Welcome gifts can be memorable for a variety of reasons – there was a luxury hotel in Maui once that dared to give the gal not only a mammoth hemispherical wood salad bowl but a pair of salad-tossing utensils, also wood and 20 inches long (memory does not recall how all this got back home, but it did). Look what was waiting in the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore room. Make-your-own martini, with the admonition to ‘Keep calm, chill out and make a lychée martini‘. Turn the card over and you have full instructions. Put the lychée liueur and lychée juice and the Belvedere vodka into the shaker, and fill with ice. Shake and pour.
And enjoy. This is the hour, too, to relish the sunset as I look out over Orchard Boulevard, and get ready for dinner. ONE90 restaurant here has gone through several metamorphoses since the 254-room hotel opened in 1994, but it does now seem to be working. It specialises, simply, in wood-fired steaks and seafood, and it would be silly not to take the clever Market Mezze offering. This gives an antipasti buffet bar, plus a wide choice of mains, served at table, before going back to the dessert buffet. While we are waiting the barman comes over to show off some of his mixological miracles, crafted, as at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay in Bali, under the Javier de las Muelas brand.
They say that dogs and owners increasingly resemble each other with prolonged acquaintance, and here the GM, Antoine Chahwan, looks quite lucky his deputy, Sunil Narang. Meet my twin, both say, in unison. I leave them be, and walk past fabulous lobby flowers and though the adjacent Club 21 fashion complex. Over the years I have watched this minimalist space, all-glass walls either side of the walkway, change from one haute couture brand to another and another. Armani is always there, a reminder that B..S Ong and his wife, Christina Ong, have Armani fashion rights for much of South-East Asia. Yes, brands displayed here are all local Ong concessions.
Club 21 leads to an empty gallery currently showing a display outsize beach pebbles, and you emerge to the ultra-venerable Singapore Hilton (stunning retail) with floors of established bedrooms above. But walking through this way leads direct to Orchard Road, handy for the MTR subway and for picking up taxis going downtown. I retrace my steps, back to my luxury hotel. At breakfast the following morning, I see another display, the smoked trout on the breakfast buffet. Over at the open kitchen there are Le Creuset casseroles, with well done and ‘soft’ streaky bacons. Oh, the well done is much more popular, says the chef, with a big smile.