Tag Archives: Architecture Heritage Preservation

Raffles Hotel ~ Singapore’s luminous grand dame

By Dian Hasan | December 10, 2009

Across Southeast Asia, in the bygone colonial days, each major city was defined by her grand hotel. These hotels – which really resembled palaces or opulent mansions, not only offered accommodation for the weary travelers who traveled from Europe in steamships, but also served as the social nucleus for the ruling elite, and all those power. In their heyday, they saw the splendor of many a magnificent balls, feasts, and their share of international celebrities of their era. Pomp and pageantry included.

Only a few remain today, saved from the wrecking ball, thanks to some forward-thinking conservationists who were convinced of their historical and architectural value. Yangon’s The Strand, Penang’s O & E, Surabaya’s Oranje (renamed Majapahit), and Singapore’s Raffles. Indeed a collection of exquisite gems from the Sarkies Brothers, hip hoteliers of their day who hailed from Armenia. Continue reading

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Capella ~ Singapore’s ultra-luxe resort with all the right curves

By Dian Hasan | December 10, 2009

Singapore, a city-state that already is home to some of the finest luxury hotels in the world, welcomes its first genuine ultra luxury resort, Capella. Not along her world-renowned version of Rodeo Drive, on Orchard Road, but on Sentosa Island, where the second Integrated Resort – Resorts World – is being built. It will feature Southeast Asia’s only Universal Studios Theme Park, a Casino, Convention Facilities, and several hotels.

Sentosa Island, is reachable by road, tram and airtrain. Big name design firm, UK-based Foster + Partners are the brains behind the design. A series of low rise wings spread across a lush tropical rain forest setting, built around a main colonial-era building now housing the reception area. Curvaceous would be an apt description of the resort.

Capella is perched on a hill with a sweeping sea view that is framed by oversized wall-to-wall windows in guest rooms. The interior is a blissful sanctuary of sophisticated chic, with neutral tones, integrated remote panel that controlled the lighting, climate, window shades and blinds, and personalized service at a push of a button. Continue reading

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