Our globetrotting writer visits the island nation of Singapore to bring you the latest edition of suite wars
By Ayesha Khan
Singapore is, without a doubt, one of the most important business hubs of the Far East, a region that is emerging as the world’s most vital market. Therefore a stay in this significant city is inevitable for every successful business traveler. Our pick of the five most luxurious suites in the Garden City will definitely have our elite readers coming back for more.
Any mention of luxury hospitality in Singapore begins with the Raffles, an icon of the city’s colonial past, declared a national monument in 1987. A stay at the Raffles is as full of romance and intrigue as the hundreds of stories about the hotel’s illustrious past-one of which involves a tiger hiding under the billiards table at the Bar and Billiard room! And visiting the hotel this year is especially significant, as it celebrates its 120th anniversary with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a hotel that has played host to royalty, heads of state, and a bevy of celebrities from Rudyard Kipling to Ava Gardner and Michael Jackson.
The Raffles features an elite collection of truly unique suites, all individually appointed with every nuance of elegance found in a private colonial residence. Twelve personality suites feature memorabilia from the hotel’s most illustrious guests from Charlie Chaplin to John Wayne. But the hotel’s two most exclusive suites, the Sir Stamford Raffles Suite and the Sarkeis Suite, are its most unadulterated show of all-out luxury.
The Sarkies Suite is named for the hotel’s founding brothers, veritable trendsetting hoteliers of their time who also opened the renowned Strand in Rangoon. This two-bedroom apartment has hosted generations of Singapore’s most esteemed visiting dignitaries, and is a living piece of the island nation’s history. Its oversized bedrooms, independent living and dining rooms, and dedicated pantry are appointed in typical English colonial furnishings. An extensive veranda with stunning views beckons from beyond white French doors.
For those who prefer the glamour of towering atria and a hip business savvy design, there is the Oriental Singapore, recently overhauled by Singapore-based hospitality design firm LTW Design Works. With a much talked about Oriental Spa, the “sexiest pool in Singapore,” and a host of hip dining options, this hotel is an obvious choice for the young, trend-conscious business traveler. And as the official hotel of the adjacent Esplanade, Singapore’s entertainment and performing arts haven, it is a hit with visiting celebrities. Of course if one must catch up on conference calls and work after-hours, the largest (and best looking) business center in the city is at your disposal. The Oriental Club Lounge offers a sumptuous Champagne breakfast, personalized business services, and the finest in cutting edge communication technology
Premier suites at the Oriental offer everything you could ask for and more. In fact, it is the surprising and thoughtful touches, from AV ports for your camera and iPod connected to surround speakers in the bedroom and living room, original arts and antiques (even in the bathroom) and discreet service that make this suite experience so sweet. The expansive 160-square-meter suite offers two bathrooms, a large living/dining space, and a large suite-style bedroom with its own lounge, TV and DVD. An adjacent single room may also be added bringing the total to 200-square-meters. Every inch of the interiors are appointed in the sleek, contemporary Asian design the Oriental is known for.
Perched at the mouth of the Singapore River, the Fullerton, recently named Asia’s Best Hotel claims its illustrious origins as Singapore’s Central Post Office, Chamber of Commerce, and the Singapore Club. One of just three Palladian-style buildings in the city, the hotel’s impressive neo-classical façade is a stark contrast to its Central Business District surrounds.
Serviced by a private elevator and 24-hour dedicated butler, the Presidential Suite at the Fullerton is nothing short of resplendent. Marble floors, sweeping ceiling heights, a baby grand piano, and customized mother of pearl inlaid furniture are just some of the marks of luxury to be found here. A fully stocked kitchenette, separate living and dining space, master bedroom, and a private study round out the luxury offerings. In addition, guests to the Presidential Suite may avail of exclusive privileges at the Straits Club, an exclusive members-only business lounge set in vintage Peranakan décor.
Although there are several international hotel operators present in Singapore, few can match Far Eastern hospitality as well as the Four Seasons, Singapore. The hotel’s unique service philosophy and residential ambience combine to create an inimitable aura of comfort and welcome. Coupled with an unrivalled location around the corner from Orchard Road, and a lush urban garden setting, the Four Seasons is an obvious choice for travelers who seek Western familiarity with Eastern charm.
The hotel’s Presidential Suite boasts an area of over 260-square-meters and sweeping views of the city skyline from its 19th-floor locality. Luxuriously appointed with oriental rugs and antique furnishings, the earthy beige and cream color palette is accented with rich wood paneling and sleek black marble floors. The living room entertains up to 15, while the separate dining room with pantry accommodates 8. Up to three large bedrooms with en-suite marble bathrooms may be added to this lavish abode, accommodating up to 9 adults.
No matter how busy your schedule of globetrotting is, these four manifestations of Eastern hospitality are bound to offer respite from the frenetic pace of city life. So, as they say in Singapore, Selamat Datang!