Hotel Fort Canning: An urban oasis in Singapore
THE Hotel Fort Canning combines respect for history with an understated, contemporary luxury; the result is a posh (but not overly extravagant), cozy, and high-tech retreat set within the protective cocoon of the Fort Canning Park. It manages to stand apart from Singapore’s hustle and bustle while being only minutes away from Singapore’s public transport system.
What makes it special?
The hotel is located in a building that dates from the 1920s – the colonnaded concrete structure used to be the headquarters for the British forces in Southeast Asia. British rule ended in the 1950s, and the building passed on to the Singapore Army before being completely privatized and renovated into the boutique hotel it is today.
The building’s history has not been hidden away by the recent renovation, quite the opposite in fact: the building’s essential architecture has been left untouched, and traces of the building’s former life as a military headquarters can still be seen everywhere. The private lounge, where guests check in, features a set of glass-topped Archaeological Pits filled with 14th and 19th Century artifacts unearthed from around Canning Hill.
The rooms continue the history-meets-luxury theme – the rooms have expansive views of either the Fort Canning Park or the Singapore skyline. Furniture comes courtesy of Italian designer Poltrona Frau; the Nespresso machine comes with choice coffee cartridges and sachets of TWG specialty teas.
The rooms’ cutting-edge entertainment system consists of a Zeppelin mini-iPod docking system and a smart content platform that accesses pay movies, satellite TV channels, and a music library. Interactive panels around the room control air conditioning, lights, and curtains with a touch.
What to expect?
The vibe about the Hotel Fort Canning can best be described as “confidently relaxed”: the relaxing little touches abound, from the unlimited drinks served during the hotel’s daily evening cocktail hour to the cozy atmosphere at the ground-level Tisettanta Lounge.
The staff also play a big role in keeping guests cozy and comfortable: the staff perform concierge services with iPads in hand, providing everything from flight bookings to restaurant reservations to flight bookings to managing your laundry.
What’s there to do?
Despite the away-from-it-all feel of the Hotel Fort Canning’s location, Orchard Road is actually just a five-minute walk away. Once you pass through Park Mall, you can ride Singapore’s excellent public transport system; the Orchard shopping haven is just a stop or two away.
If you prefer to stay in, you can enjoy the hotel’s two swimming pools, or enter the adjacent Glass House that holds the hotel’s THANN spa, fitness center, and the ground-floor Asian bistro that serves regional cuisine in cute tiffin boxes.
The nearby Fort Canning Park is worth a look – The Hotel Fort Canning provides interested visitors a one-hour guided tour through the park’s heritage trail, culminating in a visit to a live archaeological dig.
What’s the damage?
Rates start from $240 for a Deluxe Room inclusive of breakfast, wireless internet access, and the evening cocktail hour at the private lounge. The accommodations at the Hotel Fort Canning are somewhere on the high end, but they’re reasonable compared to the rates charged by the more well-known luxury hotels in the Marina Bay area.