Orchard Road is named after the fruit and nutmeg orchards that used to line it in the 1830s, one of them coincidentally belonging to a Mr Orchard. The manhole covers along the road all depict various tropical fruits. Large trees still shade the road, providing a modicum of relief from the heat. Fortunately, Orchard Road has an extensive network of underpasses that connect many of the malls providing even more shelter from the blistering equatorial heat and, on occasion, rain. Weekends in the area are often packed with locals and visitors alike out to consume en masse.
Only at the eastern Bras Basah end do the shopping malls peter out, with some fine colonial architecture and a few of Singapore's top museums to be found instead.
The Christmas decorations along Orchard are mildly famous and entirely over the top, with reindeers cavorting through palm trees and gingerbread houses topped with fake snow.
- Singapore Visitors Centre, 216 Orchard Road (Next to orchardgateway@emerald), toll-free: 1800 736 2000. 09:30-22:30 daily. Oodles of free information on Singapore. There's also a similar but smaller operation in Ion Orchard. Also sells some nice souvenirs.
The MRT stations of Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall on the North-South Line follow the alignment of Orchard Rd. Change to the North-East Line or Circle Line at Dhoby Ghaut or the East-West Line at City Hall.
Orchard Rd is walkable, at least allowing plenty of breaks in air-conditioned shopping centres. You can no longer cross the central Orchard/Scotts intersection on foot: instead, take the air-conditioned underground walkway system that links Orchard MRT/Ion Orchard to Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City and Lucky Plaza (east), to CK Tang/Marriott (north), and to Shaw House and Wheelock Place (west).
Two of Singapore's top museums are in Bras Basah, within striking distance of Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah MRT stations.
- Battle Box, Fort Canning Park. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. The former HQ of the British army during World War 2, now turned into an air-conditioned museum complete with animatronic figures retelling the events of the days before surrender. The nearest MRT station is Dhoby Ghaut, but it's a steamy hike up the hill. Closed from Feb 2013 until further notice. $8.
- Istana (next to Dhoby Ghaut MRT). 08:30-18:00. Completed in 1869, this Malay-Indian hybrid building was once the Government House of the colony of Singapore, before being repurposed on independence as the official residence of the President. The 100-acre grounds occupy some of Singapore's choicest real estate and incorporate several gardens and even a 9-hole golf course. There is a Change of Guards ceremony every first Sunday of the month. The Istana is open to the public on only five days a year: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day. Non-Singaporeans $1.
- National Library of Singapore, 100 Victoria St (near Bras Basah MRT). 08:00-21:00. A testament to Singapore's dedication to public education. There is the Central Public Library in the basement and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library in levels 7-13. Designed to be environmentally-friendly, there are two public gardens (the Courtyard on Level 5 and the Retreat on Level 10) where you can get a good view of the city. They sometimes hold a few small events and exhibitions. Levels 3-5 host the Drama Centre, a theatre for plays and the performing arts.
- National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd, ☎ +65 6332 3659. Singapore History Gallery: 10:00-18:00; Living Galleries: 10:00-20:00. Formerly Singapore History Museum, recently refurbished from top to bottom with a new wing added. The star of the show is the permanent Singapore History Gallery, a 2800 sq.m. multimedia extravaganza covering six centuries of island history, navigated with a super-flexible, if occasionally somewhat confusing, interactive audio guide system that lets you choose the events and items to focus on. There are also four Living Galleries focusing on food, fashion, film and photography, plus various temporary exhibitions and a few nice cafes and restaurants. Permanent exhibition $10/5 adult/child.
- Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Rd (Bras Basah MRT), ☎ +65 6332 3222. Sa-Th 10:00-19:00, F 10:00-21:00. Modern art from both Singapore and the region. The permanent collection is lackluster, but exhibitions can be interesting. Guided tours in English at 11:00 and 14:00, with an additional timing on Fridays and weekends. $10/5, free Friday evenings, 18:00-21:00.
There are few tourist attractions as such on Orchard Road itself, the thing to do here is shop, shop and shop! However, there are a few galleries of interest for photographers.
- 2902 Gallery, 11 Mount Sophia, Block B, #B2-09 (Staircase up the hill from The Cathay, near Dhoby Ghaut MRT), ☎ +65 6339 8655. The largest dedicated photo gallery in South-East Asia, with a focus on Singaporean talent. Hosts changing exhibitions including the yearly Singapore Int'l Photography Festival plus workshops, lectures and more.
