Last updated: 07:43 PM ET, Sat April 25 2015

Opinion Home | Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

  • Nicole Connolly | April 25, 2015 7:43 PM ET

    Singapore for the Luxury Traveler

    Singapore for the Luxury Traveler

    All photos courtesy of Thinkstock

    Singapore is a city break destination with all the bling and glitz you need for a high octane, shop-till-you-drop getaway. It is a very user-friendly city, easy to get about and explore, and has a fascinating mix of cultural influences. This city-state is lively, forward-looking with enough of the old to give you a sense of tradition. A foodie's heaven, dining is a rich and varied experience, turning up unexpected delights that are more than enough to keep you intrigued and excited.

    Singapore has long been known as a shopping destination, and this reputation has blossomed in recent years along with the malls, each more spectacular than the last. This country has one of the largest proportions of millionaires per capita in the world. At over 17 percent of the population, that makes for an awful lot of deep pockets which all need to be supplied with the latest in gadgets, clothing, and home wares.

    Orchard Road

    Orchard Road is the traditional shopping mecca. It is a very long street with a huge number of a malls, some of the best are DFS Galleria, ION Orchard, Palais Renaissance, and Tangs but this is really just the tip of the label iceberg. For a more intimate shopping experience go to Haji Lane in the Muslim Quarter where you can find the latest fashion in cute boutique shop-houses.

    Lately there has been a move to recycle and refurb some of the remnants of the British colonial infrastructure which has resulted in some interesting developments. Dempsey Hill in Tanglin Village is the site of an old military barracks covering 18 blocks. The lush tropical green spaces have been retained while the old military buildings have been transformed into exciting retail and dining outlets. Retail includes antiques, rugs, clothing, and numerous restaurants including the White Rabbit which occupies the old barracks' chapel. There are several gourmet food and wine shops such as Culina where you could buy yourself picnic treats for a lunch in the stunning Botanic Gardens across the road.

    Fifteen minutes out of town is another military makeover, the Gilman Barracks, which dates back to the 1930s. This has become the poster child for the Singapore government's arts program, a part of their move to position the country as a leading contemporary arts hub. The barracks houses the Museum of Contemporary Art, and numerous galleries showing leading international and local artists as well as providing studio spaces for artists. It is also worth popping into the Ritz Carlton Art Gallery to check out their $4 million contemporary masters collection hanging in the public spaces.

    Singapore offers quite a few "meal of a lifetime" opportunities in some of the most extraordinary settings. For the latest in superb Catalan cooking try tapas, drinks, or a meal at Catalunya. The restaurant occupies a large glass dome built out over the harbor. There are stunning views over the city and harbor. The atmosphere is pleasantly relaxed and the food is sublime. Catalunya is popular with guests and locals so it pays to book ahead by several weeks.

    Gardens by the Bay

    Another unusual venue is Pollen which occupies the Mediterranean bubble in another of Singapore's bold settings, the Gardens by the Bay complex. Michelin star chef Jason Atherton has used this location to inspire a menu with a Southern European influence. The desserts alone are worth the visit. The quality of the setting, presentation and food is an example of just what Singapore is all about. Quality, content, and style all in one sparky little package.

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Nicole Connolly Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

Nicole Connolly Nicole, along with her husband Michael, left her ordinary life behind for a life of extraordinary travel. The couple left Australia in March 2012 and have been traveling ever since. Nicole has a penchant for all things luxury and this shows in their lifestyle. They may live the life of a gypsy but they certainly know how to do it in style. Their goal is to share their experiences and show others how a life of luxury is possible without the big bank account. Follow their adventures at
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