Singapore: A Melting Pot of Cultures

Nov 10, 2016 Avatar Nina Omari Nina Omari
Singapore is an island country of great diversity and color. Only 278 square miles in size, Singapore is about half the size of Los Angeles. It’s easy to miss when planning a trip to Southeast Asia, yet this small national offers a myriad of experiences in a small, compact space.

I arrived at the Shangri-La hotel at 3 a.m. after a 19-hour flight, and I was received with champagne and beautiful smiles. This beautiful tropical resort has gorgeous lush landscape, waterfalls, and ponds.

The expansive infinity pool is so refreshing and inviting on those hot Singaporean days and nights, and the hotel had great food choices and variety, served with great attention and care.

The wide variety of cuisine in this cultural melting pot of Indian, Chinese and Arab continued to be the focal point of the visit. We tried Singapore “laksa,” one of Singapore’s favorite national dishes. The laksa is known throughout the region to have several variations, but the most unique to the city is the delicious laksa lemak or nyonya laksa. Brought over by the Peranakans, the best stalls are found in Katong, the battleground of the “Katong Laksa War,” where feuding stall owners all claim to have the original and best version of this much-loved noodle dish with rich broth. So why not help them settle the score by trying it for yourself?

We visited the diverse but well connected different neighborhoods of Singapore: Little India, China Town, and Arab Street.

The markets were full of locals and tourists from all over the world, which brought me to this conclusion: Singapore is not only a pre- or post-cruise city port, it’s much more than that, combining the icons of the past and present, where you can see the old, like Raffles and the Old Supreme Court, along with the new modern structures of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, the Esplanade, and the Gardens by the Bay.

I have a future date with Singapore next year, and can’t wait to explore this destination in more depth!

The best wing to stay in at Shangri-La is the Garden Wing. I toured the Valley and the Tower wings; while the rooms are renovated, they seemed smaller and not as rich in design and furniture, except for the Presidential Suite. The hotel is actually closing this month for renovations.

The Raffles has Old World charm and character. I would also stay there, and it will be under major renovations next year!

The best hotels to stay at and watch the nightly light show at the bay, is the either the Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental.

The Marina Bay Sands is a huge resort with 2,561 rooms, with its infinity pool on top with a skyline view, and is very impressive; however, it’s way too small for this size of resort. The hotel is very busy and reminded me being in a Las Vegas Casino.

I recommend staying at the Ritz Carlton; our preferred partner Stars program guarantees an upgrade and additional amenities. Be sure to request a bay view room!
The Club level is wonderful at the Ritz Carlton, too, with complimentary wines and wonderful small dishes in the afternoon, plus breakfast with an omelet station in the morning!