The Old Parliament
Founded as a British trading
station in 1819 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, from whom
this city-state got the name of its most famous hotel, Singapore
this year celebrates the 40th anniversary of its independence.
Events and festivals to mark this milestone will continue until
Another anniversary worth noting: The Suntec Singapore
International Convention & Exhibition Centre, the largest such
facility in the city, is 10 years old. The venue offers 240,000
square feet of exhibition space, as well as a 596-seat theater and
31 meeting rooms.
Known for its clean streets and smart business ethos, Singapore
offers visitors an ever-increasing roster of new hotels and
Having outlawed gaming for four decades, the city finally is ready
to roll the dice. Plans are afoot to build two Las Vegas-style
megacasino hotels one on Sentosa Island, the other at Marina
Bayfront. The two new properties, each likely to cost in excess of
$1 billion, ultimately will add an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 hotel
rooms to Singapore’s room count upon planned openings in 2009 or
2010. At press time, the government was weighing several proposals,
some from parties with a strong presence in Las Vegas. City
officials also are looking into possible companion projects for the
casinos, including a new convention center, a Formula 1 racetrack
and a theme park.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to open the 299-room St.
Regis Singapore in 2007. The 180,000-square-foot property, in a
landmark 1904 beaux arts building, will be a part of the upscale
Orchard Road shopping and entertainment complex and will include
four restaurants, a spa and 15,000 square feet of meeting
The 527-room Oriental Singapore, managed by Mandarin Oriental,
finished a top-to-bottom renovation in May that had closed the
hotel from August to December of last year. All 527 guest rooms
were spruced up, as were the 13 meeting rooms.
Last month, the Hotel New Otani became the Novotel Clarke Quay
Singapore. The 406-room property, which has been totally renovated,
now offers three restaurants, a ballroom, a pool and several
meeting rooms, as well as views of local landmarks and the
Sites and flights
From independence until 1990, Singapore was governed from
the Parliament Chamber of the Arts House. As of this year, the
renovated building, known now as the Old Parliament, is available
to groups for meetings and receptions; its chamber seats up to 152
Beginning next year, business travelers will be able to reach
the city-state in upgraded style, after Singapore Airlines becomes
the first carrier to fly the new Airbus A380-800. The plane has two
stories along its entire length, can seat almost 500 people and
will begin by servicing travelers to and from London and Sydney,
Singapore’s Changi Airport, which now offers a scant 146 rooms
in its vicinity, plans to open a new 300-room hotel in early 2008
to coincide with the debut of the facility’s new Terminal 3.
Meanwhile, the existing Terminal 2 is in the midst of a makeover,
which will finish by the middle of next year.
A new restaurant causing a stir is StraitsKitchen at the 626-room
Grand Hyatt Singapore. The 260-seat eatery opened last December
with inventive décor courtesy of the designers of Tokyo-based Super
Potato. Dishes derive from Chinese, Indian and Malay sources.