February 12, 2018
Singapore might conjure up visions of a dramatic, skyscraper-dotted skyline or colonial-era archi, but this tropical island state is surprisingly verdant. Serene, green and clean, the Lion City offers a city break rich in relaxing retreats and outdoor escapes.
Parkroyal on Pickering
Chic contemporary Parkroyal on Pickering boasts eco design by Singaporean architects WOHA, including dramatic vertical sky gardens. This inspiring green hotel features a dedicated Wellness Floor including an infinity lap pool with birdcage-shaped cabanas, plus zen St. Gregory Spa, fitness centre and 300-metre Garden Walk. Enjoy a Balinese or traditional Chinese Tui Na massage at the spa, then chill out in a poolside cabana with seductive skyline views and you’ll soon forget you’re on a city break.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Beautifully manicured and lush, 183-acre Singapore Botanic Gardens is a gorgeous green escape a mere skip from Orchard Road. For tropical thrills, check out the Ginger and National Orchid Gardens, or just unwind in the Healing Garden. Visit in the cooler early morning or late afternoon, or go for dinner at foliage-fringed Halia restaurant, which serves Singaporean-Euro cuisine on the fan-cooled deck. The main gardens open until midnight for nocturnal wandering.
Gardens by the Bay
Futuristic Gardens by the Bay combines a grove of giant, artificial supertrees linked by dizzying walkways and mammoth, glass-domed conservatories filled with fabulous flowers and plants. Launched in 2012, this man-made wonder is an architectural must-see and nature-lover’s dream, but a stroll from Marina Bay Sands. The outdoor gardens are open from 5am to 2am daily, so you can easily avoid the heat and Sunday hordes.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
A splendid watery jungle teeming with wildlife in the middle of the city, MacRitchie Reservoir Parkoffers a green escape fringing a reservoir. The 30-acre haven has kayaks for rent, plus walking trails (from 3.2 to 11 kilometres long), and the knee-wobbling TreeTop Walk, a view-blessed suspension bridge. Adventurous hikers can follow the rewarding 12-kilometre jungly route between MacRitchie and rainforested Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Just don’t feed the monkeys!
Mount Faber Park
Soak up expansive harbour and island views from the Singapore Cable Car to Mount Faber, a 138-acre, jungly hilltop park on the island’s southern tip. You can trek up the 105-metre peak, but why sweat when you can take the cable car over from Sentosa island (a 15-minute ride)? Lookouts, historical monuments, walking trails and bird watching all beckon.
For an old-world island escape, hop on a 10-minute bumboat ride to the small, rustic isle Pulau Ubin, which local liken to the city pre-high rises. Ubin is perfect for a half-day getaway: rent a bike, discover traditional kampong life, visit the Chek Jawa Wetlands and take in glinting panoramas of the city, then chow down on pepper crab at Ah Lian food shack beside the jetty.
Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong off Changi Village Rd.
Boasting Singapore’s best beaches (albeit not all naturally made) and a smart marina to moor the yacht, resort-like Sentosa is a laidback pleasure island 20 minutes drive from the CBD. Beeline to Tanjong Beach, for sandy strolls or a game of volleyball and cocktails with the beautiful people at retro-cool Tanjong Beach Club. Sentosa Golf Club is Singapore’s fanciest with two 18-hole courses, including The Serapong, while upscale pampering awaits at Auriga Spa at the gorgeous Capella hotel.
ONE15 Luxury Yachting and Marina at Keppel Bay
Get out on the water with a half-day yacht charter around the Little Red Dot. ONE15 Luxury Yachting, at Sentosa Cove’s ONE˚15 Marina, offers crewed vessels for hire from classic fishing boats to luxe superyachts, for sociable or romantic cruises. Marina at Keppel Bay provides private skippered boats for one or more days sailing. Drop anchor off idyllic islands, swim or kayak, then enjoy lunch or a sunset barbecue.
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, Singapore
Stuck in the city? You can still relax in style, thanks to exclusive wellness centre COMO Shambhala Urban Escape. Boost your health with yoga of all persuasions, state-of-the-art Pilates, and Gyrotonics. Prefer to let someone else take the strain? Book in for a therapeutic massage, including fabulous Thai Lanna or Deep Tissue pampering sessions by expert Master Song.
Remède Spa at The St. Regis Singapore
For the ultimate in pampering, retreat to Remède Spa, a modern, airy and sumptuous pleasure palace that blends Eastern and Western traditions. Water treatments offer aquatic healing, from eucalyptus-scented Steam Chambers in the heated marble wet lounge to a zen garden for outdoor soaks. Try the 90-minute signature Black Soap and Rassoul Hammam Ritual. Massages and facials are super-soothing, or request a pedicure by Bastien Gonzalez's crack team of podiatrists.
The original version of this article was written by LUXE for Cigna Smart Health.
For more tips n' tricks on the Little Red Dot, nab a copy of the LUXE Singapore guide...
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