Celebrating Singapore National Day With The Merlion

Singapore National Day

Just last week, the whole country was abuzz as we celebrated our 48th National Day on 9 August 2013.  National Day celebrations in Singapore are always an elaborate affair and one that I love to partake in.

Singapore National DayThe highlight of the festivities is the Singapore National Day Parade.  Each year, the National Day Parade presents an exciting display of fanfare, from the traditional parade march by all the uniformed organizations in Singapore to a stunning air acrobatics show by the air force to colorful stories of Singapore told in song and dance.  This all leads up to a spectacular display of fireworks, which beautifully lights up the skyline of our central business district.

This year, the National Day Parade consisted of several different segments, taking participants on a journey through Singapore’s history and the dreams for the future. One of the segments was a fun chapter portraying the traditional folk stories that we were told by our elders.

Many of the stories feature the Merlion, an iconic symbol of Singapore.  The body of the Merlion is of a fish, which represents Singapore’s history as a fishing village and the Merlion has the head of a lion, which represents Singapore’s Malay name “Singapura,” meaning lion city

Singapore National DayOne story of how the Merlion came into being dates back to when Singapore was still a fishing village.  There was once a very bad stormy night that had engulfed the city in dark clouds and the raging winds had woken the villagers.  As the terrified villagers watched the storm unfold, suddenly a bright light emerged from the Southern waters surrounding a mystical creature.  The creature battled the waves and the storm and by morning the wind and the waves began to die down and the creature had retreated into the waters leaving a colorful trail.

Rumor has it that when the creature – the Merlion, had conquered the storm, it claimed its victory by standing on a proud perch on Mount Imbiah which is located on Sentosa Island. Today a large statue of the Merlion is erected at the Imbiah station on Sentosa Island, just a five-minute walk from Capella Singapore, where visitors can uncover the tales of the mythical creatures of the sea and find out their fortune for the year ahead.

 

Old World Spice And Wine At Capella Singapore

Meryem

This August, it’s all about spices at Capella Singapore.  I am very excited as we prepare for the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience happening from the 29th of August through the 1st of September.

Meryem

One of the things I am looking forward to is to try the cuisine of our guest chef, Meryem Cherkaoui.  Chef  Cherkaoui  is a Moroccan chef, who has spent many years in France perfecting the exquisite French cooking techniques and incorporating the flavors of Moroccan cuisine.

Having visited Africa once on a holiday, I can well attest to the vibrant flavours and aromas that arise from all the exotic spices used in their cooking.  As such, I am truly anxious to savor the flavors of Morocco made with the intricacy and delicacy of the French kitchen.

Old World Spice And Wine Event At Capella Singapore

The other person I am very excited to meet at the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience is Nora Gasparini, a perfumer who specialises in creating bespoke perfumes and fragrances for people.  Nora is based in Bali, which is home to the exotic scents also used by prestigious beauty brands such as Hermes and Dior.  I was thrilled to learn that she was no stranger to these exclusive spices and also uses them in her work.

What is particularly exciting about Nora is that, in line with the gourmet spice and wine event, she is bringing a selection of spice infusions created from edible spices.  Imagine being able to create your own special perfumes from ingredients in the kitchen!

One of the main highlights in the series of events is the Old World Spice and Wine Tasting Experience taking place throughout the grounds of Capella Singapore on Saturday the 31st of August from 11:30am to 5:00pm.  Chef Mereyem, together with the chefs at Capella Singapore, will be creating different stations featuring tapas made with spices from various parts of the world.  These tapas will also be paired with a selection of 26 rare Old World wines.

To add to the festivities, Nora will also have a station set up where she will be able to do personal consultations on creating unique scents and perfumes for each person.

Old World Spice and Wine at Capella Singapore is definitely an event to look out for.  I am eagerly waiting in anticipation for all the four days of exciting and epicurean adventures.

If you are interested in learning more about the event, please contact The Knolls at +65 6591 5046 or email knolls.singapore@capellahotels.com.  Hope to see you there!ND

Over The Moon At Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa

Auriga Spa

When Capella Singapore’s Auriga spa launched its Baby Moon Experience in May, I was thrilled because being pregnant it sounded like just what I needed to soothe my aching and tired muscles.  So, one evening after work, I headed down to Auriga to try it out.  It was truly a holistic treatment that focused not only on my entire body but also on my emotional well-being as well.  I loved the experience so much that I had to share the details with you:

The Baby Moon Experience begins with a pre-natal massage for mothers.  JJ, my therapist, told me to lie on my side and gave me a nice long pillow to snuggle up against.  She then gently and tenderly massaged by back and legs.  It was such a relief!  As a mother of an eight-year-old boy, JJ imparted many invaluable tips from her own experience.   One of the things that I learnt from her was that I should try to put my legs up on a pillow every day after work to reduce swelling and water retention.  She even rubbed the Organic Pharmacy Mother & Baby Oil all around my tummy to prevent stretch marks.  The amount of care and concern she showed really moved me.

