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First Impressions of The St. Regis SingaporeOctober 21, 2008 By: Mark Rogers
Senior Editor Mark Rogers is reporting from ITB Asia in Singapore, and gives his first impressions of The St. Regis Singapore.
I arrived a day early in Singapore to attend ITB Asia, which is billed as the largest trade show in Asia. The time would be well spent, since I was invited to tour the relatively new The St. Regis Singapore. The hotel had a soft opening in late December of last year and officially opened on April 20. Open a scant six months; it's receiving the kinds of awards it usually takes years for a hotel to acquire.
Although The St. Regis Singapore doesn't officially have an Orchard Road address— the hotel is situated on Tanglin Road, which turns into Orchard Road— it has a superb location in the heart of Singapore, with rooms overlooking Singapore's Botanical Gardens.
Wilson Associates created the St. Regis Singapore's interior design. In a world where hotels seem to be trying to outdo themselves in embracing a Zen-like spareness in their interiors (especially their rooms) The St. Regis Singapore takes a different approach— one that utilizes color, opulence, museum-quality art and attention to detail to create an upscale homey feeling. When I say museum quality, I'm talking about renowned artists such as Marc Chagall, Fernando Botero and Frank Gehry— in fact, the Presidential Suite even has a bright and splashy Sam Francis painting hanging in the bathroom.
The hotel has three restaurants, LaBrezza, a terrace restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine; Yan Ting Chinese, the hotel's fine dining restaurant, serving Cantonese cuisine, and Brasserie les Saveurs, a light and airy French restaurant looking out over the pool.
I had a great lunch at Brasserie les Saveurs with Wong Wye Leng, the hotel's director of marketing. Over seared scallops and spicy tomato soup, she told me that tables can be reserved in advance at Brasserie les Saveurs. If your clients would like unobstructed views of the pool, fountains and sculpture (including a really charming sculpture by Li Chen of a baby Buddha cavorting on his back) suggest they reserve tables one through 14. If they'd like an intimate table, reserve one of the alcove tables, 88 or 89.
"The brand wasn't well-known in this part of the world, so it was a real challenge to raise brand awareness," says Wye Leng.
The hotel has 299 rooms. Keep in mind that if you're requesting rooms with poolside views, rooms on the lower floors have the best view. The opposite is true for rooms facing the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Tang Lin Road side, where the best views are achieved the higher you go. I was impressed by the Executive Deluxe Rooms, which are essentially the standard rooms at the hotel. There was lots of color in the décor, Jim Thompson silks were utilized throughout, and the bathroom had an abundance of marble.
I was also invited to experience the hotel's Remede Spa, the first in the Asia-Pacific region. This was really appreciated after spending 20 hours flying into Singapore from L.A. The spa manager is Femme Findlay; advance reservations can be made by contacting her at ([email protected], 65 6506 6788).
Femme told me that all the spa's treatments could be customized. She'd booked one of the spa's signature treatments for me, the Warm Stone Jade Massage. I'd experienced hot stone massages before in Latin America but this was definitely a notch above. The jade stones were ultra smooth and, instead of utilizing only hot stones, the session ended with a series of cold stones applied to various energy centers of the body.
An outstanding massage therapist can ascend to being a healer; my jade stone therapist Mon is in that category. I can definitely recommend her to your clients— I was assured that Mon's first name was sufficient to make a booking. Also, advise your clients to come at least an hour early so they can enjoy a variety of features that complement each other: the Finnish Sauna, Ice Fountain and Eucalyptus Scented Steam Chambers. First you start with the dry heat, and then move to the bracing ice fountain, where you're actually rubbing crushed ice over your body. You finish in the steam chamber. It's a great prelude to a massage treatment.
A detail worth noting: the hotel has the only ballroom with skylights in Singapore, banishing that dreaded claustrophobic feeling that can afflict huge functions (the ballroom seats 450.
The General Manager is Yngvar Stray (65 6506 6888).
Travel agents can reach out Ashley Hanson, the hotel's director of sales & marketing. She can be reached at [email protected], 65 6506 6718.