Exploring the world one bite at a time

Category: Central Singapore (Page 2 of 2)

Fort Canning Park: “Amazing green and historic place in the heart of the city center”

A beautiful spot right in the middle of the busy city center. Fort Canning Park is an ideal place for walking, enjoying nature and to catch a breath from the busy city life. This place has quite some historic value. First accounts of habitation date back to the 14th century. Lots of important people lived here (for example Raffles himself). There are remnants of fortifications and there even is a bunker dug out in the hill. You can also admire the old lighthouse that once guided ships into the harbor of Singapore or go on two different walks which offer some interesting background information about the history of this hill. Nature lovers will be pleased too, lots of gorgeous, beautiful trees and flowers. There is even a spice garden for those who love to cook.

When I visited Fort Canning Park, the Fort Canning Center was being renovated, but I’ll expect the renovation will be finished by summer for the celebrations of 50 years Singapore. Sadly I wasn’t possible to enter the bunker and corridors dug out in the hill at this time.

Fort Canning Park, Cox Terrace Fort Canning Cultural Centre, Singapore 179618, Singapore
https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/fort-canning-park
+65 1800 471 7300

Visited March 2015. You can find my review about Fort Canning Park also on TripAdvisor.

Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: “Top location! But renovation needed”

Nice hotel with very friendly and helpful staff. We booked the club formula and were happy with that. We enjoyed the happy hour at the club, although sometimes there wasn’t enough room for everyone and it could get rather crowded. The club had a nice selection of wine, spirits, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. The canapés weren’t that great and the food selection was limited (although I really enjoyed their cheese). No problem for me though, a great way to start off the evening with some nibbles and go out for dinner afterwards.

Breakfast at the club was great: a nice selection of food with all the classics combined: English breakfast, dim sum, bread and cheese, vegetables, yoghurt and fruit. A few times we were lucky to see the sunrise from our table by the window. Breakfast in the cub was never too crowded, so we could enjoy the start of the day in a relaxed manner.

We also tried the breakfast at the Ellenborough Market Café on the ground level: the breakfast buffet was abundant and very good: almost every Asian cuisine was represented. I loved trying all the different dishes and was very fond of the noodle soup which changed every day. Dim sum selection was also excellent. At the egg station the chef prepared your eggs any way you wanted. The Market Café is rather busy in the morning, but staff is efficient and we almost never had to queue for dishes.

I also had lunch at the Ellenborough Market Café and was really impressed by the excellent buffet: a nice selection of all the different flavors of Singapore. Really good and a great option if you (like me) like to try out new foods.

The room in Swissotel was comfortable, although the view wasn’t anything special (our window looked directly at another building). Staff went to great deals to assure we were satisfied and came by at least twice a day to make sure we had everything we wanted. Everyday we got new water bottles and chocolates and fresh fruit was waiting for us on arrival. In the hallway were always green apples available to have a healthy snack. The bathroom could use a make-over though. Although it was clean, it was clearly worn out and I even spotted some mold in the corners of de bathroom sink. I’m also not a big fan of taking a shower in the bathtub.

I also used the spa facilities for an express pedicure, but I have to say, I have had better pedicures at home. The girl messed up the nail polish a little bit, but she was very nice overall. Very useful: laundry machines are available for washing and drying your sweaty clothes (not a luxury in the Singapore heat).

The location of the hotel is great, right next to Clarke Quay, every evening bustling with life. The hotel is located right next to an MRT station, really useful if you like to explore the city. I also really enjoyed the pool. Never to crowded, very well taken care of and with a beautiful garden. If you like, you can have a cocktail in the Blue Potato, situated right next to the pool. I found the staff at the Blue Potato not very helpful (didn’t dry the seats after a heavy rain shower).

My boyfriend and I really had a lovely stay in this hotel and felt very welcome. Only complaint is the bathroom, which really needed a make-over.

Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore, 20 Merchant Road, Singapore 058281, Singapore

Stayed March 2015. You can find my review about Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, cleanliness 3/5, service 4/5.

Singapore Botanic Gardens: “Gorgeous green park”

This place is a must see when you visit Singapore. Such beautiful gardens. The park is very well kept and breathtakingly beautiful. The impressive orchid garden with all its different colors and shapes of orchid was my absolute favorite.

Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569, Singapore
https://www.sbg.org.sg/
+65 6471 7361

Visited October 2014. You can find my review about Singapore Botanic Gardens also on TripAdvisor.

