The best local fashion brands you need in your wardrobe
With a plethora of homegrown brands and local designers dabbling in creating and offering original wares that include everything from beauty and jewellery to home decor and other quirky paraphernalia, there's no shortage of shopping for anything that's 'made-in-Singapore'. And if you need a wardrobe refresher, #supportlocal by copping your next stylish outfit from these local fashion brands. RECOMMENDED: Five socially conscious local brands and the best local brand collaborations right now
The best local beauty and skincare brands in Singapore
Urban Decay, Tarte and Two Faced are all well and good but sometimes it takes a local beauty brand to come up with solutions that are unique to our skin and the Singapore climate. We highlight twelve local beauty brands with everything from skincare to makeup to keep your face as fresh. RECOMMENDED: The best local fashion brands you need in your wardrobe and the best socially conscious local brands
Plastic-free grocery shopping in Singapore
Grocery shopping (and shopping in general!) in Singapore is almost synonymous with plastic bags, but it doesn't have to be. A movement that is growing slowly but surely is zero waste, plastic free shopping and here are the main culprits. RECOMMENDED: Five socially conscious local brands and local beauty brands in Singapore
The best local brand collaborations right now
Why work alone when you can team up with another awesome brand to create a smashing product? We shine the spotlight on the coolest homegrown collaborations you need to check out ASAP. RECOMMENDED: Five Singaporean designers you should know and best local jewellery brands
The best souvenirs to buy in Singapore
Just like how there are alternative things to see and do in Singapore, there are also plenty of alternative souvenirs to shop and keep. Instead of stopping by the regular souvenir shops selling the usual keychains or tacky "I love SG" T-shirts, why not drop by these stores for offbeat keepsakes such as homeware, accessories and random finds embellished in all things Singapore. RECOMMENDED: Cool indie stores in Singapore and best shops in Singapore: novelty and hobby
Best health and beauty services in SingaporeRead more
Singapore's best spas
St Gregory Spa at PARKROYAL on Beach Road
Revamped in 2013, this spa at PARKROYAL on Beach Road’s new annexe features a rooftop pool, a jacuzzi, a bar serving healthy cocktails and spa cuisine, as well as a gym and fitness room that you can enjoy. With a total of seven treatment rooms (including one for couples) available to book, St Gregory at PARKROYAL on Beach Road specialises in skin treatments using clinically trialled skincare products by British brand Elemis, and has in-house Traditional Chinese Medicine physicians and masseurs to diagnose and alleviate most common bodily complaints.Treatment to tryTraditional Chinese tui na massage ($180/60 minutes). Combining the techniques of massage and acupressure as practiced in ancient China, such as pushing, pulling and kneading, the spa therapy session will stimulate key pressure points in the body to relief tension and increase your 'qi' energy.
Step into the lift at The Westin Singapore and you’ll be taken straight up to heaven – the hotel’s Heavenly Spa, that is. Located 35 floors above the ground and boasting spectacular views of the CBD and Chinatown, it’s definitely not a bad place to clear your head and unwind. The spa has six rooms – one of which is a couple suite – that are decked out with minimalistic décor in soothing, earthy tones. Guests are advised to arrive early to take advantage of the other facilities in the gender-segregated changing rooms, including an Experiential Shower (choose between the hot ‘tropical’ and cold ‘glacier’ modes), a steam room, and a whirlpool filled with very hot water. After your treatment, feel free to stay awhile longer in the relaxation lounge to nibble on dried fruits and nuts while browsing through magazines. Treatment to try Lavender’s often regarded for its relaxing properties, and the 90-minute Lavender Spa Journey ($250/single and $450/couple) does just that. It starts with a hydrating scrub made from pure sweet almond oil, natural sea salt and therapeutic lavender essential oils aimed at improving circulation. You’re then given time in-between to rinse yourself in the adjoining shower, before being treated to a 60-minute massage with yet more lavender oil. The scent never overpowers, though, and your masseuse adjusts the pressure of the massage accordingly to ease bodily tension and encourage complete relaxation of the mind. In fact, you’ll likely drift to sleep and awaken feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Or pick the spa’s signature Revitalize Massage ($160/60 mins; $220/90 mins) that combines techniques drawn from three cultures – Chinese, Malay and Indian, in that order. The masseuse starts off by releasing the tension in the shoulders and back by targeting meridian points, followed by a gentle abdomen massage. To round off the treatment, a metallic Kansu bowl is rolled around your soles, which is said to dispel body heat, leaving you feeling both relaxed and energised.
Remede Spa at The St Regis
Decadence is the name of the game at Remede’s first branch in Asia. Located on the hushed end of the Orchard Road stretch, this place takes the relaxing experience up a notch with exotic teas, bubbly champagnes and floral-scented chocolates from the hotel’s LaBrezza restaurant. Filled with steam chambers, a Finnish dry heat sauna, a Vichy shower, a hydro massage pool and a peaceful outdoor hot whirlpool. What it lacks in space for outdoor cabanas and sweeping pools like other spas, it makes up for with indulgent amenities. There's the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastian Gonzalez (for you to pamper your nails as well – it’s worth it, trust us), and the spa’s treatments include body scrubs, cooling facials, customised massages or facials, body wraps and more. If you're thinking of a staycation, they have packages available (depending on time with price upon request), which include spa treatments or complimentary vouchers. Treatment to try St Regis Signature Warm Rassoul Wrap ($230/one hour). Start off with a body brush, then lather up with warm, orange blossom-scented Rassoul – a type of mud renowned for mineralising and moisturising effects. As you relax on a warm marble slab while wrapped in cotton muslin, you’ll be treated to a gentle argan oil facial massage, followed by a Vichy shower.
