Some luxury hotels say wow every time you see them, and that is the case of PARKROYAL on Pickering, Singapore. Look at it. Think of a 16-floor sculpture of misshaped rings of concrete, and this is it. Perhaps Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell (WOHA Design) started playing around with bits of plasticine, and it grew, and grew. The 360-room hotel’s owners, UOL, knew what they were in for as the pair also did the silhouette-cutout Crowne Plaza hotel at Singapore Changi airport. As there, so here the final effect, however, really really works, says the gal. It is highlighted by landscaping, a little bit here and a little bit there, by Franklin Po/Tianna Design – currently doing Shangri-La Singapore‘s orchid house.
I was in suite 1321, at the end of one of the ‘wings’ of the building. I looked down across Upper Pickering and Hong Lim Park to shophouses, the old Singapore, said GM Tina Sim. Look further to today’s Singapore, with the armadillo-like Esplanade theatre, and, a little further on, to tomorrow’s Singapore, the two arched towers that Norman Foster is designing for CDL’s massive South Beach complex (90% of one tower, apparently, is already leased to Facebook). I love WOHA’s interiors, Asian minimalism but more Chinese, as at The Opposite House in Beijing, than Japanese – think Aman Tokyo. Here I have mushroom carpet or reconstituted wood floors, and matching wood furniture and some walls. There is a big dark grey corium wet area, so someone bathing could be drenched by a partner simultaneously showering.
Tina Sim is an imaginative young lady. She recently had a meeting of Coca-Cola executives coming. Be imaginative, she told her chefs – but do not increase the cost. They took note. Every breakout was themed, say pineapple slices caramelized with Coke. The meeting organiser was heard to say he had no idea you could do so much with the drink. She was recounting this as we had dinner, with Pan Pacific‘s SVP Operations Erik Anderouard, in the restaurant, Lime, which has all-wall windows looking immediately out at a building-long decorative pool that provides great sipping water for thirsty birds.
There does not seem to be any back-kitchen here. Everything at Lime is done in full view of diners, which is fun for them, those eating, but puts a lot of pressure on those cooking, who fortunately seem to revel in the theatre that is going on. At breakfast, choose the restaurant special, a Lime omelette, with spinach, oyster mushrooms, onions, dried shrimps, kaffir lime leaf, grilled tomato, hash brown, crispy bacon and sausage. Vijayakant Shanmugam, in charge of the kitchen here, is one of Singapore Business magazine’s eight hot hotel chefs, 2015. Regulars, by the way, definitely choose a room with access to the double-height, top-floor Club lounge, for more super food – and great views.