by Michael C. Lowe | June 01, 2013
Side Trip
Yong Siak street in Tiong Bahru offers a trendy hood with independent bookstores and quaint coffeeshops.
read more
Local Update
The Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre completed an 18-month, US$147 million technological upgrade in May, which included the addition of a two-story interactive digital wall. The facility spans about one million square feet.

The 367-room Parkroyal on Pickering opened earlier this year, with an atmosphere that feels like a cross between an exotic Balinese resort and an upscale metropolitan business hotel. The design emphasizes in natural elements such as hanging gardens, reflecting pools and waterfalls, along with cutting-edge technology, from the guest rooms through the more than 7,500 square feet of function space.

The Sofitel So Singapore is expected to open this November with 134 guest rooms and an as-yet-unspecified amount of meeting space. Stay tuned for additional details.

Also in November, the 301-room Westin Singapore Marina Bay will open with approximately 12,500 square feet of meeting space. Plans call for an outdoor pool, a fitness center and a spa.

The 790-room Pan Pacific, just blocks away from the Suntec International Convention Center, reopened last September after completing a US$65 million renovation. The project included upgrades to the guest rooms, restaurants and lobby. Meeting facilities, which total nearly 32,000 square feet of space, include the 22nd-floor Pacific Center, which offers eight high-tech boardrooms with views of the harbor and city.

The W Singapore-Sentosa Cove open­ed last year on the resort island of Sentosa. The 240-room property features more than 16,100 square feet of meeting space, several food and beverage outlets, a spa, a fitness center and an outdoor pool.

The 86,000-square-foot Max Atria, an addition to the one-million-square-foot Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Center, opened in March with 32 meeting rooms and a variety of new outdoor gathering spaces.

The 229-room Village Hotel at Katong will open in July near Changi International Airport. Plans call for 4,876 square feet of meeting space and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Resorts World Sentosa celebrated its grand opening last December. The massive 121-acre complex cost US$5.7 billion and comprises some 1,500 guest rooms across six hotel properties. On-site attractions include Universal Studios and an aquarium.

The glittering 400-room Fullerton Hotel now offers guests free guided tours of the property's colorful history. The building, which opened in 1928 as the city's main post office, cost US$4 million to erect, a record for construction in the city at that time. It became a luxury hotel in 2001 and today includes a variety of meeting spaces, including nine function rooms and a ballroom that can hold up to 480 for a banquet.

Meeting Hotels
Properties in Singapore include the 2,561-room Marina Bay Sands; 1,261-room Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore; 1,051-room Mandarin Orchard Singapore; 790-room Pan Pacific Singapore; 769-room Fairmont Singapore; 747-room Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore; 656-room Orchard Hotel Singapore; and 608-room Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

Find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, at

Convention Centers
Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Center; exhibit space, approximately 1,076,391 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 31; (65) 6337-2888;

Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Center; exhibit space, 107,639 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 32; (65) 6403-2160;

Service charge, 10%; goods and services tax, 7%; total tax on hotel rooms, 17%

Airport Transit
Changi International Airport, about 10 miles from downtown Singapore and the Marina Bay district. Transfer cost by taxi, about US$25

Group Venues
Jiu Zhuang barDiners tend to speak furtively in Jiu Zhuang, right, a hidden gem of a bar in Singapore's Dempsey Hill area. The speakeasy feel of the place is unintended, according to its owners, but the Old Shanghai décor, dim lighting and swoony Jazz Age music lends itself well to the genre. Seating is tight in the main restaurant, which serves small plates alongside an exclusive drink list, but a private cellar that seats up to 16 people is available. The entire venue, which includes an outdoor patio and seats 67, can be bought out. (65) 6471-1711;

In the heart of Singapore's historic Tanjong Pagar district, the Food Playground is working to preserve the city's food heritage by offering classes in traditional cuisine such as laksa, a curry-based noodle soup, and satay, skewered meat prepared over a grill or barbecue. Instructors come from a pool of local stay-at-home moms and seniors. Classes, tailored for networking, team building or other purposes, can be arranged for up to 24 people. (65) 9833-2970;

Singapore Tourism Board, (65) 6736-2000;