With the distinction of being the first Shangri-La Hotel in the world, the stakes were always going to be high when it came renovating the Shangri-La Singapore.
Originally built in 1971, the Tower Wing just reopened after an eight-month-long renovation under the hands of Japanese designer Ryoichi Niwata of Bond Design Studio. The oldest wing of the expansive hotel reveals a decidedly modern look, but it is rooted in the lush setting and rich history of the well-loved 46-year-old property.
Nature is a defining theme of the redesign, which alludes to the 15 acres of land that the hotel sits on as well as its location in the Garden City. There’s a notable investment in art, such as the intriguing sculpture Children Dabbling in the Water by artist Yi Hwan Kwon at the lobby (seen in the first picture), and a greater focus on offering distinctive dining experiences. Walk through the hotel's brand new look below:
A feeling of serenity enveloped me as I entered the bright, airy lobby, which looked and felt like an indoor garden. Filled with natural light and teeming with foliage, the commitment to nature is evident in the sustainable materials employed including parchment and shagreen from Thailand as well as rattan and wood from the Philippines.
The glistening tree canopy by Studio Sawada Design, an art installation made of thousands of metallic leaves hanging above the reception area, mesmerises upon entry. But it’s the vertical garden wall—tumbling with Rabbit’s Foot fern, Jungle and Staghorn ferns and purple Spanish sprawl mosses—by Australian landscape designer Charlie Albone that steals the show. Anchored on 350 kg of basalt stones and measuring 9x6 metres high, it’s the largest indoor natural wall in Southeast Asia.
Do Not Disturb
Each of the 503 guestrooms was completely refurbished echoing the natural direction perpetuated in the lobby. A calm colour palette of cream, grey, and olive, and touches of wood and brass results in a warm, stylish interior. I stayed in a Tower Wing Grand Premier Room—located on the corner of every floor—which features a generous living space (complete with an induction kitchen) and spacious bedroom that comes with hidden partition should you want to enclose the sleeping area. The sleek bathroom was as one would expect, but if you’re keen on indulging in a spa-like sanctuary, we suggest splurging on the 250 square metre Grand Suite.
Checking into the Shangri-La comes with access to the lush grounds, the wellness haven that is CHI, The Spa, and the dozens of dining options inside the hotel as well as on nearby Orchard Road. Though spoilt for choice, I spent most of my time on a plush sofa at the refurbished Horizon Club Lounge on level 24. The sumptuous interiors are akin to a large living room (instead of the formulaic corporate look), and the panoramic city view is hard to beat. Sunset is the best time to take it all in: enjoy sundowners before you venture out to experience Singapore's buzzing bar scene, which is the best in Asia.
F0od & Drink
You'll never go hungry at the Shangri-La, where anything and everything you crave for is indeed just a request away. What I appreciated the most is the hotel's commitment to offering authentic local food, something that both visitors and locals look forward to. The lobby lounge menu offers hawker favourites including bak chor mee with fish maw soup, hainanese chicken rice, fish bee hoon, prawn noodle soup, Katong laksa, and chilli crab and mantou.
On the other end of the spectrum is Nami, a new Japanese restaurant on the 24th floor. Helmed by Head Chef Shigeo Akiba, one can expect a dining experience spanning various regions of Japan while highlighting the country's seasonal produce. With 30 years of experience under his belt, including cooking at the royal wedding of Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko, chef Akiba is revered for his dashi-making skills, which he crafts using the best kombu and katsuobushi from Japan.
The second best thing to staying at the Shangri-La is enjoying downtime at the lobby. Soak in the refreshed interiors as you enjoy Singaporean favourites—from an array of hawker dishes (seen above), the trusty teh tarik or milo dinosaur to the quintessential desserts with a twist. Our pick? The black forest tart in collaboration with Tarte by Cheryl Koh, which is also available for purchase at The Shophouse, the hotel's in-house bakery and food boutique.
For more information and reservations visit Shangri-La Singapore or call +65 6235 1666.