They know how to make you welcome at Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore‘s art hotel (well, its 4,200 or more original pieces, including lots by such names as Hockney, Stella and Warhol, and sensational glass creations by Dale Chihuly, are valued at over $3 million, US). And the clever GM of this luxury hotel, Peter Mainguy, is bringing in other art, too.
He is currently commissioning a succession of artists actually working in the hotel lobby. One finished piece is already hung, here, as backcloth to kids’ check-in. The real little people can pretend they are doing check-in, at a low counter, while behind them, on the way, is a painting that looks like other kids climbing up and all over. Clever, says the gal.
The 608-room hotel is actually coming to the end of a multi-million complete renovation (it is 20 years old next year). The main Greenhouse is closed off, for a new-look, as yet unnamed. This means that a temporary wall in the lobby is being used as display for more of these new art works as they are being done. Today, students from Nanyang Girls’ High School are, as happens every day until August 10th, 2.30 to 5.30, painting in the lobby. They are filling in outline drawings by a school alumna, Ly Yeows, a metamorphic journey showing scenes of Old Singapore. The sight of people painting in the lobby – which reminds me of inhouse artists at Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca and Kempinski Lufthansa Center in Beijing – is a lovely welcome to arriving guests.
And I had my own welcome, when I arrived in 2626, a beautiful end suite that looks down at the Ferris Wheel from the bathroom, and, straight ahead from salon and bedroom, to Marina Bay Sands and all that goes on it (like a procession of amphibian Duck tour vehicles). The whole interior is now softest caramel, masses of lacquered pale wood, totally silent so I only hear the noise from across the corridor when I step outside my own door. Look what is sitting at the bottom of my bed, a couple of little towel animals, wishing me an early birthday. That is the kind of personalisation that is so easy now that passport information is, for security reasons, recorded much more often, wherever in the world you are checking in. Oh, and VIPs here might get initialled robes, and silk yukatas (wow, that means 650 alphabet combinations to have in stock).
As always, the 32nd floor Club Lounge of this luxury hotel surpasses the norm, by far. There is a separate kitchen, with eight-bottle enoteque dispenser for exact temperatures of the wine you want, though they carry round the Louis Roederer to be poured, oh-so-professionally. The kitchen’s help-yourself snacks include fabulous marinated salmon bites. A chef cooks noodles to request, and eggs at breakfast. On Mondays and Thursdays, incidentally, breakfast is augmented by detox drinks, served in the longest-stemmed glasses imaginable. Riedel, of course.