A staycation over the weekend is something I always look forward to after a busy week at work. Despite the dozens of hotel stays I’ve had in Singapore in the past few years, there is none other that gets me all perked up than at the property where I had one of my first staycations in Singapore, Capella Singapore. A popular venue for weddings, brunches and staycations, the property sits at the apex where getaways in Singapore are concerned. I have such fond memories of the service standards from that stay, so much so that certain elements of it have gone on to become anecdotes that I use sometimes as a conversation starter.
a fascination with curves at capella singapore
Anyway, I digress. When Capella Singapore opened in Sentosa in early 2009 featuring a colonial entrance contrasted against an ultra-modern building where it houses its rooms and suites, the property quickly became recognized as the pinnacle of luxury where Singapore hotels are concerned. Even before my blogging days, I would hear colleagues booking rooms here for the Capella experience, even though they don’t really do staycations on a regular basis. It didn’t take long until I also booked a room to see how special the experience was. Needless to say, it became, at that point, my best hotel stay experience in Singapore but unfortunately, it was a stay I did not manage to document. Fortunately, I had the chance to experience the property again recently.
As an ultra luxury resort, the service level was palpable even days before I stepped inside the lobby. Around a week before my stay, I got an email from someone who introduced herself as my “personal assistant” asking me if there was anything I needed during my time in the resort. Days later during my actual check-in formalities, a staff member ushered me into the room and carefully explained to me the various room nuances such as the master control panel found on the bedside table and the free minibar. Aside from the resort itself, the property also maintains serviced apartments for long stayers called The Club Residences.
Premier Garden Room
For this particular stay, I was billeted at a Premier Garden Room which is essentially the most basic category room at this property. At 77 square meters, it was anything but and featured among other things, a balcony, Nespresso machine, Bose sound system and various in-room mood lighting settings.
A master control setting is found at the bedside. This enables guests to conveniently control various aspects of the room, from curtains, lighting and even the air-conditioning!
Although I was in a resort setting, the property was properly geared to the business traveler. There were plenty of sockets by the desk and one even already came with an extension! At the other end of the room was the TV, placed diagonally from the bed to ensure no disruption to the garden view right in front of me. Beneath the TV was the Nespresso machine with coffee capsules stowed inside a drawer.
contents of the free minibar at capella singapore – with fresh juices a special request from me
A few minutes after I settled in the room, a staff member knocked on my door and brought my minibar requests in. One of the things that Capella Singapore promises is complimentary non-alcoholic drinks in the minibar and guests can even choose the type of drinks they want inside the room. I chose to have a selection of fresh orange, apple and pineapple juices which was brought to me promptly and was in addition to the chilled juices and softdrinks that were already inside the fridge.
The bathroom was another grand affair. The his and her sinks and mirrors were laid directly behind the bed and opposite that was the spacious closet. The actual bath area was in another enclosure, with the bathtub right by the window while the toilet was in a separate enclosure.
But no doubt the highlight of the bathroom for me was the “stone” shower area which was separated from the rest of the bathroom by just a pole. There is a traditional shower as well as a rain shower setting which can be activated simultaneously and toiletries were from Aesop.
comfy setting of the library
As a resort, the property does not have a club lounge but it still manages to offer the services of one via what it calls “The Library” at the second floor of the colonial building. It offered an alternate chill area to the room and pool, with tons of books in an elegant early 20th century setting and with all-day drinks plus a personal assistant on duty at all times.
afternoon snacks at the library
At 3PM, some light snacks are served at The Library which at the time of my visit featured a nice variety of small sandwiches and cakes. With fine bone china for plates, pots and cups amid a background not too dissimilar from a turn of the century tropical plantation, the setting’s really perfect for afternoon tea!
A stay here won’t be complete without a dip at one of the property’s three multi-tiered swimming pools which are located at the lower parts of the resort. From above, the pools look like rice terraces, an apt design when considering the lush vegetation surrounding the pool. I chose to have a dip at the bottom-most pool, a lap pool which I had all to myself during the early evening.
There is also a fitness center though like in my previous stay, I found myself working out alone when I went. Nevertheless, newspapers were still replenished daily as was the fruit basket.
Breakfast at The Knolls
One of the things I found memorable about my Capella experience was the breakfast at the Knolls. The morning meal was served two ways, with an ala carte menu as well as a buffet. From the ala carte menu, I chose to have my usual eggs benedict though the menu extends to waffles, pancakes, french toast and a whole lot more. I was also told guests can even order a Japanese bento breakfast if they want as an off-menu item.
What I particularly loved about the breakfast at Capella was the wide variety of food items on offer coupled with the high quality. Elsewhere, it would just be either but rarely both. Juices were served fresh and there was a wonderful balance between local fare as well as international selections. For instance, there were 3 types of croissants available including an almond croissant and another healthier alternative to the standard butter croissant.
Several years later and my most recent stay at Capella Singapore still merits the top rank in my list of hotels in the country (Shangri-la Singapore’s Valley Wing comes second). The hard product is undoubtedly great – large rooms, tasteful and unique design and wonderful amenities all generate “oohs and aahs” for first timers at this property. But what really puts it at the top of my list is the service culture, one that goes all out to try to please guests. To see this culture ingrained even in the management – I once saw the Director of Rooms carrying bags for guests – creates a greater sense of authenticity to the experience. One strong reason for choosing to stay in Sentosa as compared to the city is the feeling of going on a getaway. This property is huge and there’s lots of green spaces, more than any other resort in the island. By that measure, Capella Singapore offers a true sanctuary for guests wishing to get away from it all, even if it’s just for a weekend.
1 The Knolls
Tel: +65 6506 6888
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You can read more of my hotel reviews here.