A giant waterfall cascades amid a 1,400-tree forest and a collage of colourful flowers, while tourists wander beneath the blaze of the tropical sun. No, not Bali or Barbados – this marvelous scene greets visitors to the tenth floor of Singapore Airport’s newest addition, the magnificent lifestyle complex of Jewel Changi.
It’s the most luxurious part of an already extremely luxurious airport – regularly named as the best in the world.
Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the ceiling is made of a crisscrossing aluminum and steel framework that brightens the whole building with beams of natural light.
Singapore is a hub for connecting flights, so for many passengers, the airport is their only point of contact with the country before they’re whisked away once more.
It’s not the first airport splashing the cash – a trip to Vancouver International Airport yields a 114,000-litre aquarium, while Dubai Airport boasts a swimming pool complete with sauna and jacuzzi – but Jewel Changi has set a new benchmark for transient opulence.
The 135,700 square metre complex took four years to build. The top floor hosts the ‘Canopy Park’, an Eden of lush greenery with netted walkways and a 165ft sky bridge while the headline act is the waterfall – named the ‘Rain Vortex’ – plunging seven stories from an oculus in the centre of the roof. At 130ft it claims to be the largest indoor waterfall in the world.
Other facilities include 280 shops, an 11-screen cinema, a giant slide, and two mazes (one made of hedges, the other mirrors). If you look really hard, you might even find a check-in desk.
"The vision for Jewel Changi Airport is to be a destination where ‘The World meets Singapore, and Singapore meets the World’," says Hung Jean, chief executive officer of Jewel Changi Airport Devt, "fulfilling the needs of increasingly discerning travellers, even for brief layovers."
The everyday airport is a frenetic, stress-filled place, so Jewel Changi aims to be a haven of calm while passengers wait for their flights. Many visitors will be passing through on holiday – but with a 130-room hotel on site, Jewel Changi might have them thinking twice.