A perfectly posh weekend

Bernie, my butler, checking me into my suite

POISED and polite, my butler stood waiting as the elevator doors open quietly. Addressing me by name, Bernie escorted me into the elegant suite of the posh St Regis Singapore and graciously showed me around before inviting me to relax on the plush sofa for the check-in. 

As I nibbled melt-in-your-mouth macaroons, he politely asked: “May I help you unpack?” Visions of my well-travelled luggage popped into mind and I declined.

When he left, I remembered that planning was part of the fun of this holiday. After studying brochures and websites and considering different destinations in neighbouring countries, the girls and I agreed on an itinerary for a stylish holiday just across the Causeway.  We had made arrangements for a guide to meet us the next day.  I couldn’t wait to indulge in an exceptional epicurean experience and enjoy some exciting activities.

Lap Of Luxury

Our first step into a bit of heaven started with the stay in the luxurious suite of the award-winning St Regis Singapore, the only hotel in the Republic where all guests enjoy butler services and the use of a fleet of Bentleys for transport.  Surrounded by such opulent sophistication, it was absolute bliss as I snuggled into the comfortable bed and chose the right light from a panel of buttons for my bedtime read.

Walking through entrance rotunda, rooms and restaurants, I did not miss the stunning crystal chandeliers, the meticulous attention to detail, personalised service and every conceivable amenity for a comfortable stay. When I saw a Pillow Menu with a choice of 15 types of pillows, I knew that no detail was overlooked and no request too much trouble. With Harry Koenig Jr serenading softly, I soon drifted off into deep sleep.

Breakfast was a leisurely affair set against a cool backdrop of cascading fountains on the other side of floor-to-ceiling glass walls in Brasserie Les Saveurs.  In the lobby, a whole wall was covered by a huge 19th Century original ink and colour Chinese silk painting titled “A Gathering Of Immortals”. Exploring further, I discovered that the hotel housed one of the finest and most extensive private art collections in Asia.

With the taste of Yan Ting’s fine Cantonese cuisine lingering on my lips, I descended the grand staircase to meet Daud the Bentley driver and was soon enjoying a smooth drive to Spa Botanica in Sentosa Island.

Non-stop Indulgence

There, we strolled through the tropical paradise, landscaped with pavilions, pools, waterfalls and peaceful labyrinths. At Asia’s first and only mud pools, we slathered generous coats of mineral-rich volcanic mud all over each other. Coated in scented greenish mud, we looked like sisters of Shrek but after we had washed off under a refreshing rainfall shower, our skin felt supple, cleansed and revived.

Crunchy warm Salt Nut Tart at Prive

We went our separate ways to outdoor treatment villas where I surrendered to the therapist’s healing hands for a signature East-West blend massage. Embraced by a citrusy cloud of lemongrass scent, I “floated” to a pavilion built over a koi pond for a soothing sip of flower tea.  Recharged and ready for the evening, we headed for il-Lido, a smart Italian restaurant and lounge bar at Sentosa Golf Club to relax over cocktails and watch a spectacular sunset in a pink palette of brilliant colours.

Dinner at Prive was an epicurean escapade of refined French American cuisine in a New York-style restaurant on Keppel Island, Singapore’s only private island. From starters like Carpaccio and Beef Tenderloin Tartare and Oyster Pana Cotta served with fresh breads, we went on to Rare Duck Breast and sautéed Bobby Veal Loin but I was careful to save some space for dessert. Filled with espresso ice-cream, the Molten Centre Chocolate Souffle was heavenly but at the first taste of the crunchy warm Salted Nut Tart, I was in love.

Champagne toast on board the Singapore Flyer

With reservations on the Moet & Chandon Champagne Flight, we hurried to the Singapore Flyer to enjoy 30 mesmerising minutes on Singapore’s newest icon. As the capsule inched its way up to a height of 165 metres, a sea of glittering lights spread out below, outlining the city skyline and the upcoming Integrated Resort in Marina Bay. Between sips of bubbly and nibbles of strawberries and chocolates, we had great fun identifying landmarks and raised our champagne flutes in a toast to friendship!

