Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in [[Singapore/Orchard|Orchard Road]]'s shopping malls, the riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.
Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in [[Singapore/Orchard|Orchard Road]]'s shopping malls, the riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.
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Revision as of 09:38, 24 January 2013
The Merlion and the Central Business District skyline
The Singapore River forms a central artery in Singapore's densely packed Central Business District. The north bank of the river is where Raffles originally landed and founded his colony, and to this day many central government buildings can be found in the area. The newer south bank, laden with skyscrapers, is where Singapore's bankers make (or break) their fortunes. Between the two are the bulk of Singapore's nightspots, found along the riverside streets of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
The riverside is best accessed by MRT Raffles Place (North-South/East-West Lines) and Clarke Quay (North-East Line) stations. There is no convenient MRT station for the western end of the river though: you'll have to hike on foot for 15 minutes, try to work out the buses, or hop on a bumboat.
Map of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and City Hall
A popular way to see the heart of the city is with Singapore River Cruises . Stations are scattered along both banks of the river and reservations are not necessary. Prices start at $3 for a simple ride from point A to point B.
The Esplanade/Merlion/Boat Quay area has some great views of Singapore and makes for a fine walk (or jogging trail if staying nearby). It can get quite hot during the day though; evenings are cooler and breezier, and the night time skyline is equally attractive.
The bulk of Singapore's historical attractions are packed by the river, and the best place to start your tour is at the mouth of the Singapore River. While this area has formed the downtown core of Singapore since the early 19th century, sadly, most of the once-iconic shophouses and street markets have given way to modern skyscrapers and shopping centres in the 1980's, and those who wish to experience a more authentic slice of colonial Singapore life would do well to head up north to the Malaysian island of Penang instead. Not all is lost though, and several important government buildings and places of worship dating back to the 19th century still survive, and provide a rare glimpse into the city's colonial past.
Sir Stamford Raffles strikes a pose
- Merlion, Merlion Park (Raffles Place MRT exit H, off Fullerton Rd). Singapore's official symbol, 8.6 meters tall and weighing 70 tons, spouts water daily on the south bank of the mouth of the Singapore river. (The statue previously resided further down the river, but was moved in 2002 after the opening of the Esplanade Bridge.) Designed by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964, many a commentator has pondered on the inherent contradictions of a creature that is half-cat, half-fish. Any time of night or day, a steady stream of tourists troops up to see the mythical beast, and a purpose-built pier lets you take pictures with the Merlion and the CBD in the background. When paying your respects, don't miss the bite-sized Mini-Merlion (officially the "Merlion cub"), a mere two meters tall, just 28m away towards the bridge. Free.
- Cavenagh Bridge, next to Fullerton Hotel. Singapore's oldest bridge and its only suspension bridge, constructed in 1869, now a pedestrian walkway across the mouth of the Singapore River. Note the original sign forbidding cattle to cross.
- Raffles Statue, 1 Empress Place (next to Asian Civilisations Museum). This statue of Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is built on the (supposed) exact spot where he first landed. Second only to the Merlion as most popular place in Singapore to take a picture of yourself, and having the skyscrapers and the shophouses of Boat Quay in the background helps to explain why! The statue here is actually a replica; the original can be found in front of the Victoria Theatre.
The Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place.
- Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, ☎ +65-63327798, . Mon 1-7 PM, Tue-Sun 9:30 AM-7 PM. One of Singapore's newest, largest and best-presented museums. As the name hints, all of Asia is covered in the scope, although naturally there is an emphasis on the cultures near and in Singapore. Also hosts visiting exhibitions. $5, or $10 for Peranakan Museum joint ticket.
- Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah St (behind Raffles Hotel), ☎ +65-63390660, . 9:30AM-6:30PM daily. Built to house the 50,000-piece toy collection of local enthusiast Chang Yang Fa, the contents of this five-story building covers come from 25 countries and span over a century of "Moments of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys" (hence MINT), with everything from wind-up toys to Darth Vader masks. Guided tours (45 min) available and recommended. S$15/7.50 adult/child (under 12).
- Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian St, ☎ +65-63327591, . Mon 1-7 PM, Tue-Sun 9:30 AM-7 PM. Formerly a branch of the ACM, now reborn as a standalone museum dedicated to the exuberantly colourful culture of the Peranakans, the Malay-Chinese and Malay-Indian traders who had a major impact on the Straits Settlements. The three story museum covers Peranakan weddings, religion and food with the latest in audiovisual gear. The building itself, a 1912 pastel blue wedding cake originally built as a school, is also impressive. $8, or $10 for ACM joint ticket.
