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Short stay: Fairmont Singapore, Singapore

Designed by I.M. Pei and opened in 1986 between Marina Bay and the downtown core of Singapore, Fairmont Singapore stands at the crossroads of this colourful, complex nation. Conveniently situated for business, world-class shopping and entertainment, it is just 20 minutes’ drive from Singapore Changi Airport. The welcome I am not sure how they did it, but the Fairmont Singapore seemed to know who I was from the moment I stepped out of my taxi. There were no clues – I’d arranged the airport transfer independently of the hotel and the luggage with my name tag on hadn’t yet been retrieved from the back of the taxi, yet seemingly they knew me by name immediately, despite this being a 769-room hotel. Thereafter, I could see the ripple of communication from the doorman to the porter and the reception as he spoke quietly into his microphone to alert them of my arrival, so I wasn’t quite so surprised thereafter to be referred to by my name, but to this day I’m intrigued as to how they managed to be so attentive on this front right from the outset. Once in the foyer area, you are immediately struck by two pieces of artwork – a Czech glasswork structure hanging from the ceiling and a colourful 25 x 15 foot print on canvas behind the reception desk by Swiss artist Claudia Caviezel, reflecting Singapore’s colourful, cultural fusion – an intense explosion of crimson, violet and aquamarine. Fairmont Singapore reception The room I stayed in room 2018 – a Premier Room in the Fairmont Singapore’s refurbished North Tower. The room is tastefully finished with hints of Peranakan craftwork in the décor. Peranakan is the name for the centuries-old ethnic mix of colonial Chinese and Malay people, and the visual motifs of traditional Peranakan craftwork include ornate, complicated patterns normally seen on textiles and clay tiles but re-interpreted in the room (and in public areas of the hotel) through everything from the carpets to the curtain sheers. The design piece on the headboard of the bed reflects Singapore’s architecture, from old to new. Fairmont Singapore bedroom The living space in my accommodation was generous with ample room to relax and a desk from which to work. The suite is 39 sq m in size and came with a view of the outdoor below and the Marina Bay beyond. Fairmont Singapore living space The bathroom The hotel uses its own Rose 31 toiletries which are unique to Fairmont internationally and custom made by a New York perfumerie. Fairmont Singapore bathroom amenities The facilities This large hotel has a huge 50,000 square foot spa – one of the largest in Asia – with 23 treatment rooms, and a 70,000 square foot convention centre – the largest in Singapore. There are 15 restaurants and bars across the Fairmont Singapore and the sister Swissotel property (with a further 1,261 rooms) that is situated next door. I dined at the Japanese restaurant Mikuni which has three live stations – sashimi/sushi, tapenyaki and robatayaki – and is led by the charming Chef Moon who kindly took time to come to the table and talk to us. He is Korean but trained in Japan, and was previously at the Armani Hotel in Dubai. Mikuni live station Dinner began with a Spring course – sakra flower/leaf (cherry blossom leaf), snow crab and yuzu jelly, which was followed by a coconut soup with fish sperm (yes, fish sperm… also known as shirako or cod milt – see earlier post), matsutake mushroom and abalone. Mikuni shirako Every course was beautifully presented with some lovely flavours, with the red snapper, yellowtail, tuna belly and cuttlefish with sea urchin being a great example. Mikuni red snapper yellowtail tuna belly and cuttlefish with sea urchin The Japanese wagyu beef and marinated mackerel was an interesting combination, and the beef was particularly tasty and succulent. Mikuni Japanese wagyu beef and marinated mackerel Next was the snow crab tempura with white radish… Mikuni snow crab tempura with white radish …followed by, towards the end of the meal, the wagyu beef with truffles which for me at this point in proceedings was just a little rich… it was very good, but I think my stomach was stating to say enough was enough! Mikuni wagyu beef with truffles Other nice touches Wine, fruit and chocolates were delivered to my room shortly after my arrival. Fairmont Singapore extras As my time of departure was known, front of house called me to ask if I needed help with my luggage on my way out. Cost Rates start from 400 Singapore dollars per night for a Premier Room such as the one I stayed in, including breakfast The best bit Dinner at Mikuni was the highlight of my stay. Although I had just arrived from Japan, the food was very different to what I had recently encountered and provided me with a number of new taste experiences – mostly notably, shirako. The final verdict This is a large, professionally-run hotel that somehow – despite its size – manages to retain a personal touch. I felt very welcome and would not hesitate to return. Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with ANA – All Nippon Airways. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of ANA.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. You are a celeb Paul. I always knew it :) This looks a very lovely place and certainly the quality of the food helps. The wagyu beef with truffles sounds rich but very appetising.

  2. Although Paula is right and you’ve obviously attained celebrity status, I love the way you describe your entrance and how intriguing it is indeed. I am so into colour, and adore that footprint canvas behind the reception. Oh wow that food looks glorious and sounds super tempting! This is obviously a hotel to make a note of!

  3. I remain baffled to this day. My only guess is that they knew my approximate time of arrival and possibly knew what I looked like from one or two pictures here. Even so, it’s a big hotel and there were lots of other people arriving at the same time.

    If it was down to my celeb status, they did a good job of keeping the paparazzi at bay! ;-)

  4. How intriguing! If you ever find out how they knew who you were I hope you’ll let us know.
    It takes great skill for such a large hotel to ‘retain a personal touch’. This shows it can be done and I can think of a few hotels that could do with following their lead.

  5. I really like the look of this hotel – it does personal and different in a way that I haven’t seen others, looks like and clearly the service was more like a boutique hotel which is great in such a big city!

  6. Wow, another stunning hotel in Asia – they really know how to do luxury, that’s for sure. And what about that service – it’s those little touches that stay with your forever, way longer than the admittedly beautiful room and food. That’s the mark of real service, too – however they did it! Let us know if you ever find out…

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