I love travelling. I am deeply convinced that travel is the only thing money can buy that will make you richer. Most days, I’m just looking for any plausible excuse to hop onto a plane. As I grow older, however, I tend to look less abroad, and closer towards home for inspiration.
Singapore is evolving. Yes, we still retain our quirks and hybrid culture. Most of us still call any elderly man, especially taxi drivers, “Uncle”. And we still love durians enough to have durian buffets. But as a country, we are also rapidly modernising and progressing. And by “progress”, I mean we are developing a more vibrant art, culture and music scene, and a greater sense of national identity.
Recently, Singapore was listed by CNN as one of the 10 top destinations to visit in 2015, and Lonely Planet elected us as #1 on its Best in Travel 2015 list.
All this couldn’t have come at a better time. As a born and bred Singaporean, let me share with you five reasons you should visit me at Capella Singapore this year.
2015 Is One Big Party
New Year’s Eve last month was just the beginning of a year long party. If you were here, you’d remember how top DJs were flown in from the coolest cities in the world (including DJ Mr. Best for Capella Singapore). Fireworks also lit the sky everywhere—not just at Sentosa where Capella Singapore is nestled, but even at suburban areas around the island.
This is but a taster of what to expect this year. In a couple of week, Chinatown will celebrate a special light-up ceremony, with lion dancers prancing around our ‘Lion City’ to cue in Chinese New Year. After this, you can look forward to holidays such as Vesak Day and Hari Raya Pusa before Singapore officially turns 50 on 9th August. You can be sure we’ll pull out all the stops for that party.
We Are Committed Foodies
Your taste buds will love Singapore. Our running list of celebrity chefs includes Joel Robuchon, Tetsuya Wakuda, Jamie Oliver, Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Boulud, to name a few. And this year, Gordon Ramsay joins the fold.
Our food culture, however, extends way beyond these international culinary stars. New dining concepts are sprouting out by the minute—including NOX where you dine completely in the dark, and secret bars such as Operation Dagger and The Library with no signage and password requirements for entry.
We are also one of the few countries in the world that truly believes in supper. If you happen to be hungry at 1am, you won’t have to satiate yourself with cold bites. You can find piping hot Singaporean food anywhere, including Bak Kut Teh (peppery pork rib soup), Indian food, noodles, oyster omelette… Here is a list of places. Supper in Singapore is a unique and bustling experience, and one of the best ways to get a true taste of local culture.
The Art Scene Is Booming
Let’s not talk about the iconic ArtScience Museum, which of course, is a must-visit. We’ve also got the Gillman Barracks, a colonial army base-turned-contemporary art cluster, and the upcoming National Gallery Singapore, which will house an extensive collection of Southeast Asian and Singaporean art when it opens in mid-2015.
Music is also thriving in Singapore. If you love seminal music, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival is just a few days away, and if you prefer jazz, Singapore Jazz Festival is scheduled for early March!
Green Is The New Black
Granted, our ‘garden city’ moniker is a bit of a tired cliché for locals. We are however, embracing the global green movement. Whether you prefer real food or raw food, you can probably find a quaint café nearby. You could even saunter into an organic farm such as Bollywood Veggies, and ask for farm-fresh Indian fare.
On cool evenings, we also love to spend time in our little pockets of green. And being city folks with famously short attention spans, we need to be entertained. Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Botanic Gardens regularly organise music performances, artists’ workshops, writers’ workshops and seasonal exhibitions. So pack a picnic basket and some wine, and enjoy round-the-year summer.
Superlative Creature Comforts
From the minute you step into Changi Airport, you’ll sense how obsessed we are with shopping. In space scarce Singapore, we’ve somehow managed to cramp an incredible number of big name designers into our airport. In fact, many of us head there for our shopping and dining fix, even when we are not travelling.
That said, I’m sure you’re not in Singapore just to shop at Prada. We’ve got amazing local designers such as Hansel and Ong Shunmugam as well. Check out this list. Other local brands I love include Carrie K, founded by advertising managing director turned artisan jeweller, and Merci Encore, an aromatherapy atelier founded by the former senior beauty editor of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.
Of course, to end your trip with the ultimate indulgence, you should definitely make Capella Singapore your final pit stop. As part of SG50, we are launching a decadent 50 fingers massage from mid-2015. In just 60 minutes, our five dedicated spa therapists will knead out tension and aches you didn’t even know you had. You’ll emerge feeling utterly renewed and as light as a cloud.