I’m a sucker for a building with a rich history. I’m also a bandit for British Colonial inspired interiors. Throw in some deluxe design and my excitement is reaching fever pitch. I may have even skipped when I entered the Fullerton Bay Hotel recently.
The creative love-child of renowned designer Andre Fu and DP Architects, the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore has bagged a plethora of awards since it opened in 2010, including an Architectural Heritage Award and Best Hotel Architecture. And it’s a cinch to see why.
It’s not just the fact that all of its 100 rooms are built over water. Or that they’ve somehow made the 18 metre ceilings in Reception feel majestic and boutique-cosy all at once. I can only put it down to one thing. Respect.
Singapore, as an independent nation, is turning 50 this year. Spring chicken! But its heritage and history reaches far, far back, and multiple nations, cultures and customs are weaved into its rich tapestry. And all around the FBH, if you look carefully, you’ll see references, little nods, subtle nuances that celebrate the fascinating story. And that’s what I’m talking about. Sure, as a hotel it’s INSANELY luxurious, but its deluxe design is all about respecting its heritage – a formula that makes it truly special.
Fu says “To create a modern Colonial hotel that pays tribute to the bygone era, I have purposely conjured up a sense of refinement throughout.” Hand-selected vintage furnishings, enormous original nautical maps displayed as artworks and commissioned contemporary sculptures look right at home alongside stunning crystal sheet chandeliers that send shimmering light dancing across a simply divine marble mosaic floor. (Just try NOT to loiter on that floor. It’s STUNNING.)
To me, the jewel in the hotel’s crown is the Clifford Restaurant and the building in which it sits. The Clifford Pier was built in 1933, and was the landing jetty and arrival point for all visitors and immigrants travelling by boat, for decades. The red iron lanterns that remain today would have been the first thing they saw as they approached this first port of call.
It wasn’t until 2014 that the pier was incorporated into the hotel, and it remains a conserved landmark of the people – basically ‘on loan’ to the FBH. Under strict limitations, Fu’s brief was to create a first-class dining destination within the historic space without altering the period features in any way. What he achieved is literally breathtaking. All of the stunning Art Deco highlights are retained, from the arched sun-ray design above the entrance to the column-free interiors, weightlessly supported by a mesmerising web of archways. Herringbone oak flooring, ivory French panelling, lanterns and textured vintage furnishings in grey, orange and dark aubergine set a truly gorgeous scene in the historic structure. I have died and gone to a Plantation-inspired heaven.
There are 100 rooms in total taking up the new section of the hotel, including six speciality suites themed to represent the Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan and Colonial cultures that have shaped the region’s past. The underlying scheme here is shameless luxury. Leather handles on drawers, polished rosewood, sparkling chrome, creamy gold wallpaper in the rooms, with yellow marble and ivory limestone in the bathrooms… it all makes for a contemporary take on Colonial elegance. Floor to ceiling windows and balconies take in beautiful views, Bvlgari amenities and a TV are in your bathroom, and there’s a rain or personal shower to choose from. Why thank you.
GO HERE IF
You’re after a seriously luxurious stay that celebrates diversity and history.
SIX WORD SUMMARY
Elegantly Lavish, Respecting Its Heritage’s Beauty
IN THE ‘HOOD
You’ve got prime waterfront (or should I say water-top) position at the FBH. The Marina Bay Sands complex is a short walk away for shopping and a birds-eye view of Singapore. FBH’s sister hotel, the historic Fullerton Hotel is a must-see for its stately British Colonial features, and a trip to The Lighthouse Restaurant on the rooftop is worth the effort of the hydraulic lift!
From S$530++ per night for a deluxe room including breakfast for 2.