Best In Singapore: Raffles Vs Four Seasons Vs Marina Bay Sands Vs InterContinental


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We have already reviewed the best 5 star luxury hotels in Singapore. In this review, we compare the Raffles Vs. Ritz-Carlton Vs. Marina Bay Sands all in Marina Bay Vs. Four Seasons on Orchard Road Vs. InterContinental Singapore.

Singapore, the gateway to Southeast Asia, is an intriguing country that was created by deeply passionate people following their dreams and aspirations. It’s a place that serves as a canvas for its people’s wildest imagination, where new experiences are created every day, and where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers, and socializers meet.

Raffles is our top choice. It has bags of history and heritage, and since the refurbishment, it has become an even more special hotel. The rooms are modern yet elegant. The service is excellent. There is a parade of tourists who visit Long Bar, but staff keep day tourists out of the actual hotel guest areas. Do bear in mind that there are a lot of people wandering around everywhere else (the same goes for the Fullerton hotels).

The Fullerton Bay is by far the second-best hotel of the five. The level of luxury is superb, and because it is the smallest of the three, it feels more like a luxury boutique hotel in Singapore. Fullerton Bay public spaces are beautifully designed, but it does attract passing tourists gawking and exploring the communal areas.

The Fullerton is packed with heritage and charm and is also a great choice with a brilliant club lounge. It is larger than the Fullerton Bay. Both Fullerton hotels are just 5 – 10 minutes walk away from Raffles Place, an MRT interchange that gives you MRT connection to Orchard, Airport line, or Chinatown and Little India (via another line at another station). In the evening, there’s lots of food and activity at Boat Quay, which is next to Fullerton. You can also walk to Chinatown or take a boat ride down the Singapore River to Clarke Quay, Esplanade, or Marina Square from here.

The Four Seasons in Singapore is rather mediocre, despite the room refresh, but is good for families with kids. Wherever you travel in the world, Four Seasons guarantees a brilliant level of service and luxury. But, this Four Seasons lacks history. It is a bland modern hotel, and the location is not so great unless you love shopping on Orchard Road.

The InterContinental is beautiful with zen public spaces and also very distinctively Asian design, which is unusual across hotels in Singapore. There is awesome service in their club lounge, and the shophouse rooms/suites are fantastic.

Marina Bay Sands is probably the most iconic hotel in Singapore. It is glitzy and busy and has the best rooftop pool in Singapore. Marina Bay Sands is iconic, is often cheaper, and offers unlimited Instagramable photo opportunities, so if you want to show off to your friends at home, this is the one to pick!

The Ritz-Carlton is one of your few Marriott Bonvoy luxury hotel choices (you can also go for the St Regis), but public spaces are frequently overrun by conference guests and tour groups.

  • Best For Luxury: Raffles
  • Best For Instagram Photos: Marina Bay Sands
  • Best Rooms: Raffles
  • Best For Views: Marina Bay Sands Hotel
  • Best Rooftop Pool: Marina Bay Sands Hotel
  • Most Exclusive: Raffles & Fullerton Bay
  • Best breakfast: All except Marina Bay
  • Best Restaurants For Fine Dining: Raffles
  • Best For Location: Raffles & Ritz-Carlton Millenia. Four Seasons is in a fairly poor location on Orchard Road
  • Best For Poolside Luxury: Raffles
  • Most Classy & Exclusive: Raffles
  • Best Bar: Raffles in its world-famous bar or Fullerton Bay
  • Most History and Heritage: Raffles & The Fullerton
  • Best Club Lounge: The Fullerton or the InterContinental
  • Best For Asian Feel: InterContinental
  • Queues At check-in: Marina Bay Sands Hotel (feels like an airport check-in, even in the VIP Club Lounge)
  • Best For Shopping: Marina Bay Sands Hotel which is connected to a shopping center
  • Best Pool: Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Their pool wins numerous awards

Remember: You can pay to get to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel Skypark without staying there. You don’t need to stay there to experience and photograph the pool!

1. Raffles Singapore

The year was 1887 when the doors to the Raffles Singapore first opened. Since then, this luxury five-star hotel in Singapore has become an icon that epitomizes the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history, and colonial design.

Situated in the heart of the business and civic district, Raffles Singapore is a veritable oasis in the city. Its classic colonial architecture has been perfectly preserved and provides a stark but lively contrast against its modern-skyscraper neighbors.

Through the decades, liveried Sikh concierges have welcomed some of the most famous personalities, from writers to celebrities, politicians, and members of royalty, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Today it has a resident historian who has created a series of videos featuring key moments from its past (early guests included the writers Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, and Rudyard Kipling).

Raffles Singapore has only recently reopened for guest stays following more than two years of renovation work across its guest rooms and public spaces.

The new works were led by interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, architecture, and design firm Aedas, lighting consultants Tino Kwan and restoration and research consultants Studio Lapis.

The hotel’s suite count has increased from 103 to 115, while new categories have been added; it now offers State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Grand Hotel Suites, and Presidential Suites.

The Raffles Arcade, a collection of shops and “lifestyle spaces”, has a new gift shop, spa, and retail brands, as well as a history gallery featuring archive pictures and stories.

The restaurant line-up now includes Mediterranean grill BBR by chef Alain Ducasse, steakhouse Butcher’s Block, three-Michelin star chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s La Dame de Pic, Chinese restaurant 兿 yì by Jereme Leung, and classic Indian restaurant Tiffin Room.

In July, the hotel reopened its famed Long Bar, a popular tourist spot thanks to its invention of the Singapore Sling, and the Grand Lobby, which has a daily afternoon tea service.

Even the pool on the rooftop has been renovated, with the huge Marina Bay Sands building visible in the distance.

Some of the best rooms are the 31 suites that lead onto the Verandah. These are 58 m², and ensuite bathrooms have been redesigned with Victorian details and Peranakan tiles, a type of colorful local ceramic.

No visit to Singapore is complete without a stay at this iconic all-suite luxury Singapore hotel. Each suite features period furnishings, lofty 14-foot ceilings, and modern conveniences expected of a 21st-century hotel. Raffles butlers, legendary for their charming and graceful service, are available to fulfill requests both ordinary and extraordinary.

2. InterContinental Singapore

InterContinental Singapore is a grand hotel Near the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the central business district. Expect enormous chandeliers dangling from high ceilings, Slightly gaudy carpeting in places, a slightly old-fashioned look, but overall a classic style as sophisticated feel. Doors and tiling, in particular, have intricate designs on them.

Rooms have been put together with a more classic style and less detailing. They have decent size bathrooms with black and white tiling and local toiletry products.

The pool is an absolute highlight of this InterContinental. It is located on the rooftop with comfortable padded loungers placed on the decking, which are shaded slightly by tropical trees.

InterContinental Singapore has a spacious private club lounge. The look is oriental with decorative dark wood doors, light wood flooring, and furnishings that have Oriental design and detailing. Plenty of rugs are used with a pinky hue, and the detailing on the dark wood doors is continued with screens offering the same Oriental detailing separating sitting areas within the lounge. There is a dining area with seating and dining tables near the buffet, whilst the rest of the lounge has more relaxing sofa-style seating. The views are not particularly noteworthy here, but the food is good.

Breakfast is expansive with fresh and dried fruit, honey straight from the hive, the usual jams, etc., cereals, charcuterie cheeses, hams, and bread. A la carte eggs and pancakes can be ordered from the table like eggs Benedict and so forth, along with Asian dresses like dim sung.

Afternoon tea is scones and jam with a selection of sandwiches and sweet cakes, along with tea and other soft drinks. The afternoon tea is delivered on a tiered tray, much like the afternoon tea at the InterContinental in London.

The happy hour offers particularly good cocktails, including the classic Singapore Sling. You can also choose from wines, beers, and spirits with mixers.

There is also a self-service buffet during happy hour, with substantial snacks like sushi, fruit, and shrimp and desserts like tiramisu and cheesecake. Plus, a set of three small warm canapés are delivered with your drinks.

I particularly liked the homemade Belgian-style chocolates, which are placed on a layered display case. They are good enough to take a couple back to your room in your handbag.

