24 Hours: Shopping in Singapore

Shopping in Singapore is practically a national pastime, and one of my favourite ways to spend particularly hot weekends.  Thanks to the scorching tropical sun, our little island is dotted with air-conditioned shops and malls for every personality type – whether you’re a fashionista, eco-warrior, hipster or bookworm.  And with the right itinerary, shopping can give you a glimpse of true Singapore as well.  Here are my recommendations if you have 24 hours to spare in Singapore.

#1  Start your morning at PasarBella for artisan produce

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Pasarbella

One of my new Sunday morning rituals is shopping at PasarBella. ‘Pasar’ is derived from the Chinese word for market, and ‘Bella’ is Italian for beautiful.  And, as you can imagine, the chic open-concept market is packed with niche items and artisan produce.

Look out for shops such as The Great Beer Experiment, offering 150 craft beer and cider labels; as well as The Cheese Ark, with 40-50 tantalising cheeses.  Other interesting finds include the ‘Cloud 9′ Pie inspired by Momofuku’s ‘Crack Pie’, Belgium candy in rainbow colours and favours, authentic Russian-style cakes based on secret recipes from Baku and Moscow, and gorgeous handmade macarons fashioned after characters such as the cookie monster.

#2  Swing by Marina Bay Sands for designer wear and celebrity chef restaurants

Bread Street Kitchen

Bread Street Kitchen

If you’ve been to Orchard Road umpteen times, Marina Bay Sands is another great place to escape the afternoon head and stock up on big name labels.  Here, you’ll find spanking new Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Chopard and Van Cleef & Arpel stores.  Looking for a bit more edge?  You’ll also find Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela here.

In between shopping you can lunch on celebrity chef offerings at the various restaurants located throughout.  There is CUT by Wolfgang Puck, which offers some of the best steaks in town, Waku Ghin is just the place to get your fix of sea urchin and other Japanese delicacies, and Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay offers fuss-free and delectable British-European fare.

#3  Spend the afternoon exploring Tiong Bahru for quirky finds

BooksActually

BooksActually

One of Singapore’s favourite hipster haunts, this heritage estate is a treasure trove of books, art, vinyls, cafes and bars.  Art lovers may visit White Canvas Gallery for its Southeast Asian artwork, Degios Art offers curios for the home, and Grey Projects hosts experimental and avant garde art exhibitions.

Music or book enthusiasts will love Curated Records’ stash of indie records, as well as BooksActually’s well-edited titles, vintage wares and charming laidback vibe.  If you have a couple of hours to spare, you could even sign up for a yoga class at Yoga Movement and stretch out those tensed muscles at their Monster Hot class, before ending your afternoon with a detoxifying tea at a nearby cafe.

#4  Scour Haji Lane for unique fashion items

Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku

Had enough of mega malls? Haji Lane’s small character-filled shops such Time After Time and Maison Ikkoku offer a charming way to while away the evening.

While you won’t get couture items here, it’s an excellent place for unusual finds, vintage treasures and local design.  So make it a mandatory pit-stop if you love pairing high fashion with high street.

#5  Explore Mustafa for everything and nothing

Picture via http://mustafasingapore.net

Picture via http://mustafasingapore.net

This iconic mall in the middle of Little India is nothing like any of the other malls you will find in Singapore.  For one, Mustafa never sleeps – even at 2am, you’ll find a decent crowd at this 24-hour mall.  It’s also jam-packed with bric-a-brac along narrow alleys of organised chaos.

From jewellery to electronics, and Indian sweets, you’ll find everything conceivable here, and at bargain prices.  Bear in mind that this is not, by any stretch of imagination, a luxurious retail experience.  It will, however, provide the intrepid traveller with a unique shopping experience like no other.

 

If you’ve visited Singapore have you found your favourtie shopping haunt?  I’d love for you to share it with me- either here or on Twitter.  Looking for more recommendations?  Be sure to speak to your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant for more insider tips and recommendations for what to do around Singapore.

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

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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

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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

BB

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.

 

 

Shopping In Dusseldorf

Dusseldorf has a lot to offer: It is famous for its beer and breweries, for being the traditional stronghold of Japan in Germany, for its beautiful Rhine promenade, some great traditional meals – and of course, shopping!  I am always impressed with how many different kinds of shops and boutiques can be found in Dusseldorf.  I am always excited to find a new haunt for my shopping adventures.

