It just opened in the middle of Singapore's sprawling Changi Airport, and it's neither a terminal nor a concourse. It's called The Jewel, and it's best described as an attraction – a combination mall/park/playground. And it's not just for air travelers. Locals are flocking there for the spectacle.
Linked to the airport's three main terminals by hallways or bridges, The Jewel is shaped like a giant bagel with a glass exterior supported by a steel latticework. Singapore is known as the City in a Garden, but The Jewel is a Garden in an Airport, with a major focus on trees, flowers and lavish indoor landscaping.
This week we heard from regular TravelSkills on SFGate readers from Singapore, Brian and Julie Hamilton, who wrote up the following guest post about their recent experience there:
Changi is an amazing airport and they have just taken it to the next level, significantly higher—even by Singapore's over-the-top mindset in everything that is done here. We have been watching it being built over the last two years we have lived here and it is great to see what has been done. It will be fully open in stages over the next couple of months.
What is interesting is that its projection of visitors, once it is fully open, will be mode of of 60 percent local residents. So while it is a boon for air travelers on layovers, it is also for those of us who live here. We have already talked about spending an evening there at the movies and dinner, perhaps followed by a rooftop cocktail.
So what does it have? First off, if you are flying in or out of Changi it has early check in counters for your flights including bag check, bag check for your hand luggage, a Yotel where you can get a room for a couple of hours for a nap or overnight. It is easy to walk from all of Changi's terminals as it sits between T1, T2, and T3. T4 is just a little further away as you take a shuttle bus to T2 and then walk.
The main feature is The Vortex—a tubular waterfall that falls 132 feet from the middle of the glass roof. (Again, since we are in superlative Singapore, it is the "world's tallest indoor waterfall.") It looks like it should be CGI in a science fiction movie, but it is real. A great Instagram spot for those selfies. It falls into a vertical glass tube which you can stand next to on the lower levels (known as the Immersion Garden) for yet more selfie opportunities.
The totally glass structure also lets outside views in, such as Changi's iconic control tower. There are over 900 trees and 60,000 plants in this climate controlled greenhouse. [See images in the slideshow at the top of this post]
High up in the Canopy Park there are skyway bridges to easily walk above all, and for those that are a little more adventurous there are bouncing rope nets. For the younger set there are also slides that even look fun to me. And if you have time to kill you will be able to get lost in the hedge maze. Or the mirror maze. Or just admire the topiary. You won't be bored.Read Full Article
There is enough shopping to keep even the most avid shopper occupied. Almost all of the major brands and stores are here. And to make things easier for visitors there is even a GST Refund Desk.
The list of restaurants opening is impressive, including Singapore's first Shake Shack—a two story restaurant that was not open yesterday. But an indicator of its probable success was the very long line at A&W. Also of note is the Tiger Street Lab which will be the only place that you can get a Tiger Beer orchid infused Black Lager—a nod to Singapore's national flower.
I have attached some photos we took. [see them included in the slideshow at the top of this post] Be sure that your next time in Singapore you carve out time to experience this.
The Jewel comprises 10 stories – five of them below ground level – and a total of almost 1.5 million square feet of space. Changi Airport already had some 400 dining, drinking and retail options, and The Jewel adds a whopping 280 more.
Don't miss a shred of important travel news! Sign up for our FREE bi-weekly email alerts
So next time you are flying to, from or through Singapore, be sure to budget some time to see this airport spectacle.
Get twice-per-week updates from TravelSkills via email! Sign up here
Chris McGinnis is the founder of TravelSkills.com. The author is solely responsible for the content above, and it is used here by permission. You can reach Chris at email@example.com or on Twitter @cjmcginnis.