Talking Rum With A Master Distiller

Navegante

A new cocktail is making its debut at Bob’s Bar, and it’s fast becoming my all-time favourite.  Specially crafted by Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados for Capella Singapore, this single-blended rum is rich, round and mature.  Newly christened Navegante, which means “Navigator” in Spanish, this rum will inspire wanderlust and elicit your thirst for adventure.

Intrigued by this intoxicating spirit, I caught up with the man behind the magic.  Join Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery, as he takes me behind the scenes of rum-making and shares some rare tasting tips.

Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery

Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery

What is the profile of the Navegante rum?

Richard: Beautifully balanced, soft and elegant, it has a velvety texture, complex flavours and a long finish with hints of caramel and honey.

How is the Navegante rum crafted? 

Richard: We begin with the fermentation of molasses for three days to make a molasses wine.  This wine of about 9% alcohol is then distilled both in a traditional ‘coffey’ still and a pot still.

The distilled spirits are blended in a proprietary ratio before being transferred to 200-litre ex-Bourbon American oaks casks.  After three years of tropical ageing, the rum is transferred to 350-litre ex-cognac French oak casks to be aged for another five years.

The rum is then reduced to drinking strength of 40% with pure Barbados water from underground coral stone aquifers.  No flavourings, sugar or colour is added during the entire process.  The gorgeous rum is then bottled with care and shipped to Capella Singapore.

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How is it best enjoyed?

Richard: I’d recommend enjoying it as a Rum Old Fashioned, with aromatic bitters and sugar, or simply over a large ice cube.  If you’re enjoying your rum neat, pre-chill your glass.  This will bring the temperature of the rum just a little lower for the perfect experience.

Any pairing tips to share?

Richard: Serve it with chocolates or preserved cherries.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest trend in the rum world today?

Richard: Authenticity.  Connoisseurs are discovering that the very best rums are worlds apart from the ‘industrial’ mass produced rums, thanks to their artisanal distillation in pot stills, transparent age statements and pure authentic flavour.

Discover the Navegante exclusively at Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore.

 

5 Top Festive Experiences In Singapore

Christmas always fills me with a sense of child-like wonder.  The nights twinkle with fairy lights and soft jazz drifts through the air.  It’s a magical season.  This year, I’ve picked my five favourite festive experiences that you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Singapore.

Enchanted Gardens

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High on my list this year is Gardens by the Bay, where toys and childhood fantasies come to life.  The gardens have been carpeted with poinsettia, Christmas rose, winter heather and holly; and towering over these yuletide florals is an 11-metre tall pyramid decked with toys.

To add to the sense of festive magic, the Supertree Grove also features a Spiegeltent (a century-old travelling ‘mirror tent’ from the Netherlands); and hosts a European-style festive market with Christmas gifts and delicious food.

Don’t miss the nightly light shows at the Supertrees that are now synced with beautiful festive tunes; as well as the series of ‘live’ performances on the multi-tiered traditional German wooden carousel at the Flower Field.  Look out for classical opera, stand-up comedians, string quartets and Enid Blyton storytelling.  Schedule here.

The Iridescent River

Singapore River

Always alit with soft shimmering lights, The Singapore River is peaceful during weekdays, and a bustling hub of activities on weekends.  It’s one of my favourite places for an evening stroll in Singapore.

This Christmas, it comes to life with a luminous forest of LED-lit tree-like structures from Robertson Quay to Boat Quay.  Christmas carollers and roving festive troopers will also add to the merriment on specific days of the week.  I’m really looking forward to the Artisan Pop Up Christmas Market at Clarke Quay’s Central Fountain Square from 5-7 December, and the fireworks display on 12 and 26 December at 9pm!

Party Under The Stars

Picture by www.yoursingapore.com

Picture by www.yoursingapore.com

December always puts me in a party mood, and Zouk Out is arguably one of the best dance festivals in the region.  Last year alone, this sunrise beach festival welcomed more than 50,000 revellers from Singapore and around the world.

