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Insight

City Break CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The facade of the hotel; the restored shophouse wing; welcome tea - a custom blend brew; Club Lounge reading corner.

T Quintessential

escape

InterContinental Singapore, is the perfect base to explore the arts and heritage district of the Lion City. Gavin Nazareth points out the essentials.

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he perfect holiday begins with the hotel you choose, get that right and everything else falls into place. In Singapore recently for the weekend, uppermost on my mind was exploring the island city’s heritage and a converted shop-house style accommodation fit in perfectly. The Place Intercontinental, Singapore The Location Bang in the middle of vibrant Bugis, the award-winning InterContinental Singapore, is the perfect luxury base to explore this established arts and heritage district, home to more than 20 historical sites and national monuments, and which also offers easy access to the island city’s fascinating ethnic enclaves, Little India and Arab Street. An added bonus is that it also links directly to the Parco Bugis Junction shopping mall, though the shopping mecca Orchard Street is only a short cab ride away. The Space Peranakan (Straits Chinese) shophouses abound in the area and the story goes that when the hotel was being built, the government stipulated that the hotel chain had to incorporate the original shop-houses on the block in the overall design style. Hence the 384 rooms and 19 suites are an elegant blend of modern touches with subtle Peranakan nuances suggestive of the cultural traditions of the multi-ethnic community of settlers that lived here a century ago. An integral part of Singapore life, the lobby lounge is abuzz with locals indulging in the English or Peranakan afternoon tea, or simply enjoying an aperitif before heading off to one of the hotel’s excellent dining options The Room My comfy room, No. 0250, is one of the recently revamped Shophouse Rooms & Suites, which reflect the Peranakan heritage that dates back to the 17th century when seafarers from China married indigenous Malays. Elements of this unique culture have been retained through various decorative features including the original dark teak floors, duck egg blue paneling, intricate carvings and artifacts, and louvered wooden windows that overlook the narrow street below. On arrival in my room I am served a custom-blend of tea in a Peranakan teapot, and every night a short story, recalling a fascinating aspect of the Peranakan lifestyle is placed on my bedside table. Modern amenities are not forgone though and include a Bose Wave music system, a 46” LED TV, an array of media connections, and an iPhone and iPod-compatible docking station. And for those that care about things like this, the room also features the

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Insight

City Break

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: A semi-private dining nook; the immensely popular Lobby lounge; the Shophouse King Club Room.

exuberant Agaria bath amenities, a GROHE rain shower, and sumptuous goose down duvet and pillows. My room also allows me access to the privacy of the elegant Club InterContinental Lounge, which means a range of exclusive benefits plus I don’t have to breakfast with the hordes downstairs. The Food The hotel has three restaurants, a bar and the elegantly colonnaded Lobby Lounge. Dining highlights are the “Unagi Hitsumabashi” at Chikuyotei, an outpost of the renowned fine dining Tokyo restaurant, and the very popular Man Fu Yuan (Garden of Prosperity) for authentic Cantonese cuisine and delicate handcrafted dim sums created by Hong Kong Master Chef Kwan Yiu Kan. One night I sample an exquisite meal of which the highlights were the “Poached Sea Perch Fillet with Chinese Rice Wine Consommé”, and the signature “Smoked Duck with Chinese Tea Leaves and Brown Sugar”; the tender duck is accentuated by the smokiness and aroma of the Wuyi Royal Daffodil tea leaves. I end on a sweet note with another signature “Cream of Pumpkin with Ice Cream”. Other Features The hotel also features an outdoor swimming pool on the

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Roof Garden a fully-equipped gym, sauna and massage services, plus a variety of conference facilities including a 546 square metres ballroom. The Verdict Luxury rooms, graceful service, and a sense of history make The InterContinental Singapore a great address for any length of stay in the Lion City. Highs The Peranakan Suites and access to the Club Lounge. Lows The crowds that throng the mall just outside the hotel, but then again retail therapy is just a few steps away from your room. Essentials InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore; +65-6-3387600; Email: singapore@ihg.com www.ihg.com

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Quintessential Escape  

Hotel review of the InterContinental Singapore for Expression magazine

Quintessential Escape  

Hotel review of the InterContinental Singapore for Expression magazine

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