Shandelle Battersby stays at a historic Singapore icon, The Fullerton Hotel
The Fullerton, Singapore's 71st National Monument and one of the country's finest hotels, is just 20km from Changi Airport in the heart of the CBD, where Marina Bay meets the Singapore River. If you're arriving by MRT (you're probably not), the closest station is Raffles Place, but I'd go with the cab if I was you - the experience of pulling up in a car to the porte cochere of this beautiful Neoclassical building, which was developed into a 5-star hotel in 2001, will stay with you for days. She's even more spectacular when lit from below at night.
Check-in experience: The huge light-filled atrium lobby of this hotel, once Singapore's General Post Office, is a tourist attraction in its own right. As well as a koi pond, multiple places to drink and dine, live music in the evenings, wedding parties doing their thing, an art exhibition and some of the biggest flower arrangements you'll ever see, there are also luxury stores and a cake boutique. Your hardest task is blocking it all out for a moment so you can concentrate on the check-in process.
A Premier Marina Bay View room with its own balcony offering panoramic views. Throughout there were fresh orchids - Singapore's national flower - and I loved the hand-stitched Merlion toys in the room created by disadvantaged women from the local Mother and Child Project ($SGD20, NZ$23 each) and how the blinds opened and closed whenever I entered or left the room. I need this at home. Some room types come with access to the elegant Straits Club, where you can enjoy daily champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapes.
Bathroom: Marble, with a spa bath, rain shower and Bottega Veneta amenities.
Price: Rooms start from SGD$420 before taxes.
What's in the neighbourhood? The Merlion and its madding crowds who flock to Instagram is on your doorstep, as are the other buildings in The Fullerton Heritage precinct, including sister property The Fullerton Bay Hotel and its excellent rooftop Lantern bar. Marina Bay is your front yard and anything else you could possibly need is a short walk, MRT or cab ride away. Formula 1 fans note that you've got great views of a section of the circuit from your balcony.
Through the ages: The hotel's site has a rich history dating back to the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. This is celebrated at the lobby's interactive Heritage Gallery and on two complimentary heritage tours which non-guests can also access, one of which has a maritime focus. Once "the most important post office in the East", when the hotel was built as the GPO in 1928, it became "Mile Zero" from where all of Singapore was measured. Many important decisions defining the country's future were made within its walls, and Fullerton Square, on which it sits, was used for decades of political rallies following Singapore's independence from the British in 1963.
Food and drink:
Try to get a window table at The Lighthouse, the in-demand 50-seat restaurant on the hotel's top floor. It's so named for the beacon that once sat in its exact location to guide ships into port until 1978, and now the restaurant specialises in authentic Italian cuisine. After dinner, head upstairs for a drink at the rooftop bar and watch the light show in the harbour. There are several other bars and restaurants on site and a plethora of others within walking distance.
Facilities: The 25m outdoor infinity pool overlooking the river is lovely and guests also have complimentary access to the extensive gym, sauna and steam room and there's an award-winning spa.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes.
Perfect for: History buffs will relish a stay here and it's the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion such as an anniversary, significant birthday or honeymoon.