Asia, Travel Tips
April 9, 2011
I just spent 24 hours in Singapore visiting my brother Bud. Although it was a blink of a visit, I was still able to draw a positive impression of the city. (A rarity, since most of my snap judgements lean toward the less-than-impressed). With Singapore, I liked the city right off the bat. However, this may have a lot to do with the drive from the airport, which showcases some of the loveliest highway gardening I have ever seen.
As my brother continuously remarked throughout his tour, “Can you believe we’re actually on the equator and they’ve built this city in the middle of the jungle?” Indeed, it is rather amazing that the city lies amidst natural jungle, yet, somehow, with all its building, soaring towers and insistent demeanor, it reminded me of Dubai. Albeit, greener. Seriously, they have plants growing OUT of trees. It’s wild!
The purposeful vibe to the city is evident. Whether it be the Singaporeans’ concerted effort of keeping their jungle landscape at bay (highway signs caution drivers of ‘pruning work’ just as other country highway signs warn of approaching road work) or plus the widespread construction of new luxury apartment buildings, offices and casinos, the impression of a booming metropolis is hard to miss.
Our first stop that evening was to the highly lauded Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s Rooftop Bar. I had seen the pictures, the covers of magazines, depicting the mile-high infinity pool and its epic view of the city. Alas, our night was dampened (bah-dum-dum) by a severe thunderstorm, but luckily clearing in time for us to still enjoy a drink on the deck provided we dodged the waterfalls pouring off the bar roof.
The night continued onto a Japanese spot for dinner where the appetizers were quite tasty, we grilled our own food hibachi style and made our way through the most massive bottle of Sake I’ve ever spied. It was fun and the company was great, but, the bathrooms left much to be desired. So, it shall remain nameless.From there we moved onto another rooftop bar on Club Street called The Screening Room where we made it to Last Call. Impressive for the lady-on-no-sleep. Again, I chalk it up to great company. Thanks Bud!
The next day I made sure to tick off another must-do-when-in-Singapore, we brunched at the historic, Raffles Hotel.
Ever since I decided to book my ticket to Thailand via Singapore I was set on visiting this lauded property. Even from my very limited perspective and sighting of Singapore, I am confident in calling it the most attractive example of colonialist presence in the city.
Everything from the vaulted interior ceilings, the portico arches with the plantation style wicker furnishings and the polished mahogany interiors suggest a colonial presence.
I will say, however, that because I wasn’t a guest (resident) at the property and they no doubt receive their fair share of daily gawkers, they were a bit off-standish to my questions about the property. And then, they were downright difficult about helping me find a spot to stow my bags while we dined.
Nevertheless, the property was alluring in its colonial design, shaded porch areas and evident timelessness. I was happy to have visited, and particularly pleased to have sampled the epicurean delights found during brunch. I was told that it was a must-do, and I have to agree. I do believe I gorged myself beyond comprehension. Yet, I still came away without a stomach ache. Now, that’s the mark of a quality dining experience.