Orchard Road is the main shopping street of Singapore. North of the Singapore River, to the west of the Central Business District, Orchard Road turns into Bras Basah Road as it heads east.
Orchard Road is named after the nutmeg orchards that used to line it in the 1830s, one of them coincidentally belonging to a Mr Orchard Road. Large trees still shade the road, providing a modicum of relief from the heat. Fortunately, Orchard Road has an extensive network of underpasses that connect many of the malls providing even more shelter from the blistering equatorial heat and, on occasion, rain. Weekends in the area are often packed with locals and visitors alike out to consume en masse. Only at the eastern Bras Basah end do the shopping malls peter out, with some fine colonial architecture and a few of Singapore's top museums to be found instead.
The Christmas decorations along Orchard are mildly famous and entirely over the top, with reindeers cavorting through palm trees and gingerbread houses topped with fake snow.
The MRT stations of Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall on the North-South Line follow the alignment of Orchard Rd. Change to the North-East Line at Dhoby Ghaut or the East-West Line at City Hall.
Map of Bras Basah and eastern Orchard
Orchard Rd is walkable, at least allowing plenty of breaks in air-conditioned shopping centers. You can no longer cross the central Orchard/Scotts intersection on foot: instead, take the air-conditioned underground walkway system that links Orchard MRT/Ion Orchard to Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City and Lucky Plaza (east), to CK Tang/Marriott (north), and to Shaw House and Wheelock Place (west).
Three of Singapore's top museums are in Bras Basah, within striking distance of Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah MRT stations.
- Battle Box, Fort Canning Park. 10 AM-6 PM Tue-Sun. The former HQ of the British army during World War 2, now turned into an air-conditioned museum complete with animatronic figures retelling the events of the days before surrender. Nearest MRT station Dhoby Ghaut, but it's a steamy hike up the hill. $8.
- Istana, (next to Dhoby Ghaut MRT), . 8:30 AM-6 PM. Completed in 1869, this Malay-Indian hybrid building was once the Government House of the colony of Singapore, before being repurposed on independence as the official residence of the President. The 100-acre grounds occupy some of Singapore's choicest real estate and incorporate several gardens and even a 9-hole golf course. There is a Change of guard ceremony every first Sunday of the month. The Istana is open to the public on only five days a year: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day. Non-Singaporeans $1.
- National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, ☎ +65-63323659, . Tue-Sun 10 AM-9PM. Formerly Singapore History Museum, recently refurbished from top to bottom with a new wing added. The star of the show is the permanent Singapore History Gallery, a 2800 sq.m. multimedia extravaganza covering six centuries of island history, navigated with a super-flexible, if occasionally somewhat confusing, interactive audio guide system that lets you choose the events and items to focus on. There are also four Living Galleries focusing on food, fashion, film and photography, plus various temporary exhibitions and a few nice cafes and restaurants. Permanent exhibition $10/5 adult/child.
- Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road (MRT Bras Basah), ☎ +65-63323222, . 10 AM-7 PM daily. Modern art from both Singapore and the region. The permanent collection is lackluster, but exhibitions can be interesting. Guided tours in English at 11 AM, 2 PM. $3, free Friday evenings 6-9 PM.
There are few tourist attractions as such on Orchard Road itself, the thing to do here is shop, shop and shop! However, there are a few galleries of interest for photographers.
- 2902 Gallery, 11 Mount Sophia, Block B, #B2-09 (Staircase up the hill from The Cathay, near Dhoby Ghaut MRT), ☎ +65-63398655, . The largest dedicated photo gallery in South-East Asia, with a focus on Singaporean talent. Hosts changing exhibitions including the yearly Singapore Int'l Photography Festival  plus workshops, lectures and more.
- epSITE, 501 Orchard Road #03-18/19 (Wheelock Place), ☎ +65-67364986, . Daily 11 AM-9 PM. Also known as the Epson Imaging Gallery, this small space features changing photography exhibitions. Hardly worth a detour, but take a look if you're in the area. Free.
It's difficult to find anything more strenuous to do on Orchard than lugging around shopping bags, getting pampered at a spa and watching a movie.
- [email protected], 290 Orchard Road #06-19/26 (Paragon), ☎ +65-68369988. Daily 10 AM to 11 PM. Singapore's largest spa, with 22,000 sq.ft. of space, partly outdoors thanks to its rooftop location. Basic day package $82, including use of spa facilities and all you can eat/drink from the menu. Massages and treatments charged separately. Couples packages available.