What I like most about shopping in Dusseldorf, is the variety of different shopping places and possibilities: You find shopping malls like the Schadow Arcades, the Sevens and the Kö-Gallery.  There is also the Old Town (a great source for trendy stores), the Wehrhahn (a long street with shops and department stores) and of course the famous Königsallee, which I would like to present to you in a bit more detail.

Shopping In Dusseldorf

The Königsallee is not just the most luxurious but also the most beautiful street in Dusseldorf. Imagine not rushing from shop to shop but rather doing a wonderful idyllic walk between the nicest shops and cafés.  It is not just shopping, it is more, it is a must have experience you will never forget. The boutiques of the world’s most famous brands can be found here and offer both individualized and private service.  Although most people walk the Königsallee to go shopping, it is not just about shopping.  This street is the place to see and be seen in Düsseldorf.  Honestly, I really like having a coffee in one of the pretty cafés at the Königsallee, relaxing and watching the bustling activity.  It is great for people watching—especially if you are fond of fashion!

Because the shops are very exclusive and selective, the Personal Assistant at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel, have developed special relationships with the Königsallee community.  They can organize special shopping experiences for you with the stores.  Private late night shopping? An in-room fashion show or a tour with your personal shopping consultant? Whatever your heart desires, our Personal Assistants and their cooperative neighbors at the Königsalle would love to fulfill your shopping dreams.

So the next time you are in Dusseldorf be sure to do some window-shopping along Königsallee.  And if you are ready for the real thing, allow our Personal Assistants to create a memorable experience for you!

Shopping In Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf hat eine Menge zu bieten: Es ist berühmt für seine Brauereien und ihre Biere, für die größte japanische Kolonie außerhalb Japans, für die wunderschöne Rheinpromenade, traditionelle Gerichte – und für das Shoppen natürlich! Ich bin immer wieder überrascht, wie viele verschiedene Geschäfte und Boutiquen Düsseldorf aufweist. Es macht mir Spaß, regelmäßig neue Lieblings-Shoppingmöglichkeiten zu erkunden.

Am meisten begeistert mich aber die große Vielfalt an verschiedenen Einkaufsplätzen: Es gibt Einkaufszentren, wie die Schadow Arkaden, das Sevens und die Kö-Gallerie. Dann gibt es natürlich die Altstadt mit einer schönen Auswahl an trendigen Läden, der Wehrhahn, eine lange Straße mit Geschäften und Kaufhäusern und nicht zu vergessen die berühmte Königsallee, über die ich Euch heute mehr erzählen möchte.

Shopping In Dusseldorf

Die Königsallee ist nicht nur die luxuriöseste Straße in Düsseldorf, sondern auch die Schönste. Stellt Euch vor nicht von einem Ort zum anderen quer durch die Stadt zu hetzen, vielmehr einen gemütlichen Spaziergang entlang einer idyllischen Allee und des Kö-Grabens zu genießen und auf diesem Weg alles zu finden, was das Shoppingherz höher schlagen lässt, inklusive kleiner Cafés für eine Pause zwischendurch. Es geht nicht einfach nur um das Shoppen, es ist vielmehr ein unvergessliches Erlebnis. Die Weltberühmtesten Marken der Modebranche sind hier vertreten und bieten einen unglaublich privaten und individuellen Service. Obwohl das Einkaufen im Mittelpunkt steht, ist die Königsallee einfach ein Ort zum Sehen und Gesehen werden. Ehrlich gesagt finde ich es spannend mich in einem der schönen Cafés zu entspannen und dabei dem Treiben der Leute zuzusehen. Es macht Spaß, die Menschen zu beobachten – vor Allem, wenn man Modeinteressiert ist!

Im Laufe der Zeit haben auch wir, der Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel, uns als Teil der Königsallee eine gute Freundschaft zu den umliegenden Boutiquen aufgebaut. Es ist genau dieser exklusive und ausgewählte Service, mit dem unsere Persönliche Assistenten Eure Shoppingträume erfüllen. Ein privater Nachteinkauf? Eine Modenshow auf dem eigenen Zimmer oder eine Tour mit einem ausgebildeten Shoppingberater? Was auch immer Euer Herz begehrt, unsere Persönlichen Assistenten und ihre kooperativen Nachbarn auf der Königsallee würden sich freuen, Euch zu Eurem persönlichen Shoppinghighlight zu verhelfen.

Also, wenn ihr das nächste Mal in Düsseldorf seid, genießt doch einen kleinen “window-shopping” Ausflug auf der Kö und wenn ihr möchtet, kreieren unseren Persönlichen Assistenten Euch ein unvergessliches Erlebnis!