The Singapore River forms a central artery in Singapore's densely packed Central Business District. The north bank of the river is where Raffles originally landed and founded his colony, and to this day many central government buildings can be found in the area. The newer south bank, laden with skyscrapers, is where Singapore's bankers make (or break) their fortunes. Between the two are the bulk of Singapore's nightspots, found along the riverside streets of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.
The riverside is best accessed by the MRT stations Raffles Place (North-South/East-West Lines) for Boat Quay and the Merlion, City Hall for Raffles Hotel and Chijmes, and Clarke Quay (North-East Line) for the bars and nightlife. There is no convenient MRT station for the western end of the river though: you'll have to hike on foot for 15 minutes, try to work out the buses, or hop on a bumboat.
A popular way to see the heart of the city is with Singapore River Cruises. Stations are scattered along both banks of the river and reservations are not necessary. Prices start at $3 for a simple ride from point A to point B.
The Esplanade/Merlion/Boat Quay area has some great views of Singapore and makes for a fine walk (or jogging trail if staying nearby). It can get quite hot during the day though; evenings are cooler and breezier, and the nighttime skyline is equally attractive.
The bulk of Singapore's historical attractions are packed by the river, and the best place to start your tour is at the mouth of the Singapore River. While this area has formed the downtown core of Singapore since the early 19th century, sadly, most of the once-iconic shophouses and street markets have given way to modern skyscrapers and shopping centres, and those who wish to experience a more authentic slice of colonial Singapore life would do well to head up north to the Malaysian island of Penang instead. Not all is lost though, and several important government buildings and places of worship dating back to the 19th century still survive, and provide a rare glimpse into the city's colonial past.
- Cavenagh Bridge (Next to Fullerton Hotel). Singapore's oldest bridge and its only suspension bridge, constructed in 1869, now a pedestrian walkway across the mouth of the Singapore River. Note the original sign forbidding cattle to cross.
- Civilian War Memorial (The Chopsticks) (War Memorial Park, near Beach Rd). Stands in memory of the civilians who perished during WWII. Mostly bypassed nowadays by underground passages, the memorial is sited above the final resting place of the remains of some unidentified war victims, part of the reason why the CityLink Mall does not travel in a straight line.
- Merlion, Merlion Park (Raffles Place MRT exit H, off Fullerton Rd). Singapore's official symbol, 8.6 metres tall and weighing 70 tons, spouts water daily on the south bank of the mouth of the Singapore river. (The statue previously stood further down the river, but was moved in 2002 after the opening of the Esplanade Bridge.) Designed by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board in 1964, many a commentator has pondered on the inherent contradictions of a creature that is half-cat, half-fish. Any time of night or day, a steady stream of tourists troops up to see the mythical beast, and a purpose-built pier lets you take pictures with the Merlion and the CBD in the background. When paying your respects, don't miss the bite-sized Mini-Merlion (officially the "Merlion cub"), a mere two meters tall, just 28 m away towards the bridge. Free.
- Raffles Statue, 1 Empress Place (Next to Asian Civilisations Museum). This statue of Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, is built on the (supposed) exact spot where he first landed. Second only to the Merlion as most popular place in Singapore to take a picture of yourself, and having the skyscrapers and the shop houses of Boat Quay in the background helps to explain why! The statue here is actually a replica; the original can be found in front of the Victoria Theatre.
- Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Pl, ☎ +65 6332 7798. M 13:00-19:00, Tu-Su 09:30-19:00. Housed in the historic Empress Place Building, this is one of Singapore's newest, largest and best-presented museums. As the name hints, all of Asia is covered in the scope, although naturally there is an emphasis on the cultures near and in Singapore. Also hosts visiting exhibitions. $5, or $10 for Peranakan Museum joint ticket.
- Mint Museum of Toys, 26 Seah St (behind Raffles Hotel), ☎ +65 6339 0660. 09:30-18:30 daily. Built to house the 50,000-piece toy collection of local enthusiast Chang Yang Fa, the contents of this five-story building covers come from 25 countries and span over a century of "Moments of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys" (hence MINT), with everything from wind-up toys to Darth Vader masks. Guided tours (45 min) available and recommended. S$15/7.50 adult/child (under 12).
