Those seeking a higher level of luxury should book at Capella’s Colonial Manors, a wing with huge (4,600 sq. ft.) accommodations heavily infused with the aura of old Singapore.
According to Posh Travel’s Lamphier, Capella is favored by visitors because “one can sail, golf, play tennis, cycle or jog along the scenic pathways, visit a magnificent sculpture garden, or just relax in its world-class spa.”
Lamphier says that Virtuoso clients staying at Capella receive complimentary breakfast and a 90-minute spa treatment.
Another wing, The Garden Villas, has a sweeping view of the South China Sea; all suites include a personal plunge pool concealed within lush foliage.
The 12,000-sq.-ft. Auriga Spa offers signature treatments based on the current lunar phase in nine lavish treatment rooms surrounded by outdoor gardens resplendent with natural light bouncing off tropical foliage.
Daily rates at Capella range from $1,300 for villas to $575 for guestrooms and suites. A wide selection of packages is being offered until year’s end.
Then there is Raffles Hotel Singapore, a bastion of colonial splendor built in 1887 and known as the “Grand Dame of Asian Hotels.” It’s one of the few non-changing Singapore landmarks where one half-expects to come upon Rudyard Kipling or Joseph Conrad—both former guests—smoking cigars under whirling fans on the veranda while sipping a Singapore Sling, the city’s signature drink which was first concocted in the hotel’s storied Long Bar.
W. Somerset Maugham, another guest, called Raffles “the legendary symbol for all the fables of the Exotic East” and remains so to this day.
Within its confines one finds 46 top-of-the-line shops like Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton, seven first-rate restaurants and an exotic botanical garden showcasing the most colorful flowers of the region.
Raffles’ restaurants are almost as legendary as the hotel. The Tifflin Room offers exquisite North Indian dishes and the Royal China is known for its signature lobster noodles and crispy duck in pancakes.
According to Pierre Jochem, general manager, marketing Raffles is not difficult. “With such an interesting history, operating in today’s competitive market is much easier, since we have the distinct advantage of being completely unique in terms of our product offering. Not many hotels in the world can lay claim to the numerous legends, myths and stories associated with the Grand Dame.”
Rates at Raffles range from approximately $650 per night dbl for a Personality Suite, distinguished by their special time-period decor, to about $800 for the Suite Experience, a package that includes airport transfer, breakfast, complimentary champagne and treatment at the hotel’s Amrita Spa.
Lamphier adds that Virtuoso clients receive “many complimentary services at Raffles, including breakfast, a remembrance book, unlimited Internet access, daily ironing and mini-bar.”
Only a short distance but a world away in style and demeanor stands The St. Regis Singapore, perhaps the city’s most luxurious and sophisticated establishment. The St. Regis is to Raffles what I.M. Pei’s pyramid is to the Louvre, a modern yin to the colonial yang that envelops Singapore.
St. Regis, located on Orchard Road, the city’s prestigious shopping district, is also home to one of Southeast Asia’s finest private art collections. Rooms here begin at about $525 per night dbl, and go up to the most expensive, the Presidential Suite, at about $7,500 per night.
Through this year, the St. Regis features The Art of Living, a guided private tour where guests can admire originals by Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Fernando Botero, Joan Miro, Georgette Chen and others.
The tour, held on Fridays and Saturdays, begins with champagne and high tea at the Brasserie Les Saveurs.
The Remede Spa at the St. Regis may easily be the best in Singapore. Guests are treated to rare and exotic teas, chilled champagnes and hand-made chocolates while awaiting treatments featuring massage techniques developed during the Chinese Dynasties. The spa’s lounge and garden overflow with orchids while soft music is piped from unseen speakers.
There are countless attractions in this smart and orderly city-state, a country so tiny that one can see Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the south from the Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest observation wheel. From atop the wheel one also gets a bird’s-eye view of the Marina Sands’ three cascading, 55-story towers that will be topped by an extraordinary sky park. The $3.6 billion, 2,600-room, five-star hotel is expected to open early next year and will have floating crystal pavilions, a lotus-inspired art and science museum, a convention center and exclusive retail stores and restaurants.