The new Fullerton Bay Hotel is where old-world grandeur meets flair to spare, writesTHE IMAGE OF Singapore as a city on the move is reflected right there in the
water when you take your rest beside Marina Bay. As well as the daytime shade
cast by the gleaming new tower blocks that have helped reinvent the nearby financial
district, there are shadows cast in the moonlight by buildings that represent
the city’s aspirations, both modern and historic.
Much has been made of the investment poured into the sprawling new resorts
that are leading Singapore’s revival – and there’s no escaping the Marina Bay
Sands and its three towers. But the feeling that surrounds you here on the rooftop
of the Fullerton Bay Hotel is that the city’s leaders have allowed history to move
with the times, too.
This hotel building looks out over the area – Clifford Pier – where, in times gone
by, travellers would disembark from their voyage to Singapore, their vessel guided
in by the pier’s famous red beacon.
Under the umbrella of The Fullerton Heritage project – which also takes in the
pier area and the next-door bar and restaurant district known as Customs House
– this fabulous hotel retains its pride and sense of history, while ushering the surrounding
city into an era of refined luxury.
Hong Kong’s Andre Fu and his team at AFSO were commissioned to design everything
you see, inside and out – save the rooms and their furnishings. And they have
worked wonders in mixing the building’s traditions – from the huge welcoming area
with towering ceilings to secluded spots for quiet dining – with modern flourishes. The
decor makes use of maritime themes and features antiques that may once have
been hauled ashore on the nearby docks.
There are three spaces designed by Fu: the commodious Landing Point, where you
can dine and take waterside cocktails served by attentive but unintrusive staff; the
restaurant Clifford (named after former Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir High
Clifford), which offers modern brasserie cuisine tucked away by a bay framed by
nine-metre-high windows; and the rooftop Lantern lounge, bar and swimming pool
(which we’ll return to a little later).
But first, the rooms themselves. There are just 100, ensuring a degree of intimacy not
found in the majority of Singapore’s modern hotels, plus five suites presented in
various regional themes (Chinese, Indian, Malay, Peranakan and Colonial) and the
Presidential Suite. All have private balconies and commanding views over Marina
Bay and the city.
The entire complex is built over the water, and its stunning glass facade is in nice contrast
to the rooms, which lean towards lattice screens, dark woods and ultra-comfort.
The beds – an oversized joy – come with a goose-down duvet and Egyptian
cotton sheets, a combination almost impossible to resist if you’re at all weary.
Inside the bathrooms is an exclusive line of Molton Brown Therapies, while the latest
in gadgetry is available throughout (iPod docks, etc) if you really feel inclined to keep
up with the rest of the world. The smart option, though, is to simply shut that world
away, immerse yourself in a little history and relax.
Later – much later if you like – emerge refreshed and reinvigorated as night begins
to fall, head to the rooftop and Lantern, Fu’s masterstroke and a lesson in making
optimum use of space. There’s a swimming pool - one of the best in Singapore -
private Jacuzzis, couches for intimate chats, tables and an expansive bar area
with space for a band. And, of course, you can dine, or simply gather to enjoy the
lights of Singapore sparkling all around.
“What we have created is a timeless waterfront destination that will be synonymous
with Singapore’s resplendent new waterfront, Marina Bay,” says general manager
Giovanni Viterale, as he cruises by watching over the evening’s entertainment, a Cuban
combo mixing seamlessly with the chilled vibe.
Viterale is bang on the money. Already Lantern has established itself as Singapore’s
best and among the 30 best hotel bars in the world, evidenced by the people
here tonight, a mixture of couples, suits, jetsetters and a party crowd warming in to
This is a place to share, to swim in the sparkling pool waters, to take in that Singapore
skyline, and to treat yourself to what has already become the signature Red Lantern
cocktail – Don Julio Blanco tequila, watermelon, cucumber, Cointreau and lime – as
the night begins to melt away.
+ The Siam
+ Abu Ahabi
+ The Sarojin
+ 137 Pillars
+ Conrad Koh Samui
+ The Kensington Hotel
+ The Pavilions
+ Renaissance Bangkok
+ Mandarin Oriental Paris
+ Waiheke Island
+ Hotel Icon
+ Phnom Penh
+ Buenos Aires
+ Shangri-La Paris
+ Passage to Hong Kong
+ Diving the Sweet Spot
+ The Far Pavilions
+ Hansar Thailand
+ Samui Wind
+ HOTEL DAS CATARATAS
+ The Ritz-Carlton
+ WALDORF ASTORIA SHANGHAI
+ Wolgan Valley
+ LA ISLA BONITA
+ SAIGON FOR MEN
+ ART OF THE CITY
+ Soneva Kiri
+ Langham Hotel
+ The Best of Boston
+ SULTANATE SUBLIME
+ SKYLIGHT VISTA – SEVEN STARS GALLERIA
+ MONGOLIA LUXE
+ The Plaza
+ INSTANT KARMA
+ HEAVEN SCENT, Phuket Pavilions
+ VINO, VIDI, VICI
+ ARABESQUE: A TASTE OF MOROCCO