Singapore is a dynamic destination. It’s finally gaining worldwide attention for its diverse cuisine, budding cultural scene, luxury shopping and architecture, a melding of traditional shophouses and colonial buildings with futuristic structures.
To find out what’s new in the Southeast Asian hub, we turned to Roszel Marop, director of guest services and concierge at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Five-Star The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore.
Marop is an authority on the city state: The born-and-bred Singaporean is a member of the prestigious concierge association Les Clefs d’Or Singapore and serves as its honorary secretary.
He shared the new art attraction that you need to visit, the restaurants people are flocking to and how to survive the notorious heat.
What is new in Singapore?
The beautifully restored National Gallery Singapore — comprising two national monuments, the former supreme court and city hall — is a new visual arts destination. Housing the most extensive public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, it is located in the heart of the Civic District and is just a seven-minute walk from The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
What are your city’s most underrated attractions?
Gillman Barracks makes for a fascinating and unconventional stop for art lovers, collectors and those who are looking for a unique, lush and wooded precinct slightly away from the urban, concrete jungle of downtown Singapore.
There is also the Battle Box at Fort Canning Hill. At The Battlebox Tour, they will unveil the story of strategy and surrender. The hour-long tour takes you into the namesake underground command center, where the decision to surrender was made, and re-tells the story of how Malaya and Singapore succumbed to the Empire of Japan in just 70 days.
Guides also explain the roles that the bunker played during the war while showing you around replica and genuine rooms used by the military of the era.
What are the hottest restaurants right now?
There is an array of great restaurants in Singapore, but the following are my three personal favorites.
The Lighthouse Restaurant and Rooftop Bar at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Chef Carlo Marengoni serves the best Southern Italian cuisine, and the venue occupies the exact location where a beacon once guided the mariners into the safety of the Singapore port in the 20th century. Now, the restaurant commands one of the mesmerizing views of the Singapore skyline and Marina Bay waterfront.
And if you want a modern and trendy Japanese restaurant, Neon Pigeon on Keong Saik Road will be an ideal choice. The crowd that goes to the restaurant certainly loves the funky mix of grunge concrete walls with the use of traditional Japanese plates. Diners who are bored of the same-old Japanese izakaya dishes will be pleased with the audacious recipes concocted by the chefs.
If you want a local, modern flavor of Singapore, Labyrinth restaurant will be the choice. Chef LG Han expressed his food as Singapore cuisine, which forms the bridge between tradition and modern. He focuses on creating dishes that arouse the five basic taste sensations: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. The modern, inventive cuisine ensures that diners can expect a gastronomical adventure unlike any other.
What are some great bars?
I would definitely go to the Lantern Bar at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. The Lantern Bar is a prime location among the skyscrapers of the Central Business District, and it is overlooking the bay area.
The 25-meter pool, bordered by whirlpools, faux rattan cabanas and a five-meter-wide lantern-inspired bar will definitely catch your eye. The atmosphere at this former Clifford Pier site is vibrant without being intrusive, and it’s not difficult to have a conversation while listening to the background music.
Give us your favorite insider tip for Singapore.
Singapore is hot and humid all year round, with temperatures usually reaching over 30 degrees Celsius [or 86 degrees Fahrenheit].
Casual T-shirts and denim shorts soon become your best friends. The less layers you wear, the better, and try to stick to fabrics such as cotton blends, polyester/spandex, linen and silk — these are lightweight, breathable, absorb perspiration and allow your body heat to escape.