The art at Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is, well, phenomenal. There are 4,200 original artworks (no, the gal has not counted). Each is original, and each stays put. This is not a changing exhibition but nonstop permanent.
It starts before you arrive with, outside the main door, a pair of Xian sculptures, men in Mao garb leaning forward (they are by Beijing sculptor Zhu Wei).
Over your head is a semicircular conservatory-type cover. it looks like mother-of-pearl but in fact is chromafusion glass. Go in to the soaring lobby.
Look far to the left and you see a Dale Chihuly glass wall-mass, in green: look far to the right, and the distant Chihuly glass wall-mass is yellow: immediately over your head, however, swirls this great mobile. You reach up, see if you can touch it (you cannot, unless you are a Kobe Bryant).
Every one of the 608 rooms at this luxury hotel is a favourite. The new design appears to have some walls of pale honey-coloured wood behind glass but it is faux, it is really a print.
Designer Richard Farnell, who has been working on the 15-year old hotel for the last two years, is very up to the minute.
This claims to be the first hotel to use LED televisions that can be set right into walls without burning (LCD screens are not so durable). Some of the furniture is cantilevered out from the wall. The bedhead curves around, for comfort, and it has inset fibre-optic lights.
Look down, if you face south over Marina Bay, and you see the shopping, restaurants and casino complex of Marina Bay Sands. You also see, on the pontoon immediately across from the hotel, a special Chinese New Year setup. It lights up at night to give a brilliant vista.
This is the hotel renowned for some of the world’s sexiest bathtubs, right by big octagonal windows. Scrub in the tub, a glass of Moët from the minibar in hand, and watch the antics down below, or, looking east, the turning of Ferris Wheel 2009 (trust that the glass is one-way).
The new rooms are actually so attractive you may not want to leave. Order up a simple house salad and you get one of the world’s best. You find a bookmark by your bed, showing a detail of yet another hotel art treasure.
You head to find the originals, a pair of them down at level one – the hotel entrance is level three. Down by the gym and the outside pool and the function rooms, (tonight a giggle of ladies’ gatherings, judging by the noise), there they rest sublimely, two of the 138 mixed-material Moby Dick creations by Massachusetts artist Frank Stella. Each is 13 feet high, formed of fiberglass, metals and whatever is meant by ‘print treatment’.
In among the durable art everywhere is plenty of greenery in the form of orchids and other plants.
This is a place for the senses. Look at the art. Taste the best butter (Bordier, of course) and yoghurt (Ferme des Peupliers, natch) or have your eggs cooked specially up in the 32nd floor executive lounge – which is sensibly adults-only at cocktail hour. Feel – feel good, even better, when you use the loofah that all good hotels should provide.
Come to think of it girlahead is compiling a list of what good hotels SHOULD provide. Contributions welcome, please.
So far the list includes, in no particular order, scissors, scotch tape, elastic bands, cotton pads rather than cotton balls (which should DEFINITELY not be coloured), screw-top wine bottles in the minibar and bedroom, wine…. this list could become a mental artwork all by itself.