Glamour and some, but not all, modern luxury hotels go hand in hand. St Regis Singapore is one of the most glamorous settings the gal has come across. Even standing in front of the hotel makes you feel good. Anthony Poon’s stretches of red ribbon-like metals, on the Tanglin Road front, stand for fire. The decorative water below is, of course, water. Fire and water are good luck, which has certainly brought the hotel lots of – well deserved – business. Turn to go into the 20-floor silver tower by RSP Architects, which itself looks like a sculpture, and you see a gigantic, ten-foot wide Botero sculpture.
There is art everywhere. Up on the second floor, an outside terrace holds the serious-swim pool, with 16 in-water loungers set into a shallow area along one side. To one end of the terrace, a sculpture by Li Chen, Float to Sukhavati, keeps watch, as it were, over the whole thing. Swim, or lounge, and a lovely lady in beige, who greets you as an old friend on every returning visit, offers cold towels. As I am working out, in the 24/7 gym, I can look out over all this. I know I have a butler but, like all really good butlers, she is out of sight.
Butlers are one reason Singaporeans love moving in here for weekend staycations. It does seem that every top hotel fills up, at least Saturday nights, with locals who come as couples or with their families, or even as a single woman or a couple of girlfriends, to experience space and real luxury. Here, the smallest room is 510 sq ft, which must be miles bigger than most bedrooms of even the richest Singaporeans. There is a market, too, in weekend stays from regional cities – I think back to a Hong Kong friend telling me how her high-achieving girlfriends, unmarried by choice, spend their money on luxuriating at weekends, anywhere in the region. Some move in here, and perhaps host a dinner for their friends.
Over half the diners here, at all the restaurants, are not, however, staying in this hotel. What started out as a pool bar has evolved, since the hotel’s opening in 2008, into LaBrezza, an Italian restaurant with its own glass-walled kitchen. At lunch it is mostly pizzas by the pool for hotel guests. At dinner it is white table cloth, with two Italians among the white-toqued kitchen brigade. It already had S$88 Friday seafood barbecues, but this May it added the same every Tuesday. The hotel has 2,000 local members of its Supper Club programme, and the night I dined there, with Filipino-Dane Oscar Perez who is in charge of the entire food operation, it was, as always, a full house.
Breakfast too seems to be full house. This is served in the French restaurant Les Saveurs, a two-floor height with an all-glass main wall looking through to a water ballet of fountains. Gaze up, to chandeliers high overhead. Look either end, and it is plush and velvet and lots of Murano glass. Just inside the door are silver-framed photos of John Jacob Astor and his wife. The buffet has French butter and English preserves, and there are extensive live cooking areas, one for Asian, one for Western, food – ask for à la carte, and you might want the signature St Regis Epicurean Omelette, with lobster, prawns and lobster bisque.
More glamour, here in this luxury hotel. The spa, which has another significant crystal chandelier over reception, has Bastien Gonzalez pedicures, and all the usual facials and massages. I go up to my room, with its polished burrwood furniture, beefsteak-look marble bathroom and Murano chandeliers overhead, and pack (my butler wrote a hand-written note, asking if she could help). Since this is a Signature Suite, I have not only free communications but laundry too – and, yes, airport transport, and apparently the chocolate brown Bentley, Wifi-enabled of course, is waiting.