The Bright Star
‘The sea, as seen from near New Harbour is dotted with emerald-coloured islets, clothed throughout the year in the freshest green. Skirting the coast one sees Malay pile-built huts peeping out here and there from the jungle. The whole forms a picture of unique beauty, full of artistic delight to the stranger.’ – Author and Reverend, Bartrum, E. 1899, on Singapore’s harbour.
The times may have changed, Singapore may have got busier, but the seaside charm of Sentosa remains. With the constant updates to the entertainment scene, you can never really get bored. A property, just off the city-Sentosa toll bridge, close to Universal Studios, resides on 30 acres of lush rainforest. Blending Colonial architecture with a modern interface, set atop a knoll, the award-winning Capella Singapore in Sentosa is not what you would have pictured. The property is named after the brightest star in the Auriga constellation — with a logo to match that turns up everywhere including pancakes; the hotel comes with a room rate that is slightly higher than most, claiming the ‘most spacious accommodations in Singapore’.
You are welcomed into a beautiful Colonial building, maintaining the heritage landscape and architecture. And then as you walk past and out the other side, you are faced with bold and contemporary architectural curves. You are not quite sure if it’s all a part of the same property, but it grows on you. The terraced land, rather than being bulldozed, keeps its incline and affords a unique hill sensibility to the island. As you walk around, you are greeted by the local peacocks, peahen and peachicks all strolling about unabashedly. The cascading pools use the incline, with the top-most pool for adults and the one below being child-friendly. Further down is a serious lap pool for the sports enthusiasts. And if you keep walking down the flight of stairs hewn into the hill, you would reach a gated entrance to the Sentosa beach and waterfront, peppered with cafes, bars and entertainment. A local tram – free for those on Sentosa – takes you back and forth around the area.
Up again in the hotel, the most enjoyable feature by far, is the concept of The Library. Nestled in the Colonial part of the property, The Library is a secluded, quiet area for the guests, with plush couches and casual chairs embracing the sunlight-streaming windows. With tea, coffee and cold beverages always available, the Library also serves up a light high tea daily. So inviting is the environment that the guests file in from wherever they may have been in time for the high tea, which is on the house. Faint murmurs of conversation, people and children engrossed in periodicals and books taken off the shelves, a child napping, a chance to peruse their coffeetable books’ collection and a chat with a personal assistant to plan the rest of the stay…it is a warm and friendly atmosphere among strangers. The food in the hotel is excellent, and though lacking in extensive vegetarian options, they are happy to accommodate requests.
The rooms are as large as promised, with the starting category (Premier Garden) at a whopping 77 square meters. Tall ceilings, large windows, balcony and a bathroom with tub and shower area overlooking the hill is a part of the charm of the modern room that is accessorised with a bedside touchscreen control panel (for curtains, lights, air con), complimentary mini bar, Bose sound system and a Nespresso coffee maker. If that’s not enough, they have a wide range of rooms to choose from, from suites with a view to privacy-protecting villas with plunge pools, from three-bedroom manors (with a full library, dining area, kitchen, pool and den) to long-stay units. All guests are afforded access to the high-tech Auriga spa, which has a steam bath, vitality pool, peppermint-fragranced cool mist and berry-fragranced tropical rain showers. After all this, who would want to explore the world outside?
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