Restaurant Andre: “Outstanding lunch”

Restaurant André really is a little gem. And in Singapore, which has so many excellent restaurants, that means a lot. The kitchen is mostly French, with a touch of Asian cuisine. Each course is carefully constructed and very well balanced. The food is great, no doubt about that, but what makes this restaurant really stand out is the wine selection: Restaurant André imports its own wine. The wine journal is a real book with some extra pages added. Those pages contain a lot (too much to read it all) of information for wine lovers and enthusiasts.

Since I’m from Belgium, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the sommelier of Restaurant André, Vanessa Masse, worked for years in restaurant ‘In de Wulf’, one of the best restaurants in Belgium, in my opinion. Needless to say, my expectations were very high. I was not disappointed at all. We started our meal with a lovely spumante. We were presented with a lovely appetizer to cleanse our palate. I was really impressed by this variation on a mojito, served as a little bite.

Each following course was a little work of art. So very beautiful and tasteful! My favorite courses were the Winter Root Vegetables with Cured Spanish Mackerel and Wild Herbs and the Pearl Couscous With Razor Clam, Emulsion Of Chorizo, Puree Of Clam With Basil.

Serving staff was very professional, but not to stiff (as can be the case in this sort of restaurants). The staff was really friendly and with a sense of humor. I like that!

The atmosphere in the restaurant is refined and elegant. Really loved the fake sheep which had as only purpose to serve as a handbag holder. I had some troubles opening the really heavy door of the toilet. Luckily there was always a staff member present to open the door for me.

Whith each course we got another lovely wine. It was clear (!) that Vanessa Masse had a thing for unfiltered wines. And I couldn’t be more pleased with her selection. All the wines were excellent. Really nice to taste all these different flavors.

When asked for a suggestion to end the meal in style, Vanessa proposed an umeshu (Japanese plum liquor). Without a doubt the best umeshu I have ever tasted in my life. So, we just hád to order another one.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant when visiting Singapore, but be warned, a dinner at restaurant André comes with a hefty price tag. Lunch is a more affordable option.

Restaurant Andre, 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089855, Singapore
http://www.restaurantandre.com/
+65 6534 8880

Visited March 2015. You can find my review about Restaurant Andre also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 5/5, food 5/5.

Marina Bay Sands: “Most iconic hotel in Singapore”

Marina Bay Sands is without a doubt one of the most famous landmark buildings in Singapore. So, yes, rooms in this magnificent building are very expensive. You pay for the unique location, the beautiful views, the incredible infinity pool and the impeccable trained staff.

Often heard complaints are that the hotel is too busy. While this is certainly true (at any given moment of the day the lobby and pool are bustling with people), during my stay this really never bothered me. I always found a free spot at the pool, did not have to wait long at check-in nor at check-out and we always got seated at breakfast in less than five minutes. Marina Bay Sands is huge, so it’s quite normal that you have a lot of people everywhere. If you’re looking for a quiet place, I recommend you book another hotel.

I was lucky enough to stay in a room with a view on the city center as well as in a room with a view on the Gardens by the Bay. I must say I preferred the city view (which is also more expensive). Nothing beats the gracious Singapore Marina Bay Skyline, not even the lights of the beautiful Supertrees. The room at the city center was a lot bigger, but the garden view room had a balcony and the opportunity to step outside for a moment. Very nice, but sadly it seemed almost impossible to get the room airco temperature higher than 20 degrees.

The bathroom was very well equipped, as should be expected from a hotel with this reputation. The shower was very big, the bath tub could fit two persons and there were two sinks. I really liked the shower which was spacious and very comfortable! So nice to clean the sweat of your body after a hot day.

The Club room on the 55th floor is superb. From 17 till 19u guests can enjoy multiple treats. Quality champagne, spirits, beer, juices, beautiful canapés, great cheeses, sweets, fruit, fish and lots more. After a visit to the Club you don’t need dinner anymore. 😉

The pool is gorgeous, although the water was very chilly. It was just incredible, swimming on the 57th floor with those breathtaking views. I can honestly say: never in my life have I seen so many people take selfies of themselves in a pool. But to be fair, who can blame them?

Breakfast was also excellent. the huge buffet was very well organized in different sections (egg station, fruits, indian food, dim sum, vegetables, cheeses, fish, bread, noodle soup, English breakfast,…) so it never felt too crowded. Staff was super professional and very friendly. And the food itself was a culinary trip through Asia. Shout-out for the noodle soup and dim sum with spinach and shrimp.

