With its vast tropical gardens and three wings of suites to suit every traveller style, Shangri-La Singapore is a city escape with acres of leisure to enjoy.
Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff
Room: Garden Wing Premier Balcony Suite
Address: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore
Date: September 2022
Price: from $431
Best for: families or groups wanting a serene hotel yet close enough to the tourist hotspots
Close to the Singapore Botanic Gardens and an easy 30 minutes car ride from Singapore Changi Airport. Neatly positioned on Orange Grove Road, just a stone’s throw from the shopping mecca of Orchard Road.
Within a short drive you can find
The lush grounds of the UNESCO Heritage-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens open from sunrise. Orchard Road’s famous shopping malls are easily accessible by foot. You’ll be right at the iconic Marina Bay to explore modern Singapore within six kilometres, while Sentosa Island is less than 10 kilometres away with its beaches, water parks and fun-packed family activities.
Claim to fame
The Singapore hotel is the Shangri-La group’s first opening worldwide, with the original parts of the Tower Wing dating to 1971 (it had a complete refurbishment in 2017). 792 rooms are spread across three distinct wings on six hectares of private gardens. It’s an immense tropical landscape in the middle of Singapore, filled with cascading waterfalls and ponds filled with koi to its oasis-like swimming pool. There is plenty of room for the kids to run about, including a vast 1300-square-metre water park for hours of pleasure.
The size and scale of the grounds are breathtaking at Shangri-La Singapore. On arrival, with its striking Neoclassical columns, the main lobby catches your attention, welcomed in by door attendants dressed in elegant traditional Tibetan uniforms. The scale continues outside the hotel’s gardens, known as the city’s “second Botanic Gardens”. A dedicated kids programme offers a range of family experiences from an indoor playroom to an outdoor water playground, organised treasure hunts and baking classes across over 3000-square-metres of the hotel.
I stayed in a Garden Wing Premier Balcony Suite with a separate living room and an extensive wraparound balcony overlooking the swimming pool. A marble-clad bathroom with double sinks, a separate bathtub and a glass-enclosed shower with wood finishes are classic hotel splendour. A bathroom window made with timber louvres opens to see across the bedroom to the bougainvillaea-covered balcony and the opposite Tower. Having multiple rooms to use is ideal for larger travelling groups. There is plenty of space on your private balcony with a whirlpool bath, a barbecue grill, and sun loungers. The in-house catering team can arrange a barbecue meal during your stay. Plus, they offer tailored menus for little travellers, too.
French brand L’Occitane toiletries in Jasmine & Bergamot offers a crisp and citrus scent from Provence, France. Which adds to the garden-fresh aromas along with those bougainvillaea bathroom views.
Beyond the rooms
In the leisure game, an oasis of a swimming pool, a Zen-like spa, a fully equipped gym and three floodlit tennis courts offer activities to suit all moods. Dining is never a problem at Shangri-La Singapore. With 11 options on-site, including in-room dining, you’ll never need to venture too far to eat. The Line serves up a smorgasbord of international flavours, curated speciality dishes from the Middle East to India, and an array of Asian delights. Ideal for groups to choose their own gourmet plates within the same dining room. For grab-and-go snacks like artisanal cakes created by the in-house pastry team, Shophouse by Shangri-La comes in very handy between meals.
Chi Spa is a classic city hotel spa with peaceful rooms dressed in earthy tones, set to the backdrop of a waterfall. Treatments begin with a warm tea before your healing magic begins. Post-treatment, take full advantage of the steam room, sauna, and hot whirlpool bath, all within easy reach. Deep tissue massages to revitalising facials are on the menu.
Dish to dine for
I dined at the upscale Origin Grill, which focuses on high-quality produce from artisan farmers by chef Nathan Griffin. The dining room has a modern Euro elegance, high arches, and a bistro-style set-up. Dishes are fresh and focused on flavour yet plated with pizzaz and a nod to the garden setting. Many are pretty as a picture and could easily have been picked direct from the garden to the plate.
3- or 4-course lunch menus are a great way to explore the menu at a very reasonable price, from Citrus & Gin Cured Salmon with wasabi mayonnaise, squid ink crisps and pickled cucumber, to Creamy Cauliflower Soup with a light dusting of toasted hazelnuts and Truffle oil, for starters. Confit of Pork Belly with burnt apple, grilled fennel, salsa verde, and a tangy wholegrain mustard Jus was a refined main. The curated wine list sticks to artisanal gems showcasing over 45 rare varietals from around the world.
With 10 bars and restaurants on-site, you can stay for days and enjoy the excellent dining on your doorstep. Origin Bar cocktails take you on a journey through the city’s six districts, and regularly features on 50 Best bar list. We popped in for a drink after dinner sampling crafty concoctions that use fresh fruits and vegetables optimum for Singapore’s tropical climate. Beyond the bars, all those hectares of private gardens to wander with pools and kids’ playrooms offer hours of reasons to stay firmly put within Shangri-La Singapore and its leafy grounds.
Singapore’s famed Botanical Gardens is the only tropical garden to boast a UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for its stunning 82 hectares of landscaping. Across town, Garden by the Bay and all the Marina Bay attractions are one of Singapore’s current tourist highlights. Sentosa Island is less than 20 minutes away by car, with its family-orientated fun parks, from Universal Studios to Adventure Cove Waterpark. If travelling in September, grab tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix for a weekend of speed and unrivalled entertainment.
The family factor
Garden Wing is the most popular for families as it has the themed rooms and is next to the Splash waterpark. Five-themed family suites, from space travel to medieval castles or a safari look, are very playful. Tower Wing also boasts a dedicated family floor with a central pantry filled with kids’ items. From highchairs to nappies, and laundry room at your disposal. Splash, a vast water play area boasts six sections that includes lazy rivers and water slides, all separated to keep the fun at bay from other guests, that sits alongside ‘buds by Shangri-La’, an epic indoor interactive play space, that combined covers a whopping 3000-square-metres.
There is a dedicated Family Concierge available for any special requests. So don’t be shy to ask. If you’d like access to the hotel’s private lounge, book a Horizon Club Room or a suite in the Garden Wing. Situated on the top floor of the Tower Wing, it has sweeping panoramic city views, a club lounge area, and free food and drink. Plus, priority check-in and check-out, and a concierge service.
The newly renovated Tower Wing is ideal for families and larger groups. While the Garden Wing offers views over the manicured greenery and hotel swimming pool and is the most popular with families. The themed rooms book out fast so make sure to book well in advance. The Valley Wing is the most exclusive with its discreet opulence, is more suited to the business traveller.
I wish I could take home…
My own private Shangri-La gardener. I had a touch of the green-eyed monster at all the lush greenery and flowers. And would welcome such a daily display in my own Sydney abode.
V&T expert rating
8 out of 10 – Hard to believe you’re in the centre of a bustling city at Shangri-La Singapore. Its grounds offer serenity in spades and it’s close enough to the tourist action. Yet genuinely lives and breathes the “Garden City” name Singapore is renowned for.
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