens. nb. The swans are serene and elegant, until you feed them some bread…
Shop Wonderland, 134 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, +65 6299 5848, shop-wonderland.com
Tong Mern Sern Antiques, 51 Craig Rd, Singapore, +65 6223 1037, tmsantiques.com
Monument Lifestyle, 75 Duxton Rd, Singapore, +65 6304 8077, monumentlifestyle.com
Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore, +65 6471 7138, sbg.org.sg
Is it that hour already? Lush it may be, but you won’t find a cocktail in the Botanics so head north to luscious Atlas bar for a juniper journey via more than 1,000 bottles of global gin. Make like Gatsby and take your tipples amid the sumptuous Art Deco surrounds, but don’t jump the gun on nibbles, as supper is just around the corner…
Muster the energy to pop over to Tanjong Pagar’s Tippling Club where Ryan Clift dazzles with playful plates and novel craft pours in voguish retro digs. Like most smart restos in this town, a reservation is essential. Bon app!
Tippling Club, 38 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore, +65 6475 2217, tipplingclub.com
Updated November 2018.
Roar into the Lion City with your very own LUXE Singapore guide…