Singapore's hotels run the gamut from dirt-cheap to five-star luxury, and what you get depends largely on where you go. Marina Bay and Orchard have the bulk of Singapore's expensive five-star accommodations, while tourists seeking inexpensive rooms would do well to look into the Geylang area.
The super-efficient public transport system in Singapore has made location almost irrelevant, as even backpackers staying in, say, a budget hotel in Little India, can get to Orchard or anywhere else in a matter of minutes via MRT. Of course, nothing beats staying in the middle of a Singapore ethnic enclave like Chinatown or the aforementioned Little India, especially when holidays like the Lunar New Year or Deepavali roll around.
Despite Singapore's reputation as an expensive city, it offers a good selection of budget hotels for tourists with really low budgets. Many of the hotels in this list of budget accommodations cost less than $100 a night but offer just the right level of comfort for tourists traveling on the cheap.
Many of these budget hotels provide easy access to some of the more "authentic" areas of Singapore like Balestier Road, Katong and Joo Chiat, or close contact with ethnic enclaves like Chinatown and Little India. For the latter, you can stay in a Chinatown budget hotel like the Hotel 81 Chinatown (buy direct).
Little India’s hotels (like the Parkroyal at Kitchener pictured left; buy direct) put travelers right at the heart of Singapore’s Tamil Indian community, close to the district’s busy street bazaars and historic buildings. Little India is best known for its prodigious shopping, with the island’s only 24-hour mall (Mustafa Centre), along with other famed shopping spots like the Little India Arcade, Tekka Market, and Campbell Lane.
Hotels on or near Orchard Road
Orchard Road is Singapore's main shopping stretch and travelers who stay in hotels along Orchard Road get access to an immense amount of retail therapy straight out the lobby door. Shopping malls line Orchard from end to end, selling high-end retail goods from clothes to computers to makeup to shoes and everything in between. If you run short of cash, you can count on Orchard's endless supply of banks and money changers. Just make sure you don't run out of cash to pay your hotel bill at the end of your stay!
Hotels like the Singapore Marriott Hotel (pictured here; buy direct) offer the convenience of staying right on Orchard Road, a perk you'll enjoy particularly when the Great Singapore Sale rolls around.
Chinatown, Singapore Hotels
These Singapore hotels in the Chinatown and Tiong Bahru districts occupy Singapore's most popular ethnic enclave - one of the first communities established in Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles. Guests who stay at one of these hotels get access to Chinatown's temples, dining places, and a wealth of Chinatown shopping.
Hotels in this area may use Chinatown's historic structures to great effect - for example, the Scarlet (buy direct) is a boutique hotel built inside a preserved Singapore heritage building.
If you want to stay in Chinatown on a smaller budget, try our list of Chinatown budget hotels.
Hotels in the Heritage District, Singapore
These hotels stand at the historical epicenter of Singapore, close to where the city was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles himself. Hotels like the Intercontinental Singapore (pictured left; buy direct) are close to everything that matters - Orchard's shopping, business contacts at the financial district, even the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown and Little India.
If you want to stay in the heritage district but bringing in a smaller travel budget, try one of these Singapore Heritage District Budget Hotels.
Marina Bay, Singapore Hotels
The Marina Bay neighborhood is one of Singapore's oldest districts, and paradoxically also one of its newest. The Marina Bay Sands (pictured left; buy direct) towers above a revitalized Marina Bay District that includes relatively new landmarks like the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer. Tourists staying nearby can get their fill of the area's shopping, dining, theater, and entertainment opportunities (more on those in our list of top 10 things to do in Marina Bay), while business visitors can rest easy, knowing they're right next door to Singapore's biggest business district.
Riverside Singapore Hotels
The districts bordering Singapore River - places like Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay, and Boat Quay - were formerly reserved for warehouses, but the ongoing revitalization of the Marina Bay area has helped transform Singapore's riverside into a hotspot for nightlife and entertainment. The river is now lined with Chinese boats repurposed as restaurants; the streets are filled with young partygoers lining to get into one of the area's many hip watering-holes.
Stay at a riverside Singapore hotel like the Novotel Clarke Quay (pictured left; buy direct) for accommodations close to Singapore's party scene, or for easy access to Marina Bay and Orchard Road during the day.
The neighborhood of Tiong Bahru is undergoing an unlikely renaissance; young entrepreneurs have rediscovered this quiet, laid-back district marked by a profusion of Art Moderne style apartments and shop houses built in the 1930s.
They're slowly taking over parts of the neighborhood with artisanal restaurants, quirky furniture shops, and softly-lit bookstores. Not that they've completely remade the neighborhood - old residents still hang out at the temples and the large Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre, swapping old tales and preserving Tiong Bahru's essential retro character.
The best hotels in the neighborhood infuse Tiong Bahru with a style of their own, like the pickle-shaped Wangz Hotel (pictured left; buy direct), whose 41 guestrooms come in a funky Art-Deco/Straits Settlement style.