Best-Kept Auriga Spa Beauty Secrets

Singapore really comes to life during the festive season – with dawn-to-dusk feasting, dusk-to-dawn parties, and lots of shopping and gatherings in between.  That said, the festive frenzy sometimes sends me (and my skin) into over-drive.

This past month, back-to-back late nights were starting to take their toll.  So, with the party season coming up, I really needed a beauty reboot.  Fortunately, Auriga Spa’s Regional Director of Spa Alsu Abdulina read my mind, and invited me for a restorative experience.

The Ultimate Healing Journey

I’m personally not a fan of the new breed of ‘in-and-out’ express spa treatments.  So Auriga Spa’s back-to-classics and back-to-nature approach was just my cup of tea.  Instead of newfangled ideas and short-term quick-fixes, I embarked on the ultimate healing journey.

Vitality Pool

Vitality Pool

The moment I stepped into Auriga Spa, I felt removed from the fluster of the world.  Shrugging off my worries and slipping into my spa robe, I relaxed in the cinnamon-infused steam room, cooled myself down with the ice fountain, and then stilled my mind and body with the warm massaging jets of the vitality pool.  I was teleported to a secret universe where time stood still.

Rejuvenating Lunar Rituals

Since city life causes us to feel estranged from nature and our bodies, Auriga Spa’s treatments are designed to put us in tune with nature again.  The spa’s signature moon phase treatments are uniquely synced with the lunar cycle, and tap into its restorative energies.  My spa day happened to correspond with the new moon, so I was offered the New Moon Treatment for festive detoxification and renewal.

Unhurriedly, my therapist began by anointing and massaging my foot with a clarifying blend of juniper, rosemary and fennel oil.  Then, she treated me to an aromatic seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub.  After I rinsed off the salt, dead skin cells and impurities, she slathered on a purifying seaweed mud wrap to purge out toxins.

Auriga Spa (Clay Back)-2

While being cocooned in this warm soporific wrap, my face was thoroughly cleansed and massaged with an organic honey jasmine mask that smelled good enough to eat.  And to end the treatment on a high note, I enjoyed a soothing body and scalp massage.  My therapist had an uncanny knack for finding and easing every ache in my body so that I emerged from this treatment feeling as good as new.

Best-Kept Spa Secrets

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

Alsu Abdulina, Regional Director of Spa

To retain my post-spa glow for as long as possible, I quickly caught up with Regional Spa Director Alsu for her wellness tips.  Here are her four secrets to youth and beauty:

#1 Eat Your Way To Glowing Skin

True beauty comes from within, so the first step to inner radiance is eating right.  Cut down on sugar, which cause glycation and damages the collagen and elastin in your skin.  Also, consume carbohydrates moderately, especially refined carbohydrates which are depleted of nutrients.

Instead, trade these for superfoods such as antioxidant-packed goji berries and acai berries, nutrient-dense avocado and omega-3 rich chia seed.

#2 Nature Is The Best Healing Balm

Don’t overwhelm your skin – many modern skincare products contain harsh and strong ingredients that may deliver flash results, but also tend to over-stimulate your skin.  This causes inflammation and premature ageing over time.

Organic and natural products on the other hand may take longer to deliver results, but they nourish your skin from within, and won’t strip or irritate your skin.  Some wonderful natural skin-savers to try are aloe vera, seaweed and marine collagen.

#3 Exercise Is The Key To Youth

Exercise not only helps your body flush out toxins through sweat; it also boosts microcirculation, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to each of your skin cells for speedy cellular rejuvenation.

Regular exercise also shapes your body up, and keeps your muscles toned.  Alsu personally enjoys a mix of cardiovascular workouts such as cycling, high-impact exercises such as gym classes, and relaxing and toning exercises such as yoga.

#4 Stress Ages Your Skin At Record Speed

It’s no secret that stress damages skin cells and accelerates ageing.  So in today’s fast-paced urban environment, spa-time is no longer a luxury but a necessity.  Scheduling spa-time regularly has immense stress-relieving and anti-ageing benefits!

The best way to benefit from a spa treatment is not to zip in and out of the spa in a great hurry.  Make it a point to arrive early, take your time to enjoy the spa facilities such as the steam room and vitality pool, and prepare your body well for the treatment ahead.  Don’t forget that our skin repairs itself best when we are completely relaxed.

