2019/09/29

Singapore for (repeat) visitors being into staying & dining in style

Location

New hot spot hotel & some tips for serious fine dining

As fate wills my husband and I happen to visit Singapore for the third time in four years and this not only for a stopover but for several days each time. So, we had ample opportunity for checking out what this global finance and commerce hub has to offer in terms of staying and dining in style. And you will not be disappointed in this regard!


Where to stay for luxury travel in Singapore in general

If the question arises where to stay in Singapore when appreciating the finer things in life, the “places to be” are the Raffles on the one hand and a high-end accommodation in the Marina Bay area
on the other hand.

As to the latter, I personally would refrain from staying at the hotel adjacent to the Gardens of the Bay – I do not want to name names. And this for the following reasons. First, it is pretty far away from everything else, at least if you are on foot. Second, in my opinion it is too big and impersonal. And last, if you stay here, you will only have one of the city’s best sights on your picture if you leave the place!

After choosing the Raffles
for our first trip to Singapore – see here my review, please note that this hotel has just reopened after undergoing an extensive renovation –, my husband and I opted for the Fullerton Bay Hotel
on our second stay. It is favorably located in terms of views to be enjoyed from here and also as to closeness to top attractions and hip restaurants. In addition, it offers everything you wish for a hotel of this class, be it generous, well-appointed rooms – go for a bay view room because of the panorama –, flawless facilities – the pool/bar area on the rooftop is great – and a high service level – staff knew you by name from the second time you go for breakfast.

And now is the question where to go next after ticking off these two iconic places off your list.

Which hotel(s) to choose after Raffles & Marina Bay stays: Six Senses Maxwell

After long consideration, we decided on a hotel barely twenty minutes by foot away from the one we stayed last time in the Marina Bay area, and this in the historic Tanjong Pagar district, just south of Chinatown. This hip neighborhood is a food lover’s paradise yet complete with a central location, and best of all, featuring lots of beautiful ancient shophouses lining the streets.
End of last year, Hotel Six Senses Maxwell opened here, completing the brand’s first ever city hotel project after the opening of the nearby sister property Six Senses Duxton. And it was a great choice!

Ambiance/Facilities

The Six Senses Maxwell hotel is set in a row of colonial-style heritage houses. Exposed brickwork on the outside,
elegantly yet modernly decorated on the inside,
I loved it how the property has been magnificently restored!

In terms of facilities, there is a restaurant (Cook & Tras Social Library), which transforms into a bar by night, I adored the beautiful interiors with thousands of books that can be borrowed by hotel guests!
The breakfast, which was great, is served here. The other restaurant, Murray Terrace Brasserie, was out of business on our stay. Furthermore, there is a gym and a 25 m (82 ft) outdoor lap pool can be found on the rooftop.

Rooms/Service

Six Senses Maxwell has 138 rooms, which are – with the exceptions of suites – not huge (it is a historic building), but cleverly furnished. They are stylish and nicely decorated.

My husband and I went for the largest room category (before suites), a Terrace Room, although the narrow balcony is not of much use. It was spacious enough (36 sqm./409 sqft.), kept in ruby reds and elegant yet somewhat eclectic. The bathroom, not exactly sizable, offered astonishingly much: a retro bath tub, a large separate shower and a likewise toilet.
As to the service quality, nothing can really be criticized. And they mean well with their guests, not only a welcome drink is offered, but daily complimentary ice cream is served from a cart, a nice touch!

Sister property Six Senses Duxton

This hotel, only a few minutes away, is the smaller Singapore sibling of Six Senses Maxwell with fewer (49 units) and also smaller rooms. As its bigger sister, it is housed in a historic building, this time in a row of conservation shophouses.

Where to dine in style in Singapore

Six Senses Maxwell location is great if you want to indulge in the city’s vibrant dining scene. As always, my husband and I made sure that we did not have to go to the other end of town to have dinner. We did not have any troubles in finding adequate fine dining spots, with one exception, on Sunday evening when many restaurants are closed. Because of this, we headed a bit further, to the Orchard Road shopping belt area (Les Amis, a 12 minute-taxi ride), the three other dining-spots we visited could be reached in less than then minutes by foot.

I am going to briefly introduce the four restaurants, and this starting with the most casual (but still fine dining) and ending with the most sophisticated one.

