Besides its sound infrastructure and connectivity, Singapore is a vibrant metropolis buzzing with adventure and action. The calendar is packed with multicultural and arts activities and festivals, complemented by a trendy nightlife and celebrity-chef dining scene that entice visitors.
The flagship property of Meritus Hotels in Singapore, Mandarin Orchard has more than 1,000 guestrooms split across two soaring towers, and 2,300 square metres of versatile meeting and function space with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, smart lighting systems, and high-speed wireless internet connectivity.
InterContinental Singapore is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renovation project that will be completed year-end, and will feature
a new lobby, guestrooms and dining outlets. The hotel has more than 1,000 square metres of meeting space, including the pillarless Bugis Ballroom that can hold 600 guests.
The Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is to be rebranded as the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa in January 2016, and will have green
areas that pay homage to Paris's Jardin du Luxembourg. Event and meeting spaces are divided into 12 separate arenas; the largest, the Straits Ballroom, has gobo lighting and a steerable digital audio system.
A short stroll from Orchard Road, the three-wing, 747-room Shangri-La features a broad range of event spaces; among them, the 680sqm Tower Ballroom was overhauled earlier this year to the tune of S$8 million. Its new look features 60 adjustable spotlights, 12 coloured alcove lights to create moods and Chinoiserie-themed silk wallpaper by Fromental of London.
The ultra-luxe Patina, a collaboration between Pritzker-Prize winning architect Richard Meier and Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim, will open in November 2015. Occupying two restored historic buildings near City Hall MRT, it will have a spa, a fitness centre, and a Peruvian-themed restaurant and bar.
Soft opened in September 2015, the playful South Beach was designed by Philippe Starck and sits across the road from the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre. The Enchanting Ballroom is housed in a heritage former army drill hall, while the property also boasts 19 state-of-the- art meeting rooms.
Built entirely on 101ha of reclaimed land, Gardens by the Bay has become so popular with event planners that the management has been forced to limit the number of events to three per week.
"What makes it a venue of choice is its unique garden setting where greenery extends from the outdoors to the indoors. Guests are brought beyond the confines of conventional MICE spaces," explains Alloysius Teng, assistant director event venue sales, Gardens by the Bay. "The most popular venues are Flower Field Hall [1200sqm] and Waterview Room [600sqm], both within the Flower Dome. A key distinction is the LED lighting of the Flower Field Hall, available in 100 different colour options that can be customised to evoke a certain ambience."
A new visual arts institution that has just opened in October 2015, the National Gallery of Singapore will showcase a body of work from Southeast Asia dating from the nineteenth century to the present era. Boasting 64,000sqm of event space with an auditorium, function rooms, six F&B outlets and a rooftop bar, the gallery is an architectural gem featuring a juxtaposition of neoclassical style against the sleek modern lines of glass and aluminium.
The National Museum is fresh off the heels of a S$10 million revamp of its Singapore History Gallery. The updated space includes 1,700 artefacts, 12 interactive stations and 60 multimedia stations.
Opened in May 2015, the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris houses more than 40 rare masterpieces from artists like Rembrandt, Picasso and Monet in the Collections Gallery, sure to thrill any art lover.
For fun, thrills and team-building activities, Universal Studios is the evergreen favourite. Seven themed zones offer an exciting showcase of rollercoasters, character appearances, restaurants and shops. The popular Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon rollercoaster re- opened this year.
Designed by starchitect Moshe Safdie, the ArtScience Museum has 3000 square metres of indoor and outdoor event space, and three meeting rooms. It's also one of the prettiest structures in Singapore, created to resemble an open lotus flower.
An industrial warehouse with exposed pipes and freight lifts, ArtSpace at Helutrans is owned by art moving/storage firm Helutrans and is situated just minutes from the CBD. It has cube-shaped galleries and grand open spaces suitable for large events, including exhibitions, fashion shows and product launches.
Good food is key to a successful event and Da Paolo Bistro Bar, set in a colonial bungalow northwest of the CBD, offers plenty of it. The 1500 square metres of event space come with a stage and can handle up to 200 pax, while the kitchen churns out fine modern European cuisine.
For nature-inspired events, the green spaces of the Southern Ridges-Hort Park and Labrador Nature Reserve-are ideal choices. They come with a range of indoor and outdoor areas, 11 meeting rooms that total 1000sqm, and can accommodate up to 900 pax.
Esplanade Theatres by the Bay is a modern, multifunctional complex with shopping, dining, a public library, and a variety of function spaces, with capacities including 220 people (Theatre Studio), 450 people (Rooftop), and 1,811 guests (Concert Hall).
Suitable properties near the CBD include the 380-room Amara, 507- room Conrad Centennial, 969-room Fairmont, 527-room Mandarin Oriental, 575-room Marina Mandarin, 790-room Pan Pacific, 1,261-room Swissotel the Stamford, and 641-room The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia. Those in the Orchard Road vicinity include the 407-room Concorde, 663-room Grand Hyatt, 422-room Hilton, and 650- room Orchard Hotel. Along Singapore River, consider the 605-room Furama Riverfront and 574-room Grand Copthorne Waterfront.
Changi International Airport is 19km east-northeast of the CBD. Taxis to the city cost $20-$40, depending on the destination and time of day/night. The airport is connected to the city by metro; a trip from Changi to Raffles Place, in the CBD, costs about S$2 and takes 45 minutes.
Service Charge 10%, Goods & Service Tax 7%, Government Tax on hotels 1%
Singapore Tourism Board, 65-6736-6622, stb.gov.sg