Embark on your own wellness journey at Auriga Spa.  For more details, call 6591 5023 or email

Celebrate 50 Years: 6 Unique Singapore Experiences

If you’re in Singapore over the next few weeks, you’ve picked the best time to visit!  On the cusp of our golden jubilee, Singapore is one of the most exciting cities to be in.

We may be just a tiny red dot on the world map, but our small size simply makes us better at packing a lot of flavour into every experience.  And to celebrate our 50th birthday, our nation has gone the extra mile to orchestrate unique Singapore experiences in the month of August.  Here’s a peek at my personal calendar this month!

#1  Watch Fireworks Light An Iconic Skyline

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There’s something magical about watching firework light up the night – the dancing lights juxtaposed against a spectacular urban skyline is truly unforgettable.  Although catching the National Day Parade fireworks is a yearly ritual for me, I am particularly excited this year.  To celebrate 50 years of independence, the fireworks next month will be at an unprecedented scale, and specially designed to reflect the theme of ‘Majulah Singapura, or ‘Onwards Singapore’ in Malay.

This year, in additional to fireworks on National Day (9 August) and at the National Day Preview (1 August), you can also catch fireworks on 7 and 8 August at the Marina Basin.  The best part is, you won’t even need a ticket to the parade to witness these spectacular light displays.  Simply find a good spot along the Marina Bay Sands Waterfront, Esplanade, Marina Barrage or Helix Bridge for an unblocked view.

#2  Soak In Local Culture At Singapore’s First UNESCO Site

Singapore Symphony Orchestra  Palm Valley

I’m extremely proud to share that our garden city finally got its own UNESCO heritage site!  And fittingly, it is one of my favourite gardens in the world – the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  The minute you step into this green sanctuary, you will pick up a whiff of exotic herbs, flowers and lush foliage.  From the exquisite National Orchid Garden to the finely sculpted Bonsai Garden, our trees reflect our nation’s unique history, culture and personality.  I also love exploring the century-old heritage trees, which always inspire me to appreciate the fleeting beauty and transience of life.

After an afternoon of exploration, I particularly enjoy kicking back and enjoying an evening concert or outdoor movie screening accompanied by a cool evening breeze.  To celebrate Singapore’s birthday month, the Singapore Botanic Garden’s August line-up include local films such as It’s A Great Great World and Singapore Dreaming.  If you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, this will offer you an instant immersion in local culture and common expressions.

#3  Try The 50-Finger Massage At Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa

7. Couple's Spa at Auriga

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for spa treatments. Carving up me-time is my secret to staying young, and beating everyday stress.  Auriga Spa is one of my favourite places because it instantly transports me from the mundane demands of life and the ceaseless bustle of the city.

For the month of August, Auriga’s Spa director Shanti has designed the ultimate indulgence – the 50-Finger Massage.  As you can imagine, this 50-Finger Massage was inspired by SG50 and Singapore’s 50th birthday, so no expense is spared to ensure your utmost comfort and relaxation.  Performed by five therapists in synchronised motions, this massage soothes the legs, body, hands, neck and scalp, kneading away every tensed muscle in the body at once.  It takes one through Auriga’s four signature moon phase therapies – the New Moon to awaken the senses, Waxing Moon to loosen tight joints, Full Moon for balance and Waning Moon for detoxification and cleansing.  I felt utterly renewed after this treatment.

#4  Go Museum-Hopping Around Singapore


Museums are the best place to soak in culture, and Singapore offers some of the best museums in Southeast Asia.  From art to culture, history and science, museum-hopping is one of the best ways to indulge my inner geek.

One of my favourite museums is The National Museum – also the oldest museum in Singapore, and a haven of intricate artefacts.  Singapura: 700 Years is currently on display at this museum, and chronicles our nation’s transformation from a fishing village to modern Singapore.  Also worth a visit are the Asian Civilisation Museum, the Singapore Art Museum, and The ArtScience Museum.

#5   Shop For Quirky Souvenirs


Whenever international friends visit Singapore, I love presenting them with Singapore-inspired souvenirs.  However, one thing I do not love, is ‘Singapore Is A Fine City’ T-shirts.  If you’re looking for more design-driven and less clichéd options, two of my current raves are Naiise and Mandy T.

Naiise is a Singapore-based shopping portal that stocks curated designs by more than 250 brands from Singapore and around the world.  This includes homeware, art, T-shirts and fashion accessories that allude to local humour and expressions.  Many of these designs are modern, clean and intelligent.

