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Uncover the Real Singapore with Paradox Singapore Merchant Court

For a relaxing yet convenient stay in the thick of the action, look no further than Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.

A lifestyle hotel with spacious, heritage-inspired rooms and suites — and the Singapore outpost of a Canadian-born hospitality brand — Paradox Singapore Merchant Court offers an urban resort experience in the heart of the city. Its vivacious character and laid-back vibe go hand-in-hand with the superb location beside the Singapore River: this is, after all, the closest hotel to nightlife hub Clarke Quay, and an MRT station lies just outside the property. With so much to see and do on the hotel’s doorstep, Paradox Singapore Merchant Court is your gateway to a fulfilling Singapore sojourn, whatever your interests might be.

A bumboat passing Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.
A bumboat passing Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.

Arts and Culture

The Lion City stands out in Southeast Asia for its world-class cultural institutions, and Paradox Singapore Merchant Court puts you within easy reach of several major sights. Wander down the riverside to the must-see Asian Civilisations Museum, where you can easily spend a few hours exploring the well-curated galleries. Exhibits here mark the intersection of art, trade, faith, and cultural exchange over the centuries; look out for the artifacts recovered from a Tang Dynasty shipwreck. Daily guided tours are available for free.

Meanwhile, an eye-catching mélange of historic and contemporary art awaits at the landmark National Gallery Singapore, which spans the former Supreme Court building and the old City Hall. Ongoing showcases such as “Between Declarations and Dreams” present a survey of Singaporean and Southeast Asian art since the 19th century. Opening in September, solo exhibitions will shine the spotlight on experimental works by local maestro Teo Eng Seng, and the sculptures and prints of Singapore-born artist Kim Lim, who has found international success in the United Kingdom.

Little more than a 10-minute stroll upriver from the hotel, STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery in Robertson Quay focuses on artworks using the mediums of print and paper. Its latest exposition highlights newly created pieces by Yanyun Chen, Hong Zhu An, and Prabhavathi Meppayil, reflecting their recent stints as STPI’s artists-in-residence.

The lobby-level Crossroads Bar at Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.
The lobby-level Crossroads Bar at Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.

Entertainment

If you’re an adrenalin junkie wanting to see the city from a whole new perspective, strap yourself into the two heart-stopping rides at Slingshot Singapore on the edge of Clarke Quay. Experience freefall from 40 meters above the ground on the GX5 Extreme Swing, and try out the eponymous Slingshot that will catapult you nearly 70 meters into the sky. Both are bound to make you scream with delight.

After dark, loosen up with a Paradox Martini or another happy hour drink at the hotel’s lobby-level Crossroads Bar before a night on the town. Take the pedestrian bridge to Clarke Quay and you’ll eventually arrive at the city’s premier nightclub, Zouk Singapore. With space for more than 1,500 revelers, it’s the preferred venue for dancing the night away to beats laid down by international guest DJs. Another Clarke Quay staple is the neon-drenched arcade bar Level Up, unique for its cool combination of retro arcade games, wines and spirits, and live music performances from a roster of talented local bands.

Paradox Singapore Merchant Court is directly opposite the buzzing nightlife quarter of Clarke Quay.
Paradox Singapore Merchant Court is directly opposite the buzzing nightlife quarter of Clarke Quay.
The Peranakan Set Lunch is a must-try at Ellenborough Market Café.
The Peranakan Set Lunch is a must-try at Ellenborough Market Café.

Food and Drink

Though the hotel has changed its name several times since it first opened as the Merchant Court hotel in 1997, Ellenborough Market Café remains a constant draw. The riverside all-day dining restaurant is a firm local favorite for its indulgent buffets, which include tangy DIY rojak (a mixed fruit and vegetable salad) and Peranakan classics. Those on the go can opt for the Peranakan Set Lunch menu featuring specialties like the braised pork dish babi pongteh, pineapple-and-prawn based udang kuah nanas, and rice infused with butterfly pea and coconut milk. As an add-on, you can help yourself to signature desserts like traditional kue (bite-size snacks) and durian pengat pudding.

