Top 10 Singapore must-dos for 2010
2009 has come and gone, but it's left a wake of new malls, great eats and super spas. CNNGo rounds up some of the best places both old and new that you shouldn't miss for the new year.
1. ION Orchard -- the Lord of Malls
For some, Singapore is shopping and ION Orchard is Singapore's latest, greatest, supercallafragalistically impressive monster mall. Perched atop the Orchard MRT station, this enormous retail and residential complex with a futuristic facade cost S$2 billion and spans 56 stories. With 333 stores spread over eight floors as well as an array of high fashion brands -- Giorgi Armani, Loius Vuitton and Cartier stores housed in slick duplexes -- and gourmet dining options, fashionistas and foodies have many reasons to go wild with exuberance.
Word of warning. Enter at your own peril. You are likely to spend time parting with your hard-earned cash at the expense of those meetings, conferences or corporate shin-digs you should have attended.
Hours: Monday - Sunday 10am-10pm
Ion Orchard (U/C - Top Dec 2009), 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore, tel. +65 6838 6520, www.ionorchard.com
2. Don't avoid Les Amis
Simply, Les Amis is Singapore’s most venerable fine dining kitchen and also one of the city’s best. Complementing the slick teak and marble interior overhung by sparkling chandeliers is an equally alluring refined modern French cuisine by pedigreed Austrian-born chef, Armin Leitbeb. Don’t leave Singapore without savouring Armin’s char grilled Japanese Kuroge beef with truffle-infused fries.
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 12-2pm, 7-9.30pm (Closed on Sunday & some public holidays)
1 Scotts Road, #02-14 Shaw Centre, Singapore, tel. +65 6733 2225, www.lesamis.com.sg
3. Wax and more at Beauty Emporium
It is now possible for time-starved beauty junkies or busy corporate hotshots to enjoy a massage, have a facial, trim the brows, wax down below, buy an exotic cut flower (you never know who you need to impress) and peruse alternative indie music labels and books, all under one roof at the quirky, grocery store-inspired Beauty Emporium. Clear out all your other engagements to explore this sprawling 17,000 sq ft beauty playground. Everything here including the artsy industrial interior is worth an ogle.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 10am-9pm
8D Dempsey Road, Level 2, Singapore, tel. +65 6475 7375, www.dempseyhouse.com
4. The Spa Botanica flower ritual
In a city peppered with glitzy spas, Spa Botanica sparkles as the lion city’s first garden-inspired spa. Set within the bucolic confines of The Sentosa Resort, the 60,000 sq ft spa houses 15 indoor treatment rooms in a conserved colonial building and six outdoor treatment pavilions. Come early to wade in Asia’s first mud pool or get lost in one of the two meditation labyrinths. If you have time for only one indulgence, make it the three-hour Singapore flower ritual (S$350 plus tax for a single, S$650 a couple). Check the website for a full list of treatments and prices.
Hours:Monday - Sunday 10am-10pm
The Sentosa Resort And Spa, 2 Bukit Manis Road, Singapore, tel. +65 6371 1318, www.spabotanica.com
5. Hit the Library at Capella
The latest incarnation in Singapore’s blossoming luxury lodging scene is also its most charming. Crafted by world-renowned design luminaries, the 111 suites and villas at Capella at Sentosa is a stylish mash of colonial elegance and high-tech flourishes. Think touch-screen electronic control panels. By 3pm daily, the best place to be is the Library. Tucked away above the lobby reception, the Library serves an exquisite afternoon tea of canapés on Wedgewood bone china, complimentary, for hotel guests only.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore, tel. +65 6377 8888, www.capellasingapore.com
6. Lost in Little India
Okay, so this one normally does get a mention in your usual Singapore guide books. And we are going to add to the Little India recommendations. Start your day with a roti prata breakfast at the bustling Tekka Market and make time to stroll among the meat, seafood and vegetable hawker stalls. Thereafter, take in the sights at the neighbouring Peranakan-style House of Tan Eng Niah and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Time-permitting, cap your day with budget shopping at the 24,000 sq ft Mustafa megastore, where you'll find electronics, luggage, sportswear, skincare and everything else you might need at rock bottom prices.
7. Baba House -- for culture vultures
The Peranakan Museum may be getting well-deserved press mileage with its comprehensive collection of Peranakan artifacts. But for a more intimate Peranakan experience, get off the beaten track and find Baba House. This restored Chinese-Peranakan house built in the 19th century once accommodated six generations of a prominent Peranakan family before it was conserved, restored and transformed into a museum. Culture vultures should not miss the rarely-seen Peranakan bridal chamber.
Hours: By appointment only.
157 Neil Road, Singapore, tel. +65 6227 5731, www.nus.edu.sg/museum/baba
8. Dinner and drinks at Oenotheque by Wine Universe
Few would list Singapore among the usual suspects to house a decent bank of Swiss wine. But similar to Kevin Spacey's Verbal Kint, there is a lot more to this town than first meets the eye. Oenotheque requires some decent investigation and for more than just a bunch of Swiss bottles. This 'gastrobar' is a black-swathed, glass-enclosed set-up at Millenia Walk. It houses a wine bar, a wine gallery that retails those Swiss wines plus old and new world labels, and a slick, stainless steel-clad restaurant helmed by talented head chef, Paul Longworth. The escabreche of ocean-fresh squid, piquant chorizo and braised carrots in a savoury broth is one dish that highlights Longworth’s touch of European restraint.
Hours:Monday - Sunday 11:30am-12am
9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-109, Millenia Walk, tel. +65 6338 0717
9. Escape to Singapore’s greenbelt
Need to work out the stress? Look no further than the Singapore Botanic Garden. Close to the Orchard Road shopping district, it is the top choice for a morning run or a leisurely walk amid a backdrop of manicured lawns and towering trees. Alternatively, take one of several hiking trails at the newly opened Southern Ridges and enjoy sweeping harbor views en route.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 5am-12am
1 Cluny Road, Singapore, tel. +65 6471 7138 / 6471 7361, www.sbg.org.sg
10. Astor Bar @ St Regis -- the perfect tonic
Savor your final night in Singapore at the plush Astor Bar in the glitzy St Regis Hotel. Sip vintage champagnes or Astor’s signature Chili Padi Mary on Italian-made crystal Esperienze glass amidst a sensual and smoldering setting of leather seating, lavish wood and walls dripping with art.
Hours: Monday - Sunday 3pm-2am; Astor Time (Happy Hour) 3-8pm (Daily)