Singapore may have a hard time competing with US cities like Chicago, Miami, Portland, and NYC when it comes to "up-and-coming hotel neighborhoods," but that doesn't mean there aren't great new hotels to be found. This fall, a spate of new 4-star and upscale properties hits the market, marking the city's astonishing growth and development over the past few months, and making it hard to walk a few blocks without running into some new property rising up out of the ground. The trick, of course, is finding a way to sift through all the new-ness until you end up with a bargain.
Luckily, that isn't hard to do. Despite the fact that Singapore is home to a few of the world's most lavish (and, by definition, priciest) hotels, the newer properties manage to strike a balance between high-design and affordability. Take the Amoy Hotel (pictured above), for example, which sits right around the corner from Raffles Place – one of the busiest stops on Singapore's MRT subway line. The brand new, 37-room hotel combines a sleek, modern aesthetic with influences from the Chinatown neighborhood that surrounds it (the building was in fact a former "shop house"). Inside, guests can choose between a "cosy" single room (compact spaces with replica wooden ceiling beams, large vanity mirrors, and full minibar) or a "deluxe" double room (slightly larger spaces with French double doors). Scheduled to open at end of 2013.
Meanwhile, the artsy Clover Hotel opened in late spring: the decor focuses on rustic, re-purposed furniture, antique farm machinery, and a wall garden running through the center of the building. Of course, an attractive design only goes so far, but the Clover has the bones to back it up: 27 bright, wood-accented rooms, anchored by marble-tiled bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and even small in-room tea sets. Rates from $133 per night.
On the city's southeastern edge, the resort-style Village Hotel Katong offers 229 rooms in a 12-story tower overlooking the Singapore Strait (if you squint hard, you might even be able to catch sight of Batam Island across the water). Ideal for families or large business groups, the hotel offers complimentary airport shuttle service, an outdoor pool, a gym, and a lounge for Club and Suite guests. The hotel property is inspired by traditional Peranakan (15th and 16th century Chinese immigrants) decor, meaning lots of intricately-patterned carpets, smooth wood floors, and curvaceous hanging lanterns in all the rooms – all of which have balconies. Rates from $167 per night.
Frequent Singapore travelers will rejoice at the news of a new rooftop pool, but there's plenty more to like about Starwood's new 305-room Westin Hotel. While slightly pricier than the rest of the bunch, you're certainly getting good bang for your buck: rooms come with iPod docking stations, 42" flat-screen TVs, ergonomic desk chairs, 24-hour room service, the signature Westin Heavenly bed, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city. A spa and fitness center will round out the amenities, and four dining spaces (including the stunning Lobby Lounge and Seasonal Tastes, on the 32nd floor) ensure every traveler stays well fed and watered. Rates from $276.50 per night.
Anyone who's trekked through Tiong Bahru, with its abundance of laptop-toting young professionals whiling away hours inside hip, art-filled coffee shops, knows the neighborhood has long been an off-the-beaten-path gem. Later this year, a designer hostel known as The Plot Hostel will open inside a 3-story 1940s heritage shop house, giving budget-oriented travelers a reason to explore the historic area more fully. The hostel's 11 rooms, known as "pods," offer a variety of configurations (4, 6, or 8 beds), with a "ladies room" option for solo female travelers. The common areas will include a TV lounge, computer area, mini library, kitchen, and laundry area. Scheduled to open at end of 2013.