A September 2007 trip
to Singapore by Eric from Aiea
Quote: Singapore is one of my favorite global stops because it is here that you find all corners of the world converging on one city.
Based on information a Singaporean friend gave me, I booked 3 nights at the Hotel Royal at Queens. Though the cost was cheap, it was the location of the hotel that was its biggest value to me.
Because my friend is in the conference-planning field, I wondered what she was thinking about after checking into the first room. The paint was peeling on the wall and the room smelled musty. I changed rooms, and though it was nicer, it was still not what I had figured on based on her use of the hotel before. That this was not the hotel my friend had recommended was actually not apparent until she arrived at the front desk at the Royal Hotel and called my cell phone asking where I was—to the laughter of myself and the two gals working the front desk.
Located basically between three Catholic churches, and next to the SMU building, what the hotel lacked in its rooms it made up for in offering a great location with low price. The hotel is strategically located center mass in the city's dynamic business, financial, convention, cultural, entertainment, and educational hubs, and within a block walking distance to City Hall MRT station, Raffles City, the restaurants at the Chijmes, and 2 blocks from two Hawker centers, Suntec City, and Esplanade. Its no wonder that I thought this was why Dawn had recommended it! And here I believed she was taking care of me by putting me within walking distance back from the bars and pubs of the Chijmes!
The breakfast was okay, but you are much better off going to the Hawker location the next block over and paying for Malay and Indian foods for breakfast (next to the Catholic Church). The hotel bar has a Filipino band—and stiff beer prices! You may just want as last night cap there, though, because the band was pretty good.
The hotel staff was super-friendly and helpful. They definitely were a great group of folks. On the other hand, the hotel hosts large groups of Chinese tourists, so be prepared for lines.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2006
Hotel Royal at Queens
12 Queen St.
Singapore, Singapore 188553
Hotel | "Le Méridien Singapore"
The atrium of the Le Meridien seems to be surrounded by glass and is super nice. The Glass elevators and the open center of the hotel really are exquisite! My stay there was my second time – with both times getting bookings with good rates at the airport after arriving. That is not the preferred way to get a hotel – particularly when you may end up waiting 40 minutes for one lady who is indecisive to pick which hotel she will stay at!
The hotel staff were extremely helpful and courteous. What I like about the Le Meridien is that the rooms are big and very comfortable. The large glass enclosed shower is also a great treat because of the ability to take a shower with real water pressure. I was lucky enough to have a room overlooking Orchard and it was just a super room to stay in. If you are there for the weekend – you may also want to partake in their High Tea that they offer – a very unique experience.
The location of the Le Meridien offers the traveler one of the best advantages you can have when staying on Orchard Road because it is near the start of the hotel and shopping complexes and very close to the MRT stop. To get to the front desk of the hotel by cab and the front entrance is one thing – trying to get there from the street is a different story. The bottom floors below the hotel include many different types of shops, bars, pubs, and a few places to eat. But to the side is a hawker center with numerous places to get some great food and wash it down with a Tiger beer. There is also a wonderful outdoor place within 100 meters of the hotel to get roti and curry for breakfast. There is a lot of very good Indonesian and Singaporean food places all around the outside back and side areas of the hotel. Across the street you may just find that Chili crab you were wanting to try.
The hotel has a great swimming pool that is idea for cooling off after a day of exploring Singapore – or from a long flight. They also have a very good gym that is well worth a guest trying out.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2007
Concorde Hotel Singapore
100 Orchard Road
Housed in the beautifully restored Tao Nan school building on Armenian street and the showcased Empress Place Building, the museum first opened in 1997, showing mostly Chinese civilisation items. The displays now are the cultures that make up Singapore and include the Peranakan cultural collections, Malay, Islamic, Hindu, and even Taoist items in its 11 galleries. Visitors will find the flat screens at the exhibits to be something of a great help.
The collections include acquisitions and artifacts that were inherited from the historic Southeast Asian collection of the former Raffles Museum. The museum features changing exhibits throughout the year. Often the special features can be found on their website or in different Singapore online guides.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2006
Asian Civilizations Museum
Attraction | "Hungry Ghosts/ Moon Festival"
The Hungry Ghosts and Moon Festival is celebrated by Southeast Asia's Chinese communities. Singapore, provides a great location for observing and has added pop concerts to the traditional Chinese opera officially intended to entertain the dead.
The festival takes place during the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar. It is a time when ghosts get a parole from purgatory. It is a time of mixed emotions: fear of the dead ghosts which may be roaming the street in front of a house and celebration which includes children's games, lavish feasts, and Chinese opera. If you get the chance to be in Chinatown when the festival is on, by all means do take advantage of being there and try on of the many types of mooncakes.The seventh month of the lunar year is devoted to the Festival of the Hungry Ghost, during which the gates of hell are thrown open and the spirits of the dead are released on 'parole' to roam the earth. Children and young toddlers should be kept from going out of the house, because the "Hungry Ghosts" could lure them to the kingdom of the dead.
Food, prayers, incense, and 'hell money' are offered to appease the spirits. Celebratory dinners are held as well as performances of Chinese street operas or wayang. The Chinese invite their dead ancestors for a meal and then burn joss sticks, hell money in surprisingly large denominations, daily essentials of paper that look like real clothes, shoes, TV, radio, and even cars and other luxuries. Some of the food looks so real – you might be fooled when purchasing it as well! But the basis of such is to ensure that their present generation and generations to come would be blessed, and free from any imminent harm.All ghosts must be fed and entertained. Having a wedding or moving to another house during this period is considered as bad luck. Dangerous travels such as sea voyages are not supposed to be conducted. And God forbid that one should die during this month! Another aspect of this celebration is the stage operas and other musical performances, said to provide entertainment for these dead souls. There is a lot of grandeur on the 30th day of the seventh moon - the last day of the festival .At midnight, the ghosts return to Hades and the gates are shut after them. Paper deities, money, and other goodies are burnt in a giant bonfire as a final gift.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 18, 2007
Singapore, Malay Peninsula
The Marina Plaza shopping center has undergone a complete change in the last couple of years, and I hardly recognized it. There are several great places there for evening entertainment as well. The Marina Plaza is across the river from the Merlion.
Some of the best roti prata can be found down stairs at the IT malls. Whether you like it with egg or onion - it's hard to beat roti and curry as a good snack or even as a breakfast. Most of the small restaurants sell food - but not drinks. Usually there is one place that sells only drinks. Do try Ginger beer if you find it.
The garlic naan bread at the hawker squares around Queens is worth stopping for. Make sure you don't skip over the small places serving it and Indian foods while looking at all the other hawker stands. Chicken briyani is a great meal anytime of the day!
Eric from Aiea