24-Hour Room Service: Marina Mandarin Singapore

When competing with a plethora of five-star Singapore hotels, you need that certain something to give you the edge. Which is probably why the Marina Mandarin underwent a S$25m (£8.3m) makeover last year.

The John Portman-designed atrium is magnificent, stretching 21 floors up to a tinted skylight, with a cool glass elevator. Not to mention the dramatic cascading metal-mobile sculpture, in red and gold, which fills the cavernous space in the centre.

Leaning over the top balcony to gaze down to the fourth floor lobby-lounge is a slightly stomach-churning experience, but the view is phenomenal.

Chandeliers and sweeping staircases, back-lit by a rainbow of colours at night, appear dolls-house tiny. You hear the sound of live piano music tinkling up to your room after 7pm, and wake to nightingales (in hanging cages) singing so beautifully that many guests think it's piped in.

The emphasis on service is also evident, with the mineral water pool and gym open "24/7". "It's for all our guests checking in late or still operating on a different time zone," says the hotel manager.

Add to that a swish new spa and three excellent restaurants (eating is a national sport here). Choose between Aquamarine, devoted to seafood, Peach Blossoms for dim sum, while the Italian, overseen by chef Carlo Marengoni, serves mouthwatering dishes such as fresh pappardelle with prawns and veal shank with aromatic herbs.

Overall, too big and buzzy? That was the surprise. Even when full, the Mandarin manages to maintain an air of restful calm, which makes it a great place to return to after a day of sightseeing and shopping.

LOCATION

Marina Mandarin Hotel, 6 Raffles Blvd, Singapore (00 65 6845 1000; www.marina-mandarin.com.sg). Opposite Suntec City and attached to Marina Square shopping mall, with 300 shops. You're a short MRT (Mass Rapid Transport system) ride to the famous shopping belt Orchard Road, the vibrant Little India and Chinatown. Singapore is extremely compact.

Time to international airport: it's just 20 minutes to Changi airport in a taxi, for no more than S$20 (£6.70), or by public bus for S$1.70 (60p one way).

COMFORTABLE?

There are 575 rooms and suites, facing the city skyline or the harbour and out to sea. Decorated in natural beiges and creams, they're spacious and elegant. There's a swanky lighting system - with dimming controls for reading/relaxing/movies/sleep. All have fantastic bathrooms, a walk-in shower with huge showerhead, oversized mirrors, marble and smoked-glass walls. Rooms also have balconies.

Freebies: gorgeous-smelling Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, fresh flowers, green tea, mineral water and a newspaper. In the Meritus Club rooms and suites, more "benefits" include coffee machines, laundry and 24-hour free internet access.

Keeping in touch: all rooms have Wi-Fi/broadband, plasma TVs and telephones.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles from S$261 (£90) excluding breakfast. Hayes & Jarvis (0870 850 3565; www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk) offers five-night breaks to Singapore from £999 per person (valid 1 January-28 March 2007) including room-only accommodation and flights from Heathrow.

I'm not paying that: the trendy HangOut Hotel at 10A Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore (00 65 6438 5588; www.hangouthotels.com) has doubles starting from S$140 (£46) including breakfast.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Arts and Entertainment
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
tv'Friends' cafe will be complete with Gunther and orange couch
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone