Classic style and exceptional drinking and dining options in the heart of Singapore’s commercial district
With interiors by neofuturistic architect John Portman, the Regent Singapore offers classic glamour close to the western end of Orchard Road, the city-state’s famed shopping strip. The lobby is based around four Art Deco ‘bubble’ lifts that ferry guests from the first floor to the 12th. And then there’s the centrepiece, the giant “Singapore Shower” by Japanese sculptor Michio Ihara, which hangs from the ninth floor to the second and comes to life in mid-afternoon when the sun streams in to illuminate the work, casting a golden shimmer across the property’s interior. The hotel itself is a towering atrium arranged in tiers with an almost pyramid-like effect, while each floor’s corridors are left open to provide views from on high of the water features and swirling staircases below.
The huge Executive Suite that hosted Southeast Asia Globe came in at 88 square metres – no mean feat in an increasingly cramped city-state where space is at a premium and hotel rooms usually reflect it. The large balcony overlooking the leafy residential neighbourhood of Tanglin keeps the feeling of space flowing even outside. The palette is kept to a refined combination of white, beige and brown, with occasional brass flourishes – combined with antique furniture, the suite’s sense of effortless elegance is complete. Finally, there are the small touches one might expect from a Four Seasons hotel that make all the difference in guests feeling truly pampered – from L’Occitane toiletries to daily fruit and snacks left on the living room’s coffee table.
Drinks to remember
The Regent is pretty openly pitched as just as much a drinking and dining destination as a hotel, and nowhere is this executed more perfectly than in its second-floor bar, Manhattan. Currently sitting pretty at number one on the respected Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, Manhattan is a titan of the regional bar scene. The entrance might as well be a portal into The Great Gatsby, where leather Chesterfield sofas and black marble play the supporting roles to the golden glow of the bar at the back of the room. The atmosphere is lively and fun rather than serious and sombre – a welcome change for a high-grade hotel bar. As expected, the drinks are imperious and include classics such as a silky, aged negroni and signature concoctions such as the Coal, a mighty blend of dark chocolate, dry curaçao and 12-year Bowmore single malt.
One of the key spots in town that is keeping alive the Singaporean tradition of destination Chinese dining for family outings and special occasions, Summer Palace provides a platform for the creations of executive chef Liu Ching Hai. The restaurant’s recently awarded Michelin star was just reward for Liu’s eschewing of the painstaking plating and fusion fussiness of many modernist restaurants in favour of classic Cantonese cuisine and exquisite dim sum. We’d recommend chef Liu’s five-course tasting menu, which includes braised bean gluten and crab meat as well as the finest abalone we’ve ever tasted, served in a hearty eight treasures soup.
This article was published in the May edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.