Singapore

New eco-resort coming to Mandai

Guests can look forward to living in treehouses and experiencing wildlife

Guests of the new Mandai eco-resort can stay in 24 treehouses, shaped like seed pods, or in one of 338 rooms when it opens in 2023.

The 4.6ha resort also offers guests behind-the-scenes programmes, guided nature walks and hands-on activities.

And at their doorstep will be the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari, the Rainforest Park and the Bird Park, which will move from its current location in Jurong before 2023.

Speaking at a media conference at the Singapore Zoo yesterday, group chief executive of Mandai Park Holdings (MPH), Mike Barclay, said they wanted the design of the resort to immerse people in the rainforest.

"We want (guests) to be conscious of the rainforest around them... of how they interact with the animals, and we want them to leave with some consciousness about how we can lighten our touch on the natural world," Mr Barclay said.

Experiential programmes such as visiting the elephants at the Singapore Zoo to help keepers with "food puzzles" could be open to guests.

The resort is owned by MPH and run by Banyan Tree Holdings.

Banyan's executive chairman, Mr Ho Kwon Ping, said: "Because so much of this has been planned sensitively, our guests will come and realise this is not an urban hotel in the middle of Mandai Park.

"It is an experience where they will have unprecedented access to nature in all little ways."

The resort, which has not been named, is the first Banyan resort in Singapore. It will be around the north-east edge of the Mandai precinct.

Architectural features to mitigate the impact on the surrounding biodiversity were also unveiled yesterday.

For example, the resort will be elevated a few metres to let native wildlife pass through.

The resort will also not exceed four storeys in height, and will be concealed below the upper canopy layer of the surrounding trees to be unobtrusive.

More than half the trees there will also be retained, of which 40 per cent are of conservation value, and re-greening efforts will also be put in place.

To minimise conflict between animals and humans, a 2m earth barrier will surround the resort, and low-level lighting will also guide guests from wandering around the park and disturbing wildlife.

The resort also aims to be the first Super Low Energy resort in Singapore, and will come equipped with energy-saving measures like the use of natural ventilation and solar panels.

These architectural designs will be helmed by Singapore-based firm WOW Architects.

When plans for the resort were first announced in 2016, there were concerns about the impact on the environment.

Despite the architectural features designed to mitigate the impact, veteran wildlife consultant Subaraj Rajathurai said the noise and footprint left behind will be irreversible.

He said: "It will still be more urban than it originally was, and the resort will exclude certain wildlife from their habitats.

"In the end, it is artificial biodiversity. It's controlled biodiversity, where they pick and choose what they want."

Environment