Today is all about being fit and active, so start with a healthy breakfast at Kitchen by Food Rebel. This vegan- and vegetarian-friendly café located in the heart of the CBD was launched by a professional health coach. The casual 40-seat venue offers a lean morning menu that includes an energising Ultimate breakfast, a low-carb platter specially designed by Ultimate Performance gym.
Suitably invigorated, take a short 10-minute walk to Boulder Movement at Downtown Gallery, the area’s only dedicated rock-climbing gym, for a one-hour beginner class that focuses on safety and essential climbing skills.
Afterwards, head to the building’s rooftop terrace for a healthy alfresco lunch at The Garden Club. Go for a mixed-fruit smoothie bowl or cheeseburger made with Beyond Meat and plant-based cheddar. Follow that up with a quick taxi ride to Marina Bay Sands (MBS) to align both body and mind at the Banyan Tree Spa. Perched on the 55th floor of Tower 1, the spa offers luxurious massages, facials and speciality treatments.
Refreshed, enjoy a cuppa at Origin + Bloom downstairs, a patisserie pairing cold-pressed and exceptional coffee with a range of delectable chocolates and pastries – you’ve earned it. Try the signature iced mazagran, made with lemon juice and espresso, or their cold-drip coffee. Next, rent a bicycle – there are several providers in the area such as The Bicycle Hut – for a spin starting out at Marina Barrage, near Bay South of Gardens by the Bay. Part of the Eastern Coastal Loop, an easy 8km roundtrip ride around the Marina Reservoir takes about an hour and offers great views of some of downtown’s most iconic sights. Return your bike, then consider a bite to eat.
In the glitzy South Beach development, Real Food offers delicious vegetarian fare ranging from dumplings to pasta and pizzas. Alternately, if you get hungry on your ride, consider a pit stop at Fennel Café by the Flower Dome. Here, you can enjoy delectable small plates such as sourdough bread with hummus or a chilled tomato and red pepper gazpacho.
End the night with some time on the tables at Pinball Wizard. Located at Sim Lim Square, this retro-style bar and club lets you play classic pinball games themed after Star Wars, The Simpsons and more, while enjoying a cocktail and listening to DJs pump out classic ’90s jams.
“I love the Tanjong Pagar area for its vibrant nightlife venues and food joints such as RPM by D.Bespoke, Lucha Loco and Maxwell Food Centre.” — Yafith A Hamid, operations director of A Phat Cat Collective
While waiting for the shops to open, head down to Clarke Quay and enjoy a pleasant early-morning stroll along the Singapore River from the old shophouses of Boat Quay to the downtown core. The river empties into Marina Bay, and it’s just a little further to Colony at The Ritz- Carlton, Millenia Singapore. Their international breakfast buffet is one of the city’s best.
After breakfast, hail a taxi over to Kampong Glam. With scores of shops specialising in everything from aromatics to fashion, this atmospheric Malay and Muslim heritage district is great for unique, local souvenirs. On Arab Street, Sifr Aromatics is a third-generation perfumery offering a variety of homemade scents, while Haji Lane is lined with fashion and home décor boutiques such as HYGGE and Victoria Jomo. Also, check out the Malay Art Gallery on Bussorah Street, for its Malay weaponry, talismans and textiles.
No Singapore shopping excursion is complete without a trip to the retail wonderland that is Orchard Road; it’s a particular treat in December thanks to its Christmas lights display. First grab lunch at the recently opened Merci Marcel, a cute French boutique and café at Palais Renaissance mall. The red snapper ceviche and marinated crab tartine are two standouts on the menu. Browse the boutique’s French goods before visiting the nearby outlets showcasing some of Asia’s top labels.
At Ngee Ann City, SocietyA spotlights fashion forward women’s clothes and accessories from nearly 50 regional designers, while Design Orchard holds over 60 homegrown brands. Over in Plaza Singapura, NomadX is a huge multi-label retail space notable for its design your- own-scent perfumery.
Leave your bags at the hotel, then grab a table at buzzy Blue Label Pizza & Wine at Mandarin Orchard. The creative pizza menu utilises uncommon toppings such as Hokkaido octopus and countneck clams. Afterwards, it’s a short walk to The Other Room at Marriott Hotel for vintage cocktail concoctions that date back to the 1700s.
“For local brands, I suggest visiting an atelier such as The Canary Diamond for jewellery, Reckless Ericka if you’re looking for contemporary clothes and Vaughn Tan for couture.” — Pek Lay Peng, owner of SocietyA
Today is mostly about the kids. Take your time getting them ready, and then head to a late-morning brunch at Fynn’s, an Australian-style bistro with terrace seating. Kids will love the buttermilk pancakes and waffles, while the truffle-infused omelette and decadent French toast stuffed with gruyère and bacon are a delicious treat for adults.
Walk 10 minutes down Raffles Boulevard to Marina Square, home to the world’s first NERF Action Xperience. This massive 1,670m2 space is divided into four main thematic zones, including a zombie apocalypse arena, where you can duke it out with NERF guns. Smaller rope courses and playgrounds also cater to younger kids.
When you’re done, walk across the street to Suntec City for lunch at Pasta Supremo. Here, it’s all about fresh, handmade pasta with an Asian twist. A “build your own” menu means that everyone can get what they want. After lunch, take a taxi to the ArtScience Museum, which hosts the Southeast Asian debut of “Disney: Magic of Animation”. This wide-ranging exhibition includes interactive areas and more than 500 paintings, drawings and sketches from some of the studio’s beloved animated films, including its most recent hit, Frozen 2.
Next up it’s a 20-minute taxi ride over to Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, located in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This nature-themed playground includes a working garden, farm and treehouses; the water play and photosynthesis areas reopen this month, too. From here, it’s a short ride to Open Farm Community in leafy Dempsey Hill. The environmentally conscious restaurant grows its own ingredients in a garden that includes a great sand pit for the little ones.
With such a full day behind you, book a babysitter at the hotel before squeezing into tiny Junior The Pocket Bar to unwind with a cocktail. The décor and menu change every six months – the current ski lodge theme brings winter holiday magic and alpine liqueurs to the tropics.
“I love to eat at Kazbar. The head chef is Lebanese, and they serve high-quality fish. For brunch, I head to Artichoke.” — Elika Tasker, founder of Food Rebel
’Tis the season for top-notch live entertainment
Spark your little one’s imagination at this immersive 10-day children’s festival (13 to 22 December) featuring non-verbal theatre, dance and art performances.
Dance the night away at Sentosa’s Siloso Beach during this two-day EDM extravaganza headlined by the likes of Tiësto and Zedd (6 to 7 December).
Catch Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-famous musical live at Marina Bay Sands from 17 December – then see its big-screen adaptation this month, too.
Try more off-the-beaten-track activities in Singapore
From farmstays to smash rooms you can discover more unique destinations to visit in Singapore with a new video series launched by Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board. Visit 7 unexpected and alternative things to do in Singapore to find out more.
This article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine