With attractive green spaces; a rich street food and vibrant fashion scene; island-hopping options and multiple family-friendly entertainment attractions, Singapore is a city break with something for everyone.
For many Singapore draws comparisons with Dubai from its penchant for high-rise architecture, high humidity and huge multicultural expat population.
The Southeast Asian city-state has also been an attractive next move for some as well as a thrilling fresh stamp in any traveller’s passport.
With its efficient metro system – also like Dubai’s version, running above and below ground – it’s an easy place to get about.
That includes taking in one of the newer hotels on the skyline, Courtyard By Marriott Singapore Novena.
Located in a pleasant suburban neighbourhood a short jaunt from the city centre, it occupies the upper floors of a tower within Royal Square; a complex of offices, shops and an underground station.
The line is a time and cost efficient alternative to taking a taxi from Changi International Airport; just 25 minutes away if luck on your side with the timetable.
These attributes are part of what makes the Courtyard a good base for tourists looking to spend a couple of days exploring, while being kinder to your wallet than some Singapore addresses.
The rooftop pool also offers a thrilling spot from which to take in the city’s geography.
With one of the complimentary drinks in hand from the Urbana Rooftop Bar, it represents an ideal place in which to both recover from a flight and get your bearings.
The same can be said about the bedrooms that offer floor to ceiling windows. Our high floor Deluxe Greenery Room packed a lot into a compact space, including a sumptuous king bed and views of a nature reserve.
Sky22 is the four-star hotel’s signature all-day dining restaurant and breakfast there offers another perspective on the surrounding skyline.
With medical tourism on the rise in Singapore, proximity to a premier hospital and medical centres has been a motivation for some Courtyard guests.
For those seeking to discover more about Singapore’s social and historical past, the address represents a good point from which to join the Balestier Heritage Trail.
Alternatively, a relatively simple metro journey gets you to newer prime tourist hotspots such as the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel with its breathtaking 57th floor rooftop Sky Park. Also the nearby Gardens By The Bay – best seen at night for the light and music show, or by day if you wish to take in the millions of plants in its thematic zones.
Both places are well situated for the bay’s evening light show as well as prime shopping and dining opportunities along Marina Boulevard.
From here you can walk via the Helix Bridge along the shoreline to the relocated Merlion fountain, or grab a cab or metro to other celebrated tourist draws such as the recently refurbished and re-opened Raffles Hotel.
One of the most vibrant parts of the city, Chinatown, buzzes with street markets, food carts and cafes giving good value in an often expensive city and lots of photo opportunities.
Orchard Road can keep your credit card busy as can the nightlife of Clarke Quay – but who needs shops and super clubs when you live in Dubai?
It mixes historical architecture at the mouth of the Singapore River with trendy bars and restaurants, as does Boat Quay, further along the waterway.
It too is known for its array of feeding opportunities in preserved low-level architecture set against the familiar financial towers of Singapore’s modern skyline.
The city soon absorbs time and the Botanic Gardens, Singapore Zoo, the Singapore Flyer ferris wheel and Jurong Bird Park are also on the tourism radar.
Likewise Sentosa, the Singapore island destination in the spotlight during the Trump/Kim Jong Un summit, but usually better known for Universal Studios theme park and lively Palawan Beach. You can reach it by cable car; monorail; and road and pedestrian bridges.
For culture, Singapore boasts several galleries and museums, plus religious sites such as the five-storey Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Just take good shoes and plenty of water.
Rooms at Courtyard By Marriott Singapore Novena start from AED507 per night (including taxes but not breakfast), based on two people checking in 28th June. Click on www.courtyardsingapore.com
For more on what to see and do, go to www.visitsingapore.com. Remember to always check with consulates or embassies about travel restrictions and requirements for your particular passport.