The weekend: Better known as a sprawling metropolis and financial services hub, Singapore has plenty to offer business travellers looking for a jetlag-busting wellness weekend to recover before heading on to the next meeting.
The hotel: The first Singapore hotel to be integrated within an office building, the Westin occupies levels 32 to 46 of a skyscraper in the city’s financial district. Surrounded by similarly shiny corporate headquarters – and the odd construction site – the hotel doesn’t seem like an obvious relaxation spot. Rather, staring out of my room’s floor-to-ceiling windows towards Marina Bay made me feel like I was in a sci-film. The view from the infinity pool, modern architecture giving way to tiny undeveloped islands littering the sea towards Indonesia, also serves as a powerful reminder of Singapore’s fascinating contrast with its surroundings.
The food: The hotel’s Cook and Brew restaurant boasts more than 100 beers and a great choice of New Zealand wine, with fun fusion dishes like Pad Thai fries and great panoramic views. But there’s better, if simpler, fare to be found in the city’s hawker centres. These covered food markets reflect Singapore’s diverse Malay, Chinese and Indian heritage, and are the best place to try local delicacies like chicken rice and laksa. New Ubin Seafood, a quick trip uptown on Singapore’s clean, cheap, reliable metro system (the MRT or Mass Rapid Transit), is worth the journey. I gorged on chilli crab and cereal prawns.
Ask about: A 6:15am wake-up call may not sound like the perfect start to a weekend of luxury, but throwing on the New Balance workout kit Westin lends to travellers who’ve left their trainers at home and heading out on a guided run was worth it for sunrise from the Gardens by the Bay, and covering 8km before 7:30am is hard to top as a jetlag remedy. Recover in the award-winning spa, an unexpectedly calm and cavernous oasis where a nourishing foot soak and restorative facial helped me recover from travel-induced dehydration.
And after that? Once the royal seat of Malay Sultans in Singapore, the 19th century palace Istana Kampong Glam is today home to one of most engaging history museums I’ve ever visited. Shining the light on island life before Stamford Raffles arrived in 1819, the Malay Heritage Centre is bursting with maps and artefacts, as well as impassioned volunteer guides. We followed up the educational visit with a fun trip to nearby Selfie Coffee to slurp iced lattes with our faces printed on.
Anything else? Before you head back to the airport, make the most of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage honoured Botanic Gardens, home to the world’s largest collection of orchids. We visited early in the morning when elderly Singaporeans flock there to practice Tai Chi before the heat of the sun makes it impossible to do so, and threw ourselves into the wellness vibe by giving the reflexology foot path a try.
Need to know: Premier rooms at The Westin Singapore cost from £238 per night, with savings of up to 15 per cent for a weekend stay of at least two nights, as well as complimentary spa access.
Book at thewestinsingapore.com or by calling +65 6922 6922