Needless to say, food and shopping are my absolute two favourite things about Singapore, so it only made sense for me to take up the Shop, Stay, Play package! After all, Fairmont Singapore is strategically situated at the crossroads of the central business districts, world-class shopping and an extensive collection of distinctive restaurants and bars. Everything is impossibly accessible!
The elaborate hotel embarked on a major revitalisation project back in August 2013 which encompassed the transformation of various spaces within the hotel – including the lobby, bar and all 371 guest rooms in the North Tower of the hotel where I stayed in.
Heavily influenced by the unique Straits Chinese culture, also known as Peranakan, the newly renovated areas collectively feature a modern interpretation that highlights a vibrant amalgamation of authentically local design elements.
I took up residence in one of the new North Tower guestrooms where the decor focuses on an iconic Peranakan culture with a modern flair. Aptly adorned in shades of grey, purple and dark wood, the fusion of tones lends a contemporary touch to the local culture-inspired room.
The well-appointed rooms offer a newly designed ambient lighting system, fully equipped modern leather-clad work desk, an innovative rain shower installation and signature room amenities including a Nespresso coffee machine and Le Labo products.
At sundown hour, I would relax in my private sanctuary of a balcony and doze off to the breathtaking views of the city. And in the morning, the attentive staff from the Executive Club would take care of my daily breakfast needs, as well as the evening cocktails with hors d’oeuvres come dusk.
Situated on Level 1 of Fairmont Singapore is the swanky Anti:dote, a modern cocktail bar with a progressive selection of concoctions. Drinks are artfully crafted with premium spirits and house made bitters, and their innovative tapas are created with aromatic herbs and produce from their very own herb garden. One thing I would go back again and again for is their Afternoon Tea, and the other, the bar’s piping hot Black Truffle Bao stuffed with braised veal cheek, foie gras, black truffle and caramelised shallots. Mouth party heaven, truly.
Above all, Singapore is a year-round shopping paradise, and I would have it no other way. In fact, the sunny island is having its annual eight-week Great Singapore Sale right now (from late May through to July), so this shopping guide could come in handy.
Go all-out and start with my favourite vaunted belt of shopping malls located in Orchard Road. For the shopping aficionados, I’d say walking is the best method to explore.
Start off with Wheelock Place, an unmistakable glass cone built within its architecture, for Nike, Marks & Spencer, Dr Martens, and Apple reseller EpiCentre.
Then, walk across to the futuristic label palace ION Orchard. It has been touted as Singapore’s first multi-sensory experiential shopping and lifestyle mall. Housing more than 300 stores of impeccable shopping, along with a serious sense of space, here you will find duplex flagships of Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Prada, Zara, Topshop and Topman, as well as stand-alone shops like Miu Miu, Vivienne Westwood, COS, Aldo and Bimba & Lola.
A short underpass from ION will take you to Far East Plaza for small shop units boasting street fashion and one-off designs. If you look hard enough, you can find bargains and steals, and sometimes even negotiate with shop owners.
And if you’re seeking duty-free savings on international luxury brands like Mont Blanc, Burberry and Tiffany & Co, cross over to the DFS Galleria Scottswalk directly opposite Far East Plaza. Another small shopping precinct is Pacific Plaza located right next to the DFS Galleria, head here if you want to check out classic and unusual finds.
Make your way over to Scotts Square for upmarket retail like Hermès, Michael Kors and Paul & Joe. The mall may not be massive but hopefully you’ll spot a fashion brand you fancy.
Tangs is another retail institution that houses international fashion brands, accessories, footwear, electronics and homeware. On the 7th floor is a beauty salon, and in the basement you will find interactive cooking experiences and plenty of dining options.
A nifty underpass will take you to Wisma Atria, a shopping complex housing brands like GAP, Forever New, Miss Selfridge and Victoria’s Secret. Make sure you try out the Shiok Maki from Koh Grill & Sushi Bar on the food court level, and end the meal with a sweet note from frozen yogurt chain llaollao in the basement.