A spectacular view of the Civic District from 1-Altitude Viewing Gallery
- 1-Altitude Viewing Gallery, 1 Raffles Place (next to Raffles Place MRT station), ☎ +65-65325003, . Mon-Sun 8AM-10PM. Viewing gallery opened in 2010 at the rooftop of OUB Centre offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of Singapore from the highest point in the city-state at 282 metres. Visitors receive hi-tech interactive gadgets which allow them to see information about the places they are looking at. Each visit ends with a photo taken by specially mounted camera with a spectacular view of the Marina Bay as a background. $25 (8-5.30PM), $40 (5.30-10PM).
The entire Singapore river area is a lovely place for a walk, with small green gardens, old-style bridges and historical buildings, and the nightlife-rich expanse of Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.
- Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place (Raffles Place MRT), ☎ +65-63384401, . Originally built by the British in the 19th century, this was Singapore's premier arts centre until the Esplanade came and stole the limelight. Still hosts various smaller events that can't fit in (or afford) the Esplanade. History buffs may also want to do a detour: the Raffles statue in front dates to 1887, and the People's Action Party was founded here in 1954, as commemorated with a plaque showing a very young-looking Lee Kuan Yew.
If you'd like something a little more adrenaline-laden, head to Clarke Quay:
- G-Max Reverse Bungy, 3E River Valley Road (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63381146, . 3 PM-midnight Mon-Fri, noon-1 AM Sat-Sun. Get strapped in and flung upwards with a giant rubber band at 200 km/h. $45.
Jogging along the Singapore River is the best way to combine sightseeing and a workout, but there are two other options right next to Raffles Place MRT if you're willing pay for the air-con.
- Fitness First, 1 Raffles Place #06-00 (OUB Centre), ☎ +65-65344333, . 6 AM-10 PM Mon-Fri, 7 AM-7 PM Sat, closed Sun/PH. Compact little gym, but there's a rooftop swimming pool, two jacuzzis and a tennis court. Day pass $40.
- True Fitness, 30 Raffles Place #07-00 (Caltex House), ☎ +65-64383000, . 6 AM-11 PM Mon-Fri, 8 AM-6 PM Sat-Sun. Cavernous two-floor gym packed with equipment. Busy in the evenings, but come here in the afternoon or weekend and you'll have the place to yourself.
There are some shopping malls of interest around the City Hall MRT station, but serious shoppers will wish to head to Orchard Road for their shopping instead.
- The Arcade, 11 Collyer Quay (next to Raffles Place MRT). A small shopping mall in the heart of the financial center. Consists mainly of small shops operated by individual owners, which are unique to the mall.
- Funan DigitaLife Mall, 109 North Bridge Road (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65-63368327, . One of the best places to buy electronics in Singapore, stores here are strictly vetted and the risk of getting ripped off is low. To test new purchases, you can even make use of the WiFi facility in the mall to get online and do the necessary checks. Tax Free Shopping for Tourists For tourists visiting Singapore, a Premier Tax Free Refund Voucher is issued with a minimum spend of $100 at any Premier Tax-Free affiliated store. GST refunds will be issued upon departure from Singapore Changi Airport.
- Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Road (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65-63320329. A place where Myanmese like to gather for a good meal of authentic home cuisine. Also notable for its concentration of specialist camera stores.
- Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Road (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65-63387766, . Large shopping mall located directly above the City Hall MRT station. Notable for Jason's Supermarket in the basement, which has probably Singapore's largest selection of gourmet food items. Raffles City Shopping Centre covers most shopping bases, including fashion, books, music, sports, toys, eyewear and beauty stores. A haven for consumers looking for luxury items, it offers downtown shopping at its finest with a number of luxury and designer stores such as Omega, Thomas Sabo, Cortefiel and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Raffles City is also home to big department stores like Marks & Spencer and Robinsons, and fashion chains like Topshop, River Island and Skyla. The mall also has a number of restaurants including modern Australian Double Bay and Brotzeit, and is connected to the Swissotel, home to the Equinox Restaurant and New Asia bar.
You're spoiled for choice when eating at the riverside. Prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, so avoid any place that needs to use touts to get customers.
The western end of the river (around Robertson Quay) houses a significant Japanese expat community, and consequently the Japanese restaurants nearby serve up some of the best fare this side of Tokyo.