1. Cure, Chinatown neighborhood

Located in the super-trendy Keong Saik Road
at the edge of Chinatown, here modern European cuisine with Asian touches is on offer. This was already our second visit to the dimly-lit casual fine dining establishment (the first was in 2016), headed by the Irish chef Andrew Walsh, and we loved again what we got.
The chef has a good hand for playing skillfully with various flavors and textures without going too far. What I liked most, was the array of perfectly executed and tasty snacks at the beginning, amongst them the Austrian inspired Linzer biscuit cookie with foie gras, what an original approach!
Staff is friendly and competent, the ambiance is relaxed, and it is reasonably priced, at least for Singapore. The only complaint I have is that I wished they would have played less hard music. It was quite annoying having to listen to it throughout the whole evening!

2. Guccio Ristorante, Chinatown neighborhood

This upscale Italian restaurant where you get authentic Mediterranean dishes with a modern touch is located in an area, which is known to be one of the most popular after-work hangout spots in town, the Club Street.
It is a new place, just opened late last year. Chef Marco,
from the south of Italy, knows his stuff, my Melanzana, an arrangement of caramelized eggplant, ricotta, parmesan and pine nuts,
was super tasty, also my raviolis were a hit and the tiramisu was one of the best I ever tasted. And the place’s character is convincing as well, urban modern with an open cuisine, and the chef, a likeable guy, took his time after dinner to talk to us.

3. Preludio, Tanjong Pagar neighborhood

Are you into progressive cooking? Then this new restaurant, opened late 2018, is the place for you! Think of author’s cuisine, which calls itself boundless and where only the chef’s vision is the determining factor. Or have you ever heard of a menu where all the dishes are inspired by black and white? And what about two successive courses invoking a sense of déjà-vu? All this and more can be found at this ultra-modern, minimalist restaurant,
located at Frasers Tower
and helmed by the Colombian chef Fernando Arévalo. There is a sole menu, either with six or eight courses, and it has its price, but it is totally worth it, at least if you like well-made avant-garde cooking. The chef is a wizard weaving some pretty special magic, what showed most in the first two courses looking absolutely identical yet being completely different from each other, once white beetroot with burrata and yoghurt foam,
the other wood ear mushroom with bone marrow and mushroom potato mousse. While I considered the experience as a pure foodie’s delight, I found it a pity that they did not serve any bread. I am fully aware that you usually eat too much of it, especially at the beginning, but maybe it would be a good idea to bring it in after the first one or two courses as I have noticed it with others chefs recently.

4. Les Amis, Orchard Street neighborhood

When seeking a restaurant for a special occasion and that is open on a Sunday evening at the same time, we came across the award-winning Les Amis restaurant (2 Michelin Stars, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, ranked 33rd) serving classic French cuisine. While we had been a bit apprehensive about what to expect – we had been unsure whether the high prices promised a comparable performance –, we were pleasantly surprised! Not only had we a memorable evening with the best hospitability you can imagine but we had a truly exquisite meal, however I still think it is price wise a bit over the top. In this context, you have to acknowledge that everything is very elaborate, e.g. all the ingredients are imported from France as many of them are rarely available in Asia. In terms of interiors, it is an impressive place with high ceilings, velvet panels on the walls and an elegant feel.
And as to the food, I adored the richly stocked bread trolley accompanied by a heavenly butter!
This is the place to go if you are into authentic yet sophisticated French cuisine without chichi, best illustrated by our main course, wagyu beef tenderloin with side dishes in quite generous portions (pommes soufflés & carrots).
In case you are a lover of (French) wines, you will be astounded by the extensive wine list and the beautiful wine cellar, my husband was blown away when having the chance to cast a glance at all these “trouvailles”!

Overall

You are spoilt for choice when staying and dining in style is on your agenda for your Singapore visit. The must-do hotel here is the Raffles and if you already have been there, one of the high-end accommodation opportunities in the Marina Bay area are also great options. Ticked off all that, the new Six Senses Maxwell in the trendy Tanjong Pagar area within the Central Business District is certainly one of the places to stay in style in an upcoming part of the city.

In case you are a fine food lover, there is a wide range of excellent dining-spots for every taste. A restaurant that has been persuasive on two visits and receives constantly good reviews on TripAdvisor is Cure at the edge of Chinatown, a casual fine dining place with European Asian inspired cuisine.

Date of last visit: July 2019


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