Beautyphiles will also adore Mandy T, an artisan natural skincare atelier that will give many large brands a run for their money with tasteful and personal creations.  Mandy, founder of the eponymous label, is a former marketer and publicist who cooks up beauty remedies free from synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances, parabens and petrochemicals.  Many of her products feature fresh herbs from her very own garden.

#6  Toast To 50 Years Of Singapore At Bob’s Bar


If like me, you’ve had one too many Singapore Slings, it’s time to discover a new Singapore-inspired cocktail.  Exclusively for the month of August, Bob’s Bar unveils a new national cocktail crafted by bartender Vincent Zheng.

The Red Island is made with ingredients that represent the four main ethnicities of Singapore – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.  It is as complex and unforgettable as it sounds.  An ode to Singapore’s cultural diversity, this Shiraz wine concoction is an ideal way to round up my Singapore adventures.  Cheers to more amazing travels!

For more activities in Singapore, please visit the Capella Singapore’s website here, or contact your personal assistant for recommendations.



Summer Skin – Ready, Set, Glow!

One of the most beautiful ‘souvenirs’ of a beach vacation is a rich golden tan. However, having read extensively about the ageing effects of prolonged sun exposure, I have my reservations about soaking in the sun.

Fortunately, Shanti Krisna, Director of Auriga Spa here at Capella Singapore, introduced me to a safe and effortless way to get my glow on and achieve the perfect summer skin. Using top-quality organic products, Auriga Spa’s Healthy Glow Self Tan treatment replicates the resplendent glow of sun-kissed skin, minus the skin damage from ultraviolet rays!

Capella Singapore_Auriga spa suite Mid Res

This fuss-free 60-minute treatment began with an uplifting citrusy body scrub. Formulated with aloe, sage and naturals oils, it gently sloughed off dead skin cell for satin smooth skin. It also subtly tightened my skin, revved up microcirculation and reduced the appearance of cellulite!

After my skin had been polished to perfection, my therapist slathered on an even layer of premium plant-based self-tan cream. Featuring a unique DHA derived from organic sugar beet, this light cream gave my skin an instant tan that lasted for a week. Its nourishing cocktail of aloe, coconut oil, sesame oil, jojoba and shea butter also left my skin feeling soft, supple and dewy – just as if I’d just stepped off a round-the-world luxury yacht!

To get me perfectly summer-prepped, Shanti also generously shared five tips for tress-to-toe skincare and rescue! Here they are:

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#1 Get Under Cover

The sun is the No. 1 culprit of premature ageing. So never leave home without a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should look for a sunscreen with at least SPF30 PA+++, and apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow the product to penetrate and protect your skin optimally.

#2 Scalp Help

Ultraviolet rays can also harm your scalp and hair. This causes sunburned scalp, dehydrated tresses, as well as hair loss. So invest in a sunscreen formulated for your hair and scalp, or wear a sunhat.

#3 Sunburn SOS

If you are suffering from sunburn, an aloe vera gel can help to calm and rehydrate your skin for accelerated recovery. In the meantime, keep your skincare and makeup regime simple. Avoid exfoliating products that will injure sunburned skin, as well as products with synthetic fragrances that may cause irritation.

#4 Hair Tip

Seawater and chlorinated swimming pool water strips hair of its moisture. So before diving in, wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner or olive oil to protect it from damage.

#5 Balancing Act

We all love summer. However, hot and humid weather can increase sebum protection while dehydrating your skin. Switch from a heavy moisturising cream to a lightweight gel-based moisturiser to prevent T-zone shine, clogged pores and acne. A facial blotter and hydrating mist can also help to keep skin matte and dewy during the day!

For more summer-perfect spa indulgences, refer to the Capella Singapore Auriga Spa’s treatment menu here.

Discover The Wellness Retreat at Capella Singapore

I love exploring the furthest corners of the world.  However, very often, I find myself returning from a vacation feeling like I need another one to recover from the first.  So after all the excitement of New Year, Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year, I finally decided that it was time to take a quieter sort of vacation.  I checked myself in for Capella Singapore’s new Wellness Retreat.

The retreat began with a private consultation with a dietician, and a wellness dinner at The Knolls.  I was fully expecting ‘rabbit food’, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that beyond a tasteless plate of greens, I was treated to a Thai Beef Salad, Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust and Homemade Tiramisu – all nutritionist approved.  They tasted delicious, and left me feeling less lethargic than usual.

