The epitome of luxury and impeccable service, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, is home away from home, not just for business travellers but also for holidaying families with children.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The epitome of luxury and impeccable service, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, is home away from home, not just for business travellers but also for holidaying families with children.

The renovated Tower Wing of the hotel brings the outdoors inside, with a stunning one-storey high vertical garden, in addition to sculptures of children playing and the installation art of a cloud of metallic leaves.

Think of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, and one might call to mind the famed 792-room property set on 15ha of tranquil gardens, located just off bustling Orchard Road. One might also think of the Shangri-La as a beacon of timeless sophistication, a trusted brand, a household name – one that’s synonymous with luxury and the finest hospitality. 

These are perhaps some of the reasons why it has long been a trusted event venue and setting for many a momentous occasion, whether of a personal nature (who hasn’t been to a 100-table wedding there?), or a historical one (US President Donald Trump stayed there last year). The hotel has earned a slew of awards recognising it as a top hotel. Last year, Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards ranked it number two in Singapore and it was named Best Luxury Hotel in the TTG Travel Awards. From closed-door dialogue sessions to high society galas – the Shangri-La, with its superior conference facilities and professional staff, has always been the stage where premier events unfold.

But in a world where hotels with fresh concepts are popping up every quarter, in a digital age where meetings and workshops are conducted online, and at a time when overseas destination weddings are increasingly popular, it is not enough to simply be a go-to business hotel, or a trusted partner for a high-profile soiree. 

My Reading Room

Buds, an interactive play space for kids, is the largest of its kind in Singapore. Pictured is the ball pit in the Explorer Zone.

“The hospitality industry is highly competitive and constantly evolving,” says Tane Picken, general manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. “Delivering memorable guest experiences and making sure our guests have a wonderful time with us remains a top priority for our hotel. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance our guest experience.” 

When the hotel opened in Singapore in 1971, it was in fact the world’s first Shangri-La Hotel. The first wing to open (there are three) was the Tower Wing, which set the standard for what would become the signature Shangri-La experience. Two years ago, this iconic Tower Wing underwent an extensive and well-deserved facelift. Bearing in mind the need to elevate the guest experience further, the goal was to exceed all expectations. 

The hotel lobby was completely redesigned and enhanced with state-of-the-art amenities, while its Lobby Lounge was given a magnificent focal point – a 9m by 6m basalt rock wall filled with nine types of plants, designed by the famed landscape artist Charlie Albone. The lobby was further embellished with a collection of gorgeous installation art, including stylised metallic leaves that appear to drift in the air. Guests entering the lobby for the first time would feel like they’d slipped into a contemporary oasis, experiencing for themselves the utopia featured in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, from which the hotel got its name. 

But far more important than keeping up appearances is the way the Shangri-La has responded to the changing and evolving needs of guests. “In recent years, we have seen an upward trend in multi-generation travel, as well as an increase in family travellers staying with us,” reveals Picken. “To cater to family guests, the hotel developed and unveiled new family experiences in late December 2017.”



My Reading Room

The Safari Room, one of the hotel’s five Themed Family Suites, will inspire kids to ditch their iPad for their imagination.

As part of its rejuvenation project, all the 503 rooms in the Tower Wing were given a new contemporary look and feel but, for the first time, a dedicated family floor was created specially to accommodate the needs of people travelling with children. 

Today, the entire ninth floor features 19 thoughtfully appointed Deluxe Family Rooms and five two-bedroom Themed Family Suites, which are whimsically designed to appeal to kids. 

Guests on this floor have access to a communal 24-hour pantry, stocked with everything they might need (think bottle sterilisers and bath time toys), thereby allowing them to travel light, and to feel right at home at the Shangri-La. A family concierge is also at hand to assist guests with any additional requests they might have. 

In addition, children of guests in both the Family Rooms and Family Suites have access to Buds by Shangri-La, a brand new interactive indoor and outdoor play space that is the largest in Singapore, and the first of its kind in a hotel in the Orchard Road area. Curated installations, themed activity spaces, a specially designed toddler zone, and outdoor play areas including a water play zone with splash pads can be found in the 1,872 sq m space. 

Non-hotel guests can purchase one-time entry passes or annual membership packages, so that their children too can access this wonderland, where they have all the space they need to run and play to their hearts’ content.

These family-friendly initiatives have generated overwhelmingly positive feedback from delighted parents, and Picken is confident that besides keeping the hotels’ current customers engaged and excited, they will continue to attract new guests to the hotel. 

“The name Shangri-La encapsulates the serenity and service for which our hotels and resorts are renowned worldwide,” he says. “Just as it provided peace and tranquillity to wandering travellers, the hotel today offers respite from the frenetic pace of life, enveloping its guests with its warm and friendly hospitality.”