by Brendan M. Lynch | October 01, 2006

Downtown Singapore along Marina Bay

On the waterfront:
Downtown Singapore
rises high along Marina Bay.

Singapore, at the southern end of the Malay peninsula, is a clean, well-organized and highly developed city-state with one of Asia’s best standards of living. With its tropical climate and location on busy sea trade routes linking Europe and Asia, Singapore has long played host to visitors from all parts of the world and today boasts a wide array of flight options, boutique and five-star accommodations, along with ample public transportation.

Air travel

This year, Singapore’s Changi Airport unveiled plans for a new US$1.1 billion main Terminal 3 complex, set to open in 2008. The 4 million-square-foot facility will feature a high-tech roof design incorporating more than 900 skylights designed to flood the terminal with natural light while keeping out the tropical heat. The seven-story building will offer 70 retail outlets and 30 restaurants, as well as a “Green Wall,” a five-story-high vertical garden intersected by four waterfalls. Additionally, a 350-room hotel is being constructed adjacent to the new terminal.

Centers of attention

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. will develop the US$3.6 billion Marina Bay Sands, a 2,500- to 3,000-room casino complex that will offer 1.18 million square feet of gross floor space. The project is slated for a 2009 debut. Plans call for retail shopping, six restaurants, two 2,000-seat theaters, an art and science museum, a public plaza and a “skypark” -- comprising three towers topped and connected by a flat park featuring pools and gardens.

In Singapore’s Marina district, the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exposition Centre has installed an “e-board” on its facade, one of the biggest LED displays in Asia. The 45.6-foot-by-34.7-foot display includes audio and will be used to attract attendees and raise awareness of events at the facility, which has more than 1.07 million square feet of floor space on six levels.

Local transportation

In July, the city’s first regularly scheduled, free shuttle service by a public transport operator was launched, dubbed SMRT Link ( The service connects the Chinatown, Dhoby Ghaut and Little India districts, serving popular attractions such as the People’s Park Complex, Selegie Centre and Tekka Mall. Shuttles run on weekends and public holidays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., every 8 to 15 minutes.


Capella Hotels & Resorts will open the Capella Singapore in 2008 on Sentosa Island. The property, formerly known as The Knolls, will undergo a US$157 million renovation and will feature 110 suites and villas, plus four meeting rooms.

In June, the 325-room Orchard Hotel Singapore debuted its Orchard Wing with its Signature Club, which offers business travelers rooms with amenities such as a 32-inch LCD TV with laptop interface, an MP3-friendly Bose stereo with CD player, and Wi-Fi access.

Accor recently re-entered the Singapore market with the reflagging of the 398-room Hotel New Otani to the Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore. The refurbished hotel, five minutes from Suntec Singapore, features seven meeting rooms, a grand ballroom, a restaurant, a business center, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

Last year, the 775-room Pan Pacific Singapore dedicated its entire 22nd floor, dubbed the Executive Centre, to business travelers. Amenities include a dedicated concierge, Herman Miller Aeron chairs, three working office rooms equipped with computers and printers, two “conversation rooms” for six to eight guests each and three boardrooms that can seat up to 16.