- Komalas, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☎ +65-63335644, . Daily 8 AM-10 PM. McDonalds-style fast food, only they serve vegetarian Indian food on a banana leaf instead of burgers and fries. Worth a visit for the cognitive dissonance and good food, with massive meal sets under $5.
- Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay (near Raffles Place MRT). Open 24 hours. A nicely done up Victorian-style hawker centre, but a little pricier and hence quieter than most. The satay here is famous though, and there's a long row of outdoor stalls on the south side (open only in the evening), with Fatman Satay (Stall #1) generally getting the best reviews.
- Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, 11 Bridge Rd (Clarke Quay MRT, opp Central), ☎ +65-65336128, . Tu-Su 11 AM-9 PM. Popular bak kut teh specialist serving light, peppery Teochew-style pork rib soup, best eaten with salted vegetables (mui choy), dough fritters (you tiao) and rice. Usually packed, but service is fast. $5.50/bowl.
- Yong Bak Kut Teh, 233 River Valley Rd (corner of Mohamed Sultan). Well located for late-night snacks, this coffeeshop serves up tasty KL-style dark, herbal pork rib soup. $5.30 for a bowl with rice and dough fritters.
- Epicurious, 60 Robertson Quay #01-02, ☎ +65-67347720. Tue-Fri lunch/dinner, Sat-Sun all day (breakfast until 1 PM). This lovably quirky cafe-delicatessen is justly renowned for its gourmet breakfasts, featuring not only the usual pancakes and toasts but more offbeat options too. Try the Green Eggs and Ham, with pesto scrambled eggs and prosciutto ($12), and wash it down with freshly squeezed juice ($5).
- Ichibantei, 60 Robertson Quay #01-13, ☎ +65-67333923, . 11:30 AM-11 PM daily. Possibly the best of Singapore's many ramen restaurants, this branch of an Osakan restaurant serves up generous portions of authentic Japanese noodles. $10.
- Inle Myanmar Restaurant, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☎ +65-63335438. 11 AM-10 PM. This very authentic little eatery is run by and for Singapore's tiny Burmese community, many of whom are gem traders in the office block above. The food is an intriguing mix of Thai and Indian influences. Try the chicken curry weekday lunch set. $5-10.
Shophouse restaurants and bars on Boat Quay
The best places for a splurge with a view in the evening are Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, which have many riverside restaurants offering al fresco dining. However, especially on Boat Quay, avoid any restaurant that has to resort to touts to find customers.
- Gyu-Kaku, 81A Clemenceau Ave #01-18/19 (UE Square), ☎ +65-67334001, . Stylish Japanese-style charcoal barbeque joint, with a vast selection of wagyu (Japanese beef) and side dishes. Vegetarians need not apply. $35.
- IndoChine Waterfront, 1 Empress Place, ☎ +65-63391720, . Directly opposite Boat Quay on a terrace outside the Asian Civilisations Museum, the restaurant offers reasonable modern Vietnamese/Lao/Khmer food and gorgeous views of the river at only moderately high prices. Great place for a romantic date, reservations highly advisable. $80.
- Jade, 1 Fullerton Square (Fullerton Hotel), ☎ +65-68778188. Lunch 11:30 AM-3 PM, dinner 6-11 PM. One of Singapore's best-regarded Chinese restaurants, dinner here can get very expensive indeed, but they're packed on Saturday and Sunday for one of the best deals in town: all you can eat gourmet dim sum made to order for $28, including soup, tea, and signature dishes like black ink squid dumplings and wasabi prawns. Reserve early.
- Jumbo Seafood, 20 Upper Circular Road #B1-48 (The Riverwalk), ☎ +65-65343435, . Well-located outlet of the popular seafood chain famed for their chilli crabs, a Singapore specialty. Jumbo has another central outlet at Riverside Point, just across the river from Clarke Quay. $50.
- Mimigar, 1 Nanson Road #01-08 (Gallery Hotel), ☎ +65-62351511, . Daily 6-11 PM. Excellent Okinawan eatery offering the full range of bitter gourd stir-fries and strange pork parts; the name is Okinawan for "pig ear"! Try the signature soki soba noodles ($9) and wash them down with some awamori rice liquor with a shikwasa lime mixer. Limited seating and popular on weekends, so show up early or make reservations. $50.
- Quayside Seafood Grill, Clarke Quay Block A (near Hooters), ☎ +65-63380138. One of the better places for Singaporean food on the Quays, open for dinner only. The pepper crab here is good but a little pricy at $4/100g, which translates to $60-80 per critter. $50.
- Viet Lang, 1 Old Parliament Lane, #01-03 Annex Building, Old Parliament House (just behind Victoria Theatre/Concert Hall), ☎ +65-63373379. Among the best Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore, and you can even wash down your pho and cha gio with some imported 333 beer. $40.
Another good choice popular with the expat crowd is CHIJMES (30 Victoria St) , the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, now an atmospheric assemblage of high-end food & beverage outlets near the Raffles Hotel.
- Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria, 30 Victoria St #01-29A (CHIJMES), ☎ +65-63349332, . A real Brazilian churrascaria (barbecue), where waiters walk around with skewers of South American beef and you can eat all the meat you want. 11 churrascos at lunch, 15 at dinner, extensive salad bar, and there's a good selection of wines, cold beer and caipirinha, the Brazilian national drink made with sugar cane. $33/48 lunch/dinner.
- Lei Garden, 30 Victoria Street #01-24 (CHIJMES), ☎ +65 6339 3822, . One of the most expensive Cantonese restaurants in town, this Hong Kong-based restaurant group serves high end cuisine with an emphasis on garoupa, shark's fin soup, lobsters, prawns and other seafood. Popular when entertaining business guests, just hope you're not the one who gets stuck with the bill. $50.
- Prego, 80 Bras Basah Road (Fairmont Singapore 1F), ☎ +65 64316156, . Singapore's largest Italian restaurant seating 320, it has a pizzeria, a deli, a wine bar and the main restaurant. Good for their pastas and pizzas, the calamari rings and mushroom soup is also good for a start. The tiramisu is another highlight. $40.
Map of Mohamed Sultan and Clarke Quay
Singapore's nightlife is almost entirely concentrated near the river. The main party zones are Boat Quay, on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G) and Clarke Quay  on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay). Less well known but also worth a look are Circular Road, parallel to Boat Quay just behind it, and Robertson Quay, an up-and-coming nightlife/restaurant zone at the western end of the river. Bars and pubs come and go with dizzying speed, so just head out and find today's hip spot. (In particular, superclub Ministry of Sound and topless revue Crazy Horse have both folded.) All four are within crawling distance of each other. Mohamed Sultan Rd, inland from Robertson Quay and until recently the place to be, has been severely eclipsed by newer upstarts and most bars have been replaced by restaurants and furniture stores.
Bars and pubs
- Bar 84, 76 Robertson Quay, ☎ +65-62350002, . Better known by locals as the Magic Bar, you can watch Ginza-trained manager-bartender-magician Hashi-san dazzle and astonish his guests nightly except Sunday. Dim lighting, smooth jazz, and stylish decoration makes this the perfect place of a quiet drink — although beware that, in addition to the $10 cover and $15 drinks, any props used for your amusement will also magically find their way onto your bill.
- Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Rd #01-05/06 (Riverside Point, opp Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-64387438, . Noon-midnight daily. Singapore's first microbrewery, still going strong after ten years and now brewing up no less than 12 types, available in handy 6-glass sampler sets ($10.49). Indoor and outdoor seating, with a wide range of pub grub in huge portions. Lunchtime prices can go as low as $3.50 for a pint. $10.
- Hideout, 31B Circular Rd (top floor) (behind Boat Quay), ☎ +65-65369445, . 7 PM-midnight Wed/Thu, 7 PM-3 AM Fri/Sat. Hideout is tucked away on the third storey of an old Chinese shop house. The central theme of the bar is a warm pink and burgundy hue, with distinct mismatched second-hand furniture, along with walls hung with paintings from local artists. The key to Hideout's popularity is its music. With local indie bands regularly playing on Wednesday nights and DJs playing funk, rare hip hop, soul, jazz, house, breaks, and techno on other nights, what is always evident is that the crowd loves music and is willing to experiment with new genres.
- Em by the River, 1 Nanson Road #01-05 (Gallery Hotel), ☎ +65-683 9691, . 11 AM-3 AM Mon-Fri, 9 AM-4 AM Sat/Sun. Formerly Soundbar, this supremely chilled out place by the river is a cafe by day and a happening bar at night. $10.
- Eski Bar, 46 Circular Rd (behind Boat Quay), ☎ +65-65363757, . If the tropical heat starts to get to you, pop into the coolest place in town — a steady -6°C, to be precise, although the chill-out area is a comparatively toasty 18°C. Try the grapefruity Eski Blue or coconut sweet Sleeping Polar Bear ($15 each). Open 5 PM to 1 AM (or later) daily.
