#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.


Hey Mr DJ – Get To Know DJ Mr. Best

DJ Mr. Best rounds up 2014 at Capella Singapore's New Year's Eve Countdown Party

DJ Mr. Best rounds up 2014 at Capella Singapore’s New Year’s Eve Countdown Party

I personally believe that there can be no party without good music.  Music is the heartbeat of any party—it breathes life into it, injects new emotions, and brings dissimilar people and diverse worlds together.

Few people understand this better than DJs.  The best DJs jet between cities and style epicentres, bringing the party to people.  Their music is always rich, hypnotic and refreshing.

This week, I had the honour of speaking to Los Angeles-born DJ Mr. Best (Ryan), who has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious parties, including The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes and The Emmys.

Ryan has kept crowds riveted at movie and television premiere events such as Seven Pounds, Salt, Black Swan and Lost, and graced private A-lister parties for Paris Hilton and Lauren Conrad.

After a year of fabulous performances, he will be rounding up 2014 at Capella Singapore’s New Year’s Eve Countdown Party.  I managed to catch him just before his big performance to find out what sort of music gives closure to one amazing year, and launches the next fabulous one.

If you are planning your own year-end parties, this might inspire you as well.

What are your all-time favourite end-of-year songs?

For the most part, these consist of holiday music, along with the biggest tracks of the year. The holiday music I love playing the most is Christmas In Hollis by Run D,M.C., Last Christmas by Wham!, All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, and Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses.

What is currently on your playlist?

The artist Banks is on my playlist. Her music makes me feel that ‘something’.

Which are three of the best musical festivals to look out for in 2015?

I’m looking forward to Coachella (an annual Californian music and art festival in April) and Lollapalooza (an annual music festival in Chicago from end-July). At some point, I’d also want to experience Burning Man (an annual event that takes place in the Nevada desert every August).

What is it like spending New Year’s Eve in Singapore?

The word that describes New Year’s Eve in Singapore is ‘magic’. It’s a magical place that leaves me feeling inspired from its culture and architecture.

What’s in your music line-up for Capella’s New Year’s Eve party?

I’ll be including all the big hits from 2014 and years past. It will be a fun-filled night, and my mission is to make guests smile and dance through to the New Year.

What is your 2015 New Year resolution?

It is to stay hungry.


For more information on Capella’s New Year’s Eve Countdown Party, click here.

Preparing for the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

From a very tender age, I have always loved music.  Music has played a very important role in the island of Saint Lucia’s culture and Jazz music has found its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike.  The Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival attracts thousands from all over the world to the island.  Jazz has always been one of my favorite genres of music and I vowed that I would never miss the Festival since its inception in 1992.

About 22 years later, I still get very excited as I guess who this year’s performers will be.  For months leading up to the festival, the people on this island excitedly wait for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to unveil the line-up for the year’s Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.  This year the event runs May 9th – 11th, 2014, and will feature some of my favorite artists including Kem, Barrington Levy, P-Square, Maxwell, The Commodores and the winner of NBC’s The Voice – Tessane Chin.

Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

This year’s event promises to host many fun-filled festivities for all.  Everyone attending will witness performances by stilt walkers, masqueraders, Creole dancers and even fire breathers.  I just love how the people of Saint Lucia get together for this spectacular experience that leaves an everlasting memory in everyone’s mind.

If you are interested in attending any of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival events, please be sure to contact your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant either via email Res.marigotbay@capellahotels.com or by phone:  Direct 758 458 5300 ext. 3005 or Toll Free: 1 877 384 8037.


Jeremy Monteiro – Singapore’s Jazz Music Maestro

If you are like me, you will agree that the best way to wind down after a busy day is listening to live music with a cocktail in hand.  So when I found out that household name Jeremy Monteiro was going to be playing at Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore in April, I was so excited!   He is truly a jazz icon and has been called “Singapore’s King of Swing” by many!

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn more about his music and motivations.

JM - Edited blog

Jeremy, when did you start your career in music?

My professional career started in 1977 as a bandleader and pianist for the Club 392 Quartet.

What was your most memorable gig?

Playing on the mainstage of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1988. The concert included Latin Jazz Legend Mongo Santa Maria, Chick Corea and the Yellowjackets and was played to an audience of 3,500 people with Live broadcast across Europe.

Who are some of the most famous people you have played with?

I have played with many famous people such as James Moody, Michael Brecker, , Bobby McFerrin, Lee Ritenour, Herbie Mann, Ernie Watts, Charlie Haden, Leroy Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Vanessa Rubin, Carmen Bradford, Matt Monro and Simon & Garfunkel to name a few.

One of the most memorable experiences I had was playing with the legendary Brazilian Percussionist Paulinho Da Casta, originally from the Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 Band.

What in life motivates you?

I always strive to make the best music I can make in any given situation. This motivates me a lot. I also love seeing members of the audience leave my performances with a smile on their faces.

You are one of Singapore’s most talented musicians.  You have released almost 30 albums!  How did you learn music?

I had eight years of formal Classical Piano training from age seven onwards.  I learned jazz at first from instruction books where I taught myself and from listening to and studying hundreds of jazz albums.

What are you hoping to bring to Capella Singapore?

Bob’s Bar is really conducive to playing and listening to music. I can imagine that when we play there, it will feel as though we are playing Latin Jazz and Brazilian Jazz by some lovely beach in South America.  I hope that the music, atmosphere, great food and drinks and service will truly make the patrons feel like they have been transported to a lovely holiday destination in South America.

Capella Singapore is truly a unique location in Singapore, perhaps you can share what it is at Capella Singapore that inspires you?

I am inspired by the lovely colonial buildings juxtaposed with the beautiful sea-view and balmy sea breeze.

Thank you so much Jeremy for speaking with me.  I am thrilled to have you onboard and look forward to hearing you play.


Jeremy Monteiro will be playing at Bob’s Bar every Wednesday to Friday from April 2014 onwards starting from 7:00 pm.  Table reservations can be made by ringing Bob’s Bar at +65 6591 5047 or emailing them at bobsbar.singapore@capellahotels.com.