Singapore's $1.7 billion Jewel Changi Airport is so much more than a mall

On the face of it, Singapore's new Jewel Changi Airport is another shopping mall in a country not short on retail. But the Jewel is so much more than a mall.

It's a game-changer in international airport development that could ensure Singapore's Changi continues to leave all others in the dust when it comes to world's best facilities.

Now enjoying its seventh consecutive year as the SkyTrax World's Best Airport, Changi's new development is undoubtedly stunning and fun. It is also home to facilities and processes that will make it easier for travellers to enjoy Jewel, Singapore and beyond.

First, the razzle dazzle. The $1.7 billion, 10-storey, 135,700-square-metre Jewel is landside, so locals and travellers can visit it. Adding to Changi's existing 400 shops and 140 F&B providers, Jewel has about 90 food and beverage outlets and 200-odd retail shops, many of which are unique in Singapore and even regionally. Taste exclusive-to-Jewel brews from local brewer Tiger, visit the first Pokemon centre outside Japan, eat from the hands of cult hawker food chefs, and patronise the lingerie vending machines, for those caught sans smalls.

Jewel is as much garden as it is urban centre. The facade is an extraordinary opening statement: a grid shell supported by a ring of tree-like columns and a ring beam at the edge of the roof, with a membrane of clever glass, creating the right environment for the comfort of indoor plants and humans. The shops and restaurants are surrounded by Forest Valley, four storeys of greenery and the soon-to-be-much-Instagrammed centrepiece, the HSBC Rain Vortex: at 40 metres, the world's highest indoor waterfall.

In terms of traveller practicalities, Jewel has seamless connection to all Changi terminals, with early check-in counters and baggage storage facilities (including for hand luggage), open from 6am to midnight daily.

In addition, its Changi Lounge provides easy transfers for passengers joining cruise ships in Singapore as well as ferry services, and a 130-room budget capsule hotel – YOTELAIR Singapore Changi Airport – for travellers who need flexible check-in and check-out timings.

See jewelchangiairport.com

Julietta Jameson travelled to Singapore as a guest of Changi Airport Group.

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