- California Fitness Orchard, 1 Grange Rd (Somerset MRT), ☎ +65-68342100. Open 6 AM-midnight Mon-Sat, 8 AM-10 PM Sun. 35,000 ft and 3 densely packed floors of gym equipment smack dab in the middle of Orchard Rd. Has a reputation for being a gay cruising spot. Day pass $40.
- The Cathay, 2 Handy Road (near Dhoby Ghaut MRT), . A modern shopping mall (partly) hiding behind a stately 1939 art-deco facade, the main draw here is the eponymous cinema on the top floor. The Picturehouse, Singapore's first and only arthouse cinema, shows movies uncut, but many are restricted to 21 and above.
- Estheva Spa, 2 Orchard Turn #03-25 (Orchard MRT), ☎ +65-67339300, . Daily 10 AM to 10 PM. All sorts of aesthetic and spa treatments in an Italian-inspired interior. Advance booking advised. Popular with the ladies. Couple spa packages are also available.
- Damai, 10 Scotts Road, ☎ +65 6738 1234, . Opened in September 2008, Damai is the new lifestyle centre at hotel Grand Hyatt Singapore, offering a spa, pool, fitness centre and healing treatments based on Chinese, Malay, Indian, and European traditions.
- Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road Level 4 (Orchard MRT, Orchard Road exit). Various beauty salons can be found on the fourth floor. Facials, a wax and manipedies for a fraction of the cost at salons in the rest of the city. Get a stylish haircut at a full-service salon for about $10, even for ladies. The best salons accept most major credit cards to cater to the demand of tourists.
Orchard Road and neighboring Scotts Road form Singapore's premier shopping district, with several kilometers of road lined on both sides by practically nothing but shopping malls. The latest round of frantic upgrading in 2008-2010 has seen half a dozen new malls open up and most of the rest renovate in an attempt to catch up.
Orchard Road also participates in the annual Great Singapore Sale that is organized by the Singapore Tourism Board. During this period, street events and late night shopping (till 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays) are held at selected malls, and tourists are entitled to additional privileges. The Great Singapore Sale 2011 is from 27 May to 24 July 2011.
The fearsome bulk of Ngee Ann City
While most malls in Orchard are distinctly upmarket, there are one or two that still cater to the average Singaporean wallets. A selection of malls, from west (Orchard MRT) to east (Dhoby Ghaut MRT):
- Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road. Frequented mostly by teenagers, this mall is a bargain hunter's paradise slowly creeping upmarket. Not bad for unique clothes and accessories at reasonable prices.
- Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road (Orchard MRT). Previously notable primarily for the giant Borders bookstore that used to occupy the entire ground level, which is slated to be replaced by a Marks & Spencer department store. There's a smallish Marks & Spencer branch buried in the basement and a pretty good selection of restaurants on the 2nd floor.
- ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn (Orchard MRT), . Opened 2009, this is the largest new shopping mall on Orchard in years, extending four floors both above and under ground. While the spacey, pulsating, neon-lit facade is dominated by high-street flagships for Louis Vuitton and co, the interior has plenty of more affordable options including Japanese retailers Uniqlo and Muji. The fourth floor has the ION Art gallery, while the basement 4 Food Opera food court, while a bit pricey by Singapore standards, is enormous and very popular. Located on levels 55 and 56, at 218 metres, ION Sky offers a 360-degree view from the highest point on Orchard Road. It houses an observatory and contemporary restaurant Salt grill, helmed by Australian chef Luke Mangan.
- CK Tangs, 320 Orchard Road (Orchard MRT), . Singapore's very own old-school department store.
- Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, . Designer boutiques and international brands populate this architecturally fascinating mall.
- Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, . Most visitors end up in Lucky Plaza thanks to the dubious street-level camera and electronics stores, which are legendary for ripoffs and poor customer service, and are best avoided unless you really know your stuff. However, there's more to the mall than that: cheap souvenirs (2nd floor), low cost salons that offer most services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and hair services (fourth floor), off-season designer perfumes and cosmetics (most floors) and a cheap and surprisingly good food court in the basement. Lucky Plaza is also the favorite hangout spot for the Filipino community and gets packed on weekends.
- Ngee Ann City/Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391 Orchard Road, . Where the tai-tais (wealthy ladies of leisure) hang out. Expensive branded goods on the first floors, more affordable shopping in the two basement floors. Also features Kinokuniya, Southeast Asia's largest bookstore, on the 3rd floor.
- Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd (opp Takashimaya). Long one of Singapore's flashiest malls, packed with Prada, Gucci and other luxury brands, although ION has stolen some of its thunder.