Auriga Spa

After the massage, I had an Organic Rose Facial which was not only relaxing but also purifying for my skin.  Very often, due to hormonal changes in our body, stress and anxiety, our skin can sometimes break out.  The Organic Rose Facial not only cleanses the pores naturally but also soothes any inflammations there may be.

The last part of the treatment focused on my hair and scalp.  As pregnancy often brings with it much apprehension and worry about the baby and about motherhood, I found the massage really helped calm my nerves and any headaches I was having!  JJ really rubbed the organic oil deep into my scalp and hair, which made my hair wonderfully silky soft afterward.

I left the treatment feeling wonderfully refreshed and rejuvenated.  During a time when pregnancy can leave one feeling bloated and heavy, I felt so cared for and immensely pampered.  This is something I would definitely recommend to any expecting mother.

The Movies Come To Capella Singapore

The Movies At Capella Singapore

June was an exciting month here at Capella Singapore, as the hotel found itself right in the middle of a film shoot for the upcoming Taiwanese movie, Rhythm of the Rain.  The cast and crew were at Capella Singapore for a whole week, filming various scenes at the hotel as well as around Singapore.

Rhythm of the Rain at Capella Singapore

I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes process of shooting a movie.  There were so many details to coordinate—from the sorting of the accommodations of cast and crew to helping with the location selection.  Fortunately with over 30 acres of land at Capella Singapore, there were plenty of options!

My favorite scene was shot at the hotel’s entrance.  The colonial building made the perfect background.  On the second day of shooting the weather was perfect and the sun’s rays seemed to catch the windows of the colonial buildings creating beautiful dancing reflections.  Even some members of the Capella Singapore family found their way into the scene as extras!

Rhythm of the Rain at Capella Singapore

Once the set up began, it was really a sight to behold!  There is so much set up and work that goes into creating the perfect moment.  In this way it reminded me of working at Capella Singapore—there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes to create that unique and amazing experience for each of our guests.

The movie, Rhythm of the Rain, will be released this coming September throughout Asia and the Pacific, so be sure to look out for it.  I can’t wait to see Capella Singapore make its film debut!

The Capella Diaries: Diary Of A Housekeeper

Diary of A Housekeeper

One of the most magical things about working in a hotel is witnessing how the whole team works together to meet the personalized needs of all our guests.  This is especially true at Capella Singapore, where we take all our guest preferences to heart.

Diary of A Housekeeper

This episode of the Capella Diaries, I follow Maidin Rhazzamir Nicolas, affectionately known as Rhazz, as he goes about his daily duties as Housekeeping Assistant Manager.  What I discovered during my day with him was remarkable.  Rhazz’ passion, enthusiasm and love for his job was clearly evident, and so was the teamwork and camaraderie that he shared with his colleagues from other departments.  It made me proud to work here at Capella Singapore!

Diary Of A Housekeeper:

Trekking through Singapore’s River Safari

River Safari 2

Towards the end of 2012, the Wildlife Reserve Singapore opened the River Safari, which highlights the Giant Panda Forest, the new home of Kai Kai and Jia Jia, two exotic Giant Pandas.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to visit the River Safari and it was truly a spectacular experience.

Interestingly, just like Capella Singapore, the River Safari is set on 30 acres of tropical rainforest.  It is a river-themed zoo located right in between the Singapore Zoological Gardens and Night Safari.  As its name suggests, the River Safari is inspired by eight of the world’s most famous rivers, like the Nile, Congo, Ganges, Yangtze just to name a few.

River Safari 1

My favorite part of the experience was learning about the different rivers and their unique eco systems.  At the Yangtze River, you can find exotic Chinese Giant Salamanders, while the Mekong River housed the endangered and rare Giant Catfish and Giant Stingrays.  Over at the Congo River and Mississippi River, you can find the world’s smallest crocodile, the African Dwarf Crocodile, a mesmerizing Jewel Cichlid and North America’s largest fresh water fish, the impressive Alligator Gar.

In addition to the exotic marine species, the River Safari also features an array of adorable mammals like the famed Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia as wells as the sedentary Red Pandas.

River Safari 2

At the Giant Panda Forest, there is also a quaint restaurant called Mama Panda Kitchen, which is a must-try. True to its namesake, the restaurant is Panda themed and features traditional Chinese dishes with a modern twist—like the steamed Tau Sa Pau (Red Bean Paste Bun) in shape and with the face of a panda.

River Safari 3

While the River Safari is still not fully open, the completed park is expected to be ready later this year. The new section will feature the Amazon River quest where you will find other interesting creatures like the White-Faced Saki Monkey, a Two-Toed Sloth, Brazilian Tapir and many others.

If you are planning a holiday to Singapore, be sure to save a day to visit the River Safari. What is perfect is that the Singapore Zoological Gardens, River Safari and Night Safari are all connected and the Personal Assistants at Capella Singapore are more than happy to arrange for you to visit all three attractions.