In my normal life the very notion of having a butler seems preposterous. At the St Regis hotel in Singapore, it took me precisely 19 minutes to get used to the idea.
Panicked at the thought of being cut off from the wireless world by a flat battery, I pressed the Butler Button. Within minutes, a charger had been scrambled to our room. After that, it took an effort not to press the button every time I wanted something.
From the second the chauffeur-driven Bentley picked us up from Changi airport, we were in no doubt that every member of the hotel staff was doing their damnedest to make us want to come back. Not in a fake, "have-a-nice-day way", but with genuine pride in their work. It took a while to adjust.
The 299-room hotel, which opened last year at a cost of S$900m (£411m), oozes luxury: its lobby, bars and restaurants are stuffed with art originals. The decor and amenities are everything you would expect from a five-star hotel. Want another pillow? Your personal butler will bring you a menu with a choice.
The rooms are plush but tasteful. From the control panel next to the super king-size beds, propped up on your à la carte pillows, you can dim the lights, open the curtains and control the air con. Unfeasibly large plasma-screen TVs are to be found in pretty much every room. In the bathrooms, you'll even find a dinky screen in the middle of the mirror at the end of the bath. Wi-Fi is available in every room.
The food and drink
You should have at least one meal in Brasserie Les Saveurs, the hotel's main restaurant. It offers an overwhelming array of breakfast buffet, from fruit cocktail to curry. Dinner costs about £40 a head; the chef is Michelin starred and there is no sign of him resting on his laurels. Afternoon tea in Les Saveurs trumps the best offerings of Claridge's. My favourite was dim sum in the Yan Ting restaurant. The Astor bar, lined with art works including Picasso sketches, is cool, comfortable and must offer more variations on the Bloody Mary than practically any other bar in the world.
To work off some of the results of gourmandising, there's an outdoor floodlit swimming pool. There's also a 24-hour gym, Singapore's only Remède spa and an indoor tennis court. Once you're feeling virtuous again, join the early evening wine tastings in the Decanter bar. A few minutes' walk away is some of the best shopping in Singapore, and a short cab ride will take you to the amazing night zoo.
The hotel is child friendly, rather than child tolerant. It has wheelchair access and disability features include Braille; safety bars in the bathrooms; knock lights for the hearing impaired and oversized, free-standing bathtubs.
An executive deluxe room starts at S$375 (£172) a night based on two people sharing. The executive suite starts at S$495 (£226).
St Regis Hotel, 29 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247911 (00 65 6506 6888; starwoodhotels.com).Reuse content