Besides a diverse and electrifying line-up of techno, trance, indie-electronic and hip-hop music, festival-goers can also expect ‘live’ performances, art installations, costumed buskers, food stalls, fireworks and endless fun from dusk to dawn.  Zouk Out will take place from 11-12 December.

Christmas Movie Magic

Picture by www.rwsentosablog.com

Picture by www.rwsentosablog.com

If you love Christmas blockbusters as much as I do, here’s a chance to spend the yuletide season with your favourite characters.  Universal Studios Singapore‘s programme this year is nothing short of amazing.

Catch the Sesame Street Saves Christmas Show, Dancing Christmas Light Show, Fairytale Remix Show, and other festive performances featuring beloved characters such as the Penguins of Madagascar, Marilyn Monroe, toy soldiers and Scrooge.  Plus, it’s one of the few places to experience snow in Singapore, and catch a dazzling display of fireworks on 12, 19 and 29 December.

#5 Cuban Festival in Singapore

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One of the things I love best about travel is experiencing festivals around the world.  And this year, Capella Singapore re-creates a Cuban festival under the stars – El Ritmo de la Noche – for its New Year’s Eve Party.

Watch aerial performers whiz across the night sky, as well as fire dances, stilt walkers and magicians.  In the tradition of the best Latin American parties, a ‘live’ Cuban band Havana Social Club will also serenade you as you welcome 2016 with the finest champagne.  Join me on 31 December from 10pm!

For more exciting festive experiences around Singapore or Sentosa, speak to your personal assistants at Capella Singapore.

 

 

4 Top Experiences On Sentosa Island

One of the best ways to discover a country is by talking to the people who live there. This month, I speak to four personal assistants at Capella Singapore to uncover their favourite haunts and hideouts on Sentosa Island. Read on for their best Insiders’ tips!

JessicaJessica Bassig

The most romantic spot in Sentosa is… Palawan Beach. I love the fine white sand and golden sun during the day, and enjoy watching the sea come to life with a hundred dazzling lights from the ships in the evening. Stroll along the beach, have a romantic picnic or immerse yourself in a good book.

Don’t miss… the bridge leading to the Southernmost Point of Continental Asia. This is also Asia’s closest point to the equator and an excellent spot for Instagram-worthy photos.

To get there… take the monorail and alight at the Beach Station – you’ll find Palawan Beach on your left. If you are staying at Capella Singapore, simply take the private path that leads directly to Palawan Beach!

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Yoshie Furukawa 

Yoshie

One of my favourite places to unwind is… The Wine Company at the Sentosa Boardwalk. You’ll enjoy unforgettable views of Harbourfront and Resorts World Sentosa, as well as soft sea breezes.

Do try… their vast collection of old and new world wines. Or, if you’re undecided, ask the serving staff for recommendations.

The best time to go is… on weekday nights. I love how quiet and serene it is.

Wine

Nicky Koh 

Nicky

For a uniquely-Singaporean dining experience… the Singapore Seafood Republic offers exceptional local Chinese food, as well as waterfront views and top-notch service.

Don’t miss… the award-winning chilli crab and black pepper crab. I also love the salted egg golden prawns, deep fried scallop wrapped in yam ring and the dragon fruit lobster salad with lumpfish caviar. Since this menu is the result of a collaboration among several popular seafood restaurants in Singapore, most of the items are bestsellers and simply delicious.

Don’t forget to… make a reservation as this restaurant is pretty popular! It operates from 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 11:30pm.

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Sophia Kim Sophie

My favourite outdoor activity is… surfing at the Wave House Sentosa. Since Singapore is known for its calm waters, this is the only place where you can enjoy waves and surfing. Even if you’re new to surfing, you may still enjoy this.

The best time to visit is… during the day, especially if you need to cool off from the hot weather. It’s also an excellent activity in the evening, as they offer a DIY BBQ by the beach with gorgeous views of the sunset.

Don’t forget to… bring your swimsuit!

