Extraordinary hotel experience in Singapore

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2015 - 10:00am

“Sentosa isn’t that far!” exclaimed a friend of mine when he visited me in Capella Singapore, one of the most beautiful hotels I had the pleasure of visiting recently at the Lion City. As we walked around, he added, “This hotel is stunning!”

Capella Singapore, located in Sentosa Island, offers the most spacious accommodations in Singapore. The 112 guest rooms include 57 Premier Guestrooms, 15 suites, 38 villas featuring private outdoor showers and bathtubs and two Colonial Manors. The 31 Premier Garden Rooms and 26 Premier Seaview Rooms are 77 sq. m. each. The hotel also has seven Sentosa Suites (86 sq. m.), one- to four-bedroom Garden Villas (ranging from 133 to 188 sq. m.), five Contemporary Manors (398 sq. m.) and two Colonial Manors (436 sq. m.).

The resort offers an inspiring natural setting while providing easy access to Singapore’s financial and shopping districts. Nestled on 30 acres of lush rainforest, the resort’s peaceful setting on a knoll is a rare masterpiece, boldly marrying Singapore’s rich colonial heritage with a symphony of contemporary architectural curves and designs. Artworks are all around the hotels even in the gardens, which make the hotel very popular for weddings.

I decided to stay here upon the recommendation of some of my friends. Former Manila resident Alejandro Helbling is now the general manager of the hotel, which was awarded “Best Hotel” by the Singapore Tourism Board this year.





I was thrilled to see my favorite Aesop amenities when I entered my room. As far as I know, this is the only hotel in Singapore that uses this ultra exclusive brand. My room had a bedside touch-screen control panel for all of the room’s functions, a 46-inch flat screen LCD TV with cable, a walk-in wardrobe, an iPod docking station, wireless Internet access, Pratesi linens, complimentary mini-bar, a Bose sound system and a Nespresso coffee maker. Guests also have additional amenities such as flexible check-in and check-out times, complimentary pressing for five pieces of clothing, access to The Library with an excellent high tea selection, and 24-hour in-room dining and beverage service.

Capella Singapore offers a unique location for weddings, events and corporate retreats with over 24,500 sq. ft. of meeting and function space. Each meeting room features spacious pre-function areas for entertaining, be it a cocktail reception before dinner or tea breaks between meetings.

The hotel is also the first in Singapore to feature a circular ballroom that has a glass-dome skylight with a glass sculpture centerpiece by Nikolas Weinstein that floats from the dome’s center. Warm, natural skylight fills the ballroom’s 8,393 sq. ft. of pillar-less space designed to comfortably accommodate 400 guests.

Designed to hold up to 100 guests, The Gallery offers a boutique setting for exquisite wedding celebrations and social and business receptions. Its Business Center offers two boardrooms: 1,248 and 549 sq. ft., respectively, equipped with high-speed wireless Internet.

One night, Alejandro and his wife Roselyn (a dear friend who does this great food blog travelswithagourmet.com) took me to dinner at one of the best Chinese restaurants in Singapore named Cassia. It is a Cantonese fine dining restaurant in Capella, designed by Hong Kong’s famed Andre Fu, that offers seating for up to 94 guests. Cassia is perfect for small groups (or even individuals) who want to eat Chinese food as the menu is done per person so one doesn’t have to order a small dish good for two when only one is eating. The restaurant adjusts to the number of customers and the food there is to die for!

It was so good that I ate at Cassia twice within a week and even took home some of the restaurant’s dimsum to Manila! I swear that its soft-shelled crab in salted egg yolk was the best dish I have tasted this entire year!

There is also The Knolls restaurant that offers an authentic Mediterranean menu as well as a delectable Sunday brunch spread. The restaurant accommodates up to 76 guests indoors, with additional alfresco seating for up to 32 diners.

It was at The Knolls where I had my breakfast in the company of peacocks that strolled the outdoor patio! Whether I had the hotel’s amazing buffet breakfast and/or choices from an a la carte menu, it was an amazing experience having superb food while watching these majestic birds.

Bob’s Bar presents a vibrant spot for up to 27 guests with views of the hotel’s three cascading swimming pools. This bar has a spacious outdoor terrace with comfortable daybeds and sofas, which can accommodate up to 80 guests and is a great alternative for not going to the city.

Capella’s Auriga Spa offers guests a new wellness philosophy based on the phases of the moon. Signature treatments use natural products that reflect the varying energies of the lunar cycle. Auriga offers over 12,000 sq. ft. of contemporary Asian space with nine experience rooms with private gardens for a distinct indoor/outdoor experience. It also has a vitality pool with an ice fountain and an herbal steam bath.

I had such a wonderful experience during my weekend stay at Capella that I didn’t even go to the city. Everything I needed was right there and I was pampered like a king! I cannot wait to go back to this jewel of a hotel in Singapore...and of course head back for my favorite Chinese dishes in Cassia!

(Capella Singapore is located at 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore. Visit www.capellasingapore.com.)

A sweet celebration

A double dose of fun and smiles marked the celebration of Baskin-Robbins’ 70th anniversary since its birth in California in 1945 and simultaneously, its first year in the Philippines.

The event, hosted by Issa Litton, saw the successful contribution of the ice cream brand in making people happy and the life-changing transformation of 31 kids who were given brand-new smiles through its pioneering project with Operation Smile, the “BR 31 Smiles Project.” This corporate social responsibility campaign initiated by IceDream Inc., the exclusive local licensee of Baskin-Robbins, has brought back the smiles of 31 children who underwent cleft lip/palate surgery.

The event echoed positivism and happiness from start to finish through upbeat music, a welcome dance by the Philippine All-Stars, games like ice cream eating contest, and the launch of a new surprise treat.

It was a touching moment when guests met some of the young beaming beneficiaries of the BR 31 Smiles Project who performed a dance number. Cheering on the kids were the IceDream team led by its president Michael Dargani and vice president for marketing Nameeta Dargani with Operation Smile Philippines vice chairman Anne Arcenas-Gonzales and executive director Gian Trebol.

Dargani shared that the BR 31 Smiles Project is the first of its kind worldwide. This pioneering project touched the hearts of other Baskin-Robbins licensees around the globe when IceDream Inc. presented the campaign in a conference in Thailand. Dargani said, “The licensees who attended the recent regional conference in Thailand were deeply moved by the BR 31 Smiles Project and as a result, there are plans to initiate a similar campaign in their respective countries.” They also wanted to contribute to the cause in a personal capacity and they pledged amounts right there, raising enough funds for two more surgeries.

Apart from treating guests to a variety of new ice cream flavors at the event, Baskin-Robbins unveiled a surprise treat that had not yet been introduced in their stores. A delicious new lineup of indulgent Cookie Sundaes were passed around — premium Baskin-Robbins ice cream paired with warm, chewy cookies and sundae toppings. Guests got first dibs on the mouthwatering treat that is now available in all Baskin-Robbins stores.

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)


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