- epSITE, 501 Orchard Rd #03-18/19 (Wheelock Place), ☎ +65 6736 4986. Daily 11:00-21:00. Also known as the Epson Imaging Gallery, this small space features changing photography exhibitions. Hardly worth a detour, but take a look if you're in the area. Free.
It's difficult to find anything more strenuous to do on Orchard than lugging around shopping bags, getting pampered at a spa and watching a movie, although Orchard Central has some interesting active lifestyle spots.
- Andana@Orchard, Paragon #06-19/26 (Paragon), ☎ +65 6836 9988. 10:00-23:00 daily. Singapore's largest spa, with 22,000 sq.ft. of space, partly outdoors thanks to its rooftop location. Basic day package $82, including use of spa facilities and all you can eat/drink from the menu. Massages and treatments charged separately. Couples packages available.
- California Fitness Orchard, Lvl 8, Ngee Ann City (Orchard MRT, Exit D. Take Lift 19 or 20 (located beside Montblanc (L1)), ☎ +65 6834 2100. M-Sa 06:00-24:00, Su 08:00-22:00. Formerly at Orchard Building, this is over 28,000 ft of gym equipment smack dab in the middle of Orchard Rd. Has a reputation for being a gay cruising spot. Day pass $40.
- The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd (near Dhoby Ghaut MRT). A modern shopping mall (partly) hiding behind a stately 1939 art-deco facade, the main draw here is the eponymous cinema on the top floor. The Picturehouse, Singapore's first and only arthouse cinema, shows movies uncut, but many are restricted to 21 and above.
- Estheva Spa, Ion Orchard #03-25 (Orchard MRT), ☎ +65 6733 9300. Daily 10:00-22:00. All sorts of aesthetic and spa treatments in an Italian-inspired interior. Advance booking advised. Popular with the ladies. Couple spa packages are also available.
- Damai, 10 Scotts Road (Grand Hyatt Singapore), ☎ +65 6738 1234. Damai is the lifestyle centre at the Grand Hyatt, offering a spa, pool, fitness centre and healing treatments based on Chinese, Malay, Indian, and European traditions.
- Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Rd Level 4 (Orchard MRT, Orchard Road exit). Various beauty salons can be found on the fourth floor. Facials, a wax and mani-pedis for a fraction of the cost at salons in the rest of the city. Get a stylish haircut at a full-service salon for about $10, even for ladies. The best salons accept most major credit cards to cater to the demand of tourists.
- Orchard Central Via Ferrata Wall, Orchard Central #04-22 (Somerset MRT), ☎ +65 6509 1300, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a Via Ferrata wall and separate rock climbing facilities if you need to stifle the urge to scale the high-rises of Singapore.
- SG Flight Simulations, Orchard Central #04-31/32 (Somerset MRT), ☎ +65 6634 2797. M-Th 11:00-21:00, F/Sa 10:00-22:00, Su 10:00-21:00. Captain an Airbus A320 and choose from 20,000 different flying scenarios, which can take 30 to 90 minutes. There's a full flight deck and a 180-degree curved screen, and you even get to don the captain's jacket. Aviation instructors will be nearby and ready to assist. $69-195.
Orchard Road and neighbouring Scotts Road form Singapore's premier shopping district, with several kilometres of road lined on both sides by practically nothing but shopping malls. The latest round of frantic upgrading in 2008-2010 has seen half a dozen new malls open up and most of the rest renovate in an attempt to catch up.
Orchard Road also participates in the annual Great Singapore Sale in June. During this period, street events and late night shopping (till 23:00 on Fridays and Saturdays) are held at selected malls, and tourists are entitled to additional privileges.
While most malls in Orchard are distinctly upmarket, there are one or two that still cater to the average Singaporean wallets. Most of the shopping centres operate from 10:00 to 22:00. A selection of malls, from west (Orchard MRT) to east (Dhoby Ghaut MRT):
- Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd. Frequented mostly by teenagers, this mall is a bargain hunter's paradise slowly creeping upmarket. Not bad for unique clothes and accessories at reasonable prices.
- Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Rd (Orchard MRT). Previously notable primarily for the giant Borders bookstore that used to occupy the entire ground level, this has been replaced by a large Marks & Spencer department store. There's a pretty good selection of restaurants on the 2nd floor.
- ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn (Orchard MRT). Opened 2009, this is the largest new shopping mall on Orchard in years, extending four floors both above and under ground. While the spacey, pulsating, neon-lit facade is dominated by high-street flagships for Louis Vuitton and co, the interior has plenty of more affordable options including Japanese retailers Uniqlo and Muji. The fourth floor has the ION Art gallery, while the basement 4 Food Opera food court, while a bit pricey by Singapore standards, is enormous and very popular. Located on levels 55 and 56, at 218 metres, ION Sky offers a 360-degree view from the highest point on Orchard Road. It houses an observatory and contemporary restaurant Salt Grill, presided over by Australian chef, Luke Mangan.
- CK Tangs, 320 Orchard Rd (Orchard MRT). Singapore's very own old-school department store.
- Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Rd. Designer boutiques and international brands populate this architecturally fascinating mall.
- Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Rd. Most visitors end up in Lucky Plaza thanks to the dubious street-level camera and electronics stores, which are legendary for ripoffs and poor customer service, and are best avoided unless you really know your stuff. However, there's more to the mall than that: cheap souvenirs (2nd floor), low cost salons that offer most services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and hair services (fourth floor), off-season designer perfumes and cosmetics (most floors) and a cheap and surprisingly good food court in the basement. Lucky Plaza is also the favorite hangout spot for the Filipino community and gets packed on weekends.
- Ngee Ann City (Takashimaya Shopping Centre), 391 Orchard Rd. Where the tai-tais (wealthy ladies of leisure) hang out. Expensive branded goods on the first floors, more affordable shopping in the two basement floors. Also features Kinokuniya, Southeast Asia's largest bookstore, on the 4th floor.
- Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd (opp Takashimaya). Long one of Singapore's flashiest malls, packed with Prada, Gucci and other luxury brands, although ION has stolen some of its thunder.
- H&M, 1 Grange Rd (near Somerset MRT). The Swedish fashion retailer's flagship store in Singapore, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers, and children.
- Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd. Modern, soaring twelve-story mall with a funky series of outdoor escalators and nice views from the terraces. Floors 7 and above are devoted to food, with restaurants including Korean barbecue masters Nolboo and Japanese set meal specialist Ootoya. The mall also houses the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a collection of public art installations by acclaimed international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden.
- 313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Rd (Somerset MRT). 313@somerset is directly linked to the Somerset MRT station and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options include local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship spanning 4 floors. There are also some popular dining options including a cluster of restaurants and lounges such as Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant, Kamado Japanese Wood Fire, Central Hong Kong Café, Flying Chillies and Trattoria Cuccina Italiana on Level 1.
- The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Rd (Somerset MRT). One of the stalwarts of Orchard Road, now largely outshone by newer competitors. Their decorations during Christmas used to be among the most flamboyant, but has since toned down. Will host a large branch of Metro department store from November 2014.
- Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd (Dhoby Ghaut MRT). Singapore's oldest air conditioned shopping mall, just above the MRT interchange and recently given a thorough face lift. Numerous eating options and a large cinema complex on the top floors. Very busy now that Dhoby Ghaut serves as an interchange for three different MRT lines.
Orchard is a good place to sample not just Singaporean food, but food from all over the planet. That said, if you're pinching pennies, prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, but well, at least it's not as bad as Sentosa.
Almost every shopping mall has its own food court, but for gourmet snacking, it's hard to beat the collection of shops and stands at Takashimaya's basement. Be careful though, those $2 squid balls won't fill you up.
- Asian Food Mall, 304 Orchard Rd, Basement (Lucky Plaza). 10:00-22:00. One of the cheapest food courts in the district. Prices are about 30% cheaper than the food courts at nearby malls while still maintaining excellent Singapore standards. Stalls serve local and Asian fare: the chicken rice stall usually sells out well before closing and the ayam penyet is no slouch either. $3.
- Ayam Penyet Ria, 304 Orchard Rd #04-25/26 (Lucky Plaza), ☎ +65 6235 7385. 11:00-21:00. Very popular Indonesian eatery specializing in ayam penyet or "smashed chicken", breaded, deep-fried and flattened, served with the fiery chili sambal of the name. For a less spicy treat, sample their excellent rawon (beef soup). $7.
- Es Teler 77, 14 Scotts Rd, #05-82 (Far East Plaza). 12:00-21:00. Indonesian food, famous for its coconut milk and fruit ice desserts. Slightly pricier than its surroundings, which are small eateries serving cheap local food (for the area). Popular with locals. $5-10.
