One thing we appreciate most about our favorite hotels is their ability to distill the best of their destination within their luxury walls, while also keeping boundaries fluid and helping us deep-dive into the city. Checking into JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, it was clear we were in just such an evolved urban hotel, a place that could open our eyes in many directions at once. In fact, you might say that this brilliantly fused complex of heritage buildings and hotel towers is Singapore incarnate.
We love the senses of peace and of place you get from a good walk. And one reason we booked here was that it’s only a few blocks to so many wonderful cultural attractions, from the National Gallery to St. Andrew’s Cathedral to the Singapore Art and the Asian Civilisations Museums. One day we challenged our fear of heights on the Singapore Flyer, and descended for a constitutional in lush, historic Fort Canning Park—a bit beyond which are the adorable, winding, shophouse-lined roads of Chinatown.
Exploratory cravings sated, we were delighted to divine that we could meet all our drinking and dining desires under our own rooftop. Michelin-starred celebrity chef Akira Back has an eponymous restaurant at JW Marriott Singapore—it’s all fun Japanese fusion, and it took all our strength not to order five of his famous tuna pizzas, which come, incidentally, on plates painted by his own mom. The next night we hit up The NCO Club, a lovingly restored heritage building on the hotel grounds that’s home to sultry Madame Fan. Here, beautiful Cantonese fare is deeply rooted in tradition yet just enough evolved to keep things exciting. The black pepper Wagyu with foie gras had us swooning, and, come dessert, we turned to the innovative bar for a (Not) Classic PBJ—when the base of your drink is a peanut butter fat-washed Scotch and it’s accompanied by a box of smoked chocolates, you know you’ve ordered well. That had us prepped to pop down to Cool Cats, for live music in a nouveau-throwback jazz den.
Spa by JW
Little tip: the best time to schedule your spa treatments is the day after a big night like that one! Spa by JW is a super-Zen labyrinth of wellness, adorned with art from the owner’s personal collection and soothing with Aromatherapy Associates. We were interested to learn that there are express spa suites for business travelers on the go, but luckily we had enough time to indulge in the steam, sauna and Jacuzzi as well as restorative massages and facials.
No surprise that we proceeded to spend the rest of the day sprawled out in the partially submerged daybeds in the pool of Flow18, surveying the Lion City skyline and feeling pretty smug about our holiday planning skills. Great hotels make us better travelers, teach us about ourselves and the world around us. With the festive season coming up, we’re thinking a return visit to JW Marriott Singapore South Beach is in order, to renew that sense of wonder, appreciation and, of course, premium pampering.