And now for something new, the wonderful, wacky, wicked W Singapore Sentosa Cove. Wone Wonders Wot Will happen next. There is so much originality in this new-look luxury hotel that even the gal is surprised. See a photo, in days to come, of the hanging cloches in the lobby? What are they for? Wait and see. Go into bedrooms and you find an art installation. Red day-glo lights outline the actual bed. The floor, by the way, is like all the wood in the hotel, Arboform, looks like wood and is wood, but is lignin, discarded wood offcuts, bound with natural resins, flax and fibre (this is a German invention). Some rooms even have Arboform trolleys, ready for when you dine outside on your private terrace.
I had a look at one of the two Away suites, with a private garden just big enough for a terrace and a 15-foot private pool. It also has a direct entrance to the spa, which I found so inviting I had to lie on one of the massage beds. Oh wow (yes, another W). The interesting thing about this W, the hotel, is that it is actually a resort but only 15 minutes from central Singapore, and the same from the airport. As a result it gets meetings, conferences and incentives galore: all 240 bedrooms were taken when I was there – I thought it was a gathering of teenagers but it turned out to be a Google pow-wow. At weekends the conferees are replaced by Singaporeans coming over for staycations.
You can certainly keep fit here. There are 12.5 acres but those have to be shared with over 200 privately-owned residences, but nonetheless there is ample space, with an enormous curvilinear pool, and garden areas, and a walkway and cycle track (free bikes!). Cycle along Ocean Drive, skirting the inland waterways at this east end of Sentosa Island. You only have to go a mile before hitting, metaphorically, the island’s two golf courses, Serapong and Tanjong. Another mile and you come to Resorts World, with its aquarium and Universal Studios, and a pretty significant casino.
Every W hotel is themed for a story, and here it is a glamorous jungle. The Rockwell Group, who have designed the whole thing inside, have maximised that idea so, personally, were I here for a long weekend I would stay put. I would revel in the wet areas of the ladies’ spa changing areas, with it plunge pools, I would have afternoon tea simply because instead of a tiered stand for the sandwiches and cakes, here they have mock multi-level bird cages to hold them (I would put my baby, if I had one, in one of the go-for-it high chairs). In the evening, the DJ plays at a unit with hippopotamus statues for feet. Hundreds of butterfly shapes twirl overhead in Skirt, the steak restaurant which also has salt and pepper mills that are real horns. Overhead hang chandeliers of real knives and forks.
And having slept in that bed, with the day-glo surround turned off, I would be up at dawn to explore some more, perhaps used the Technogym, which fortunately opens 24/7. I would have pre-breakfast coffee in a recycled Keepcup, an Australian idea that is all very commendable but it would be better if the cups were not uncomplimentary colours, like strips of orange and dull red wit a purple lid (mine also smelled of new rubber, which would not help the coffee aroma). But little things are Davids compared with the Goliaths when it comes to the sheer innovation of this hotel.
Take the breakfast, and all day, restaurant. It is called Kitchen Table, and sure enough proper tables are suspended, right way up, from the ceiling. Internal columns have ceiling-high shelves with stacks of brightly-coloured upright jugs, but I doubt they are used. The ‘real’ water jugs look like bright orange watering cans, and combined salt and pepper mills are like apple green pipes: turn one the two top protrusions and you get salt, turn the other and you pepper. Chop sticks are normal to halfway down – the other half tapers, so you can balance them on the normal, thicker, bit. Outside, in the garden, stands a rumpled gold cracker but you cannot pull it as it is too big (12-feet) and it is metal. Turn any direction in this luxury hotel and there are things to make you smile.