- Peranakan Museum, 39 Armenian St, ☎ +65 6332 7591. M 13:00-19:00, Tu-Su 09:30-19:00. Formerly a branch of the ACM, now reborn as a standalone museum dedicated to the exuberantly colourful culture of the Peranakans, the Malay-Chinese and Malay-Indian traders who had a major impact on the Straits Settlements. The three story museum covers Peranakan weddings, religion and food with the latest in audiovisual gear. The building itself, a 1912 pastel blue wedding cake originally built as a school, is also impressive. $8, or $10 for ACM joint ticket.
- City Hall, 3 Saint Andrew's Rd (next to the Padang). This grand old building has seen many important events occur within and on its front steps. It was the place of the Japanese surrender in 1945 and was also where Lee Kuan Yew declared Singapore's self-governance and subsequent independence from both the British Empire and the Malaysian Federation. Earmarked to become the National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2015.
- Old Supreme Court Building, 1 Saint Andrew's Rd (next to the Padang). The Old Supreme Court Building was built in the classical style, featuring Corinthian columns and an allegory of justice set below the main dome. The current Supreme Court Building is right behind and its "spaceship" structure marks quite a contrast between the old and the new. Will be the National Art Gallery of Singapore in 2015.
- Central Fire Station, 62 Hill St, ☎ +65 6332 2996. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. The oldest surviving fire station in Singapore, it also houses the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery which showcases the history of Singaporean firefighting complete with antique fire engines. There are guided tours (that require booking) up the hose tower, once the highest point in 1920. Free.
- Old Hill Street Police Station (MICA Building), 140 Hill St. This striking Neo-Classical building catches the eye with its multi-coloured window shutters. There's an air-conditioned atrium inside which has a few art galleries and sometimes hosts performances, as part of the larger Ministry of Communication and Information. Somewhat fitting use of an old police station.
- 1-Altitude Viewing Gallery, 1 Raffles Pl (next to Raffles Place MRT station), ☎ +65 6532 5003. 08:00-22:00 daily. The viewing gallery at the rooftop of OUB Centre offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of Singapore from the highest point in the city-state at 282 metres. Visitors receive hi-tech interactive gadgets which allow them to see information about the places they are looking at. Each visit ends with a photo taken by specially mounted camera with a spectacular view of the Marina Bay as a background. $25 (08:00-17:30), $40 (17:30-22:00) with free mocktail.
The entire Singapore river area is a lovely place for a walk, with small green gardens, old-style bridges and historical buildings, and the nightlife-rich expanse of Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.
- Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place (Raffles Place MRT), ☎ +65 6338 4401. Originally built by the British in the 19th century, this was Singapore's premier arts centre until the Esplanade came and stole the limelight. Still hosts various smaller events that can't fit in (or afford) the Esplanade. History buffs may also want to do a detour: the Raffles statue in front dates to 1887, and the People's Action Party was founded here in 1954, as commemorated with a plaque showing a very young-looking Lee Kuan Yew.
If you'd like something a little more adrenaline-laden, head to Clarke Quay:
- G-Max Reverse Bungy, 3E River Valley Rd (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65 6338 1146. M-F 15:00-24:00, Sa-Su 12:00-01:00. Get strapped in and flung upwards with a giant rubber band at 200km/h. $45.
Jogging along the Singapore River is the best way to combine sightseeing and a workout, but there are two other options right next to Raffles Place MRT if you're willing pay for the air-con.
- Fitness First, 1 Raffles Place #06-00 (OUB Centre), ☎ +65 6534 4333. M-F 06:00-22:00, Sa 07:00-19:00, closed Su/hols. Compact little gym, but there's a rooftop swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and a tennis court. Day pass $40.
- True Fitness, 30 Raffles Place #07-00 (Caltex House), ☎ +65-6438 3000. M-F 06:00-23:00, Sa-Su 08:00-18:00. Cavernous two-floor gym packed with equipment. Busy in the evenings, but come here in the afternoon or weekend and you'll have the place to yourself.
Try a Singapore Sling. Tourists typically head to the supposed birthplace at the Raffles Hotel's Long Bar (see #Drink section).
There are some shopping malls of interest around the City Hall MRT station, but serious shoppers will wish to head to Orchard Road for their shopping instead.
- The Arcade, 11 Collyer Quay (Next to Raffles Place MRT). A small shopping mall in the heart of the financial centre. Consists mainly of small shops operated by individual owners, which are unique to the mall.
- CityLink Mall (City Hall MRT). For the novelty of an entirely underground mall that links the Riverside district to Suntec City and the Esplanade. You could go round in circles here if you don't pay attention, as the mall starts from City Hall MRT to Esplanade MRT and back again. Brace yourself for the human crush.
- Funan DigitaLife Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65 6336 8327. One of the best places to buy electronics in Singapore, stores here are strictly vetted and the risk of getting ripped off is low. To test new purchases, you can even make use of the Wi-Fi facility in the mall to get online and do the necessary checks.
- Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Rd (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65 6332 0329. A place where Myanmese like to gather for a good meal of authentic home cuisine. Also notable for its concentration of specialist camera stores.
- Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Rd (City Hall MRT), ☎ +65 6338 7766. Daily, 10:00-22:00. Large shopping mall directly above the City Hall MRT station. Notable for Jason's Supermarket in the basement, which has probably Singapore's largest selection of gourmet food items. Raffles City Shopping Centre covers most shopping bases, including fashion, books, music, sports, toys, eye wear and beauty stores. A haven for consumers looking for luxury items, it offers downtown shopping at its finest with a number of luxury and designer stores such as Omega, Thomas Sabo, Cortefiel, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. Raffles City is also home to big department stores like Marks & Spencer and Robinsons, and fashion chains like Topshop, River Island, and Skyla. The mall also has a number of restaurants including modern Australian Double Bay and Brotzeit, and is connected to the Swissotel, home to the Equinox Restaurant and New Asia Bar.
- Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030 (Just next to the Clarke Quay area, a 10 minutes walk from Clarke Quay MRT.), ☎ +65 6336 7184. This mall has a large offer of Japanese stores and dining places, most notably a big Japanese supermarket in the basement (Meidi-Ya) and an outlet of the Kinokuniya book store.
You're spoiled for choice when eating at the riverside. Prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, so avoid any place that needs to use touts to get customers.
The west end of the river (around Robertson Quay) houses a significant Japanese expat community, and consequently the Japanese restaurants nearby serve up some of the best fare this side of Tokyo.
- Komalas, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☎ +65 6333 5644. Daily 08:00-22:00. McDonalds-style fast food, only they serve vegetarian Indian food on a banana leaf instead of burgers and fries. Worth a visit for the cognitive dissonance and good food, with massive meal sets under $5.
- Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay (near Raffles Place MRT). Open 24 hours. A nicely done up Victorian-style hawker centre, but a little pricier and hence quieter than most. The satay here is famous though, and there's a long row of outdoor stalls on the south side (open only in the evening), with Fatman Satay (Stall #1) generally getting the best reviews.
- Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, 11 Bridge Rd (Clarke Quay MRT, opp Central), ☎ +65 6533 6128. Tu-Su 11:00-21:00. Popular bak kut teh specialist serving light, peppery Teochew-style pork rib soup, best eaten with salted vegetables (mui choy), dough fritters (you tiao) and rice. Usually packed, but service is fast. $6.50/bowl.
- Yong Bak Kut Teh, 233 River Valley Rd (corner of Mohamed Sultan). Well located for late-night snacks, this coffee shop serves up tasty KL-style dark, herbal pork rib soup. $5.30 for a bowl with rice and dough fritters.
- Epicurious, 60 Robertson Quay #01-02, ☎ +65 6734 7720. Tu-F lunch/dinner, Sa-Su all day (breakfast until 13:00). This lovably quirky cafe-delicatessen is justly renowned for its gourmet breakfasts, featuring not only the usual pancakes and toasts but more offbeat options too. Try the Green Eggs and Ham, with pesto scrambled eggs and prosciutto ($12), and wash it down with freshly squeezed juice ($5).
- Ichibantei, 60 Robertson Quay #01-13, ☎ +65 6733 3923. 11:30-23:00 daily. Possibly the best of Singapore's many ramen restaurants, this branch of an Osakan restaurant serves up generous portions of authentic Japanese noodles. $10.
- Inle Myanmar Restaurant, 111 North Bridge Rd, ☎ +65 6333 5438. 11:00-22:00. This very authentic little eatery is run by and for Singapore's tiny Burmese community, many of whom are gem traders in the office block above. The food is an intriguing mix of Thai and Indian influences. Try the chicken curry weekday lunch set. $5-10.
- Señor Taco, Clarke Quay Store 01-12-D (by the interior fountain square). Excellent Mexican by Asian standards, with an inside restaurant area and a casual area under the canopy. $15-$25.
The best places for a splurge with a view in the evening are Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, which have many riverside restaurants offering al fresco dining. However, especially on Boat Quay, avoid any restaurant that has to resort to touts to find customers.
- Bacchanalia, 23A Coleman St (Head north on Hill St from the river. Around the corner from fire station on the left), ☎ +65 6509 1453, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 12:00-15ː00, 18ː00-24ː00; F 12:00-15ː00, 18ː00-02ː00; Sa 18ː00-02ː00. Run by acolytes trained at the highly-acclaimed Fat Duck Restaurant in Berkshire, England, Bacchanalia serves reinvented classics and thought-provoking dishes. Main dishes include Wagyu short rib; steak tartare; duck confit; foie gras satay; prawn risotto; salmon; caviar and king crab lasagna. Mains, $28-112.
- Gyu-Kaku, 81A Clemenceau Ave #01-18/19 (UE Square), ☎ +65 6733 4001. Stylish Japanese-style charcoal barbeque joint, with a vast selection of wagyu (Japanese beef) and side dishes. Vegetarians need not apply. $35.
- IndoChine Waterfront, 1 Empress Place (Opposite Boat Quay on a terrace outside the Asian Civilisations Museum), ☎ +65 6339 1720. Reasonable modern Vietnamese/Lao/Khmer food and gorgeous views of the river at only moderately high prices. Great place for a romantic date. Reservations advisable. $80.
- Jade, 1 Fullerton Square (Fullerton Hotel), ☎ +65 6877 8188. Lunch 11:30-15:00, dinner 18:00-23:00. One of Singapore's best-regarded Chinese restaurants, dinner here can get very expensive indeed, but they're packed on Saturday and Sunday for one of the best deals in town: all you can eat gourmet dim sum made to order for $28, including soup, tea, and signature dishes like black ink squid dumplings and wasabi prawns. Reserve early.
- Jumbo Seafood, 20 Upper Circular Rd #B1-48 (The Riverwalk), ☎ +65 6534 3435. Well-located outlet of the popular seafood chain famed for their chilli crabs, a Singapore speciality. Jumbo has another central outlet at Riverside Point, just across the river from Clarke Quay. $50.
- Mimigar, 1 Nanson Rd #01-08 (Gallery Hotel), ☎ +65 6235 1511. Daily 18:00-23:00. Excellent Okinawan eatery offering the full range of bitter gourd stir-fries and strange pork parts; the name is Okinawan for "pig ear"! Try the signature soki soba noodles ($9) and wash them down with some awamori rice liquor with a shikwasa lime mixer. Limited seating and popular on weekends, so show up early or make reservations. $50.
- Quayside Seafood Grill, Clarke Quay Block A (Near Hooters), ☎ +65 6338 0138. One of the better places for Singaporean food on the Quays, open for dinner only. The pepper crab here is good but a little pricey at $4/100g, which translates to $60-80 per critter. $50.
- Viet Lang, 1 Old Parliament Lane, #01-03 Annex Building, Old Parliament House (Behind Victoria Theatre/Concert Hall), ☎ +65 6337 3379. Among the best Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore, and you can even wash down your pho and cha gio with some imported 333 beer. $40.