Definitely one of the funkier spas we've checked out, the rainforest-inspired AWAY Spa, in W Singapore, oozes trendiness and elegance all at once. The massage rooms are bathed in a unique, soothing blue light, and each comes with its own private outdoor shower. Guests can also make use of the many facilities, such as the warm vitality pool in the decompression area (complete with a hydro back bench and jet features) and a fun, experiential shower called Aqua, which has options like Tropical Storm and Cold Mist – with various water settings and light effects to match. Choose from treatments like customised massages, the luminous crystal facial, a bust-reviving therapy to lift, firm and tone, a cleansing and exfoliating facial for men, and even a tension-easing massage for sports buffs. Treatment to try AWAY Body Treat ($380/two hours). Using products from UK-based company Ila-Spa, the treatment starts off with an exfoliating body scrub with Himalayan salt crystals and a body mud wrap, while the second part involves an invigorating tension-reducing massage. A special soundtrack by Ila is played throughout the session to complement the long, gentle movements of the masseuse.
The 10,000-square-metre space houses a series of hot and cold facilities, including a Japanese-style onsen set on the edge of small jungle, a crystal steam room, gymnasium, yoga studio and Tangerine serving up healthy cuisine by chef Ian Kittichai. On top of soothing massages and stress-relief rituals, ESPA's staff include a naturopath trained to deliver useful advice on living and eating healthier, as well as perky gym trainers who conduct classes in their impressively kitted-out workout room. Patrons who purchase treatments worth more than $200 are welcome to use the various pools and exercise classes. ESPA's after-treatment facilities are also unrivalled. Thoughtful extras like the special spin dryer that whirls your swim suit dry, and the sleeping room with pods to take a nap in after your treatment – don't you hate abruptly navigating the bustle of public transportation after a massage? – are compelling arguments to go to ESPA and make a whole day of it. Treatment to try The Day Spa Retreat ($380/Mon-Thu, $450/Fri-Sun). Centred around themes 'Fit for Life', 'Weight Management', 'Intro to Detox' and 'De-stress', this package is a good primer to ESPA as a lifestyle destination, and includes a consultation with a lifestyle or fitness staff member and two treatments: one 60 minutes and another 45 minutes long (try the Indulgence Hammam Ritual, a Turkish bath ritual in Singapore’s first hammam steam facility). The package also includes a two-course meal at Tangerine, with a menu that recommends dishes based on the retreat you’ve enjoyed.
Auriga Spa at Capella
Nourish your body, mind and spirit at this award-winning spa nestled in the quiet confines of Capella Singapore. Keeping a sharp focus on all things natural and organic – it’s the only spa to use products from The Organic Pharmacy – the space features nine cosy treatment rooms (each with a private alfresco garden), two of which are couple suites and one that offers traditional Asian remedies. After your session, you can wander around (the staff are extremely polite and keep out of your way to give you privacy) to use the other facilities. The spa's hot and cold wet facilities include a herbal steam room, an ice fountain to cool down after a heated treatment, an experience shower, and a calming vitality pool for neck and full-body water massages. Other facilities include a relaxation lounge with unique 'sound wave' chairs (where you can recline, sip tea, munch on nuts and read magazines for as long as you want) and a fitness centre with private instructors on hand. Treatments include stimulating Balinese, Thai and Shiatsu massages, couple spa experiences, soothing therapies for mums-to-be, body-sculpting sessions, body exfoliations and wraps, facials, manicures, and many more. Treatment to try Senja Sunyi Massage ($250/90 mins). This soothing treatment uses rose and pomegranate body balm plus warm ‘moon stones’ with tui na and Javanese massage techniques to untangle your nerves and remove muscle kinks. You can ask for light, medium or strong pressure, and your therapist will gladly oblige.
Where to work out
The best rock climbing gyms in Singapore
Boulder Movement My arms are sore and my thighs are quivering. Yet I can’t let go. Not unless I want to free fall three metres or so on to the, admittedly, cushy crash pad below – but I’m too chicken to do that. I’m two-thirds through a bouldering problem in Boulder Movement ($30/single entry, $148/month) and, despite the aches, I can already see the appeal of this sport. Bouldering is very much like indoor rock climbing, except the former is stripped down to its raw essentials – there are no ropes and harnesses involved. All you need is a good pair of climbing shoes, a bag of chalk, some fundamental techniques and a whole lot of guts to take on a bouldering problem (the path a climber has to take in order to complete the climb). Conveniently located in the CBD, Boulder Movement is the newest entry into the burgeoning climbing gym scene in Singapore. Founded by climbing enthusiasts Jansen Ko, Lwee Jia Wei and Joe Fu, the gym positions itself as a beginner-friendly bouldering-only facility with over 30 metres of wall, lengthwise. The walls are no higher than four metres –which sounds short, but trust me, it’s certainly high enough to experience the thrill of climbing without any safety gears. Bouldering problems are categorised by different climbing abilities: white tags BM1-6 are for beginners, blue tags BM6-16 for intermediates and red tags BM17-25 are for the advanced – a section of the wall is refreshed every two weeks so you’ll never get bored. First-timers can join
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