The hip side of Singapore

Best hotels in Singapore

In an island full of so much cool and stylish, is there actually a side of Singapore that is more hip than the rest? Apparently there is. And these days, it’s in the neighborhoods around Robertson Quay, with its great restaurants and outdoor cafes along the river, just a hop and a skip from the financial district and from the Orchard Road area.

This area is lovely to walk in, and on weekends it’s practically Style Central;. Most of the dining establishments around here are booked, and it’s a nice variety of upscale places, private clubs and also the kind of digs where you can pop up in torn jeans, a white t-shirt and a dog. Or a bike.


So I checked into the Intercontinental Hotel Robertson Quay, which is one of the best regarded business hotels in Singapore. Somewhere between exclusive boutique property and efficient establishment with everything a guest might need for a temporary workplace, it’s intimate and exclusive — just the right size for travelers wanting easy access and yet at the same time privacy. You get out of your taxi and it’s straight up the elevator to a beautiful lobby that’s multi-purpose and yet it’s just a little bigger than a shopping mall corridor.

In fact, from the corner of my eye, I spied someone in a bathing suit about to jump into a pool behind a glass window just several feet away from me, as I was handing my passport at the check-in counter. I couldn’t believe it. So I had to ask: “Is that a swimming pool over there?”

I guess the hotel team gets asked this a lot, because the lady at the counter replied with a smile and without skipping a beat: “Yes, ma’am. That’s our swimming pool.” Don’t start getting ideas of a fancy resort pool in your head, though. This is the kind of perfectly decent lap pool that does the job perfectly for busy people who need to do their daily laps or to sit out in the sun between meetings.

In other words, how fun. The check-in counter, the pool, the lobby where coffee and tea is also served, and the hotel’s fabulously crafted business lounge are all within walking distance of each other. So technically you can get get a meeting, a cocktail and your exercise laps all done within half an hour. if you’re one of these travelers who like to power through their days.


I’ve already mentioned how fabulous the Club Intercontinental business lounge is, if you are a traveler with work to do in Singapore. But let me do so again. I held so many meetings here over breakfast, snacks and cocktails — and the atmosphere must’ve been appropriately conducive because I certainly got a lot done and with fantastic results.

They serve guests with access to this lounge a mean complimentary breakfast. Meanwhile, in the evenings, it’s a bevy of original cocktails and bite-size appetizers so attractively laid out that you’ll find yourself practically eating dinner.

At the same time, the Intercontinental Hotel Robertson Quay’s corner king studio room is the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of one of Asia’s most exciting cities. It’s as sleek and business stylish as its lobby. But I’ll save that for another story.


  • Easy access to Orchard Road and the Financial District.
  • Riverfront location with cool shops, boutiques and restaurants. And a great jogging track.
  • One street away and it’s all residential so it’s not some commercial cocoon. Real people live here. Albeit well-paid ones.
  • If you’re tired of wasting time walking through large and crowded hotels, this one’s for you. Everything is only a few steps away. In fact the pool, the lobby and the business lounge are all in one floor.
  • Spacious rooms with river views or residential views. The bathrooms are palatial by Singapore hotel standards.
  • The hotel hosts the hip and happening Publico Ristorante. This place is packed on weekends as everyone’s lining up for pizza, so best to book in advance.
  • The hotel rents bicycles and organizes walking tours too so business travelers with a spare hour have their plate full with interesting things to do.
  • No major shopping center in sight. For us this is great because the vibe changes completely when you take a hotel out of visual sight of a commercial mall.


Some photos courtesy of the Intercontinental Hotel Roberston Quay