- The Heeren, 260 Orchard Rd, . Trendy youth clothing
- Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd, . Modern, soaring twelve-story mall with a funky series of outdoor escalators and nice views from the terraces. Floors 7 and above are devoted to food, with restaurants including Korean barbeque masters Nolboo and Japanese set meal specialist Ootoya. The mall also houses the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a collection of public art installations by acclaimed international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden.
- [email protected], 313 Orchard Road (Somerset MRT), . [email protected] is directly linked to the Somerset MRT station and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options include local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship spanning 4 floors. There are also some popular dining options including a cluster of restaurants and lounges such as Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant, Kamado Japanese Wood Fire, Central Hong Kong Café, Flying Chillies and Trattoria Cuccina Italiana on Level 1.
- Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road (Dhoby Ghaut MRT). Singapore's oldest air-conditioned shopping mall, located just above the MRT interchange and recently given a thorough facelift. Huge Carrefour multilevel hypermarket, numerous eating options and a large cinema complex on the top floors.
Orchard is a good place to sample not just Singaporean food, but food from all over the planet. That said, if you're pinching pennies, prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, but well, at least it's not as bad as Sentosa.
Almost every shopping mall has its own food court, but for gourmet snacking, it's hard to beat the collection of shops and stands at Takashimaya's basement. Be careful though, those $2 squid balls won't fill you up.
- Asian Food Mall, 304 Orchard Road, Basement (Lucky Plaza). 10 AM-10 PM. One of the cheapest food courts in the district. Prices are about 30% cheaper than the food courts at nearby malls while still maintaining excellent Singapore standards. Stalls serve local and Asian fare: the chicken rice stall usually sells out well before closing and the ayam penyet is no slouch either. $3.
- Ayam Penyet Ria, 304 Orchard Road #04-25/26 (Lucky Plaza), ☎ +65-62357385, . 11 AM-9 PM. Very popular Indonesian eatery specializing in ayam penyet or "smashed chicken", breaded, deep-fried and flattened, served with the fiery chili sambal of the name. For a less spicy treat, sample their excellent rawon (beef soup). $7.
- Food Republic, 435 Orchard Road 4F (Wisma Atria). Daily 10 AM to 10 PM. Food court done up as a series of hawker carts and decorated with various nostalgic knick-knacks. The food is a notch above average (try eg. the hokkien mee fried noodles, with a perennial queue snaking out in front), and so are the crowds. Slightly more expensive than the competition. $5-10.
- Es Teler 77, 14 Scotts Road, #05-82 (Far East Plaza). Daily 12 PM to 9 PM. Indonesian food, famous for its coconut milk and fruit ice desserts. Slightly pricier than its surroundings, which are small eateries serving cheap local food (for the area). Popular with locals. $5-10.
- Gyoza no Osho, 5 Koek Road (Cuppage Plaza). On the ground floor of a musty mall filled with dodgy Japanese karaoke joints, this greasy spoon joint specializing in ramen noodles and gyoza dumpling will make you sweat — partly because the soups are hot, partly because they don't have aircon. $10.
- Killiney Kopitiam, 67 Killiney Rd (Somerset MRT), . A Singaporean legend now franchised across the island, this ordinary-looking coffeeshop continues to pack in the crowds for its famous kaya toast (a steal at $0.80 per slice), with the kaya itself also sold at $3/5 for a small/large jar. For lunch or dinner, try the more substantial chicken curry with grilled French bread ($4.50). S$1-5.
- Big O, 501 Orchard Road #02-04/05 (Wheelock Place). Daily 11:30 AM-10:30 PM. Casual Western-style eatery best known for having some of the best desserts in town, including some great New York-style cheesecakes and the pungent Spike D durian cake. $5-10 (desserts), $10-20 (mains).
- Central, 391 Orchard Road B2F (Takashimaya), ☎ +65-67328196. Daily 10 AM-9:30 PM. Hip Hong Kong-style tea cafe offering both Chinese classics like rickshaw noodles as well as modern fare like baked rice with cheese and their infamous durian fried rice. Try the thousand layer tofu with pork floss ($4) and wash it down with some yin-yang (tea and coffee mixed together, $3). $5-10.
- Din Tai Fung, 290 Orchard Rd #B1-03/06 (Paragon). Daily 10 AM to 10 PM. The Singapore branch of the award-winning Taiwanese chain, serves some of the best xiao long bao ($8.50 per platter) this side of Shanghai. Expect to queue near mealtimes, but it's a big place and the queue moves fast. Second outlet at Wisma Atria.
