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Shangri-La Singapore: Sanctuary in the city for the discerning traveller

With its magical manicured gardens and elegant rooms across three distinct wings, Shangri-La Singapore is a city sanctuary ideal for business or leisure. Cathy Wagstaff wandered the sprawling grounds to explore more in the Garden City.

Traveller: Cathy Wagstaff
Room: Garden Wing Premier Balcony Suite
Address: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore
Date: September 2022
Price: from $431
Best for: business or families with its separate wings to suit each travel style

Location

A little north of the city CBD yet still an easy drive to all its pleasures, Shangri-La Singapore is neatly positioned on Orange Grove Road just a stone’s throw from the shopping mecca of Orchard Road. And a swift 30-minute car ride from Singapore Changi Airport.

Within a short walk, you can find

Orchard Road’s famed shopping malls are easily accessible by foot. The lush grounds of the UNESCO Heritage-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens are two kilometres away. As are the culture hub of the National Museum and National Gallery just a short drive away. While within six kilometres, you’ll be right in the centre of Marina Bay and its leisure offerings.

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). Six hectares of private gardens create an immense tropical landscape in the middle of this bustling cosmopolitan city. From waterfalls and ponds filled with koi to its oasis-like swimming pool surrounded by room balconies covered in cascading greenery, its serene and tranquil even for its size with 792 rooms across three distinct wings.

The showstopper

The size and scale of the grounds are breathtaking. From arrival in the grandeur of the main lobby with its striking Neoclassical columns that catches your attention immediately. To the cultural touches like being warmly welcomed by door attendants dressed in elegant traditional Tibetan uniforms. The opulence continues outside on the hotel grounds, known as the city’s “second Botanic Gardens”, filled with palm trees, orchids, ponds and waterfalls. 

The room

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.

Other little details like a glass-top desk with office equipment and stationery come in useful. If you don’t wish to leave your suite, there is a private whirlpool bath on the balcony, a barbecue grill, and personal sun loungers. The in-house catering team can curate a barbecue meal during your stay. It’s worth noting that these rooms also offer access to the exclusive Horizon Club Lounge and all its added benefits.

Amenity game

French brand L’Occitane toiletries in Jasmine & Bergamot offer a crisp and citrus scent from Provence, France and add to the garden-fresh aromas along with those bougainvillaea bathroom views.

Beyond the rooms

With 10 dining options available at Shangri-La Singapore, including four bars plus in-room dining, you’ll never need to travel too far for a place to dine. Michelin-star Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, has been in situ since the hotel opening and offers dynamic Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. While seafood and “hand-me-down” Italian recipes and homemade pasta are the focus at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano. It was awarded the Ospitalità Italiana certification in 2020 by the Italian government for its authentic cuisine. For leisure, nestled in the gardens is an oasis of a swimming pool, an elegant spa, a fully equipped gym and three floodlit tennis courts.

Spa life

Chi Spa offers peaceful rooms dressed in earthy tones, set against the backdrop of a waterfall to bring nature right to the treatment table. The menu is classic city hotel spa style, from deep tissue massage to a revitalising vitamin C facial. Treatments begin with a warm tea before the healing magic begins. Post-treatment, take full advantage of the steam room, sauna, and hot whirlpool bath, all within easy reach.

Dish to dine for

I dined at the upscale Origin Grill, which focuses on high-quality produce from artisan farmers. Chef Nathan Griffin, who hails from Bournemouth, England, has been at the kitchen’s helm for six months after time in Manila at the Raging Bull in The Fort and Grill 79 in Beijing.

The dining room at the Shangri-La Singapore 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 garden to plate.

3- or 4-course lunch menus are an ideal way to explore the menu. From Creamy Cauliflower Soup with a light dusting of toasted hazelnuts and Truffle oil to Citrus & Gin Cured Salmon with wasabi mayonnaise, squid ink crisps and pickled cucumber, to start. Mains like confit of Pork Belly with burnt apple, grilled fennel, salsa verde, and a tangy wholegrain mustard Jus are a refined combination. And don’t forget to peek at the curated wine list that sticks to artisanal gems showcasing over 45 rare varietals from around the world.

Staying in

With 10 bars and restaurants on-site, you can stay for days and enjoy the excellent dining on your doorstep. The Rose Veranda has been an institution for high tea since 1991, adding a European elegance to the tropical setting. A 3-course high tea of dainty sandwiches, pretty pastries, and freshly baked scones with clotted cream, come with a glass of delicious bubbles. Origin Bar 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. Cocktails take you on a journey through the city’s six districts in their name and flavour inspiration.

Plus, with the pools, spa, gym, and all those hectares of private gardens to wander, there is plenty of space to simply relax all the while being firmly sat in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia.

Shangri-La Singapore drinks

Stepping out

Take time to immerse in Singapore’s famed Botanical Gardens, the only tropical garden to be honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set across a stunning 82 hectares with its landscaping dating back to 1859. Across town, Garden by the Bay offers another garden scape with grand glasshouses and intertwined modern sculptures. For the culture lover, peruse the National Museum and National Gallery. The latter rivals the galleries of London. With its collection of art, including the world’s largest public display of modern Southeast Asian works. If travelling in September, grab tickets to the Grand Prix for a weekend of speed and unrivalled entertainment.

Singapore

Before booking

While the newly renovated Tower Wing is fine for families, the Garden Wing offers views over the manicured greenery and hotel swimming pool and is the most popular with families. The Valley Wing is the most exclusive with its discreet opulence, including its dedicated lobby, private elevator and in-room check-in. A private lounge within the same building is reserved exclusively for Valley Wing guests and favoured by dignitaries and politicians. Here you can enjoy breakfast at the Summit Room. Then, afternoon tea and cocktails are served throughout the day at the glamorous Champagne Bar. The Valley Wing even has its own dress code etiquette to ensure the glamour stakes remain high at all times. 

Insiders’ tips

Access to The Horizon Club, the hotel’s private lounge, is included in any Horizon Club Room or Garden Wing Suites. Situated on the 24th floor of the Tower Wing, it has sweeping panoramic city views with a club lounge feel. Dine on a hearty breakfast buffet or evening canapés over cocktails from 5 pm. Horizon Club class also includes priority check-in and check-out and concierge assistance.

The family factor

The hotel, particularly the Garden Wing, is tailored for families. With five themed family suites, from space travel to medieval castles or a safari look, are very playful. Splash, a water play area with six sections that include lazy rivers and water slides, is all separated to keep the fun at bay from other guests. ‘buds by Shangri-La’, an epic indoor interactive play space, that combined with Splash covers an incredible 3000-square-metres. There is even a special in-house dining menu for the little travellers.

Signature expert rating

8 out of 10 – There is much to adore about Shangri-La Singapore as a magnificent sanctuary in the centre of a bustling city. Close to the sights yet in-house has every detail for the discerning traveller.

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