How To Do Singapore The “Crazy Rich Asians” Way

Singapore
Marina Bay Sands

Photo Credit: jbcoleto : Shutterstock

Since Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” hit the big screen last year, overall tourism to the Asian island city-state grew from 6.6% to 16.9 million in less than a year, growing 13% from America alone. Cine-tourism is real, and it’s booming. As for all the opulence on display in the film, well, there’s fact in this fiction as well: Singapore is the second wealthiest country in the nation in 2018, without only Qatar standing in its first place way. In our handy guide to Singapore, we show you where the cast stayed, played, wined and dined… and well as a few alternatives you need to check out in pursuit of the “Crazy Rich” life.

How To Do Singapore The “Crazy Rich Asians” Way

Crazy Rich AsiansPhoto Credit: Faiz Zaki : Shutterstock.com

But first, a bit about the film. “Crazy Rich Asians” is a 2018 American romantic com-com based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The film revolves around Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American professor (Constance Wu) who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), and is surprised to discover that they’re some of the richest people in all of Singapore. It’s a visual feast for the eyes (and we, of course, are including its incredibly attractive cast in that statement). But now, without further ado, a look at the lifestyles of the rich and… rich.

HOTELS

Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Mandarin Oriental Singapore spa & wellness pool

Photo Credit: Mandarin Oriental Singapore

The filming location: Raffles Singapore. In “CRA,” Rachel and Nick stay in the Presidential Suite of Raffles Singapore. In reality, Raffles has been shut down for two years undergoing an extensive renovation. It’s slated to reopen sometime this year (we hear August), but in the meantime…

Try: Mandarin Oriental Singapore. The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, is a quintessentially luxurious five-star property, smack, dab in the midst of Marina Bay, Singapore’s main dining and entertainment district. There are a whopping 527 tasteful rooms and suites, though the hotel mostly feels fairly Zen—no mean feat given its size and proximity to such a central area. Our favorite place to stay is the Mandarin Suite, a two bedroom, two bathroom affair with a balcony, a spacious living room,a study area, a kitchen, two powder rooms and a dining area for eight. Make sure to stop at MO Spa for some Singapore-specific beauty treatments. The Heritage ritual begins with a rice and ginger scrub that gently exfoliates the skin, followed by a rich and indulgent cottonseed oil and mango butter body wrap for nourishment; a body massage infused with anti-aging hibiscus oil completes the experience. We also suggest the Teh Hijau, a full-body treatment designed to stimulate blood circulation and target stiff fatigued muscles. An antioxidant, green tea infused poultice combined with the essential oils of sacred frankincense, comforting mandarin and warming ginger will melt away any stress and transform the mind and body. The Teh Hijau, in fact, could be the overall feeling you get from a stay at this elegant hotel.

Six Senses Maxwell
Rose Lounge & Bar at Six Senses Maxwell

Photo Credit: Six Senses Maxwell

Also Try: Six Senses Maxwell.  After the Six Senses brand successfully open its Duxton property last year (right around the corner), Six Senses Maxwell followed in hot pursuit. The five-star boutique property is the opposite of what you might find at the Mandarin Oriental: It’s small, arty and filled with character. The hotel is set in a block of heritage shop houses in Singapore’s Chinatown, and has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur with interiors by French designer Jacques Garcia. Each of the hotel’s 138 guest rooms and suites are carefully decorated with custom furnishings and original artwork. We love the charming Maxwell Suites, with their mahogany writing desks, ethically-sourced Wenge hardwood floors; Italian handmade vintage rugs; European-style bathrooms with walk-in rain showers; and the freestanding clawfoot bathtub. The hotel offers a little bit of everything, from the aesthetic—curated original art, including authentic 200-year-old indentures and the hundreds of leather-bound books that line the walls of the Cook & Tras Social Library—to the esoteric: A traditional Chinese medicine physician offers consultations, health recommendations and a medicinal herbal dispensary (the service is available at Six Senses Duxton but offered to guests at Maxwell). There’s also exceptional food and drink options throughout the hotel. At Murray Terrace Brasserie, discover Southern European style-cuisine, including grass-fed meats, sustainable seafood, organic poultry and vegetarian brasserie dishes, created with health and wellness in mind. At Max’s Rooftop, delight in an edible garden and bar serving an organic-centric menu. At  the beautiful Rose Lounge & Bar, champagne and bubbles are the drinks of choice, along with white and rosé wines, spritzers and the signature Rose Bellini. And last but not least, there’s the Ice-cream Tricycle, a mobile ice cream stand cruising the five-foot way along the alfresco dining verandah that serves up an assortment of complimentary homemade ice creams and sorbets to guests.

SHOPPING

Louis Vuitton Singapore
Louis Vuitton Singapore

Photo Credit: Saiteja Pattalachinti/Shutterstock

The location: Orchard Road. In the film, Rachel’s college roommate Peik Lin (Awkwafina) tells her that Orchard Road is the “Fifth Avenue” of Singapore. She’s not wrong—this is a hub for the luxury shopper—especially Ion Orchard.

Try: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. In addition to Orchard Road, head to the airport (no, really—it’s one of the most glamorous places in Singapore and easily our pick for the best airport in the world) as well as the the opulent Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, which house the world’s only floating Louis Vuitton maison, a magnificent four-story structure with nautical-inspired interiors that connects to the Shoppes through an underwater tunnel. It’s also one of the largest LV boutiques in the world, second only to the brand’s flagship Champs-Elysees store in Paris.

