The new Jewel in Changi’s crown is staggering in its scope.
Despite being voted the world’s number one airport seven years running, Singapore’s Changi Airport isn’t resting on its laurels. A hefty $1.78 billion dollars have been spent in the creation Jewel Changi Airport, which links three of the airport’s four terminals.
It’s difficult to categorise the 10-storey space. It’s not a shopping mall, despite having a plethora of international retail brands such as Marks & Spencer, Zara and Coach.
It’s not a food court, though it does house a bounty of restaurants from the Michelin-starred Putien to cult American burger chain Shake Shack.
It’s not a fun park, even though children won’t be able to get enough of Foggy Bowls (more on that later).
And although it has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, a four-storey tropical garden and the Canopy Park (complete with its own hedge maze) it’s definitely not a nature reserve.
Yet beneath a single roof – or rather, a glittering glass dome – all these attractions reside. And more, including the 130-room Yotel hotel, the Pokemon Centre and a roster of art installations.
This concept is perfect for Singapore: 65.6 million people passed through the busy international airport last year. And if you’d rather explore Jewel Changi Airport’s marvels than venture to the city on your stopover, never fear: there are early check-in kiosks and baggage storage available.
What to do at Jewel Changi Airport
Hike through the rainforest
The Shiseido Forest Valley is a verdant four-storey indoor forest that’s bathed in natural sunlight from the glass dome above. With a spectacular 40-metre waterfall at its centre, the forest has 900 trees and palms and 60,000 shrubs that can be seen on one of the hiking trails that take in misty vistas and rocky waterfalls.
Take a nap
Rest your head for a few hours or get a full night of sleep at YotelAir. This 130-room property has self-check-in kiosks so guests can book a cabin at any time without waiting. Each cabin has a SmartBed, which goes from sofa to bed at the push of a button, and a full bathroom with rain shower. Rent your rest by the hour, or take advantage of three separate shower cabins if you just want to freshen up before the next leg.
Create your signature scent
The Smell Lab allows shoppers to blend their own bespoke fragrance oils. There are also workshops to make shower gels, lip balms and to hone your massage skills.
Burn off some energy
Children (and the young at heart) should make a beeline for the Canopy Park.Located on the topmost level of Jewel, there are bouncing nets, giant mirrored slides, a hedge maze with flowers that bloom as you walk past and the aforementioned Foggy Bowls: jump into a grassy depression on the ground and it releases a dreamy cloud of mist. It’s a bit like playing in the clouds.
Sample some insta-famous ice-cream
The Boston-based Emack & Bolio’s brings its far-out ice-cream and frozen yoghurt creations to Singapore for the first time at Jewel. Flavours include Cosmic Crunch: vanilla with caramel, choc chips, nuts, toffee and cookies; Maple Walnut; and Grasshopper Pie, which is crème de menthe with choc chips and Oreos. But it's the cones that are really crazy: think studded with Froot Loops and shellacked with melted marshmallow.
Catch a movie
Finished flying before you caught the end of the movie you were watching? The Shaw Theatre is open until 3am with 11 screens and two amphitheatres dedicated to Lumiere, Shaw’s premium movie-watching experience. There is also the Dreamers theatre, which is for families with young kids – there’s a playpen and beanbags, too.
Try Heng Hwa cuisine
The affordable one-Michelin-starred Putien specialises in Heng Hwa cuisine from China’s Fujian province. The food is heavy on seaweed, seafood and pork, native to Putian, the city of the restaurant’s founder.
Shop like a local
At In Good Company, you’ll find modern, chic ensembles (think black and white tailored basics); at Supermama, homewares and genuinely lovely souvenirs such as porcelain plates and bowls. Both are Singapore labels – you won’t find these at home. There are edible Singapore specials, too: the Rich & Good Cake Shop for slices of kaya Swiss roll and Irvin’s Salted Egg for salted egg yolk fish crisps (trust us) shouldn’t be missed.