It’s difficult to imagine that long before it bristled with high-rises and high-density developments, Singapore’s Beach Road was exactly that – a bucolic, breezy strip fronting the sea.

Soaring land prices and reclaimed land have put paid to all that. The newest kid on the block, just down the road from the still regal Raffles Hotel, is the massive South Beach mixed-use development that one Lord Norman Foster and Aedas have built around the heritage-listed buildings and officers’ club of a former army base.

This being Singapore, the jewel in the crown is the 654-room hotel. The interiors are courtesy of Philippe Starck whose DNA of white furniture, silvery Ghost Chairs, and acres of mirrors is writ large in every nook. Clearly, no expense has been spared, a fact seen to best effect with his 11,520-light ceiling installation in the grand ballroom and in the dazzling expanses of the Chairman and Presidential Suites with their gasping panorama of Marina Bay’s skyscrapers.

It’s all the more reason to enjoy the less charged moments from the aerie of two sky-gardens, each with its infinity pool. The women’s only guest-floor is a genuinely thoughtful touch that does much to redeem the hotel’s odd insistence on describing itself as a H.I.P hotel for 'Highly Individualised People and Places'.