Singapore finally gets a Banyan Tree resort – and it’s deep in the wild

The resort will feature elevated cabins and tree houses. Source: Mandai Park Holdings

SINGAPORE may be a concrete jungle, but its Mandai area – which houses the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari – is a promising nature destination for those looking for a respite from the city.

This week, Banyan Tree Holdings announced its first property in Singapore in Mandai, a luxury eco-resort that will occupy 4.6ha of land on the existing compound. To cater to guests with different budgets, plans are underway to introduce standard and family rooms, elevated cabins, and tree houses.

Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) group chief executive Mike Barclay said at a media briefing the hotel will have up to 400 rooms and guests will be able to attend various environmentally inclined activities organized by the hotel including talks on conservation and guided nature walks.

“This stayover experience forms an integral part of our overall vision for the Mandai nature and wildlife precinct – to inspire guests to value and conserve biodiversity through memorable experiences,” Barclay said.

However, nature enthusiasts have brought up concerns about the impact the resort will have on wildlife. To go around this, developers will design the hotel so to have minimal disruption on habitats and wildlife in the nearby Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Barclay said that design is key: “Two children in a swimming pool located at the edge of the resort could result in noise traveling to the reserve. But by placing the pool in the center of the resort, and using buildings and other noise abatement strategies, this can be reduced.”

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Meanwhile, nature guide Ivan Kwan hopes to see the resort built in a way that doesn’t allow birds to fly into the hotel compound.

“Another concern would be how the resort will deal with wildlife that the guests and staff will inevitably encounter,” he said. “The resort will need to have proper guidelines for human-wildlife interactions, and ensure these are followed by the guests.”

Construction on the property is set to commence in 2020.