Picture via www.sentosa.com.sg

Picture via www.sentosa.com.sg

For more interesting ideas, speak to your Personal Assistant at Capella Singapore.

 

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 spa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

Amazing Child-Friendly Activities in Singapore

Many parents today think of travel as a natural extension of the classroom – and for good reason.  A well-planned trip will not only help you bond with your little ones, but also expand their horizons.  Fortunately, there is lots to do in Singapore that is enjoyable not only for the adults, but for the children as well.  Together with the Capella Singapore Personal Assistants, I’ve compiled some of the top child-friendly activities in Singapore to help you plan your next visit.

Embark On A Wild And Wet Adventure

Picture via http://seaa.rwsentosablog.com

Shark Encounter at Adventure Cove Waterpark. Picture via http://seaa.rwsentosablog.com

Home to Asia’s first hydro-magnetic coaster, as well as endless waterslides and tubes, the Adventure Cove Waterpark is sure to expend some of your little champion’s boundless energy.

Beyond adrenaline-pumping rides, this theme park also features a colourful coral reef with more than 20,000 tropical fish.  Inquisitive kids will love watching deadly marine predators such as hammerhead, silvertip and sandbar sharks from the safety of a customised acrylic enclosure underwater.  They may also feed and interact with the waterpark’s 65 gorgeous giant manta rays.

Discover The Company of Cats

The Company Of Cats

The Company Of Cats

What better way to teach your little ones love and respect for all living creatures than an afternoon in The Company of Cats?  Located in Chinatown, this lovely little café feels a bit like visiting a friends home.  A friend with several feline companions!  The cats are apt to snuggle up to guests or lounge about as you enjoy your meal.

Amazingly, these cats, who now play hosts of the café, were once strays or abandoned.  These rescued cats now occupy a place of pride at the café as ‘Meowketing Directors’ and ‘Purrblic Relations Meownagers.’  Check out their spectacular feline cast on Instagram at @thecompanyofcats.  Do note that young guests must be at least seven years of age, and supervised by an adult at all times.

Let Your Imagination Take Flight

Lory Loft At Jurong Bird Park

Lory Loft At Jurong Bird Park

Entering the Jurong Bird Park is like discovering a lost world, with more than 5,000 exotic feathered creatures free-flying in some of the largest aviaries in the world.

Observe the ostrich and cassowary in naturalistic environments during their daily feedings, or witness a lory feeding frenzy as you tread across suspended bridges with a cup of nectar mix in hand.  Lunch with parrots and dine with penguins as you re-live your childhood fantasies with your little explorer.

Groom The Next Junior Master Chef

Super Chef Camp At Camp Asia

Super Chef Camp At Camp Asia

If your little one is a natural-born foodie, why not enrol him for a Super Chef Camp?  Helmed by seasoned Head Chef Tim Ong and Celebrity Chef Emmanuel Stroobant, this camp will have your little champ out-cooking you in no time.  From desserts to pizzas and tapas, this five-day cooking camp will hone their taste buds and jumpstart their lifelong gourmet adventures.

Watch Blockbusters Come To Life

Universal Studio Singapore - picture via www.rwsentosablog.com

Universal Studio Singapore – picture via www.rwsentosablog.com

As a self-professed movie buff, Universal Studios Singapore has a special place on my weekend hit list.  It transforms movie magic into thrilling rides and themed attractions.  Beloved cartoon characters such as the Minions and Woody The Woodpecker spring to life. And crowd-pleasers such as Shrek get an update as a short 4D-film, complete with air blasts, water sprays and other special effects.

Enjoy Gravity-Defying Acrobatic Acts

Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM

Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM

Circus meets theatre as acclaimed Canadian theatre artist Robert Lapage is roped in as writer and director of the latest Cirque du Soleil production, TOTEM.  Following the evolution of man from his amphibian state to his ultimate desire to soar, these stunning acrobatic acts, elaborate costumes and breathtaking digital effects are equally fascinating to both the young and the young-at-heart.

For more ideas, speak to your personal assistant at Capella Singapore.  

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.