Singapore has always been a popular destination with Australian travellers, either as a vacation spot or a stopover port to break the journey when flying to Europe. Offering visitors a taste of Asia with an enormous selection of fantastic hotels, food and shopping, Singapore is a great place to spend a couple of days, a week or even just one night.
From Sydney, it’s about 8½ hours flying time, before reaching what has to be the world’s best airport, with its seamless transfers and easy to follow directions to the luggage collection and the fastest immigration procedures I have experienced anywhere. Once outside the terminal, taxis are lined up waiting to drive you into the centre of town, about thirty minutes away.
Singapore offers visitors a huge variety of hotels to select accommodation from, in all price ranges and star grading categories. Nearly every hotel brand in the world is represented in this city. Apart from the hotels aimed at the business clientele, Singapore now offers leisure travellers resort style accommodation at many hotels right in the centre of town. The advantage of being in walking distance to the many shopping malls, restaurants and tourist sights, such as the newly opened Gardens By The Bay at Marina Bay and the Singapore Flyer, is an added bonus for tourists.
One of my favourite hotels in Singapore is the Mandarin Oriental at 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square. I have stayed there on several visits and found it to be very welcoming plus offering me everything I want in a hotel. Due to their great service and location, I keep returning. I always book a room on their Oriental Club Floor because, apart from the extra services offered, I enjoy relaxing in the Club Lounge during the day if I have a few spare moments to read a magazine. I never miss the Club’s evening drinks, especially when they serve Ruinart Champagne and a large selection of very tasty hors d’oeuves and cheeses. They even serve Champagne at the breakfast buffet in the Club Lounge, along with an extensive menu including Eggs Benedict and Asian dim sum. When I can drag myself away from the Oriental Club Lounge, there is a huge swimming pool and patio area, set amongst tropical plants, where it is very pleasant to relax on the sun beds.
On a recent visit I dined at Dolce Vita, the Mandarin Oriental’s fabulous Italian Restaurant. My lunch was superb, especially the veal main and the unforgettable tiramisu dessert.
Singapore has become a popular cruise hub for the Asian region and cruise ship visits should continue to increase, especially now there are two cruise passenger terminals. After the recent opening of the new Cruise Terminal at Marina Bay, much larger cruise ships can now be accommodated than previously was the case, when only the one cruise terminal, located near Sentosa, was available.
With the opening of the new international Marina Bay Cruise Centre, the Mandarin Oriental has introduced a luxury Cruise in Style package, specifically designed for cruise travellers. On arrival in Singapore, whether at the airport or the cruise terminal, guests will be met by the hotel’s limousine and transferred to their Club Harbour room for a private check-in. As well as enjoying the benefits of the Oriental Club Lounge, a dinner in one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants such as Cherry Garden or Dolce Vita, completes the experience. http://www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond