Last year I wrote about Singapore in this post – laying out an optimal itinerary for a one-day layover in the city. I talked a little about hotels too and mentioned our two favorites – the Fullerton Hotel and the Fullerton Bay Hotel. The other hotels we’ve stayed it just weren’t as good, mainly because they’re located away from the Marina area and closer to the shopping district (fun fact: we’re not into shopping). And as a result, I never enjoyed visiting the city. Now that we’ve figured out where to stay, we love stopping for a day or two on our way back from other Asian destinations. And yes, we need to actually plan a few days in Singapore next time. We never get to all of the things we want to do.
At that time I wrote that post, I had stayed at both hotels once, and they were both excellent, but for different reasons. The Fullerton Hotel is historic, perfectly-located behind the Merlion in the building that used to be the city’s main post office. If you watch Crazy Rich Asians, you’ll see the hotel several times, including right across the Singapore River from the first proposal scene. I’ve now returned to Singapore two more times, with my entire family and with my 9-year-old, and we had such great stays at the Fullerton Hotel that I want to expand a little on why this is the ONLY place you should consider staying next time you’re there. And no, they’re not paying me to write this!
The Seven Reasons Why the Fullerton Hotel is the Best Hotel in Singapore
I’ve always been partial to iconic hotels, and The Fullerton Hotel is the definition of Iconic – literally a National Monument. The hotel sits on the site of the original Singapore Stone, dating back 1,000 years, and was then the site of Fort Fullerton. The current building opened in 1928 and served as Singapore’s main post office until 1996. During WWII the building became a makeshift hospital and then the local headquarters of Japan’s military. And along the way it was also Singapore’s main lighthouse (which is now the hotel’s Lighthouse Restaurant). I highly encourage you to read the Wikipedia entry on the hotel before you visit, and to look at the historical photos all around the hotel. And there’s an entire section of the lobby (The Fullerton Heritage Gallery) that’s dedicated to the hotel’s history, including interactive exhibits for kids.
Location, Location, Location
Per my intro, we’re not into shopping. Instead we routinely head to Gardens by the Bay (a 20-minute walk), the ArtScience Museum (20 minutes), Chinatown (15 minutes), Arab Street (30 minutes) and Little India (35 minutes). The hotel is at the center of everywhere we want to go. And right around the hotel are the famous Merlion fountain, the marina, and a lot of street food (we’re partial to Makansutra Gluttons Bay). We particularly like renting Segway miniPROs and e-scooters and exploring the area – there’s a rental location just a minute or so from the hotel.
I love that the Fullerton Hotel incorporates kid-friendly elements on three levels. First, there are the amenities like kid-sized bathrobes. Second, there are always kid gifts waiting in our room at check-in, from stuffed bears to crafts to cookies. And third, the hotel’s mascot is a teddy bear, dressed in a Postmaster’s uniform as a nod to the hotel’s history. I’ve stayed in a lot of luxury hotels and I’ve never seen one as playful as the Fullerton. And I love that every kid guest receives an ice cream pass for a free daily ice cream in the lobby.
The service is perfect. From check-in to check-out, the staff go out of their way to make everything stress-free. And one of my litmus tests for hotels is to watch whether staff members speak to my kids in elevators, since it’s representative of making kids feel welcome property-wide. The Fullerton staff have passed this test multiple times!
We love the pool at the Fullerton Hotel, especially when we’re hot after exploring for half a day and just want to cool off and relax. The pool is right above the Singapore River and the views are perfect. We routinely get snacks as well without asking for them – typically mini cakes.
The Ease of Airport Transfers
To make our Singapore layovers even easier, we always arrange for the Fullerton Hotel’s airport transfers. A rep meets us at the plane, escorts us to passport control and the baggage claim, and then walks us to a waiting car. We’re zipped straight to the hotel, usually in under 20 minutes.
And the transfer back is even faster. Our last visit my daughter and I went from our 8th floor hotel room to the T2 airport lounge in 29 minutes, including checking luggage and going through passport control. It makes Singapore a no-brainer for a layover.
We were always impressed with the hotel anyway, but were blown away at Christmas. We were flying in from the Maldives, which didn’t feel like Christmas (understandable for a Muslim island nation), so we loved arriving at the Fullerton on December 22nd and instantly being immersed in all things Christmas. There were lights and trees everywhere, and even the underground passage to the marina was decorated. We particularly liked the main Christmas tree in the lobby, which was covered in…teddy bears! Well done Fullerton. Who would have thought that Singapore would become a new favorite Christmas destination?
Have you been to Singapore? Any tips for us for the next time we visit?
Note: I received a media discount for our stays. Rates start around US$250/night – well worth it.