- Lao Beijing, 68 Orchard Road #03-01 (Plaza Singapura), . 11:30 AM-10 PM. Among Singapore's best places for Northern Chinese cuisine, particularly well known for their guotie and jiaozi dumplings. Can get expensive in the evenings, but the weekend High Tea buffet (Sat, Sun and holidays, 3-5 PM only) at S$13.80 per person is a deservedly popular steal — not only is there the traditional laid-out buffet, but you can also order dumplings from the menu.
- Shimbashi Soba, 290 Orchard Road #B1-41 (Paragon). The best Japanese soba noodles you'll find in Singapore, made by hand in the adjoining glass-walled workshop. The best time to come here is lunch, when you can get filling set meals for $15 or so. $10-20.
- Sakae Sushi, 501 Orchard Road #02-13 (Wheelock Place). A fairly happy compromise of price and quality, plates $1.90 each (except red premium plates at $6.90). All you can eat on weekdays 3-6 PM only for $16.90++. Tip: order off the menu if you don't see what you want, the price is still the same. $15-30.
- Soup Restaurant, 290 Orchard Rd #B1-44 (Paragon). Offers not only excellent Chinese-style soup, but also plenty of traditional Singaporean Chinese fare, including their trademark samsui chicken (slow-boiled chicken eaten wrapped in lettuce with garlic sauce). Eat a Chinatown Heritage Course ($50 for two) for lunch and take the leftovers home for dinner. Franchises throughout Singapore, including Suntec City and Changi Airport.
- Sushitei, 391 Orchard Road #02-13 (Takashimaya, 5th floor), . A popular chain of conveyor belt sushi joints, with the Takashimaya outlet tops for quality and popularity. You pay a slight premium here for the fresh ingredients, but at $2 and up per plate it's still a steal. Second outlet in Paragon.
Orchard Road is brimming with fiercely competitive restaurants. One easy option is Crystal Jade , a popular chain of Chinese restaurants with outlets in nearly every major shopping mall in Singapore, including Suntec City, Shaw House and Paragon.
- Chatterbox, 333 Orchard Rd (Meritus Mandarin 39F), ☎ +65-68316291. Possibly Singapore's most famous chicken rice, and at $30/plate after tax, certainly its most expensive — but you do get very generous portions, air-con, red-lacquered furniture and panoramic views over Orchard. (For the budget alternative, go to Mr Chicken Rice in the Downtown East mall next to the Singapore Flyer, run by Chatterbox's original chef and offering the same for $3!) Often full on weekends, so call ahead, or eat the same meal at the Observation Lounge on the level below. Frequent 1-for-1 promos for AmEx cardholders.
- Crystal Jade Palace, 391 Orchard Rd #04-19 (Ngee Ann City), ☎ +65-67352388. Lunch 11:30 AM-3 PM, dinner 6:30-10:30 PM. The flagship of the chain, which serves authentic Cantonese food. Dinner here is fairly expensive, but the set lunch for two is good value at $50. The dim sum during the lunch time is worth trying as well as the roasted meat and wonton noodles during lunchtime. Reservations recommended as queues can be as long as an hour. Lunch $25, dinner $50.
- Mezza9, 10-12 Scotts Rd 2F (Grand Hyatt), ☎ +65-67307189. Famous for their Sunday Munch, arguably the best of Singapore's many extravagant hotel brunches. Worth a splurge at $138 per person, including free-flow Perrier-Jouet champagne. 11:30 AM to 3 PM on Sundays only, reservations essential.
- Sabai, 391 Orchard Road #04-23 (Ngee Ann City). Authentic fine Thai cuisine cooked by a group of Thai chefs. Rather pricy for the food served, with a small buffet dessert table. Try the red and green curries and the stuffed chicken wings. Staples like pad thai and pineapple rice are also good. $50.
- Sushi Kikuzawa, 360 Orchard Road #02-13 (International Bldg), ☎ +65-67383833. Noon-3 PM, 6-10 PM daily. Tiny hole-in-the-wall sushi joint, but the ten counter seats here are packed every night thanks to their simple concept: pay a flat fee and the chef makes all the sushi you can eat. You can either let the chef pick, or order off a ten-page menu. Reservations highly advisable. Lunch $30, dinner $40, +$10 on weekends.
Singapore's nightlife is concentrated just south of Orchard Rd by the riverside, but there are still a few notable nightspots. The largest cluster is Emerald Hill  opposite Somerset MRT, a beautifully restored cluster of shophouse-cum-bars.
