In the mid-1990s, spas began making a splash in the Singapore hotel scene. By the millennium, every luxury hotel was either planning a full-blown spa facility or at least offering spa services to its residents. At the same time, day spas sprouted up in shopping centers, and despite the economic downturn, these businesses have stayed afloat. Now the Singapore Tourism Board is positioning Singapore as an urban spa hub in Southeast Asia, luring visitors from the region and beyond with luxurious facilities that go above and beyond the call of relaxation and hedonistic pampering. Here are the best among the many:
Singapore's most celebrated spa, Amrita (The Fairmont, Level 6, 2 Stamford Rd.; tel. 65/6336-4477; and Swissôtel Merchant Court, Level 2, 20 Merchant Rd.; tel. 65/6239-1780; www.amritaspas.com), is operated by Raffles International and has proven so wildly successful that the hotel chain has opened Amritas in Germany, Switzerland, and beyond. This flagship spa at The Fairmont is the largest spa in Singapore, with Southeast Asian-inspired interiors and treatments -- over 1,000 to choose from.
Amrita is convenient if you want to stay in the city center; however, if you want more of a retreat spa experience, Spa Botanica (2 Bukit Manis Rd., The Sentosa; tel. 65/6371-1318; www.spabotanica.com) is a gorgeous pick. It is located at the Sentosa, a scenic resort dripping with laid-back, yet elegant tropical Southeast Asian decor. Spa Botanica has 6,000 sq. m (64,583 sq. ft.) of designated spa space, with pools, mud baths, and treatment pavilions nestled in lush gardens. Treatments center around natural recipes for beauty and relaxation, including spice and floral treatments.