To access this lounge, you need to book a room with Club InterContinental access, and then your key card will give you access. The cost of this Lounge is around 60 Singapore dollars per night, and you can upgrade at check-in if you like.

3. Four Seasons Singapore

Located on tranquil, tree-lined Orchard Boulevard, Four Seasons Singapore provides a welcome oasis of calm in the midst of the city’s bustle. Renowned for its service, each of the hotel’s 255 spacious rooms, including 40 suites, offers a full range of amenities. While this hotel is probably too large to be included in our listing of the best boutique hotels in Singapore, it remains one of the smaller hotels in the city and does feel boutique, even though it has an extravagant 255 rooms.

Foodies can savor Michelin Star Cantonese cuisine at Jiang-Nan Chun, authentic Asian or Western dishes at One-Ninety Restaurant, and cocktails at One-Ninety Bar. Post-sightseeing, you can gently rejuvenate your body and soul under the masterful strokes of skillful therapists at the award-winning Four Seasons Spa or reinvigorate at the tennis courts, 24-hour gym, and two outdoor pools – one of which is located on the 20th floor, complete with a bar and an unforgettable, spectacular view of Singapore’s city skyline.

4. Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is centrally located along Singapore’s Marina Bay. This 608-room luxury hotel continues to be distinguished by unparalleled hospitality synonymous with The Ritz-Carlton brand. Attractions such as Gardens by the Bay, the Art Science Museum, the Integrated Resorts, and the Singapore Flyer are only minutes away, while over 2,000 shopping and dining options are accessible via a covered sky bridge.

Renowned for iconic views from its spacious guestrooms and suites, the hotel features an exclusive Club Lounge on level 32. The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge is a peaceful, exclusive retreat for leisure guests and business travelers. Located on the top floor, The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge is an exclusive space for guests to work or play while enjoying spectacular views of the Singapore skyline.

Guests of the luxury hotel can unwind at the outdoor swimming pool, spa, or 24-hour gym, savor Singapore at Colony or indulge in Cantonese cuisine at the Michelin-star Summer Pavilion.

5. Marina Bay Sands Hotel

The Marina Bay Sands hotel comprises three 55-storey towers, 2,560 luxury rooms and suites, and 18 different room types. This hotel is enormous. It is home to the iconic and eye-wateringly high swimming pool that sits across the towers.

This unique structural masterpiece, designed by visionary architect Moshe Safdie, spans the width of all three soaring Marina Bay Sands hotel towers. The SkyPark floats atop the three soaring hotel towers at a height of 200 m (650 ft). This gravity-defying platform stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower laid down and is large enough to park four and a half A380 Jumbo Jets.

It houses a ticketed observation deck, lush gardens, shops, top-notch restaurants, and an exclusive infinity-edge swimming pool with a legendary view. Complementing the retail space are delectable dining options, which include restaurants by celebrity chefs, fine dining, and casual eateries.

To be honest, it’s not my cup of tea at all. I am not great with heights, and this is the world’s largest infinity-edge pool at that height. It comprises 422,000 pounds (191,416 kilos) of stainless steel and holds 380,000 gallons (1,438,456 liters) of water.

Natare engineered this stainless steel swimming pool to allow for the swaying of the three skyscrapers in every direction. There are four movement joints beneath the main pools, designed to help them withstand the natural motion of the towers, and each joint has a unique range of motion. The total range of motion is 500 millimeters (19.68 inches). The SkyPark is designed for wind pressures of up to 2.5 kPa (5,933 lbs./ft² or 250 kg/m²) and wind speeds of up to 105 ft./s (32 m/s). It seems almost unnatural, but you can’t help but admire this marvel of engineering. It shouldn’t work, but it does!

If you do decide to stay in this Disney or Vegas-style massive hotel and want to experience the pool, get a poolside lounger first thing in the morning, before the crowds.

The hotel rooms are very average. The level of luxury is limited by the sheer size of this hotel. 2,500 rooms is not boutique! Expect spectatorship and awe here, but if you are looking for the highest level of luxury, you will not find it here.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.