Keep walking and you’ll end up in Ngee Ann City with its grandiose interiors. The mall accommodates international labels stretched over six floors, from Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès, to Bally, Gucci and Hugo Boss. In other parts, you will spot popular shops like Sephora, Zara, Guess, Kate Spade, Mango and Club Monaco. Go pass the food hall to sample Japanese snacks and pick up gourmet food items from Harrods and Fauchon.
Across the road from Takashimaya at Ngee Ann City is the Paragon, where you will find almost everything for the shopping goer in you. Think high-end browsing at Givenchy, Gucci, Zegna and Ferragmo, coupled with Moschino, Banana Republic, Tod’s and G-Star. The immense space and chilly air-conditioning is just a bonus.
Hop over to the revamped Robinsons at The Heeren that offers a fragrance bar, international fashion labels, stylish homeware and exclusive skincare. Examples of brands include Manolo Blahnik, Ted Baker and United Colors of Benetton.
Mandarin Gallery is also another favourite. It is home to labels like Mulberry, Rimowa, Vertu, Kandee, Bread and Butter, Leica, and so on. In particular, I always visit for the exquisite pastries at Antoinette.
Check out Orchard Central for Levi’s, The Hour Glass and Nike, then head over to neighbouring high street staples of 313@Somerset for a mix of international and local brands – Forever 21, Zara, Mango, Charles & Keith, etc.
And at the other end of Orchard Road lies Plaza Singapura. Do visit for the queue-worthy Tim Ho Wan teahouse, as well as the J-runway side of the mall that houses Japanese street fashion brands like EMODA, Mystic and Ray Cassin.
Marina and Raffles City Area
The luxurious Fairmont Singapore hotel’s greatest merit may be its location above the immense Raffles City Shopping Centre. Here you will find another brand of Robinsons, as well as a wide array of fashion and specialty shops like Calvin Klein Underwear, Shanghai Tang and agnès b. Raffles City is definitely a great place for designer and offbeat shopping, from Tommy Hilfiger, Furla, and MAC, to fancy watch stores like Rolex, Omega and IWC Schaffhausen.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is another must-go. This shopping complex features a mix of local and foreign labels, with high-end names like Chanel, Saint Laurent and Tom Ford, and other fashion players like iRoo, Hackett and La Martina. If you have time to spare, take a slow ride on the Chinese-style sampan rowboat down the mall’s indoor canal, or put on a pair of skates and take to the ice at the state-of-the-art ice skating rink located next to the food court.
A sprawling shopping complex divided into four themed zones – Galleria, Fountain Terrance, Tropics and Entertainment Centre. Suntec City Mall also features the Fountain of Wealth, acknowledged by The Guinness Book of Records as the largest fountain in the world.
Bugis and Haji Lane
At Bugis Junction you will find stores like Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Muji, Kinokuniya, Nike and Sony. Make your way over to Bugis+ for Uniqlo, Lowrys Farm and Pull & Bear, as well as a bevy of entertainment, food outlets and other trendy fashion stores. Next to Bugis+ is the well sheltered Bugis Street with walkways and walkways of street wear and unusual knickknacks. There are over 600 stalls and some shop owners are open to haggling.
Haji Lane is a narrow bend of boutiques and blogshops, with the occasional cafe or bike shop. You can actually snap up some genuine steals and lovely buys if you take the time to scour. I would wholly recommend for a stop-by here, as you can find high-street styles, casual gear and eclectic trinkets. Plus, the colourful alleyways make for great photo backdrops.
At the end of the day, the astute traveller knows how to take a step back and unwind at the Willow Stream Spa. Facilities include relaxation lounges, whirlpools, cool plunge, steam and sauna rooms, as well as a landscaped pool area with two freeform outdoor pools. Go find your energy, Singapore-style.
Surely, the remarkable Fairmont Singapore is an excellent choice for those who value a rare combination of unparalleled luxury, service and convenience. It is certainly one of those hotels you return to time after time.
Even if you’re not looking for a place to stay, you should definitely pay a visit to Fairmont Singapore for their delectable Afternoon Tea. I may be obsessed as I’ve mentioned this twice now.