Another good choice popular with the expat crowd is CHIJMES (30 Victoria St), the former Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, now an atmospheric assemblage of high-end food & beverage outlets near the Raffles Hotel.
- Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria, 30 Victoria St #01-29A (CHIJMES), ☎ +65 6334 9332. A real Brazilian churrascaria (barbecue), where waiters walk around with skewers of South American beef and you can eat all the meat you want. 11 churrascos at lunch, 15 at dinner, extensive salad bar, and there's a good selection of wines, cold beer and caipirinha, the Brazilian national drink made with sugar cane. $33/48 lunch/dinner.
- Lei Garden, 30 Victoria St #01-24 (CHIJMES), ☎ +65 6339 3822. One of the most expensive Cantonese restaurants in town, this Hong Kong-based restaurant group serves high end cuisine with an emphasis on garoupa, lobsters, prawns, and other seafood. Popular when entertaining business guests, just hope you're not the one who gets stuck with the bill. $50.
- Prego, 80 Bras Basah Rd (Fairmont Singapore 1F), ☎ +65 6431 6156. Singapore's largest Italian restaurant seating 320, it has a pizzeria, a deli, a wine bar, and the main restaurant. Good for their pastas and pizzas, the calamari rings, and mushroom soup is also good for a start. The tiramisu is another highlight. $40.
Singapore's nightlife is almost entirely concentrated near the river. The main party zones are Boat Quay, on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G) and Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay). Less well known but also worth a look are Circular Road, parallel to Boat Quay just behind it, and Robertson Quay, an up-and-coming nightlife/restaurant zone at the western end of the river. Bars and pubs come and go with dizzying speed, so just head out and find today's hip spot. All four are within crawling distance of each other. Mohamed Sultan Rd, inland from Robertson Quay and until recently the place to be, has been severely eclipsed by newer upstarts and most bars have been replaced by restaurants and furniture stores.
Bars and pubs
- Bar 84, 76 Robertson Quay, ☎ +65 6235 0002. Better known by locals as the Magic Bar, you can watch Ginza-trained manager-bartender-magician Hashi-san dazzle and astonish his guests nightly except Sunday. Dim lighting, smooth jazz, and stylish decoration makes this the perfect place of a quiet drink — although beware that, in addition to the $10 cover and $15 drinks, any props used for your amusement will also magically find their way onto your bill.
- Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Rd #01-05/06 (Riverside Point, opp Clarke Quay), ☎ +65 6438 7438. 12:00-24:00 daily. Singapore's first microbrewery, still going strong after ten years and now brewing up no less than 12 types, available in handy 6-glass sampler sets ($10.49). Indoor and outdoor seating, with a wide range of pub grub in huge portions. Lunchtime prices can go as low as $3.50 for a pint. $10.
- Em by the River, 1 Nanson Rd #01-06 (Gallery Hotel), ☎ +65 683 9691. 09:00-02:00 M-F, 08:00-03:00 Sa-Su. Formerly Soundbar, this supremely chilled out place by the river is a cafe by day and a happening bar at night. $10.
- Eski Bar, 46 Circular Rd (behind Boat Quay), ☎ +65 6536 3757. 20:00-03:00. Open till 03:00 on F-Sa. If the tropical heat starts to get to you, pop into the coolest place in town — a steady -6°C, to be precise, although the chill-out area is a comparatively toasty 18°C. Try the grapefruity Eski Blue or coconut sweet Sleeping Polar Bear ($15 each).
- Equinox, 2 Stamford Rd, ☎ +65 6837 3322. The five bars and restaurants here offer the best nighttime views of the city, but prices are correspondingly expensive ($15 and up for a drink). For a cigar and live jazz, head to CitySpace (floor 70), while New Asia is a more casual place for a drink. Entry is through the Swissotel entrance on Stamford Rd.
- Harry's Bar, 28 Boat Quay, ☎ +65 6538 3029. The favorite watering hole of Nick Leeson, the "Rogue Trader" who brought down the 233-year-old Barings Bank and was once arrested here for indecent exposure. There are now franchises all over town, but this is the original. Try the Bank Breaker, an unlikely shot of whisky and Midori, which like Leeson's escapades goes down smooth but leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Live music most nights.
- Long Bar, 1 Beach Rd (Raffles Hotel, 2nd floor), ☎ +65 6412 1816. 11:30-01:30. The supposed birthplace of the Singapore Sling, a syrupy sweet pink concoction of gin, cherry liquor, and other mysterious ingredients, often including pineapple juice. The two-floor bar is large and a bit of a tourist trap, but drinking a Sling at the beautifully decorated wood-paneled bar and throwing the accompanying peanut shells on the floor should be on every visitor's agenda — if you can stomach paying $36 for a premixed drink poured out of a pitcher. The current recipe is likely sweeter than the original recipe, but you can ask for a drier version. According to one historian, slings were popular in Singapore even before their supposed invention at the Raffles' Long Bar in 1915. Moreover, the Long Bar has moved from its original location within the hotel.
- Marrakesh, 3D River Valley Rd #01-01 (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65 8500 0964. 11:30-15:00 and 18:00-01:00. The slick faux-Moorish decor inside is pleasant enough, but the thing to do here is to grab one of the hotly contested outdoor tables, fire up an expertly prepared shisha water pipe and watch the endless parade of Singapore's nightlife unroll before you. $12-15 for drinks.
- Pump Room, 3B River Valley Road, The Foundry (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65-63342628. Daily 12:00-03:00. Very popular microbrewery/bistro at the heart of Clarke Quay. Full menu. Indoor and outdoor seating. Live music nightly (except Mondays).
- Timbre, 1 Old Parliament Lane #01-04 (The Annex at The Old Parliament House), ☎ +65 6336 3386. Daily 18:00-01:00. In a beautifully renovated colonial house opposite Boat Quay (formerly occupied by Q Bar), this has some of the best views in town and is one of only a few places in Singapore specializing in local live music. Indoor and outdoor seating.
- Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa, 54A Boat Quay (Level 2), ☎ +65 6536 5319. Singapore's first cat cafe, inspired by the Japanese. Customers can cuddle cats or just watch them peacefully. However, drinks can only be consumed outside the enclosed area. Reservations are recommended as there are a limited amount of people allowed at one time. $12 for the first hour, drinks from $1 up.
At all clubs listed below, arrive early (or very late) because otherwise you may be stuck in line for a while. ID is theoretically required but rarely checked.
- Attica, 3A River Valley Rd #01-03 (Clarke Quay), ☎ +65 6333 9973. Daily 17:00-late. Popular "New York style" club complex split into four zones: the outdoor 'lilypad' bar by the river, the main dancefloor (R&B, funk), the inner chill-out courtyard and Attica Too, the members-only club upstairs (house/trance). Picky bouncers, so dress sharp.
- Canvas, 20 Upper Circular Rd, ☎ +65 6538 2928. The former Home club, now repoened under as Canvas. Drinks $12, 1-for-1 happy hour 18:00-21:00..
- Zouk, 17 Jiak Kim St, ☎ +65 6738 2988. Singapore's best-known nightclub and in fact a complex of 4 spaces: Zouk itself for harder dance music, Velvet Underground for loungier stuff, Phuture for experimental edge and the outside Wine Bar for chilling out. A full-entry ticket will set you back a rather pricey $35, but two drinks are included and the place is happening especially when foreign DJs are in town — which is more often than not!
Unless you're a shopping maven intent on maximizing time in Orchard Road's shopping malls, the riverside is probably the best place to stay in Singapore.
There is a large cluster of older mid-range hotels on and near Havelock Rd at the western end of river, not the best location for sightseeing or shopping. SBS bus 51 from Havelock Rd offers a good escape route to Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard. Note that in the center, the bus goes north up Eu Tong Sen Rd/Hill St, but returns south via North/South Bridge Rd.
- Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, ☎ +65 6338 8333. Very much a standard-issue, slightly older business hotel, but it's clean, comfortable and very well located. $200-.
- Copthorne King's, 403 Havelock Rd, ☎ +65 6733 0011. The former King's Hotel, given a thorough renovation when taken over by the Copthorne group and now looks (almost) brand new. Tower wing rooms are good, main wing less so. The primary downside is the somewhat inconvenient location near the west end of the river, although Mohammed Sultan is within striking distance. $150-.
- Holiday Inn Atrium, 317 Outram Road, ☎ +65 6733 0188. Formerly the Concorde Hotel, the 30-floor inner atrium is indeed impressive, but the rest of the hotel is looking old.
- Robertson Quay Hotel, 15 Merbau Rd (In a round building where Clemenceau Ave crosses the river. MRT: Clarke Quay or Dhoby Ghaut), ☎ +65 6735 3333, e-mail: email@example.com. Partly renovated rooms, a little limited breakfast, Internet available for a fee. Really good value for money especially if you just want a place to sleep and keep you stuff when visiting Singapore. from $130.
- Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay, 2 Magazine Rd. New hotel close to Clarke Quay. Small but excellent rooms, included breakfasts, and a rooftop area with pool. $170.
In addition to the hotels below, check out adjacent Marina Bay, which has a major cluster of high-end hotels.
- Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd (directly above Raffles Place MRT), ☎ +65 6339 7777. Formerly Raffles the Plaza and the world's tallest hotel, now neither but still one of Singapore's best hotels: recently refurbished, unbeatable location, good service. The South Tower rooms are newer than the North Tower. Pool shared with the adjacent Swissotel The Stamford and thus crowded at peak times. $300.
- Naumi, 41 Seah St, ☎ +65 6403 6000. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A hip hotel 5 minutes walk from City Hall MRT. 40 rooms and suites. from $360++.
- Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, ☎ +65 6337 1886. A Singaporean icon offering luxury in colonial style. Known as the birthplace of the Singapore Sling and the final stand of Singapore's last tiger, shot in the Billiards Room. Famed for super-attentive service, with more staff than guests, but needless to say, it's also by far the most expensive hotel in Singapore! $600.
There are some luxury hotels of note scattered elsewhere on the river.
- Fullerton Hotel, 1 Fullerton Sq, ☎ +65 6733 8388. In the magnificently refurbished former Central Post Office, this is Raffles' closest competitor (in price as well) with an excellent location facing the Merlion on the south side of the river; the third-floor pool almost certainly has the best views in town. Rooms are modern in style and luxuriously furnished, but for the best views it's worth paying a little extra to avoid the Courtyard rooms and get a Quay or better. $500.
- Gallery Hotel, 76 Robertson Quay, ☎ +65 6849 8686. If you've ever wanted to spend the night in an IKEA showroom, this self-proclaimed Highly Individual Property is the place for you. No paintings hanging on the wall here, the name refers to the hotel's own style, all steel, glass, austere modern furniture and breakage-prone fancy electronics. Well located for visits to the 4 bars/clubs on premises and nightspots on Mohammed Sultan, but you'll be taking a taxi anywhere else. Bonus points for free Internet and Singapore's funkiest pool/human aquarium. $238.
- Grand Copthorne, 392 Havelock Rd, ☎ +65 6733 0880. The flagship of the Millennium & Copthorne chain and the only luxury hotel at the west end, but unfortunately the pomp of the lobby and exterior are not matched by the spacious but otherwise somewhat dumpy rooms. $230.
- Novotel Clarke Quay, 177A River Valley Rd (MRT Clarke Quay), ☎ +65 6338 3333. The hotel has 401 rooms each with magnificent and un-obstructed views, and state-of-the-art facilities. $120.
- Swissotel Merchant Court, 20 Merchant Rd, ☎ +65 6337 2288. This large 476-room hotel has an excellent location on Clarke Quay right next to the MRT station, but the rooms are musty and those facing the river suffer from noise from partygoers whooping it up. $200.
- Systematic Laundromat, 11 Unity St #01-22, ☎ +65 6732 1438. One-day laundry service (no self-service available). Call ahead for pricing or they may charge you a hefty "tourist tax" of up to 200%. $6 for 4kg.