- Food Republic, 435 Orchard Rd 4F (Wisma Atria). 10:00-22:00 daily. Food court done up as a series of hawker carts and decorated with various nostalgic knick-knacks. The food is a notch above average (try e.g. the hokkien mee fried noodles, with a perennial queue snaking out in front), and so are the crowds. Slightly more expensive than the competition. $5-10.
- Gyoza no Osho, 5 Koek Rd (Cuppage Plaza). On the ground floor of a musty mall filled with dodgy Japanese karaoke joints, this greasy spoon joint specializing in ramen noodles and gyoza dumpling will make you sweat — partly because the soups are hot, partly because they don't have air-con. $10.
- Killiney Kopitiam, 67 Killiney Rd (Somerset MRT). A Singaporean legend now franchised across the island, this ordinary-looking coffee shop continues to pack in the crowds for its famous kaya toast (a steal at $0.80 per slice), with the kaya itself also sold at $3/5 for a small/large jar. For lunch or dinner, try the more substantial chicken curry with grilled French bread ($4.50). $1-5.
- Central, 391 Orchard Rd B2F (Takashimaya), ☎ +65 6732 8196. 10:00-21:30. Hip Hong Kong-style tea cafe offering both Chinese classics like rickshaw noodles as well as modern fare like baked rice with cheese and their infamous durian fried rice. Try the thousand layer tofu with pork floss ($4) and wash it down with some yin-yang (tea and coffee mixed together, $3). $5-10.
- Din Tai Fung, 290 Orchard Rd #B1-03/06 (Paragon). 10:00-22:00 daily. The Singapore branch of the award-winning Taiwanese chain, serves some of the best xiao long bao ($8.50 per platter) this side of Shanghai. Expect to queue near mealtimes, but it's a big place and the queue moves fast. Second outlet at Wisma Atria.
- Lao Beijing, 68 Orchard Rd #03-01 (Plaza Singapura). 11:30-22:00. Among Singapore's best places for Northern Chinese cuisine, particularly well known for their guotie and jiaozi dumplings. Can get expensive in the evenings, but the weekend High Tea buffet (Sat, Sun, and holidays, 15:00-17:00 only) at S$13.80 per person is a deservedly popular steal — not only is there the traditional laid-out buffet, but you can also order dumplings from the menu.
- Shimbashi Soba, 290 Orchard Rd #B1-41 (Paragon). The best Japanese soba noodles you'll find in Singapore, made by hand in the adjoining glass-walled workshop. The best time to come here is lunch, when you can get filling set meals for $15 or so. $10-20.
- Sakae Sushi, 501 Orchard Rd #02-13 (Wheelock Place). A fairly happy compromise of price and quality, plates $1.90 each (except red premium plates at $6.90). All you can eat on weekdays, 15:00-18:00, for only $16.90++. Tip: order off the menu if you don't see what you want, the price is still the same. $15-30.
- Soup Restaurant, 290 Orchard Rd #B1-44 (Paragon). Offers not only excellent Chinese-style soup, but also plenty of traditional Singaporean Chinese fare, including their trademark samsui chicken (slow-boiled chicken eaten wrapped in lettuce with garlic sauce). Eat a Chinatown Heritage Course ($50 for two) for lunch and take the leftovers home for dinner. Franchises throughout Singapore, including Suntec City and Changi Airport.
- Sushitei, 391 Orchard Rd #02-13 (Takashimaya, 5th floor). A popular chain of conveyor belt sushi joints, with the Takashimaya outlet tops for quality and popularity. You pay a slight premium here for the fresh ingredients, but at $2 and up per plate it's still a steal. Second outlet in Paragon.
Orchard Road is brimming with fiercely competitive restaurants. One easy option is Crystal Jade, a popular chain of Chinese restaurants with outlets in nearly every major shopping mall in Singapore, including Suntec City, Shaw House, and Paragon.
- Chatterbox, 333 Orchard Rd (Meritus Mandarin 39F), ☎ +65 6831 6291. Possibly Singapore's most famous chicken rice, and at $30/plate after tax, certainly its most expensive — but you do get very generous portions, air-con, red-lacquered furniture and panoramic views over Orchard. (For the budget alternative, go to Mr Chicken Rice in the Downtown East Mall next to the Singapore Flyer, run by Chatterbox's original chef and offering the same for $3!) Often full on weekends, so call ahead, or eat the same meal at the Observation Lounge on the level below. Frequent 1-for-1 promos for AmEx cardholders.
- Crystal Jade Palace, 391 Orchard Rd #04-19 (Ngee Ann City), ☎ +65 6735 2388. Lunch 11:30-15:00, dinner 18:30-22:30. The flagship of the chain, which serves authentic Cantonese food. Dinner here is fairly expensive, but the set lunch for two is good value at $50. The dim sum during the lunch time is worth trying as well as the roasted meat and wonton noodles during lunchtime. Reservations recommended as queues can be as long as an hour. Lunch $25, dinner $50.
- Mezza9, 10-12 Scotts Rd 2F (Grand Hyatt), ☎ +65 6730 7189. Su, 11:30-15:00. Famous for their Sunday Munch, arguably the best of Singapore's many extravagant hotel brunches. Worth a splurge at $138 per person, including free-flowing Perrier-Jouet champagne. Reservations essential.
- Sushi Kikuzawa, 360 Orchard Rd #02-13 (International Bldg), ☎ +65 6738 3833. Daily, 12:00-15:00, 18:00-22:00. Tiny hole-in-the-wall sushi joint, but the ten counter seats here are packed every night thanks to their simple concept: pay a flat fee and the chef makes all the sushi you can eat. You can either let the chef pick, or order off a ten-page menu. Reservations highly advisable. Lunch $30, dinner $40, +$10 on weekends.
Singapore's nightlife is concentrated just south of Orchard Rd by the riverside, but there are still a few notable nightspots. The largest cluster is Emerald Hill opposite Somerset MRT, a beautifully restored cluster of shophouse-cum-bars.
- Alley Bar, 2 Emerald Hill, ☎ +65 6732 6966. Daily 17:00-02:00 or later. True to its name, this bar has been set up in an alley between two shophouses — not that you'd really notice from the slick modern decor and the endless parade of Singapore's nouveaux riches. $10-15.
- Number 5, 5 Emerald Hill, ☎ +65 6732 0818. M-Sa 12:00-02:00, Sun 17:00-02:00. Friendly bar housed in a 1910 Peranakan shophouse. Downstairs is loud, upstairs is quieter with a pool table. The cocktails are good, but for a fiery kick try their Chilli Vodka or its industrial-strength big brother, Chilli Padi Vodka.
A few places of interest lurk elsewhere along the strip.
- Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Rd. Undoubtedly Orchard Road's most notorious nightspot, this building is a Designated Red-Light Area famously summarized as "four floors of whores". The first floor bars are borderline legit and not too bad for a noisy drink, but the rest are outright sleazy — and the Thai "ladies" propositioning passersby in the hallways may not be ladies at all.
- Casa Tartufo Ristorante, 583 Orchard Rd Forum Shopping Mall #01-17, ☎ +65 6836 4647. daily lunch & dinner. Classic atmosphere, seems like being in a Milanese restaurants and the food is divine. Their specialty is truffles but they also serve all the traditional Italian dishes. $38 lunch and $100 dinner.
Accommodation on Orchard Rd incurs a hefty premium for the location and is uniformly expensive (at least by Singapore standards). Cheaper rates are usually offered only by older hotels in varying states of decay.
- YMCA International House, 1 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65 6336 6000. Forget your preconceived ideas of what a YMCA is - this is a hotel that also has dorm rooms. Air-con, TVs, fridge and attached bathrooms in all rooms, plus gym and rooftop pool. Rooms on the 2008-refurbished floor cost $5 extra, a worthwhile investment. History buffs should note that the previous YMCA building on this site was the headquarters of the notorious Japanese secret police Kempeitai during the Occupation, but the present structure dates from the 1980s. Dorm $30, single/twin $125/130.
- The Elizabeth, 24 Mount Elizabeth, ☎ +65 6738 1188. This somewhat tired tourist hotel doesn't have much of the promised "Old World Grandeur", but the location a short stroll off Orchard is good for the price and there's a waterfall to watch as you munch on the insipid breakfast buffet. $115.
- New Cape Inn, No. 3 Seng Poh Rd, ☎ +65 6536 9939. Air-conditioned guest accommodation, all equipped with Cable TV, Mini refrigerator and Coffee/ tea maker. Some of its facilities and services are CCTV camera, Restaurant and Currency exchange. From $115.
- Orchard Parade Hotel, 1 Tanglin Rd, ☎ +65 6673 7113. This business hotel decorated in modern Mediterranean style is located at the starting end of Orchard Road, next to Forum Galleria. It is also within walking distance to the Botanic Garden and embassy district in Tanglin. $200.
