Only 12 years ago, sailors on shore leave would post letters home from the superb building that housed Singapore’s General Post Office. Today, it is the big draw for business travellers who have come to work in the high-rise offices that create Singapore’s Manhattan-style skyline. For beyond the grandiose entrance doors is one of the island state’s most sumptuous hotels.

In a city where old frequently comes off second best to new, the Fullerton is a glorious exception. Originally designed by the Shanghai firm of Keys & Dowdeswell in the 1920s, the building has been meticulously restored to its full Palladian colonial glory. Entering the cavernous courtyard, or lobby lounge, is an overwhelming experience, with its huge, high, Doric columns and distant glass roof lined with Japanese rice paper.

There is a strong case for arguing that, apart from your business duties, you hardly need to step outside the front door of the hotel. A range of excellent restaurants includes the excellent Jade restaurant, where the snappy table designs – all frosted glass - are as eye-catching as the food. Top-of-the range fare is served in the small and exclusive San Marco, located in the hotel’s original landmark lighthouse. For drinks, the Post Bar, with its underlit tables, is the Fullerton’s contribution to Singapore chic and you may well see business colleagues unwind here as the sun sets. It’s a busy place, so for a more reposed drink you may wish to sink into a comfy sofa in the lobby lounge.

Track it down

The hotel has one foot in Singapore’s colonial centre and the other in the central business district. The location is simply superb, overlooking both a gracious bend in the Singapore River and two of its loveliest bridges, and the open sea. Changi airport is a 20-minute drive away.

Check-in check

Staff, wearing designer uniforms, are courteous, knowledgeable and never less than charming.

Room to manoeuvre

Beds are huge and high, walls are a subtle shade of vanilla, and many rooms have balconies - but the views are the thing. You have 400 rooms to choose from, including 298 suites, and views from those rooms overlooking the Singapore river or the esplanade must rate among the most atmospheric in Asia; others, though, overlook the interior courtyard. The bathrooms, for all their fluffy towels, streamlined outfittings and marble, are solid rather than aesthetic and cry out for something, such as a bunch of orchids, to tell you that you are in Asia. That said, the huge baths and monsoon showers are ideal for soaking away the stress of a hard day at the office, or indeed, a sweaty afternoon buying up souvenirs to take home. Unlimited supplies of Fullerton own-brand fragrant soaps and lotions are provided.

Get connected

Free internet access and free local calls for Straits Clubs members (a one-off fee of £45), though all rooms and suites are wired with broadband for high-speed internet access. An IT concierge will bring a trolley to your room complete with multimedia PC, scanner and other gadgets, including webcams. Three phone lines in each room. Wi-fi available throughout the hotel.

Fitness regime

The infinity pool is 25m long, sizeable enough for a decent swim; the fitness centre, equipped with most standard exercise machines, is open 24 hours a day. If you’ve packed your trainers, then the hotel has drawn up a jogging route around the nearby esplanade.

Raid the minibar

Plenty of mineral water, snacks and a small but exclusive selection of wines.

Breakfast news

Room service, extensive buffet breakfast in the Town restaurant by the riverfront, or for members of the Straits Club, champagne breakfast and individually prepared hot dishes.

Rack rates

£290 to £400 per night.

The address

The Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore (00 65 6733 8388;