- Alley Bar, 2 Emerald Hill, ☎ +65-67326966. Daily 5 PM to 2 AM or later. True to its name, this bar has been set up in an alley between two shophouses — not that you'd really notice from the slick modern decor and the endless parade of Singapore's nouveau riche. $10-15.
- Number 5, 5 Emerald Hill, ☎ +65-67320818, . Mon-Sat noon-2 AM, Sun 5 PM-2 AM. Friendly bar housed in a 1910 Peranakan shophouse. Downstairs is loud, upstairs is quieter with a pool table. The cocktails are good, but for a fiery kick try their Chilli Vodka or its industrial-strength big brother, Chilli Padi Vodka.
A few places of interest lurk elsewhere along the strip.
- Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road. Undoubtedly Orchard Road's most notorious nightspot, this building is a Designated Red-Light Area famously summarized as "four floors of whores". The first floor bars are borderline legit and not too bad for a noisy drink, but the rest are outright sleazy — and the Thai "ladies" propositioning passersby in the hallways may not be ladies at all.
- Monkeys Cafe, 400 Orchard Road #01-20 (Orchard Towers), ☎ +65-67353707. Daily 11 AM-3 PM. Rock & roll themed bar serving cold beer, Oz hard cider and less hassle from the ladies. Indoor and outdoor seating, serves decent pub grub too.
- Casa Tartufo Ristorante, 583 Orchard Rd Forum Shopping Mall #01-17, ☎ +65 6836 4647, . daily lunch & dinner. Classic atmosphere, seems like being in a Milanese restaurants and the food is divine. Their specialty is truffles but they also serve all the traditional Italian dishes. $38 lunch and $100 dinner.
Accommodation on Orchard Rd incurs a hefty premium for the location and is uniformly expensive (at least by Singapore standards). Cheaper rates are usually offered only by older hotels in varying states of decay.
- YMCA International House, 1 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65-63366000, . Forget your preconceived ideas of what a YMCA is - this is a hotel that also has dorm rooms. Air-con, TVs, fridge and attached bathrooms in all rooms, plus gym and rooftop pool. Rooms on the 2008-refurbished floor cost $5 extra, a worthwhile investment. History buffs should note that the previous YMCA building on this site was the headquarters of the notorious Japanese secret police Kempeitai during the Occupation, but the present structure dates from the 1980s. Dorm $30, single/twin $125/130.
- Private Guest Room, River Valley Road, . checkin: 3:00 pm; checkout: 11:00 am. This is an air conditioned private room on Orchard Road. It is centrally located, 5 minutes by taxi to the CBD/Financial district, Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay Financial centre, and 10mins away from Sentosa/Universal studios. The living area and kitchen can be shared with the host. Facilities: Unlimited wifi, cable TV. 89 USD.
- New Cape Inn, No. 3 Seng Poh Road, ☎ 65 6536 9939, . Air-conditioned guest accommodation , all equipped with Cable TV, Mini refrigerator and Coffee/ tea maker. Some of its facilities and services are CCTV camera, Restaurant and Currency exchange. From SGD 115.00.
- The Elizabeth, 24 Mount Elizabeth, ☎ +65-67381188, . This somewhat tired tourist hotel doesn't have much of the promised "Old World Grandeur", but the location a short stroll off Orchard is good for the price and there's a waterfall to watch as you munch on the insipid breakfast buffet. $115.
- Orchard Parade Hotel, 1 Tanglin Rd, ☎ +65-667371133, . This business hotel decorated in modern Mediterranean style is located at the starting end of Orchard Road, next to Forum Galleria. It is also within walking distance to the Botanic Garden and embassy district in Tanglin. $200.
- Rendezvous Hotel, 9 Bras Basah Rd, ☎ +65-63360220, . Colonial style on the outside, modern facilities including pool on the inside. Lee Kuan Yew has been known to pop into the Straits Cafe upstairs for their famous nasi padang (rice buffet). $200.
- YWCA Fort Canning Lodge, 6 Fort Canning Rd, ☎ +65-63384222, . Hotel-style accommodations at a mid-range price in a good location just off Orchard. Broadband Internet in all rooms, outdoor pool, tennis court. And no, you don't have to be young, female or Christian to stay here. Long-term stay rates also available if staying over a month. Single/twin $180/190.
- Hotel Bencoolen, 47 Bencoolen Street, singapore 189626, ☎ +65-63360822 (fax: +65-63362250), . Located on the fringe of the main Orchard Road stretch and minutes away from the Central Business District by car. Getting around is easy with access to a network of buses and the MRT train system within walking distance. Leisure travellers will enjoy the proximity to shopping clusters at City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut while culture bugs will enjoy the Singapore Art Museum and bustling Little India down just the street. Single/twin $150/170.
If you want to splurge, there are two major styles to choose from: colonial hotels, harking back to the turn of the century, and modern hotels, firmly in the present.
- Intercontinental, 80 Middle Road, ☎ Front Desk: +65-63387600 (fax: +65-63387366), . ' Very luxurious hotel, spacious rooms, good club lounge with breakfast, cocktail hour and dinner. Centrally located, maybe 8 minute walk from Raffles Hotel, quick 10 minute taxi ride to Little India or 18 minute walk. $183.
- Concorde, 100 Orchard Road, ☎ +65-67338855, . Formerly Le Meridien and long overdue for a renovation, the main selling points here are the central location and the reasonable prices. $250.
- Four Seasons, 190 Orchard Boulevard, ☎ +65-67341110, . Centrally located, but tucked away on a quiet side street. Famed for its level of personal service, and the modern facilities include the only air-conditioned tennis courts in the country. $400.
- Fullerton. The former Singapore Post Office, one of the most beautiful buildings in town, and one of the few true 5-star hotels.
- Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Rd, ☎ +65-67377411, . The place to stay if you want the Raffles experience without the crowds (and with a slightly less breathtaking price tag). Supremely lovely garden pool. Be sure to opt for the older main building, not the modern annex. $300.
- Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Rd, ☎ +65-67381234, . Hyatt's Singapore flagship is Orchard Road's standard-bearer for sleek modern swank. $300.
- Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, ☎ +65-67372233, . Your standard-issue Hilton with everything you'd expect but not much more. The steep price comes mostly from the excellent location a few minutes walk from Orchard MRT. $300.
- Marriott, 320 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65-67355800, . In the perfect location for shoppers, right at the center of Singapore at the intersection of Orchard and Scotts, and with Tang's department store in the basement and an underground walkway to Orchard MRT. A little older and mustier than the five-star options, but the yum cha (dim sum buffet) on Sundays is to die for. $300.
- Mandarin Orchard (Meritus Mandarin), 333 Orchard Road, ☎ +65-67374411, . Formerly known as Meritus Mandarin, it's a slightly older but very centrally located hotel popular among businessmen and sightseers alike. $250.
- Quincy, 22 Mount Elizabeth, ☎ +65-67385888, . Opened 2009, this supermodern boutique hotel is tucked away on a quiet hill 5 min from Orchard Road. Insane 12th floor pool half-suspended in the air. Gym, sauna, spa. Free minibar and all three meals included in most packages. $250.
- Raffles. Singapore's most famous hotel, home of the Long Bar and the Singapore Sling. A true luxury hotel in a must-see colonial structure.
- Shangri-La, 22 Orange Grove Road, ☎ +65-67373644, . One of the world's most luxurious resort hotels. Beautiful grounds and pools. 755 guest rooms and suites. The location is a bit of hike though. $400.
- St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road (off west end of Orchard Rd), ☎ +65-65066888, . Singapore's newest superluxury hotel is a rather uncomfortable fusion of replica 1910s style (crystal chandeliers and leather sofas) with plasma TVs and jet massage showers. Pool, spa, 24-hour butler service, private art collection including works by Botero and Miro. $600.
- Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Road, Singapore 228220, phone (65) 6737 7966 www.royalplaza.com.sg - about 200 feet from Orchard Road, surrounded by shopping and dining venues, and a short walk to the subway (MRT). A modern hotel catering somewhat to business travelers, offers free in-room wired/elsewhere wireless Internet, a pool and gym along with all services expected of a fine hotel. Even modest rooms are well-furnished with excellent toiletries. Buffet restaurant (Carousel) offers excellent if pricey, Asian and Mediterranean dishes prepared in a Halal-certified kitchen for four different meals.
There are internet cafes on almost every floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road that charge only S$2/hour.
Other locations include Capitol Building at the corner of North Bridge Rd and Stamford Rd.
- Singapore Visitors Centre, 160 Orchard Rd (junction of Cairnhill and Orchard Rds), ☎ 1-800-7362000 (tollfree, 24 hours). 8 AM-10:30 PM daily. Oodles of free information on Singapore. Tourism Court, at the other end of Orchard Rd, is a similar but smaller operation.
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