Kind of spur of the moment, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to head to Singapore to attend the Maison & Objet Asia. This is a trade only event forecasting the trends ahead in all things decor. Traditionally held in Paris twice per year, Maison & Objet Asia was launched in Singapore for the first time this week. With over 270 exhibitors presenting their wares, it is an eyeful of what’s hot..and what’s not. Hot is Fendi, Missoni, Gessi, and Apaiser…what’s not?..I have forgotten the names already!
And what amazing venue was chosen to hold this huge exhibitors event? The Marina Bay Sands Hotel Expo Centre. It is located overlooking the bay and the breathtaking hotel has 360 * views of Singapore and beyond. Stunning. But I am getting ahead of myself…Let me rewind.
Day One: Jumping on our delayed Jetstar flight to Singapore, with my mother an my eldest daughter was slightly nerve racking, in light of the recent aviation events…we were a little apprehensive but the show must go on.
After an easy daytime flight, we landed and were greeted by our driver and whisked away to the hotel. I had booked The Quincy Hotel in Mount Elizabeth, a stones throw from the chic shopping district Orchard Rd.
The Quincy Hotel sits on a pretty good rank of #15 amongst Singapore hotels. Also, they have plaque which they proudly displays on their reception counter – the winner of TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2012 Trendiest Hotel in Asia. Uber chic, understated and with a range of timeless materials and design, it did not disappoint.
I prefer to stay in a boutique hotel whenever I travel, as it offers a more interesting perspective on design and facilities. I find that I absorb more inspiration for my design work from the smaller hotels, than the large cookie cutter chain variety. Upon returning home with a camera full of snap shots, I often apply what I have seen for my clients projects.
The Quincy offers a full buffet breakfast, complimentary minibar, lunch, dinner and refreshments, plus WiFi..all for the room rate cost. Good value. Plus the one way driver for airport pick up, which is always a bonus upon landing in a foreign country.
It also offers a high tech modern gym, roof top pool facility, with a killer view and a glass bottom section that looks down to the street below… plus an outdoor refreshment kitchen, stocked with drinks and snacks. I like to have a gym at the hotel because often with the timezone changes, I am awake way too early and then can sneak in a quick workout before the day really starts. And I did just that on my first morning at The Quincy.
The rooms however, are a little on the smaller side, and generally cater only for a 2 person sleeping arrangement, but with a additional single rollaway bed we were snug and comfortable. The bathroom was cool and has lots of grey stone and a floating vanity, so modern is definitely the theme here.
After an early breakfast we were ready to hit the trade fair and with a train station only 250m away we opted to try out the rail system. Within 20 minutes were arriving safely at The Marina Bay Sands station for the Expo. It is a big day, sourcing and checking new products, listening to expert speakers and walking for miles. So, once we had had enough of design, we walked over to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and took the lift up to the 56th floor for a late lunch at Ku De Ta.
Quite possibly one of the most spectacular hotels I have seen, it is an experiment in full on extravagance. Super high ceilings, 3 towers and all the designer shops a gal could wish for all situated under the one roof. I was dying to see the infinity pool that I have lusted after for many years, but we were unable to get to it as we were not guests of the hotel. So, we opted to eat at the root top restaurant, Ku de Ta instead, and take in the incredible view.
The Asian menu was incredible, and we ordered the best tempura vegetables I have ever eaten. The Tuna sushi was amazing and the views made it all the better.
Exhausted, and with enough selfies of us and the view, we heading back to the hustle and bustle of the ground level and hailed a cab back to the sanctuary of our hotel for freshen up before the night ahead.
So after a quick change of clothes, we headed out of our hotel and onto the glitzy Orchard Rd. We decided rather than shop we would catch the train and seek out Little India. 3 stops and a platform change later we stepped up into a colourful and strangely different part of Singapore. The city’s immaculately clean streets were suddenly filled with all the colours of the rainbow. Stalls with silks and saris and typically Indian tourist knick knacks were abundant.
Welcome to Little India. In a city which is so modern and organised that visiting it can feel unadventurous, Little India is one district which feels exotic and lively.
Packed into a few streets are the smells, the colours, the turbans, and the hawkers, the street food and even a little litter. Completely rare for this part of Asia. Missing is the confronting poverty, the begging and the distinct real India smell that Singapore cannot replicate.
After spotting a Pashmina stall that had just the right coloured cashmere, for just the right price, we flagged a cab and headed back to Orchard Rd. We wandered the street in a semi exhausted daze, feet aching from the day spent mainly walking and walking and decided to head back to the Quincy for a late dinner. Good decision. A glass of Pinot with dinner and then straight to bed.
A wonderfully full filling and exhausting first day in Singapore.