By CL Seng
As one of the region's biggest financial hubs, Singapore sees droves of business travellers visit its shores every day. It's therefore no surprise that these days, many hotels in the Lion City cater to this market, with excellent club lounges, a variety of meeting rooms, strong WiFi connections and a range of transport options available. Consider one of these these more unique and stylish hotels though - all three cater to busy business travellers but also manage to retain their own sense of individuality and flair.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
Sleek and sophisticated, this hotel sports 225 studios and suites and opened last October. It’s located right on the once sleepy neighbourhood’s vibrant, recently rejuvenated riverside and with its subtle, stylish colour palette, floor-to-ceiling windows and copper finishes, is a symbol of the new atmosphere of Robertson Quay. Those working while they travel often need to snatch a quick meal somewhere close, and if you stay here you don’t need to rely on room service.
In 2013 real estate and hotel firm RB Capital bought the ‘Quayside’ complex – which the Intercon lives inside – partnering with award-winning local architects to upgrade the quarter into a glittering, hip ‘lifestyle destination’. Hospitality bigwigs The Potato Head Family moved in with their Three Buns restaurant, as have Super Loco, Mikoto, Decker Barbecue and Summerlong. Inside the Intercon, try oh-so-authentic pizzas and handmade pasta at Publico Ristorante, craft tipples at Marcello, sashimi at Ishi and prime cuts of meat at Wolfgang Steakhouse. Extra thought has been put into all of the rooms for business travellers – there’s Nespresso machines, luxe bathroom amenities by Grown Alchemist and even in-room cocktail kits for a nightcap after a busy day of meetings.
Photography: InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
It’s also soothingly quiet and private: Guests enter a discreet doorway on the ground level and are whisked up to the glossy lobby on the fourth floor to check-in. Also on this floor is a lap pool, a swish marble lounge with green suede sofas, meeting rooms and the 24-hour Club Lounge, which has one of the better complimentary happy hours we’ve enjoyed, with a wide range of snacks and canapés – some made to order by the chef – and an extensive list of wines, beers and classic cocktails (try the heady, well-made negroni). If you’re heading to Singapore regularly for business, it could also be worth checking out one of the most suave co-working spaces in the city, the exclusive private member’s club 1880, which is on the third floor just below the hotel.
Business-geared serviced apartments can sometimes be big, bland and unexciting, often placing emphasis on functionality over aesthetics. This certainly isn’t the case at Oakwood Orchard, right in the heart of Singapore’s famous shopping district.
In March last year it was awarded the Best Interior Design at London’s Serviced Apartment Awards 2017, and fun and artsy design elements are laced through both public spaces and rooms: bright red check-in “pods”, a cool LED neon light installation in the lobby, pop-art style multimedia exhibits in the restaurant gallery, and a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with bright-coloured moveable furniture, allowing guests to create their own floor plans.
Photography: Oakwood Orchard
Services and amenities follow this “curated” concept – customize your own Monogram tea blends, have an in-room skin analysis and purchase Skin Inc beauty products, or even rent a Steinway piano in your room. There’s a rooftop pool and gym and check-in staff double as baristas, so you can order your double shot latte to go on the way to your meeting.
Hotel Indigo Katong
Just because you’re on a work trip, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to the CBD and miss out on exploring fascinating pockets of a city. In tiny Singapore, it’s perhaps even more feasible: You can traverse the 50km east to west stretch of the country (by car) in just 30-40 minutes. What’s more, the city has a robust public transport system and Uber/taxi network, so it’s easy and quick to zip around town. A less obvious yet worthy place to stay is trendy, historic Katong.
In the heart of this suburb, an excellent choice is Hotel Indigo Katong, a detailed and nostalgic 131-room property that pays homage to its Peranakan-infused neighbourhood in all the right ways. Housed inside the former Joo Chiat police station, a mosaic of Peranakan ceramic tiles lines the lobby and upon check in, guests are given sweet iced kopi (coffee) to cool down.
Photography: Hotel Indigo Katong
The hotel rooms are light and bright and splashed with colour, while the floor plan emulates the flow of a Peranakan home, taking guests from the living area to the bedroom and bathroom. The traditional footbath, classic enamel bowls and Singer sewing machine washbasins are a nice touch. Rooms also come with welcome fruit baskets, a Nespresso machine, TWG teas and even Kaffa Kaldi plunger coffee. www.hotelindigo.com/singapore