This hotel has only one disadvantage: the price tag.

Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, Singapore

Stayed March 2015. You can find my review about Marina Bay Sands also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 3/5, rooms 5/5, service 5/5.

Gyu Kaku Chimjes: “A must for meat lovers”

Gyu Kaku is a classic Japanese barbecue restaurant. The meat you order, is served raw on a plate and you have to bake it yourself at your table. The table contains a build-in charcoal grill with an ingenious ventilation system which makes sure the amount of smoke that escapes in the room stays minimal.

The interior is classic Japanese and the layout makes sure the disturbance by other guests is minimal.

As an appetizer we ordered some prawns and scallops. For the main course we (of course) went for the Wagyu beef. The prawns and scallops were cooked in an aluminum container on the charcoal grill and were very good. The Wagyu beef was excellent. Luckily we got some pointers from the staff how to grill the meat to perfection.

I was a little disappointed though in the side salads. Choice was limited and my wakame salad really wasn’t much to speak of. But I guess you go to this restaurant for the meat anyway.

We drank some excellent sake with our meal, recommended by the staff. Staff was very friendly and professional.

Gyu Kaku Chimjes, 30 Victoria Street Chijmes “#01-01/03 Chijmes”, Singapore 187996, Singapore
http://www.gyu-kaku.com.sg/
+65 6333 4001

Visited March 2015. You can find my review about Gyu Kaku Chimjes also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 4/5, service 5/5, food 5/5.

Marina Bay: “What a view!”

The Marina bay area is definitely stunning. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is especially breathtaking. The building in itself is surreal and the view from the platform is even more fantastic. At night there is a 3D water and lights show which is absolutely worthwhile.

Marina Bay, Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018980, Singapore
https://www.marina-bay.sg/
+65 6329 3535

Visited October 2013. You can find my review about Marina Bay also on TripAdvisor.

Oasia Hotel Novena, Singapore by Far East Hospitality: “Superb hotel with great staff and hospitality”

We stayed for seven days in Oasia Hotel and loved every minute of it. We chose the club formula to indulge in the extra service offerd. Our room was beautiful and modern. Situated at the 24th floor the view was absolutely breathtaking. The bathroom was very clean, the rain shower was a real treat and there was a separate bath (which we didn’t try). Absolutely loved the style of the rooms, with lots of wood, the overall feeling was of warmth and comfort. Internet connection was very good.

The impeccably dressed staff was very friendly and welcoming and did everything they could to cater to all our needs. I absolutely adored the pool at the 22th floor and took the opportunity to go for a swim every day. Towels were provided at the pool.

With the club formula we enjoyed happy hour from 6pm till 8pm. A free cocktail and some nibbles to start of your evening. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Breakfast buffet was also excellent with a choice between western style or eastern style or a combination if you preferred. At the egg station the chef prepared your eggs just the way you liked. Staff was very observant and removed your plates once you were finished eating.

A definitely plus: you can take the elevator to the basement which is connected through a hallway to the metro. There are also shops and a food court nearby. Very convenient indeed!

Oasia Hotel Novena, Singapore by Far East Hospitality, 8 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307470, Singapore

Stayed October 2013. You can find my review about Oasia Hotel Novena, Singapore by Far East Hospitality also on TripAdvisor. My scores: value 5/5, location 5/5, sleep quality 5/5, rooms 5/5, cleanliness 5/5, service 5/5.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum: “Superb temple”

If you want to visit only one temple in Singapore, this should be it. The temple holds a very precious relic of buddha and is very beautiful. The museum gives you an apprehensive overview of the life and teachings of Buddha. The museum shows the different styles of sculptures of buddhism throughout Asia.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840, Singapore
http://www.btrts.org.sg/
65 6220 0220

Visited October 2013. You can find my review about Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum also on TripAdvisor.

National Orchid Garden: “Beautiful flowers”

A great place to enjoy the beauty of orchids in all shapes and sizes. The Orchid Garden is situated in a beautiful park. Absolutely worth the visit.

National Orchid Garden, 1 Cluny Rd Within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569, Singapore
https://www.sbg.org.sg/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=34&Itemid=58
+65 6471 7361

Visited October 2013. You can find my review about National Orchid Garden also on TripAdvisor.

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