SOAKING UP THE VIEWS IN SINGAPORE …
When designing new buildings to decorate the Singapore skyline, architects like to think outside the box.
Examples of this include the Singapore Opera House, with two domes that look like giant fly eyes; the Supreme Court, with a “UFO” on the roof; Parkview Square and its Gotham moodiness; and traditional shophouses built by Chinese migrants back in the 1800s.
Most recently there has been the Marina Bay Sands development, with the Helix Bridge, a glass cube that holds a flagship Louis Vuitton store; the flower-like ArtScience Museum; and three towers linked at the 56th level by a deck supporting what could be the world’s most spectacular infinity swimming pool.
The city’s architects are also pushing the boundaries inside the walls of their structural masterpieces and a cluster of hotels in the Lion City is challenging convention by placing the bathrooms in a prominent position inside a room to make the most of a view.
They include the new Hotel Fort Canning, an elegant colonial structure built in 1926 that served as both the English and Japanese army headquarters during World War II before being converted to boutique accommodation this decade.
A shady veranda once wrapped around the building but when it was converted to a hotel, each room was extended into that space, and a window put between the facade’s columns, and now an enormous bath and a spacious shower with glass walls offer a terrific view.
Jeremy Tan, senior associate director at DP Architects, the firm that was given the task of turning the grandiose building into a hotel, says inspiration for converting the interior to guest suites has been taken from the building’s colourful history.
“Our inspirations were drawn from the architecture of similar military buildings,” Tan says.
“The architects of colonial Singapore inspired us with their use of architectural devices to deal with the tropical climate the serambi or veranda of the black and white bungalow (and) the veranda-ways of colonial buildings.
“We reinterpreted the verandas with the re-adaptive use as a bathroom. The lush park views (allowed us) to have an unconventional approach to the placement of the bathroom.”
Here are six Singapore hotels with bathrooms beside external windows, or which use glass walls to provide a view through the guest room to a special vista beyond the property.
Hotel Fort Canning (hfcsingapore.com)
It took almost three years and $70 million to convert this old military complex into a boutique hotel, and a large bathtub was put in each guest room to remember the 14th century, when the royal family bathed in a spring on top of the hill.
Most of the bathrooms have an external window. During a recent stay, I soaked in the tub at sunset and had a shower before bed while gazing at the city lights.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel (fullertonbayhotel.com)
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is one of Singapore’s newest, opening 18 months ago. It was built on stilts over Marina Bay so guests staying in any of the 100 rooms have the sensation of being on water.
There is a magnificent view from every room and, instead of a solid wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom area, the architects installed a window, so those soaking in the tub or standing at the basin can see across the water to the Singapore landmarks surrounding Marina Bay.
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore (ritzcarlton.com)
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore sits on reclaimed land near the Singapore Flyer and has been designed so every room has a view, including the bathroom.
Guests can see the Singapore skyline from everywhere in the wet area even inside the shower through the octagonal window above the bath, with the glass shape selected because eight is a lucky number for the Chinese.
Wangz Hotel (wangzhotel.com)
This boutique hotel with 41 rooms sits on the edge of Tiong Bahru a Singapore neighbourhood famous for its Art Deco buildings and fast becoming the place to enjoy coffee and provides a view from every bathroom, with the chic wet areas set against the outer windows.
Guests can stand under the shower and look across the Art Deco beauties, over the trees to Chinatown or across the buildings to Orchard Rd, with a note reminding them to shut the blinds for privacy.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (ichotelsgroup.com)
The Crown Plaza Changi Airport is a modern property connected to Terminal 3, allowing travellers to get from their aircraft seat to the hotel room without going outside.
While the guest suites feel traditional, with the bathroom set towards the back of the room, a window lets those in the wet area look outside to the view, which may include planes taking off and landing a blind can be dropped for privacy.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort (shangri-la.com)
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort is Singapore’s only beachside hotel and it reopened last January after an $80 million makeover. Half the guest rooms have views across the island’s lagoons to the passing ships on the Singapore Strait.
This entertaining view isn’t limited to the balcony there’s an opening in the wall between the bed and bathroom, dressed with folding white shutters, letting guests look from the shower to the ships at all hours of the day and night.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN ESCAPE ON SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2012