Martha Waslen, Founder and CEO of DayAway, shares her favourite places to eat, drink, and feel inspired in the Lion City.
Where I go to feel inspired
The elegant, colonial-style Grand Lobby at Raffles Singapore and walking through the hotel’s lush tropical grounds with their palms, orchids, vines and emerald lawns. Raffles Singapore was our first prestigious hotel member for DayAway.
Favourite natural attraction
Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir; and of course, the Singapore Botanic Gardens — rooted in history, beauty and filled with wildlife. You’re likely to see monitor lizards, hornbills, owls and otters.
Singapore is full of amazing new restaurant concepts right now — from rustic Italian celebrating the simplicity of only the best ingredients (Fico), to modern Indian fusion (Revolver and Thevar), Singapore has it all! But a long-time favourite of mine has to be Nouri. I love the ambiance, the fusion of Asian and Latin flavours and the experience of sitting at the chef’s counter with a front-row seat to watch the action in the kitchen!
Experience at least one meal at a hawker centre. I especially enjoy the ones at Newton, Maxwell or Zion Riverside Food Centre — try Ah Wang La Mian Xiao Long Bao — the pan fried dumplings are the best I’ve had in Singapore!
Good cocktail menu
There is no shortage of incredible cocktail bars in Singapore with staples like Atlas, Native, and 28 Hongkong Street, however, my new go-to is Barood on Tras Street. I love the ambiance there and their spin on an espresso martini. The Café con leche is one of the best cocktails I’ve ever enjoyed — it will also give you the caffeine boost needed to spend the night visiting all the other bars!
Best wine list
67 Pall Mall, the London-based private members’ club for wine lovers. Membership to their new Singapore club, located in the heart of Orchard Road, provides access to more than 5,000 wines, with 1,000 available by the glass!
I appreciate antique furniture and used to dream of having my own business of collecting and restoring beautiful pieces. And so, it’s no surprise that at the top-of-my-list of shopping venues are two antique shops including Tong Mern Sern Antiques and Hock Siong & Co, which specialises in pre-loved, five-star hotel furniture such as Shanghainese rosewood furniture and refurbished teak desks.
Best day jaunts
I suggest strolling around neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru and taking in the unique Art Deco architecture and its independent spirit. Or explore Joo Chiat and check out the amazing cafes, local eateries, beautiful shophouses and local boutiques like Hat of Cain.
Another enjoyable diversion is sailing to Lazarus and St. John’s Islands in the afternoon for a gorgeous view of Marina Bay Sands at dusk and, on your way back, to the marina at Sentosa Cove.
For an experience of old authentic Singapore, visit the Kebun Baru precinct in Ang Mo Kio, a residential neighbourhood located in northeast Singapore. For more than four decades, local songbird enthusiasts have gathered at Kebun Baru Bird Corner bringing their songbirds in ornate wooden cages. You can join them and listen to their white-rumped shama, zebra doves, and red-whiskered bulbuls chirp and twitter.
Martha Waslen is the CEO and founder of DayAway, a membership marketplace that offers curated daytime experiences at prestigious luxury hotels and resorts, restaurants, boutiques, and aboard super yachts. Members can discover and book experiences such as afternoon teas, poolside daybeds, or spa treatments using an app, with special rates and perks also available. Membership is priced from US$500 per year, and the platform is currently available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, and the UAE, with plans to expand to other global regions.