- Rendezvous Hotel, 9 Bras Basah Rd, ☎ +65 6336 0220. Colonial style on the outside, modern facilities including pool on the inside. Lee Kuan Yew has been known to pop into the Straits Cafe upstairs for their famous nasi padang (rice buffet). $200.
- YWCA Fort Canning Lodge, 6 Fort Canning Rd, ☎ +65 6338 4222. Hotel-style accommodations at a mid-range price in a good location just off Orchard. Broadband Internet in all rooms, outdoor pool, tennis court. And no, you don't have to be young, female or Christian to stay here. Long-term stay rates also available if staying over a month. Single/twin $180/190.
- Hotel Bencoolen, 47 Bencoolen St, ☎ +65 6336 0822, fax: +65 6336 2250. On the fringe of the main Orchard Road stretch. Single/twin $150/170.
If you want to splurge, there are two major styles to choose from, colonial hotels, harking back to the turn of the century, and modern hotels, firmly in the present.
- Concorde (Formerly Le Meridien), 100 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65 6733 8855. Long overdue for a renovation, the main selling points here are the central location and the reasonable prices. $250.
- Four Seasons, 190 Orchard Blvd, ☎ +65 6734 1110. Centrally located, but tucked away on a quiet side street. Famed for its level of personal service, and the modern facilities include the only air conditioned tennis courts in the country. $400.
- Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Rd, ☎ +65 6737 7411. The place to stay if you want the Raffles experience without the crowds (and with a slightly less breathtaking price tag). Supremely lovely garden pool. Be sure to opt for the older main building, not the modern annex. $300.
- Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Rd, ☎ +65 6738 1234. Hyatt's Singapore flagship is Orchard Road's standard-bearer for sleek modern swank. $300.
- Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65 6737 2233. Your standard-issue Hilton with everything you'd expect, but not much more. The steep price comes mostly from the excellent location a few minutes walk from Orchard MRT. $300.
- Marriott, 320 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65 6735 5800. In the perfect location for shoppers, right at the centre of Singapore at the intersection of Orchard and Scotts, and with Tang's department store in the basement and an underground walkway to Orchard MRT. A little older and mustier than the other high-end options, but the yum cha (dim sum buffet) on Sundays is to die for. $300.
- Meritus Mandarin, 333 Orchard Rd, ☎ +65 6737 4411. Slightly older but very central hotel popular among businessmen and sightseers alike. $250.
- Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore (Formerly the Meritus Negara), 10 Claymore Rd (In the quiet residential enclave of Claymore, the hotel is a short walk away from all the Orchard Rd action), ☎ +65 6737 0811, e-mail: email@example.com. This hotel has been transformed into a deluxe hotel boasting a mineral water swimming pool and free Internet for guests. $350.
- Quincy, 22 Mount Elizabeth, ☎ +65 6738 5888. Opened 2009, this super modern boutique hotel is tucked away on a quiet hill 5 min from Orchard Road. Insane 12th floor pool half-suspended in the air. Gym, sauna, spa. Free minibar and all three meals included in most packages. $250.
- Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Rd, ☎ +65 6737 7966. A modern hotel catering somewhat to business travellers, offers free in-room wired/elsewhere wireless Internet, a pool and gym along with all services expected of a fine hotel. Even modest rooms are well furnished with excellent toiletries. Buffet restaurant (Carousel) offers excellent if pricey, Asian and Mediterranean dishes prepared in a Halal-certified kitchen for four different meals.
- Shangri-La, 22 Orange Grove Rd, ☎ +65 6737 3644. One of the world's most luxurious resort hotels. Beautiful grounds and pools. 755 guest rooms and suites. The location is a bit of hike though. $400.
- St. Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Rd (Off west end of Orchard Rd), ☎ +65 6506 6888. Singapore's newest super luxury hotel is a rather uncomfortable fusion of replica 1910s style (crystal chandeliers and leather sofas) with plasma TVs and jet massage showers. Pool, spa, 24-hour butler service, private art collection including works by Botero and Miro. $600.
For serviced apartments:
- Great World Serviced Apartments. Thrice-weekly cleaning, large workout facility w/pool, waterfall Jacuzzi and an amazing view of downtown Singapore. $1,500 per week.
There are Internet cafes on almost every floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road that charge only $2/hour. Other locations include Capitol Building at the corner of North Bridge Rd and Stamford Rd.