Beyond the hotel, dive into Singapore’s treasured hawker center culture by going where the locals go. Hong Lim Market & Food Center is home to decades-old stalls frequented by residents and workers of the surrounding neighborhood. Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee, Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist, and Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon are just a few beloved choices for comforting bowls of goodness. Not far away, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh 11 New Bridge Road plates up Teochew-style pork ribs in a peppery broth—it’s a no-frills delight that has earned the place Bib Gourmand status in the Michelin Guide Singapore. Also close at hand are the plentiful watering holes in and around Boat Quay. For instance, sophisticated drinking den Barbary Coast pays tribute to Gold Rush–era San Francisco through its twin venues and artisanal tipples. Then there’s the venerable 28 HongKong Street, a pioneering bar that played an instrumental role in Singapore’s recent rise as an epicenter of Asian cocktail culture.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a Chinatown landmark.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is a Chinatown landmark.
Heritage

The Singapore River used to be crowded with bumboats ferrying goods between quays and ships out in the harbor. Get a feel for that history through Singapore River Cruise, which operates a fleet of wooden barges repurposed as pleasure craft (the Clarke Quay embarkation point is on the opposite bank from Paradox Singapore Merchant Court). Time your waterborne excursion for 7:30 p.m. so you can catch the sunset views of the cityscape, followed by the nightly light and water show at Marina Bay. Rising behind Clarke Quay, Fort Canning Park spreads across its namesake hill. The verdant grounds contain nine historical gardens alongside monuments such as British fortifications and Keramat Iskandar Shah, a shrine believed to be the burial place of the last King of Singapura.

Chinatown is less than 15 minutes from the hotel on foot, or just one stop away on the MRT’s purple North East Line. There’s plenty to discover here outside the main attractions. Two blocks from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Yong Gallery combines traditional Chinese calligraphy with wood carving; the master artists behind the place were responsible for many handmade signboards around Chinatown. The shelves are also stocked with scroll paintings and traditional seals. Another noteworthy spot is Pek Sin Choon Tea Merchants, which has been operating since 1925. Pek Sin Choon’s artisanal brews use tea leaves that are mixed and roasted in-house; a bestseller is the Renowned Unknown Fragrance made from a top-secret oolong tea blend. For something different, learn about the area’s less-than-savory past through the three-hour Triad Trails walking tour on Saturday afternoons. It’s led by ex-triad members who freely narrate their firsthand experiences navigating the criminal underworld.

Two MRT stops from the hotel in the other direction, Little India is known for colorful street art and storefronts overflowing with traditional wares. Points of interest include the ultramodern Indian Heritage Centre that chronicles the Indian diaspora experience in Southeast Asia through its wide-ranging collection of artifacts and precious family heirlooms. Just around the corner on Dunlop Street, old-school grocer’s Thandapani Co was established in the 1960s: stock up on spices for your pantry and take home their house-mixed briyani masala.

The inviting lagoon pool at Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.
The inviting lagoon pool at Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.
Wellness and Recreation

Recharge your batteries by taking a dip in the resort-style pools at Paradox Singapore Merchant Court. Perched on two tiers facing the river, they comprise a main lagoon pool flanked by sun loungers, with a smaller splash zone and Jacuzzi below. Also on-site is Aramsa Spa for locally inspired treatments, be it a traditional Malay massage, a thermal boreh scrub, or an 150-minute experience that incorporates a warm coconut oil rub and coconut body wrap.

While the hotel’s well-equipped fitness center is open 24/7, guests exercising outdoors also have more than a few options. The hotel serves as an ideal jumping-off point for morning jogs beside the Singapore River: multi-use trails stretch along both banks past Robertson Quay to the west and eastward to the promenade at Marina Bay. Nearby green spaces, meanwhile, are headlined by Fort Canning Park. It’s possible to run a two-kilometer loop around the hill, whose sloped pathways and stair climbs add more fun to your workout.

For more information, visit paradoxhotels.com/singapore

A much-Instagrammed “tree tunnel” marks one of the entry points to Fort Canning Park.
A much-Instagrammed “tree tunnel” marks one of the entry points to Fort Canning Park.

This article was brought to you by Paradox Singapore Merchant Court.