With design elements by fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld, it’s no surprise the new Sofitel So Singapore attracts a trendy young crowd, especially in its bar. Interior designer Isabelle Miaja, blends French decadence and sophistication with Singapore’s modernity, giving the boutique hotel a unique style and design which is high on glitz and equally hi-tech. It’s all topped off, literally, by the golden rooftop pool, popular with guests and non-guests alike.

Located near Raffles Place, in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, the hotel is minutes away from landmarks such as Marina Bay. If authentic street food is your thing, you’re literally a stone’s throw from the best under-cover food court in town, Lau Pa Sat. We stayed at the Sofitel So for three nights and largely shunned the sophisticated restaurants to get our fill of char kway teow, laksa, satay skewers and chicken rice (but gave the frog porridge a miss!). Great atmosphere, crazy cheap prices and safe-to-eat hawker food.

The rooms at the So Sofitel are small but I loved their design. Everything is controlled via Apple technology, so you’re even making your blinds go up and down from the comfort of your bedside iPad! There’s a well stocked mini bar where soft drinks and snacks are free and the wifi (also free) is great. All in all a very comfortable, cool, technologically advanced hotel and definitely one for those who like modern design.

The National Design Centre, as the name suggests, is the hub for all things design in Singapore. Many workshops and exhibitions take place here so it’s worth checking what’s on ahead of your visit. The Centre is also home to Singapore Design Week. The impressive event occurs each March, attracting thousands of visitors from across the globe. This year almost 100,000 people took part in more than 60 events throughout the week.

A great contrast to all the flashy, modern architecture of the city, is the colonial charm of Dempsey Hill, also known as Tanglin Village. The former nutmeg plantation and later British army barracks has been transformed into a lifestyle precinct full of great restaurants, antique, carpet and furniture stores and art galleries. We had a fantastic meal at Chopsuey Cafe. Aussies will find familiar names in Jones the grocer and Becasse.