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Baked Cod Fish with Olive Mozzarella Crust

Day Two began bright and early at 7:30am with a personal training session with multiple Manhunt Singapore winner, Jovin Koh.  Jovin discussed my fitness abilities and goals with me before putting me through a series of weight resistance and intensive cardio exercises that gently tested my personal limits.

After ‘paying my dues’ at the gym, breakfast and lunch were rare treats. The highlight of the day however must have been the spa session at Auriga Spa.  The herbal steam room, ice foundation, vitality pool and 90-minute Shiatsu massage were uniquely revitalising.

By Day Three, I didn’t even need my alarm clock get up in time for sunrise yoga at 8am.  My body was so well rested that it didn’t scream for more snooze time.  Going through the gentle yoga postures also helped me discover a newfound sense of balance and well-being.

15. Sunrise Yoga

I emerged from the retreat feeling more than five years younger and absolutely radiant.  I also scored useful tips to embark on a lifelong journey towards healthier living. Here are five detox tips I learnt from senior therapists of Auriga Spa Amapola Nazareno and Chang Huang Mei.

GET REAL – Avoid processed food as they are packed with chemicals and preservatives. Pick real and whole food, whenever possible.

DECAF – Avoid drinking too much coffee and black tea – these stimulants dehydrate the body.

REHYDRATE – Drink up to 2 litres of water daily. Keep a bottle on your desk so you won’t forget.

BRUSH UP – Use a body brush in the morning to stimulate lymphatic circulation and drainage.

SUPPLEMENT – Natural supplements can help your body cope with a hectic and stressful lifestyle. Vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics and other superfood sweep away harmful free radicals and flush out toxins to keep your body in tip top condition.

To find out more about Capella Singapore’s Wellness Retreat or making reservations, please dial +65 6591 5000 or email


#SG50 – Five Reasons To Visit Singapore in 2015

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

Party With Us In Singapore

Party With Us In Singapore

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

Gardens By The Bay

Gardens By The Bay

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.


Grand Opening of Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina


The countdown to the Grand Opening of Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina has begun!  Over the last few months, I have been very fortunate to witness the improvements to the property as it has morphed into an amazing Capella Hotel and Resort.  Every Monday, I walk around the property with my camera and capture each transformative moment.  From the laying down of the tiles at the poolside to the construction of the intimate Rum Cave, I’ve found myself in love with the detailed changes taking place.


There is so much that is new and exciting.  What was known as the simple Dinghy Dock has been transformed into the much talked about Rum Cave.  This beautiful space near the water’s edge will house some of the most creative mixology classes on the island.  What interested me most about the Rum Cave was the idea of being able to carefully concoct my very own rum cocktail and return some time later to find that it had been stored with a personalized label.  I am sure guests will be just as blown away by this unique idea as I am!

Another transformation has taken place in the former Zen Garden, which is now the Auriga spa. This outdoor spa treatment centre will be the cornerstone of health and wellness at Capella Marigot Bay.  Already I can’t help but to close my eyes for a few minutes and imagine having an outdoor treatment under the rainforest canopy and hearing the birds chirping their sweet melody as background music.  I am so intrigued by the Auriga spa’s concept of creating treatments around the moon phases and how that perfectly ties into the rejuvenating concepts of The mind, body and spirit.  This will definitely be my secret hideaway when the hotel reopens!


My next favorite new location is The Grill at 14*61.  Named for Saint Lucia’s global coordinates, The Grill at 14*61 will present a show kitchen where the Food and Beverage team will be putting on live cooking demonstrations and culinary classes.  I can’t wait to take one of these classes with my mom, as I know the Chef has some amazing St Lucian inspired dishes planned. Guests will be able to travel to the local market in the city of Castries and have the opportunity to purchase some of the islands most delicious fruits and vegetables then use those items for the cooking class.  It will be amazing to put on my chef’s hat and learn more about how local cuisine is prepared.  


Another spot that is sure to attract guests is the upper pool.  This area contains the newly developed Brut Bar. Brut, as you may know, is French and means cold or raw.  Making it the perfect name as everything from ceviche to sushi will be served here.  I notice the water jets coming off the edge of the pool which I imagine would be ideal  for some water therapy.   Next to the  main pool is a beautifully cascading infinity pool where lounge chairs are rooted.  Not only is this spot wonderful for lounging, it is also very convenient for parents with toddlers.  The area even includes its own waterfall!  

There is no doubt in my mind that the Grand Opening of Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina will complement beautiful Marigot Bay and will be a must see destination!