Truly Priceless!

The moment I stepped out from my car at the front porch of the Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa, I was greeted by name.  I turned to the young lady who was there expecting my arrival and introduced herself as Cindy, a consultant with the PR agency, working with MasterCard Worldwide, the hosts of the media visit for Priceless Singapore.  After a very smooth and speedy check-in, she directed me to the bank of elevators that should take me to my room for a rest before the start of the day’s itinerary. 

I have reviewed the itinerary and was looking forward to a sneak peek into the Priceless moments that MasterCard holders can expect to experience and enjoy with Priceless Singapore.  There was a shopping trip to Reebonz Space, dinner at The Tippling Club – helmed by top international chef Ryan Clift, a Chinese gourmet lunch created by chef Sam Leong and chef Mike Tan at Forest, Equarius Hotel, and a VIP tour of Universal Studios Singapore – one of South East Asia’s biggest tourist attractions. 

And while the hosts wanted the media to experience a luxurious stay with a bit of a rock edge at the Hard Rock Hotel, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that this trip was going to culminate with such an exciting experience!

As I followed the signs to the Guest Lifts and rounded the corner, I was welcomed by James “I feel good!” Brown and the incomparable King – Elvis Presley!  Their full-height posters graced one wall while the other wall had portraits of The Boss – Bruce Springsteen among others and a display with an outfit worn by Elvis in his movie, Speedway.  I couldn’t help smiling as I feasted my eyes on these artifacts until the elevator “dinged” its arrival.

It was a short ride to my floor and when the doors slid open, I was greeted by the Fab Four – Paul, George, John and Ringo – collectively known as The Beatles!  My smile widened as I paused to look at a showcase with a display of a pair of pinstriped pants that belonged to John Lennon and a collection of drum sticks that Ringo Starr used at concerts in 1964!  Looking at these items just brought back a flood of fond memories of my very unforgettable visit to The Beatles Museum in Liverpool.

By this time, I was bracing myself for who else I may see inside my room.  The Front Office staff said that at the moment, there was no room available with a King size bed so I accepted the twin-bedded room, agreeing to let the Housekeeping staff come “join” the two super-single beds for me to enjoy a Mega size bed! 

I entered my room and the Housekeeper was not there yet but I was delighted to see that I was going to share the room with Jimi Hendrix!

As a habit when I first enter a room, I inspected the facilities and was pleased to see that the dressing area was properly lighted – with bulbs framing the mirror ala Hollywood style – that not only gave sufficient light but also made me feel like a star!  I found the remote control to switch on the TV and the screen came alive with the Resorts World promo video.  It was as if I was not welcomed enough thus far because I suddenly caught sight of my name on the TV screen!  I thought this welcome was indeed personalised enough when I read the screen with message: “Welcome Ms Loh, Peggy!”

A red carpet welcome into the Gala Event
This was just the start of my Priceless Singapore experience, the tip of the proverbial iceberg because in the next two days, I had an exciting taste of what MasterCard cardholders can look forward to experience in the programme. 

On 12 October, Singapore became the first city in South East Asia to launch the MasterCard Priceless Cities programme, a global programme for all MasterCard credit, debit and prepaid cardholders.  These discerning and well-travelled consumers can gain access to the city’s finest restaurants and bars, the hottest designers and retail outlets, exclusive suites at the best hotels, the most exciting attractions in town and red carpet entertainment experiences.  MasterCard Worldwide cardholders are also eligible for additional VIP experiences. 

Cardholders should register at to start enjoying these special access deals, perks and privileges.

Seal in Singapore for
Priceless Singapore Gala Event
This info was shared at the Priceless Singapore Press Conference before we were transferred to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre for the Priceless Singapore Gala Event.  At the close of the Press Conference, the host Dominic Lau couldn’t resist dropping some strong hints of what we can expect to see later at the Gala Event.  As a short video clip was screened with the star [specially flown in for this event!] speaking to people on the streets of Singapore, I could not suppress a surge of anticipation to see him “live” because I already guessed it right – last night!

Over dinner last night I was given a broad hint that there will be a pleasant surprise at the Gala Event and I was told, “But my lips are sealed…”  I guessed it was a musician but the next clue gave the game away because the moment I heard that he is renowned for the soundtrack for the Batman Forever movie, I got it!  Wow!  

I have long been a fan of the distinctive voice of this award-winning English soul and R&B singer-songwriter and I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that he was really going to be here…

Later as I walked the red carpet into the event area – designed inside the brand new Marina Bay Cruise Centre – I was ready for a peek into the perks that MasterCard holders can have access to in the Priceless Singapore programme – and to see Seal in the flesh!  

I was with the three witches from Shakespeare's MacBeth!
The Singapore Repertory Theatre had a stage set up in one section of the event area with several characters from various Shakespeare plays, reenacting scenes from ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Twelfth Night.  

Uniformed staff plied guests with drinks and food catered by Ritz Carlton Singapore and behind a curtained section, guests had a sampling of designer artisan spa chocolates and a skillful quickie shoulder massage treat. 

A creative percussion performance by the Urban Drum Crew kicked off the evening’s programme and MasterCard launched Priceless Singapore with a random draw that rewarded several lucky people with a VIP trip to the UK to watch a football match and an exclusive dining experience for the winner and thirteen friends at The Tippling Club.  The gala evening turned out to be a party of friends who knew how to enjoy the finer things in life.  After the food and drinks and a vocal performance by Vanessa Fernandez, I knew that the high point of the evening was near. 

Guests recording Seal as he entered the event hall
I thought that if MasterCard was seeking to meet the passion points of cardholders and reward them for choosing to use MasterCard, they did a great job in showcasing some of the attractions that are available exclusively to cardholders.

The moment I saw the short video clip of Seal that was earlier screened at the Press Conference, I did not hesitate but headed directly to the front of the stage as the screen changed to show “live” scenes of Seal’s entry into the event hall.  While his band (already on stage!) struck up the music, security personnel helped to part the surging crowd as Seal walked in singing!

It felt like Seal was only singing to me!
This kicked off 45 solid minutes of special Seal moments where he entertained and enthralled the appreciative audience with his distinctive brand of music.  From my front row position, I saw how he sang effortlessly and flawlessly.  With the sweltering heat – from his energetic performance and our warm reception – he had to pause between songs to mop his perspiration and refresh with sips of water. 

Seal gave us an intimate showcase of his unique repertoire and like a true professional, worked the audience with his lively banter.  He belted out familiar favourites like, Crazy and of course, Kiss from a Rose from the Batman Forever soundtrack and when he did a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, his soulful rendition was so beautiful that for a moment, it felt like he was only singing to me!

Seal - in the flesh - at the Priceless Singapore
Gala Event on 12 October 2012
He connected easily with the audience and when he finished his final song, everyone was at an emotional high and so hyped up that it was not easy to see him go.  I must confess that I was on the brink of tears and it took conscious effort to pull myself together before I melted into a puddle on the floor! 

As soon as Seal left, I found a seat and vaguely remembered that the serving staff continued offering me drinks and snacks but I politely declined.  Because after Seal, I needed nothing else!  Back in my room at the Hard Rock Hotel that night, I not only went to bed with Jimi Hendrix watching me but I also had Seal on my mind.  Thanks to MasterCard, I had a truly priceless experience – one that I would treasure for a long, long time.  

Before falling asleep and drifting into dreams filled with spectacular moments with Seal, I made a mental note to register at and to check out those exclusive experiences and deals that MasterCard cardholders can look forward to enjoy. 


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