There are certain moments in life when normal folk like you or I, due to some chance of fate, manage to stumble upon the luxurious lives of the 1%. If you’ve ever been upgraded on a flight, or by happy chance have been invited to an uber-happening party, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Instead of eating grey and soggy scrambled egg out of a plastic container while you try not to graze the overhang of the man in the seat next to you with your elbows, you find yourself served frosty champagne and warm cookies in a full-length bed. Instead of hanging over a sticky bar trying to get served etc… It is during these moments that I sometimes think it would be worth being a banker wanker if I got to bathe in vintage Dom and light my Diptyque candles with 50 pound notes. Almost.
The reason for my musings, on what is meant to be a travel post about Singapore, it that this is one of those few occasions when I have caught a glimpse of how the very wealthy live and I have to say, it’s pretty unbelievable. If you’re currently shivering under the duvet in the British weather because you can’t afford to put the heating on (been there) then I must apologise in advance. You see me and the hubby decided to splash out on our recent stop-over in Singapore, stretching our budget to a Superior Corner Room at The Fairmont. As we had only got married (and because I like pushing my luck) I forced my reluctant husband to email the hotel and tell them it was our honeymoon in the hope of getting upgraded to a better room. I was quite smug then upon arrival, exhausted, sweaty and covered in make-up from the flight when the lovely, smiley and perfectly made-up reception lady told us we had been upgraded: nudging my husband in an “I told you so” way. What we found when we entered our room, however, surpassed all my expectations, we had been upgraded to the penthouse suite. They must have regretted that one when they saw make-up-gate (still mad at hubby for not giving me a heads up and a facial wipe!).
If you’ve never stayed in a penthouse suite (poor you) it’s pretty hard to explain how freaking awesome it is. I spent the first five minutes running between the rooms squealing, “Oh my God Alex, there’s another one”. This place had two bathrooms FFS! And the main bathroom had his and her sinks, a sauna and a stand-alone bath tub. I’d replaced my leaky, stinky Hackney bathroom with pure bliss and fluffy white dressing gowns and I didn’t want to go back.
To further our luck, we had unwittingly arrived on Sinapore’s Independence Day and so managed to catch a front-row view of the fireworks from our balcony after indulging in some free champagne in the Executive Lounge. Yeah rich people actually get their own lounge so they don’t have to socialise with the rest of us!
After we finally managed to prise ourselves out of our duck feather bed and Egyptian cotton sheets (seriously you don’t appreciate a high thread count until it’s gone), we ventured out to see what Singapore had to offer and these are our highlights, if you’re interested…
Shopping at Orchard Road – Ok I was living in London before this trip, so was kind of spoiled for good shopping anyway but for someone who now lives in Perth, where there is literally nothing I would seriously consider spending my dollar on, this place is a paradise. They literally have malls full of every shop, from high-street up, that you could imagine, and then you go next door and there is another mall with even more, and then again! In my dreams, I’ll forever be wondering up and down this street with a limitless credit card and an entourage to carry my bags.
Checking Out Culture in Little India – Once you’ve had your fill of wall-to-wall consumerism, Singapore is actually full of culture if you get off the beaten track. Jump on the metro to Little India and you’ll feel as if you’re in a complete other country. We checked out some amazing Hindu temples (didn’t take any pics out of respect, also remember to take your shoes off!). This is one of the only places in the world you’re able to indulge in some genuine Indian street food without regretting it entirely a few hours later as Singapore has very strict food hygiene checks, so tuck in. We had mango lassis, mutton curry and rotis and it was actually a relief to be somewhere with a bit of hustle, bustle and grime after the sterilised malls and food courts of Orchard Road. I also got a really cool fake gold chain at one of the bazaars that I think makes me look like Lana Del Rey (hey, a girl can dream).
Drank Cocktails at Raffles. According to my grandma, my family used to own the plot of land that is now Raffles Hotels (we were such colonialists) so I was really keen to check it out. Unfortunately I was really disappointed by the experience. They only let tourists in one of the bars, which serves crappy and over-priced sickly sweet Singapore Slings. I was all dressed up, expecting the luxury experience and people were being let in in ugly trainers and t-shirts. I was not impressed!
We also went to the Botanical Garden (it was way too hot to enjoy it) and took a trip on the Cable Car (good view, annoying Angry Bird game playing in the background.)
I would say if you’re looking for a weekend stop-over with shopping, culture and food, Singapore is a great option. I’ve also heard there are some great islands and rain forest a bit further out, if you are staying a little longer. As for me, I can’t cope with staying anywhere but the pent house for now on so won’t be going anywhere until I win the lottery or something. Pity me fellow travelers, I’m ruined for life!