For the best bird’s-eye view of Singapore, head as high as you can up the 70-floor Swissôtel The Stamford – designed (like Four Seasons New York) by I.M. Pei, this one is a striking silver tower, 741-feet in all. The gal has actually been out on its rooftop, coinciding with some event Anton Mosimann was doing. More usually, the top floor is eatertainment, Equinox and JAAN restaurant. Top-floor bedrooms, up to the 66th floor, are Stamford Crest club, and lovely. This is taken from suite 6556, looking down over Marina Bay – the green-fringed terraced building to the far right is PARKROYAL on Pickering.
They know how to make you feel at home. I arrived, to be met by the kind of young lady you would love as a cousin, or next-door neighbour, Eddy Tan (she has been working here for 30 years and, as guest relations supervisor, her love for people just oozes, nonstop). She put a Chinese stole, xia pei, round my neck, but this one is a collage of patterns, one Chinese, one Indian, one Malay, symbolising the make-up of Singapore, coming up to celebrating its 50th birthday August 9th, 2015. Eddy personally took me up to my suite, walking me past the special gym, open 24/7 (Stamford Crest people can use this gym, and they have a drawing-room-feel club lounge, with service, and a board room.
The internationalism of this 1,263-room hotel is immediately apparent. You can eat Italian, at Prego (which I did, later, with great enjoyment). I was actually dining, with Tom and Claudia Meyer in Mikuni, Japanese, but with a hilarious and talented Korean chef, Moon Kyung So, who insisted, after we tasted Sashimi moriawae, Tempura Moriawae and Kagoshima wagyu cubes –melt in the mouth – that we go through to the Robata area. Look at the spread of ingredients, and the paddles that come into the process somehow. Please do not ask what that ‘how’ is. Oh yes, we drank French, bubbles, followed by New Zealand, Cloudy Bay, or Australia, Geoff Merrill.
Back home, someone waited with a key for me to get into the main gym – what a nice touch. I found a card asking me what type of essence would I like for my burning oil – balance, comfort, rejuvenation, romance, spirit or vigour? Difficult. I gave up, and slept, and woke up. Gym (the main one, shared with Swissôtel’s conjoined sibling luxury hotel, Fairmont) and breakfast. Look what greets you at Café Swiss, just to let you know you are in the right place. The china is called Luzerne, the preserves are Hero, but the butters are French. This is truly an international hotel, and it is jolly friendly. No wonder Eddy Tan has chosen to stay here all those years.