The spa’s signature massage at THE CAPITOL KEMPINSKI HOTEL says it a. ‘Drawing inspiration from Singapore’s diversity, the treatment combines techniques from Chinese back massage, Malay abdominal massage and Indian foot massage with a Kansu bowl’. For the stated 90 minutes Girlahead revelled in the realisation that her muscles were now recovering after a 4 a.m. wakeup call for an early flight from Bangkok, she was now untwisted and feeling human again.
Yes, Singapore is a blend of cultures, and Germany also enters the scene at the Kempinski. The heritage structure, a four-floor corner-set white wedding cake obviously has that name above its main facade. Integral with the sprawling complex is the restored-and-working Capitol Theatre, and an indoor shopping arcade that includes a Berthold bar and café (image above). This is one of Kempinski’s fledgling home-grown brands, named for Berthold Kempinski, founder of what is now this global company. Oh the past, here: there’s a splendid array of rums in the hotel’s own boutique and there will be a rum festival sometime soon.
Revere bell is rung. The hotel does, by the way, have its own heritage curator. Jean Tsai conducts the 45-minute Heritage Tour every Wednesday at 1730 and Saturday at 1545. This brings to life the glorious past of Stamford House and the Capitol Building. Through personalised storytelling, earn about the transformation of these two heritage buildings and the Civic and Cultural District, alongside an introduction to notable art pieces displayed in the hotel.
Dinner at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung is a delight, casual fun in a semi-exotic setting, AvroKo with Rousseau-type wall areas in front of the working kitchen. Wood tables with brown Chilewich mats, mostly Villeroy & Boch china, Sambonet cutlery, light wood Peugeot mills and inner-lit mushroom-shaped table lamps. One signature is a wagyu rump, on a floral plate by Monica Tsang – sommelier Lisa suggested a very agreeable 2020 Argentinian Malbec. Food here is really good: there are bubble brunches on Saturdays and full-scale brunches Sundays. It seemed that locals not only patronise dinners but breakfasts, mammoth buffet affairs with the full length of kitchen counters and the adjacent bar area becoming serving spaces. Telmont Champagne awaits, with vodka and tomato juice, and every egg additive and noodle type imaginable.
Room 320 is unusual. It’s long, with heritage windows at the far end. Enter the bathroom, across the whole width. Next comes the sitting room, beyond is bedroom, with the desk. A high percentage of Australian business is, apparently, attracted by the word ‘heritage’. They too must really appreciate an outstanding A3-size two-fold, The Kempinski Chronicle, giving the history of the hotel: some of the content is by Dr Julian Davison, an anthropologist, architectural historian and former Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow.
Girlahead sadly missed what sounds like a really worthwhile fortnightly GM’s cocktail but there is so much else of note – six city bikes for local exploration, the airport-greeting Lady In Red in her Ferragamo shoes, the concierge manager who was able to mend a broken earring, the really stylish couture-look shopping totes showing displays of Singapore’s traditional shop houses… Yes, this is Hotel Heritage Heaven.