DINING

Candlenut
Candlenut

The location: Newton Food Center. As soon as Nick and Rachel de-plane, they double date with Colin (Chris Pang) and Araminta (Sonoya Mizuno), Nick’s best friends and married-couple-to-be, at the Newton Food Center, a hawker center (an open-air food court found throughout each neighborhood). Nick explains to Rachel that the hawker centers are essentially family-run stalls that specialize in the same dish throughout generations, and that it’s Michelin-starred street food. He’s right: In 2016, the Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork on Singapore’s Crawford Lane became one of the first two street food stalls in the world to earn a Michelin star.

Try: Candlenut. Candlenut is, simply speaking, exquisite. It’s the first Michelin-starred Peranakan (an ethnic group descended from Chinese settlers from the southern provinces who came to the Malay archipelago) restaurant in the world. Chef Malcom Lee serves up his own inventive dishes, as well as old-school homages to his mother and grandmother’s cooking in an informal, lovely setting that’s reminiscent of a summery British tea parlor.

Odette
Odette

Photo Credit: Odette/Instagram

Also try: Odette. Odette, which is housed in the National Gallery Singapore, is a fine dining destination helmed by Chef Julien Royer (which is also inspired by his grandmother, the aforementioned Odette). The restaurant, which has landed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, serves up modern French cuisine, with a twist; and Cherry Garden, an absolutely beautiful Cantonese eatery designed according to Feng Shui principles with charcoaled teak panels and slate floors designed to recreate the look of an opulent Oriental residence.

THE NIGHTLIFE

Ce La Vi SkyBar
Ce La Vi SkyBar

The location: Marina Bay Sands. Rachel and Nick celebrate their engagement at the film’s end at the incredible Marina Bay Sands, an iconic Singapore landmark that almost defines the city (you know what we mean—those three towers with the surfboard-like structure across the top, that looks like a triple T). It’s a hotel, shopping center and culinary destination—though perhaps it’s most famous for it’s infinity pool, which happens to be the world’s largest. And: Chintatown’s Bukit Pasoh Road, where Rachel and Peik Lin catch up over cocktails.

Try: Ce La Vi. If you’re not a hotel guest, unfortunately, you won’t be allowed to dip your toes in the waters of the world’s largest infinity pool, but you can come close by enjoying some craft cocktails at the Skybar of Ce La Vi, which overlooks the pool and offers some of the best views of Singapore, day or night.

Marquee Singapore
Marquee Singapore

Photo Credit: TAO Group

Also try: Marquee. This American transplant—with locations in Las Vegas and New York as well as (now) Sydney—opened in April as Singapore’s largest nightclub, boasting an immersive party experience incorporating design, technology and cutting-edge sound across three floors. The club is also home to a one-of-a-kind, fully-operational eight-armed photobooth Ferris Wheel, a 66-foot high custom LED native 8K resolution screen and other whimsical elements like a three-story spiraling slide, gilded cage bars, theatrical lighting and performers to complete the adult playground experience.  

Long Bar
The Singapore Sling at Long Bar

Photo Credit: Raffles

And finally: Long Bar at Raffles. You haven’t arrived in Singapore if you haven’t a Singapore Sling at its birthplace, Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. Say you’ve arrived, grab one of the signature bevvies (which can be produced en masse by a turbine-like machine); eat some peanuts and have a 360 experience at this famous, favored stomping ground of authors Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad. 

THE EXCURSIONS

Sentosa Island
Sentosa Island

Photo Credit: By majicphotos/Shutterstock.com

The location: Sentosa Island. When Bernard Tai (“Silicon Valley” star Jimmy O. Yang) throws Colin a too-crazy bachelor party (they arrive at a massive shipping container in via helicopter in the middle of the ocean); Colin and Nick escape to the beauty of Sentosa Island. Which, though beautiful, doesn’t look quite like you see on the big screen—think less seclusion, more shops and a Universal Studios.

Try: Lazarus Island for true serenity, which many claim has the best beaches in all of Singapore.

THE ACTIVITIES

GBTB
Gardens by the Bay: Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes

Photo Credit: GBTB

The location: Gardens by the Bay. Colin and Araminta’s extravagant, over-the-top wedding ceremony was set here, in the Supertree Grove, tree-shaped vertical gardens that are between nine to 16 stories tall.

Try: This! Seriously; anyone and everyone is allowed to visit Gardens by the Bay and all of its glory, just by paying a small fee. This is one of the top attractions in Singapore for a reason: this is 250 acres of blooms, plants and trees from all corners of the world, in an effort to make Singapore less of a “Garden City” and more of a “City within a Garden.” The Cloud Dome, Floral Fantasy and Serene Garden are musts.

THE AIRPORT

Changi Airport
Changi Airport

Photo Credit: Nonnakrit : Shutterstock

The location: Jewel Changi Airport. Nick and Rachel arrive here (they have to—Changi is the only option if you’re flying in and out of Singapore commercially). That being said, it’s still our favorite airport in the world.

Try: This! We recommend giving yourself a half day, just to explore the airport. Crazy, but true. There are multiple themed gardens—including the world-famous butterfly garden, where you’ll spot more than a thousand butterflies—and a sunflower garden; a 39-foot-high slide; a kinetic rain art installation; a park; a hedge maze; and a mirror maze. It’s truly incredible.

Singapore Park
Singapore Park

Photo Credit: Tossaworn Sawatcheewan : Shutterstock

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