- Equinox, 2 Stamford Rd, ☎ +65-68373322, . The five bars and restaurants here offer the best nighttime views of the city, but prices are correspondingly expensive ($15 and up for a drink). For a cigar and live jazz, head to CitySpace (floor 70), while New Asia is a more casual place for a drink. Entry is through the Swissotel entrance on Stamford Rd.
- Harry's Bar, 28 Boat Quay, ☎ +65-5383029, . The favorite watering hole of Nick Leeson, the "Rogue Trader" who brought down the 233-year-old Barings Bank and was once arrested here for indecent exposure. There are now franchises all over town, but this is the original. Try the Bank Breaker, an unlikely shot of whisky and Midori, which like Leeson's escapades goes down smooth but leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Live music most nights.
- Long Bar, 1 Beach Rd (Raffles Hotel, 2nd floor), ☎ +65-64121816, . 11:30 AM-1:30 AM. The birthplace of the Singapore Sling, a syrupy sweet pink concoction of pineapple juice, gin, cherry liquor and many mysterious ingredients. The two-floor bar is large and a bit of a tourist trap, but drinking a Sling at the beautifully decorated wood-paneled bar and throwing the accompanying peanut shells on the floor should be on every visitor's agenda — if you can stomach paying $30 for a premixed drink poured out of a pitcher.
- Marrakesh, 3D River Valley Road #01-01 (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63387331, . 1 PM to 1 AM. The slick faux-Moorish decor inside is pleasant enough, but the thing to do here is to grab one of the hotly contested outdoor tables, fire up an expertly prepared shisha water pipe and watch the endless parade of Singapore's nightlife unroll before you. $12-15 for drinks.
- Pump Room, 3B River Valley Road, The Foundry (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63342628, . Daily noon-3 AM. Very popular microbrewery/bistro at the heart of Clarke Quay. Full menu. Indoor and outdoor seating. Live music nightly (except Mon).
- Timbre, 1 Old Parliament Lane #01-04 (The Annex at The Old Parliament House), ☎ +65-63363386, . Daily 6 PM-1 AM. In a beautifully renovated colonial house opposite Boat Quay (formerly occupied by Q Bar), this has some of the best views in town and is one of only a few places in Singapore specializing in local live music. Indoor and outdoor seating.
- Cosafe Maid Café, 30 Victoria Street #01-11 (CHIJMES), ☎ +65-63392276. Tu-Su noon-2AM. Singapore's first maid café (another is in Funan Centre), modeled on the ones in Tokyo's Akihabara: waitresses dolled up in short-skirted French maid outfits greet you with Okaerinasai (Welcome home) in Japanese and pose obligingly for pictures. No hanky-panky, and the food and drinks are nothing special, but it doesn't cost any more than Starbucks and alcohol is served too. Coffee $5, beer and wine $10 up.
At all clubs listed below, arrive early (or very late) because otherwise you may be stuck in line for a while. ID is theoretically required but rarely checked.
- Attica, 3A River Valley Rd #01-03 (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63339973, . Daily 5 PM-late. Popular "New York style" club complex split into four zones: the outdoor 'lilypad' bar by the river, the main dancefloor (R&B, funk), the inner chill-out courtyard and Attica Too, the members-only club upstairs (house/trance). Picky bouncers, so dress sharp.
- Home, 20 Upper Circular Rd, ☎ +65-65382928, . Opened in June 2005, this nightclub (decorated in a strange mix of modern and retro) attempts to plug the gap between Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. Drinks $12, 1-for-1 happy hour between 6 and 9 PM.
- Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim St, ☎ +65-67382988, . Singapore's best-known nightclub and in fact a complex of 4 spaces: Zouk itself for harder dance music, Velvet Underground for loungier stuff, Phuture for experimental edge and the outside Wine Bar for chilling out. A full-entry ticket will set you back a rather pricey $35, but two drinks are included and the place is happening especially when foreign DJs are in town — which is more often than not!
Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in Orchard Road's shopping malls, the riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.
There are a number of hostels offering a stay to those on a modest budget along South Bridge Road, the intersecting streets and on into China Town. Typically hostels offer a single bed in a dometary, with the higher priced ones offering air con, wifi and breakfast. Prices and value vary so do your research.
- Five Stones Hostel, 61 South Bridge Road, ☎ +65-6535 5607, . A safe bright and friendly hostel offering wifi, breakfast and 24 hour aircon. Very popular so book early. $30-100.
There is a large cluster of older mid-range hotels on and near Havelock Rd at the western end of river, not the best location for sightseeing or shopping. SBS bus 51 from Havelock Rd offers a good escape route to Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard. Note that in the center, the bus goes north up Eu Tong Sen Rd/Hill St, but returns south via North/South Bridge Rd.
- Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, ☎ +65-63388333, . Very much a standard-issue, slightly older business hotel, but it's clean, comfortable and very well located. $200-.
- Copthorne King's, 403 Havelock Road, ☎ +65-67330011, . . The former King's Hotel, given a thorough renovation when taken over by the Copthorne group and now looks (almost) brand new. Tower wing rooms are good, main wing less so. The primary downside is the somewhat inconvenient location near the west end of the river, although Mohammed Sultan is within striking distance. $150-.
- Holiday Inn Atrium, 317 Outram Road, ☎ +65-67330188, . Formerly the Concorde Hotel, the 30-floor inner atrium is indeed impressive, but little else about this hotel is
In addition to the hotels below, check out adjacent Marina Bay, which has a major cluster of high-end hotels.
- Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road (directly above Raffles Place MRT), ☎ +65-63397777, . Formerly Raffles the Plaza and the world's tallest hotel, now neither but still one of Singapore's best hotels: recently refurbished, unbeatable location, good service. The South Tower rooms are newer than the North Tower. Pool shared with the adjacent Swissotel The Stamford and thus crowded at peak times. $300.
- Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard (Marina Square), ☎ +65-63368111, . A somewhat older hotel renovated in 2005, the most notable features are the 35-story atrium and the great skyline views from the aptly named Panoramic Balcony rooms. The pool and gym were renovated in 2006 and look sharp, but the rooms themselves, however, are nothing out of the ordinary. $220.
- Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, ☎ +65-63371886, . A Singaporean icon offering 5-star luxury in an colonial style, known as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling and the final stand of Singapore's last tiger, shot in the Billiards Room. Famed for super-attentive service, with more staff than guests, but needless to say, it's also by far the most expensive hotel in Singapore! $600.
There are some luxury hotels of note scattered elsewhere on the river.
- Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square, ☎ +65-67338388, . In the magnificently refurbished former Central Post Office, this is Raffles' closest competitor (in price as well) with an excellent location facing the Merlion on the south side of the river; the third-floor pool almost certainly has the best views in town. Rooms are modern in style and luxuriously furnished, but for the best views it's worth paying a little extra to avoid the Courtyard rooms and get a Quay or better. $500.
- Gallery Hotel, 76 Robertson Quay, ☎ +65-68498686, . If you've ever wanted to spend the night in an IKEA showroom, this self-proclaimed Highly Individual Property is the place for you. No paintings hanging on the wall here, the name refers to the hotel's own style, all steel, glass, austere modern furniture and breakage-prone fancy electronics. Well located for visits to the 4 bars/clubs on premises and nightspots on Mohammed Sultan, but you'll be taking a taxi anywhere else. Bonus points for free Internet and Singapore's funkiest pool/human aquarium. $238.
- Grand Copthorne, 392 Havelock Road, ☎ +65-67330880, . The flagship of the Millennium & Copthorne chain and the only luxury hotel at the west end, but unfortunately the pomp of the lobby and exterior are not matched by the spacious but otherwise somewhat dumpy rooms. $230.
- Novotel Clarke Quay, 177A River Valley Road (MRT Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63383333, . Formerly the New Otani, the hotel reopened in late 2005 after a major refurbishment. The hotel now boast of 401 newly renovated rooms each with magnificent and un-obstructed views, and state-of-the-art facilities. $120.
- Swissotel Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Road, ☎ +65-63372288, . This large 476-room hotel has an excellent location on Clarke Quay right next to the MRT station, but the rooms are musty and those facing the river suffer from noise from partygoers whooping it up. $200.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue, ☎ 6337 8888 ([email protected]), . A luxury accomodation place from which to marvel at the Singapore skyline or explore the wonders of Marina Centre.
- Systematic Laundromat, 11 Unity Street #01-22, ☎ +65-67321438. One-day laundry service (no self-service available). $6 for 4 kg. Call ahead for pricing or they may charge you a hefty "tourist tax" of up to 200%.
- Wonder Wash Coin laundry, No. 1 Lorong 23 Geylang, ☎ +65-97862038, . Self-service laundry.
- LaundryMart Express, 22 Boon Keng Road, #01-37, Boon Keng MRT Exit B, ☎ +65-62942256 ([email protected]), . 24 hour Self-service coin laundry (laundromat) available. Load+Wash+Fold:$10,10kg,2hour ready; 10am to 7pm.
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