Doing Business In… Singapore

November 1, 2017, 10:52 PM UTC
Young woman using smartphone and pulling suitcase, city skyline in view
Young woman using smartphone and pulling suitcase, city skyline in view
Lost Horizon Images/Getty Images/Cultura RF

Come to the gateway of Southeastern Asia for its cosmopolitan flair and ease with the English language, stay for a melting pot of cultures and some of the best food on the planet.

Getting around

Flights from the U.S. land at Singapore Changi Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. It’s also one of the best, regularly topping the SkyTrax top 100, thanks to its cleanliness and unusual perks. (Try the slide in terminal 3.) Unlike many peer facilities Changi was built with vehicular traffic in mind, so hail a cab and you’ll find yourself speeding along the East Coast Parkway on a 15-minute ride to the center of the city-state.

Best business hotels

Look no further than the Ritz Carlton for what our colleagues at Travel + Leisure say is the best hotel in Singapore, courtesy of its jaw-dropping views, excellent art collection (including work by Andy Warhol), and top-notch service. Seeking something a bit more local? The Raffles Hotel can’t be beat with a colonial history going back to 1887 and a permanent spot in most bartenders’ books courtesy of the Singapore Sling. Finally, if you want something a bit more chic, head across the road to The South Beach, which has a Norman Foster-designed exterior, Philippe Starck-designed interior, and personality through and through.

Where to take clients

Skip the usual suspects and do dinner at Candlenut, where chef-owner Malcolm Lee serves a tasting menu of shared plates that reflect his Peranakan heritage with spicy, tangy flavors. (Don’t miss the buah keluak fry up.) Afterward, indulge in a tipple at Food & Wine-approved Tess Bar, a food and drink spot opposite the Raffles Hotel that serves compelling cocktails like “Martin’s Choice” with Rémy Martin V.S.O.P cognac, Suze, and Chrysanthemum cordial. Still feeling up for more activity? Singapore is studded with karaoke joints and K Suites is among the classiest, targeting the corporate set with luxe rooms and extensive electronics.

Local gifts

Shopping in the world’s most expensive city is a national pastime. (Perhaps that’s just so people can escape Singapore’s sweltering climate by heading into its many malls.) The familiar global luxury marques along the exterior of Mandarin Gallery hide more interesting ones inside, such as Atomi (which sells a variety of goods that embrace Japanese design), Et-i-kit (which curates clothing and jewelry from a variety of brands), and Melissa Zakka (where you can pick up a Singapore souvenir that’s a notch above the usual stuff).

Between meetings

If you can stand to be without air conditioning, the stunning Singapore Botanic Gardens—a UNESCO Heritage Site—can’t be missed. Have lunch en plein air or catch a concert by a local symphony. If you’d rather be indoors, visit the Red Dot Design Museum, an Instagram-worthy destination that houses more than 1,000 items and products recognized for spectacular design. (Don’t miss the gift shop.)

Extending your stay

They call it a gateway for a reason. Head back to Changi and hop on a short flight to any number of Asian destinations: The bustling byways of Hong Kong are four hours away; the tropical Thai beaches of Phuket are less than two hours away. And if you don’t want to leave Singapore, simply hop on public transit and visit Sentosa, the city’s own island resort with panoramic views and plenty to do.