Luxury Hotels

Singapore, and its brilliant Ritz-Carlton Millenia

Looking out at a fresh morning

The gal sees a refreshing evolution in welcomes – the other day, in Bangkok, there was a gorgeous flower arrangement with a hand-written note from the head Housekeeper. Yesterday, at the significant Ritz-Carlton Millenia luxury hotel, there was an awe-inspiring fruit display with a card from the Executive Chef Massimo Pasquarelli . Today, having nibbled the display of fresh berries and other perfect-condition fruits during the night, it was a case of heading to the hotel’s 32nd floor club lounge. First, look at the sunrise view, with the light shining across the water, over to the two Fullertons, old and new.

The club lounge’s pantry, at breakfast

And now look at the breakfast goodies on offer. Clever GM of this stylish 608-room place, Peter Mainguy. has converted what was a separate smoking room into a dedicated club lounge kitchen, across the corridor from the main lounge. The kitchen is partly help-yourself, from glass-fronted chilled cabinets, from open displays and, later in the day, from the eight-bottle Enomatic machine. Go through this pantry to the cooking area and at breakfast there is a versatile egg or waffle maker: at cocktail hour a chef loaned from one of the restaurants produces enough variety to enable a hungry guest to make a full meal. The team up in the lounge personify style, by the way. Women in coffee-silk jackets over black welcome new arrivals with glasses of perfectly-chilled Moët. At all times, even at seven a.m. if you need IT support, manager Gwendolyn David or her team handle whatever as if they are Apple staffers.

Section of Colony’s make-your-own salad section

Does the lounge’s super food product mean, by the way, that hotel guests do not then pay to eat Chinese in the hotel’s Summer Pavilion or in the international Colony restaurant? Well, as we all know hotel guests in food-centric Singapore are 98% likely to dine out (unless there is one of the nonstop downpours that seem to be happening at the moment). Equally important is the fact that the hotel’s cuisine reputation is such that both restaurants are full – there is even a well-ordered line to get a table at Colony for breakfast. My dinner there was sensational. The eight cooking-preparation areas include a seafood-cold-cuts and salad section where every one of the 20 salad displays was, well, perfect. And then I went on into the hot room, with Chinese, Indian, Italian, Malay and international kitchens – how COULD anyone ignore the bright pink Australian tomahawks, delicately sliced to order?

Peter Mainguy, left, and Renato de Oliveira

Since my last visit to this divine luxury hotel the fitness-centre gym has relocated to what was a poolside restaurant, and in its stead, now, is a gorgeous wood-lined spa, designed by SPIN (they cleverly offer 30-minute quickies that every luxury hotel spa should consider, usually aimed at time-deprived top executives but here also successfully attracting retail addicts). I loved my quickie neck massage. Next visit will include a full La Mer treatment: this is the first hotel in Asia Pacific to have this desirable brand and its followers are flocking here. Next visit, too, I will be admiring Peter Mainguy’s next invention, namely a retractable glass floor that pops out, 30 minutes’ total set-up time, to turn the outdoor swimming pool into an events arena that will even bear the weight of cars. Mr M flew to Guangzhou personally to design and supervise this floor. Nothing is too much for this creative guy. Much to everyone’s surprise, just as I was leaving he flew in, early, from Boston, via Dubai, as if to see that everything was, under his Brazilian deputy Renato de Oliveira, running smoothly. Of course it was.