By: Shamus Sillar
Shamus Sillar pretends he’s starting all over again in Singapore and checks into two serviced apartments – Wilby Bukit Timah and Orchard Scotts Residences – each offering highly comfortable short-term or long-term accommodation, and each with its own distinct vibe.
25 Wilby Road, #01-03
6305 0505 | email@example.com
Wilby Bukit Timah is located in the middle of my old stomping ground, so I know precisely what to tell the taxi uncle: “Wilby Road, near Tan Chong Motor” – there isn’t a driver on the island who doesn’t know the venerable Nissan showroom.
The first thing a new arrival is likely to notice when pulling in through the tree-lined gates of Wilby Bukit Timah is its peaceful, green setting. Any preconceived notion that Singapore is just a city of skyscrapers and shopping malls will be quickly dispelled. I imagine for many who are in the throes of moving here – especially families – this is a welcome prospect; a chance to take a few deep breaths.
There are 181 apartments at Wilby, across three different grades: Deluxe, Premier and Pure – and all have balconies. My Premier apartment is a spacious one-bedder, immaculately fitted out, and with all the mod-cons. Accommodation here has an eco theme; various “Wilby Pure” packages are available, offering health-focused technological innovations.
The tranquillity extends outside, where a terraced water feature leads up to the pool, spa bath and clubhouse. A quiet stroll around various corners brings you to children’s play equipment and tennis courts.
If you can snap out of relaxation mode, it’s a one-minute walk to buses on Bukit Timah Road; they service Orchard, the CBD, Holland Village and elsewhere on the island. Sixth Avenue MRT station (on the Downtown line) will open in December this year.
The small cluster of restaurants and bars next to Wilby Bukit Timah punch above their weight: they include the consistently excellent Greek restaurant Blu Kouzina, one of the most relaxed and least pretentious watering-holes in Singapore in Bar Bar Black Sheep (the original one), and superb Nyonya food at Violet Oon’s. And it’s just a 10-minute walk, or complimentary shuttle, to The Grandstand, which is jam-packed with recreation facilities for kids and adults, gourmet markets and over 20 eateries.
Running enthusiasts are in luck at Wilby, by the way: all kinds of trails and nature reserves are close by; you can jog around the old racetrack, for example, or make for the Kampong Trail, which eventually links up to MacRitchie Reservoir.
In a nutshell
Facilities include: * Tennis court * Fully-equipped gym * BBQ facilities * Outdoor swimming pool * Outdoor spa pool * Exercise park * Residents’ lounge
Services include: * 24-hour security * Concierge * Broadband internet * Housekeeping (2 or 3 times a week) * Laundry and dry-cleaning * Shuttle bus service
New and notable
Wilby now offers a complimentary continental breakfast for guests, available every weekday.
Nice to know
Wilby operates a second property, Wilby Central, with 138 apartments, overlooking the Bugis and Bras Basah precinct and close to malls and museums. These are the first serviced apartments in Singapore to be fully equipped with “plasmacluster ion generators” – devices that eliminate airborne nasties and help your skin retain moisture.
5 Anthony Road
6496 0687 | firstname.lastname@example.org
With three architecturally distinctive towers surrounded by 2.5 hectares of pools, pavilions and gardens, Orchard Scotts Residences (OSR) feels almost like a “mini city”. It’s clear that generosity of space is a focus here, from the enormous gardens to the 204 lavish apartments.
I’m put up in one that has three bedrooms, a huge lounge room, a kitchen, a dining area, and one or two extra areas that I don’t even discover until my final day in the place! Some of the penthouses at OSR are over 4,000 square feet.
Everything screams comfort, too, from the bathroom fit-outs to the super-comfy beds, the kitchen with more appliances than I’d use in a month, and a wine-chiller with five racks of bottle storage – also more than I’d use in a month. Well, most months.
In keeping with the scale of the apartments are the amenities. The swimming facilities at OSR are something to behold; four huge, crystal-clean pools meander their way through the landscaped gardens. Kids are catered for, of course, but so are adults, with an Olympic-length lap pool. Oh, and the gym is the largest of its kind on the island.
You couldn’t be better connected for transport options, with Newton MRT station right on the doorstep – one stop (two minutes) to Orchard Road and its plethora of shopping options, and five to Raffles Place offices. There are buses galore, and a steady stream of taxis pulls in to the property, so a concierge will have you sorted in no time. Alternatively, a free shuttle service takes guests to a range of key locations on the island each weekday morning.
The biggest nearby attraction – especially for someone with my appetite – is Newton Food Centre, right next door. This is an iconic Singaporean destination and, so long as you’re wary of the pricing at some of the seafood stalls, it’s a superb place for a Tiger or two and some hawker classics.
In a nutshell
Facilities include: * Singapore’s largest residential gym * 6,000-square-foot playground * Private dining venue for entertaining friends or clients * Wine cellar * Urban Retreat spa
Services include: * Continental breakfast * Complimentary shuttle * Housekeeping * Laundry * Wi-Fi * 24-hour guest services * 24-hour security
New and notable
Nice to know
Far East has a wide range of serviced apartment accommodation in Singapore. Check the website to find the one that suits you best in terms of location, facilities and services.
This story first appeared in Expat Living’s August 2015 issue.
Want to nose more gorgeous places to stay on the island? Check out our full guide to serviced apartments in Singapore.