Weaving our way up the Hotel Fort Canning driveway, the lush greenery of Fort Canning Park kept the washed colonial facade curiously hidden, until the final turn. At first glance, the iconic building is impressive. Perched on the hilltop looking over the Singapore city skyline and surrounded by 18 hectares of national parkland, the luxury hotel is a stunning urban oasis, seemingly worlds away from its high-rise neighbours.
Heritage Hotel With a Unique History
The heritage listed building that now houses Hotel Fort Canning has a rich and interesting history. Originally built in 1926 as the Administration Building of the British Far East Command HQ. It was later used by the Japanese Military during the Occupation (1942-1945) and returned to the British following the war. The Singapore Armed Forces took it over in 1965 (with independence). It wasn’t until 2011 that it became Hotel Fort Canning as it is today; a beautifully preserved piece of the country’s history and a 5-star boutique hotel with a curious point of difference in the saturated Singapore luxury market. Stepping into Hotel Fort Canning today, the interiors cleverly combine modern, sleek finishes with Asian motifs and tropical plants all within the carefully preserved colonial structure.
Our Deluxe Room
A boutique property, there are just 86 guest rooms and suites in total. Each features a view of the green garden surrounds or the cityscape beyond. Walking into our Deluxe Room, strangely it was the bathroom that first caught my eye. A luxurious, light-filled white marble room with a floor to ceiling picture window framing the gardens just outside. It was a stunning sight. The room itself packs a visual punch too, with interiors inspiration from the rich wood finishes, a state-of-the-art central control pad to slick furniture from Poltrona Frau. I wanted to Insta-shop the enter space.
Dining at Hotel Fort Canning
The Salon is an intimate dining space where you’ll enjoy breakfast each morning. A selection of delicious Western and Asian specialities line up on the buffet with eggs and fresh coffee on order. We feasted on fluffy omelettes, roasted duck, chicken, smoked salmon, creamy bircher muesli with fresh berries, doing our best to resist the golden pastry selection showing off on the counter. Sit in the comfort of the air conditioning or alfresco on the terrace.
The Salon is popular spot for lunch with hotel guests and corporates. The menu includes a range of Western favourites but we couldn’t miss a chance to try some local flavours from their new menu. We ordered the Mixed Seafood Pie Tie (pan seared bay shrimps and scallops stuffed in ‘pie tee’ shell), Singapore Hokkien Mee (braised mix of yellow and thick rice noodles served with prawns, squid, streaky pork belly, eggs and bean sprouts), Mee Siam with Boston Lobster (wok fried rice vermicelli with Boston lobster, chives and beancurd), Indian style HFC Chicken Curry (chicken pieces and potatoes are cooked in a spicy coconut gravy) served with rice, achar and papadums and a fresh berry Power Smoothie for a cool hit.
Tisettanta Lounge is a chic destination for an afternoon coffee or cocktail creation from the mixologist’s menu. Light, bright and airy, the lounge bar is a popular spot with guests and locals looking to do business over a drink on the hill. Hotel guests are also generously treated to a complimentary canapé and drinks at Aperitif Hour, each evening. Make sure you carry your evening tipple over to check out the fascinating archeological pits in the reception area. The four pits showcase relics dating back to the Majapahit kings who ruled the Singapore of the 14th century.
Training at The Legends Club
Hotel Fort Canning has one of the best equipped gyms of any hotel we have ever stayed in. This was particularly surprising given it is a boutique hotel. The gym is housed in The Legends Club, the very modern building adjacent to the hotel. The Club also provides conference and events spaces for the hotel. The gym is fitted out with TechnoGym Black Series equipment including a Kinesis cable machine, stationary weights, a smith machine, cardio equipment, power plate and a separate studio where classes or one-on-one classes are offered. I essentially spent my workouts trying out all the cutting edge equipment.
The state-of-the-art approach to wellness extends to the hotel’s three pools (a free-form, a lap pool, and a children’s pool). Each is chemical and chlorine free. Instead, they are cleaned using NASA technology. This makes the water safer for the environment and for guests. I can attest that it is incredibly clean, clear and lovely to swim in.
What to See Near Hotel Fort Canning
If you can tear yourself away from the pool, Fort Canning Park is on the doorstep, quite literally. We ran the short route around the park, pausing to read about the history of the site known as Forbidden Hill and took in city panorama, along the way. You will need to run a few laps of the park to get in a decent distance but it’s a picturesque little route. You may find as we did, that the humidity is quite unforgiving and a few laps is enough for a decent morning workout before you retreat back into the air-conditioned comfort of the gym or hotel.
Hotel Fort Canning is just a short stroll from Clarke Quay, Plaza Singapura, 313@Somerset and ION Orchard. Four museums (including the National Museum of Singapore) and art galleries are within walking distance of the hotel. Marina Bay are also just a walk away.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Hotel Fort Canning for this stay. However, our opinions words and images are authentically our own.
Hotel Fort Canning
11 Canning Walk, Singapore
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.