Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore
Handily located on Upper Pickering, the Parkroyal towers over Hong Lim Park and is within easy walking distance of the CBD, Raffles Place, Marina Bay and Chinatown. Clarke Quay and the waterfront attractions along the Singapore River are also close by.
In a city crammed with hotels of every shape and size, the 363-room Parkroyal is a stand-out not just for its unusual architecture but also for its green credentials. From the entrance through to the foyer and up through its 16 floors, cascading wave-like shapes come through in ceilings, bar areas and balconies. I am told later by a staff member that it's a signature motif which represents upside-down rice paddies. He also points out that the marbling on the walls in the lobby is designed to evoke tree trunks while the carpet is meant to evoke memories of the green landscape you see when arriving by plane.
All this organic, eco-iconology is matched by real-life environmentalism: the hotel collects rainwater, uses as much solar power as possible, has 15,000 square metres of tropical sky gardens and uses light, motion and rain sensors to be as self-sustaining as possible. With two square metres of greenery for every square metre of total land area, it's more a surreal botanical garden than hotel.
My Orchid Club room is reached along an open-air corridor lined with greenery and feature water walls. It's big, with enough room for a king-size bed, a desk and a couch. The bathroom is luxuriously modern, the fittings all natural beiges, stones and greens, with a shower and possibly the most comfortable bath on the planet. The windows are lined outside with shrubs, plants and other greenery. It is a joy to wake up in the morning as the sun filters through them.
Given Singapore's reputation for excellent street food you probably aren't going to spend much time eating in the hotel but you could do worse than trying the extensive Lime restaurant buffet on the ground floor – especially on Wednesdays for the lobsterfest buffet. It's not cheap at $97 a pop but, it's all-you-can-eat, beautifully prepared lobster. For Orchid Club members there's the exclusive Orchid Club lounge on the 16th floor.
Get a map, head out and follow your nose – you can't go wrong in Singapore. There are eat streets, waterfront eateries, some of the world's best rooftop bars, casinos, you name it. The concierges at the hotel are knowledgeable and can point you in the right direction.
A quirky, chic, fantastical hotel that sits between boutique and the larger chains – small enough to care and big enough to offer all the conveniences of a modern hotel. An excellent oasis from which to explore Singapore.
The infinity pool and its wonderfully idiosyncratic, multicoloured bird cage cabanas.
It's a quibble, but you need a degree to work out the lighting system in the room. Well, I do.
3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore. Rooms start from $287 a night (plus GST and service charge). Phone +65 6809 8888, see parkroyalhotels.com
The writer was a guest of Parkroyal on Pickering.