The Fullerton Hotel
Named after one of Singapore’s colonial British governors, Robert Fullerton, The Fullerton Hotel building’s neoclassic design was the brainchild of the Shanghai-based Keys and Dowdeswell. For over 80 years, The Fullerton Hotel has stood where the Singapore River meets Marina Bay as a member of Singapore’s old guard. Opened at the mouth of the Singapore River in 1928 to celebrate 100 years since Singapore's British founding, the Fullerton Hotel was, at the time, the largest and most expensive building in the Lion City. It served as the General Post Office, Exchange, Chamber of Commerce, and Singapore Club before undergoing a $320 million refit to open as a hotel in 2001. The historic hotel invites guests to enjoy the same refined opulence it has offered for decades.
In terms of location, the Fullerton is ideal. You'll have easy access to some of the city’s best museums and attractions. Plus, when the sun sets, you’re on the doorstep of downtown dining and nightlife around the quays and marina. Inside the Fullerton is the Post Bar—a great meeting spot for a drink and a bite. You’ll also be close to Singapore’s underground train system, a fascinating, convenient, and air-conditioned mode of transport for zipping around the city. The hotel’s best-kept secret is its air-conditioned underground passageway, which gives guests easy access to all the action on the marina, including its sister hotel, The Fullerton Bay.
Visually, it’s a showstopper, with coffered ceilings, cornices, and marble floors—a Palladian building in stark contrast to the neighboring bland office towers. The atrium lobby is refreshingly bright, with a grandness of scale that brings drama to the arrival experience. Rooms have vanilla-colored walls and some open to the atrium. The 25-meter infinity pool is almost theatrical, with Doric columns rising behind. Leisurely afternoon tea is a fine excuse to linger in the atrium lobby and appreciate the airy space’s tranquil qualities.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
Part of the waterfront development that includes sister property Fullerton Hotel and dining hub One Fullerton, the Fullerton Bay Hotel opened in 2010 on the picturesque Marina Bay waterfront. Similar to the Fullerton Hotel, which is across the street and reachable via an underground walkway, the Fullerton Bay Hotel also holds great significance in Singapore’s history. The hotel’s restaurant, Clifford Pier, was built into a landing point of the same name. It was here where the first British colonists landed in Singapore and where boatloads of immigrants would land in the coming years. The site is also home to Singapore’s old customs house, built in the 60s. Now a secluded wining and dining spot, the 360-degree lookout point was previously used by customs police to spot smugglers making a break out of the harbor with illegal goods. These days, it’s for private parties and wedding proposals.
Unlike its sister hotel, Fullerton Bay’s architecture skews heavily modernist, typified by the glass facade, a cylindrical lobby chandelier more than 15 feet in diameter, and finishes in gray, burnt orange, and eggplant. Contemporary Asian art, commissioned by the hotel, appears throughout the public areas. Vintage maps around the building give a hint of the area’s nautical importance.
The location places the hotel on the edge of the financial district, across the water from the tri-towered Marina Bay Sands and between the heritage buildings of Clifford Pier and Customs House (the entry point for many of the city’s early settlers). Accommodations are pleasingly roomy, starting at 540 square feet, each with a balcony. The rooftop pool offers broad views of the bay.
The Warehouse Hotel
The Warehouse Hotel gets its name from, unsurprisingly, its previous incarnation as a warehouse. The building is situated along the Strait of Malacca, which in the late 1800s was one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The area was also well known for being a hotbed for seedy activity like smuggling, secret societies, piracy, distilling and many other illegalities. The property officially opened as a hotel in January 2017, making it one of the newest high-class hotels in Singapore and has won multiple Asian tourism and hospitality awards.
The meticulously restored heritage building is a proud illustration of old and new thanks to the award-winning local agency Asylum: louvre windows, cornices, and moldings stand alongside a custom-made light in the lobby made of wheels and pulleys, and tailor-made, single-unit copper wall pieces that unify the rooms by integrating everything from desk to wardrobe. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Po, is an homage to popo meaning grandmother in Mandarin; here, the rich heritage of home-cooked specialties comes to life. The menu has been crafted by Chef-Partner and ‘mod-sin’ (modern-Singaporean) pioneer Willin Low, founder of Wild Rocket, one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Capella Singapore Hotel
Unlike the other properties featured on this list, Capella Singapore has a more militaristic intent in its history, rather than just ending up that way. Situated amid 30 acres of rainforest on Sentosa Island, the sprawling property was built in the 1880s as a barracks for British royal artillery personnel and their families. It was comprised of separate blocks for wed and unwed officers and facilities used for dining, drinking, dancing and sports. In 2000, the colonial military installation was given conservation protection; a renovation followed, and in 2009, it opened as a hotel. In addition to the hotel itself, Capella Singapore also has two spacious colonial manors with a capacity for six people each.
Offering the most spacious hotel accommodation in Singapore, its hallmark experience is the preferential service provided by Capella Culturists. Guests can delight their epicurean senses at its four dining outlets: Cassia, a Chinese specialty restaurant; The Knolls, an all-day Mediterranean restaurant; Bob’s Bar, a tropical island bar where guests can unwind and enjoy the tropical sunset and; the Chef’s Table, a private designer home kitchen perfect for leisurely afternoon tea or intimate celebrations. Home to the award-winning Auriga spa, guests can look forward to a heaven to rest and rejuvenate.
Raffles Singapore Hotel
Christian Westbeld, Raffles’ General Manager, had once said, “There are few hotels in the world whose names have become virtually synonymous with the cities in which they are located.” Raffles truly is one of the most famous hotels in Asia, if not the world. Initially a private home in the 1830s, it turned into a hotel, Emerson’s Hotel, in 1878- it was named after the man who came to own it and then leased almost a decade later by two Armenian brothers who wanted to turn it into a luxury property.
Raffles was named a national monument in 1987 and reopened in August after a multi-year $200 million renovation. This white-on-white hotel is one of the world’s truly iconic properties. Opened in 1887 by two Armenian brothers from Persia (making the hotel twice as old as the country of Singapore), the property retains its colonial look and ambiance, with beautiful courtyards and gardens, high-ceiling rooms, shopping arcades, liveried Sikh doormen, and pleasingly shiny wooden floors. Its long history includes acting as a transit camp for prisoners of war at the end of World War II and welcoming notable guests such as Ernest Hemingway and Somerset Maugham who said, “Raffles stands for all the fables of the exotic East.” While some parts of the property are off-limits to those who aren’t guests, any visitor can drop by the Long Bar. This two-story bar, inspired by the Malaysian plantations of the 1920s, is where the Singapore Sling was invented.