24-Hour Room Service: Capella, Sentosa, Singapore

Singapore can be a frazzling place. There are only two seasons here, they say: hot and humid or hot and wet. Morning humidity averages 90 per cent, and within moments of leaving Changi airport, my straight hair had puffed into a cloud and a just-laminated sheen glossed my skin.

None of this is conducive to a glamorous arrival at the city-state's most glamorous new hotel. Thankfully, the Capella is just outside the city centre on the island of Sentosa, a self-styled retreat of tropical forest, man-made beaches, family-friendly attractions and gentle sea breezes.

As my taxi meandered up the driveway around a small green hill and past a pair of strutting peacocks, the main building gradually came into view. First a red-tiled roof, then a two-storey colonnaded colonial building so white that I practically had to put on sunglasses in order to look at it. Things were certainly starting to look cooler, even if I wasn't.

Built in the late 19th century for use as a British military club, the Capella has been architecturally re-programmed by Foster + Partners and opened as a hotel in March. Gracious staff greet you like ethereal clouds along the portico, wafting you inside. The reception is a vision of cool and calm, too: stone-hued walls, shiny white marble floors, plump sofas and rattan chairs. Upstairs is the library, where you can sit and drink tea, read a newspaper, or simply simmer down. Next door is the Cantonese restaurant Cassia, where a theatrical design of sultry tones and black lacquer spills on to a veranda. The colonial chic aesthetic is broken only by vivid modern art on the walls, a hint of what lies beyond.

This being a Foster + Partners project, you don't just get a historic renovation. Beyond the colonial structure, a contemporary curvilinear building wraps itself in a figure-of-eight shape around a tropical garden. This addition houses most of the guest rooms.

The Capella dwells in just over a third of its 30-acre boundaries – a luxury not afforded to hotels in the city centre, where skywards is the only direction developers can look. Beyond the modern building are a swanky bar, restaurant and three-tiered terraces of infinity pools, sleekly surrounded by black slate. All very sexy until it absorbs the midday sun and scorches the soles of your feet, causing you to scuttle around like a crab. Still, with shady views through the trees of the South China Sea, it's a lovely spot for relaxing.

LOCATION

Capella, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore (00 65 6377 8888; capellasingapore.com ) is in the centre of Sentosa island, away from the concrete-and-steel tangle of the Resorts World construction site (due for completion next year with hotels, shops and a Universal Studios). Touristy rides and attractions are to the west, beach coves to the south and golf courses seep eastwards. The city centre is a 10-minute drive away, so you're never too far to pick up the pace again. However you come here for an escape – don't expect shops or restaurants beyond the hotels.

Time from international airport: Singapore Changi is a 30-minute drive. Limousine transfers cost S$45 (£18.80) one way, otherwise a metered taxi will cost around S$25 (£10.40). Alternatively, take the MRT (underground) from Changi to Harbourfront then hop on the free Sentosa Express monorail to Imbiah monorail station.

COMFORTABLE?

The 111 rooms are split between the modern wing and a collection of long-stay villas scattered around the gardens. Disappointingly, there are no rooms in the original colonial building, but their gracious interiors more than compensate. I arrived at my room at night, the blinds down and the lighting atmospherically low, moodily accentuating the muted colour scheme. The following morning, at the touch of a button, 20 metres of blackout blinds lifted like a cinema screen on a view first of the tree canopy, then the glistening sea. The "contemporary Asian" style feels a little familiar but is nonetheless supremely comfortable. Rooms are either big or bigger, with the furnishings suitably proportioned.

Constellation rooms come with outdoor Jacuzzis, while villas are just that, with plunge pools and landscaped gardens. Guests lacking their own pool to wallow in can make for the Auriga spa, where treatments are based on the phases of the moon.

Freebies: Natural Abahna toiletries, mineral water, soft drinks and turn-down treats.

Keeping in touch: Whopping 46-inch LCD TVs, DVD players, direct-dial phones, Wi-Fi, Bose iPod docking station, daily newspaper.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles start at S$765 (£319), room only.

I'm not paying that: The Rasa Sentosa Resort (00 65 6275 0100; shangri-la.com ) on Siloso Beach has doubles from S$282 (£117), room only.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...