Standing next to the deluxe Chrysler 300C Super Stretch Limousine, our guide was waiting with the chauffeur to show us the city by night. Measuring the length of 1½ cars, the elegant limo attracted a curious crowd who came around to admire the car and watched as we boarded. Cruising through busy Orchard Road and Orchard Boulevard, we took in the sights in style while creating quite a stir in a perfect end to a day of pure indulgence.

More Pleasure Pursuits

From many options, we decided on three sites for a taste of culture and adventure. Set against the skyline of the Central Business District, the unique design of the Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay, was like a magnet drawing us in for a closer look. From its iconic “durian” domes to the impressive concert hall, theatre, studios and waterfront stages, I felt innately proud that the Esplanade was the venue where some of Malaysia’s renowned productions like Puteri Gunung Ledang and P. Ramlee the Musical were successfully staged.

A walk through the courtyard led us to the chic comfort of 7atenine, a contemporary restaurant where we selected a Lunch Unlimited menu with a luscious assortment of over 20 tapas-style samplers created from Asian-Latino inspired recipes.  Sharing starters, mains and desserts, we savoured a delightful variety of flavours and surprisingly, still had room for a taste of the signature Chili Con Carne and a wedge of yummy mini foie gras burgers created with teppanyaki seared foie gras, homemade beef pattie, smoked paprika scented onion marmalade and black truffle mashed potato.

Holding a Malay Fish Owl on my arm!

I managed to catch 40 winks en route to Jurong Bird Park and was refreshed for my close encounter with birds of prey in the exciting Be A Falconer programme. Wearing a buckskin glove on my left hand, I was not prepared for the heavy weight of the Malay Fish Owl on my fist as its strong talons curled around my fingers. Its penetrating round-eyed stare was quite scary but with growing confidence, I soon became an adept falconer, marvelling at the majestic flight of this mysterious bird as it took off and returned to settle on my fist.

Moving from one adrenaline-pumping activity to the next, we arrived at the Singapore Turf Club just in time to see the prestigious Three-Rings Trophy Race. Sitting in the air-conditioned gallery, we had a panoramic view of the racecourse and read scores from a sophisticated computer system, similar to that used in the Olympics.

Even though we did not place any bets, the excitement was infectious and we yelled along with the punters as the horses rounded the bend and whizzed pass the finishing line in a blur of speed! My elation couldn’t be any less than that experienced by winning horse No. 6 named Huat Chai.  As the wonderful weekend wound to a close, I was on a holiday high that would last me a long, long time. I can now reminisce on a most extraordinary experience far removed from the routine of everyday life and it all happened just across the Causeway.


• The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247911. Website: www.stregis.com/singapore

• Spa Botanica, 2 Bukit Manis Road Sentosa, Singapore 099891

Tel: 65-6371 1318 / 6371 1288. Fax: 65-6371 1278. Website: www.spabotanica.com

• il-Lido, Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Road, Singapore 099892. Tel: 65-6866 1977. Fax: 65-6866 1979. Website: www.il-lido.com

• Prive Restaurant, 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore 098382. Tel: 65-6776 0777. Fax: 65-6376 2830. Website: www.prive.com.sg

• Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039803. Tel: 65-6333 3311. Fax: 65-6339 9167. Website: www.singaporeflyer.com

• Lotus Limousines, 47 Club Street, Singapore 069424. Tel: 65-6325 9585. Fax: 65-6325 9586. Website: www.lotuslimos.com

• Esplanade – Theatres On The Bay, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981. For ticketing enquiries and bookings, call SISTIC on Tel: 65-6348 555. Website: www.esplanade.com

• 7atenine, 8 Raffles Avenue, #01-10/12 Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802. Tel: 65-63380 789. Fax: 65-63340 789. Website: www.sevenatenine.com

• Jurong Bird Park, 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826. Tel: 65-6210 5385. Fax: 65-6366 3309. Website: www.birdpark.com.sg

• Singapore Turf Club, 1 Turf Club Avenue, Singapore Racecourse, Singapore 738078. Tel: 65-6879 1000. Fax: 65-6879 1010. Website: http://www.turfclub.com.sg/

This article was first published in The New Straits Times, Travel Times on 30 March 2009

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