Opened in 2009, the Foster + Partners–designed Capella Singapore is a marriage of colonial and contemporary. It unites four former British Army officers’ messes with a sensuous, modern extension. Set within 30 acres of orchids, calla lilies, and other flowers and foliage on Sentosa Island, a 15-minute taxi ride from Singapore’s business district (a bit further to the shopping nexus Orchard Road), the Capella unravels along a series of terraces to the beach. At the top, the historic section houses the lobby, the Chinese restaurant Cassia, and the presidential suites, while premier rooms and suites fill the modern wing. Villas, each with a plunge pool, dot the hillside as it descends to the shore. A stay here is a study in quietude, removed from Singapore’s freneticism and rampant construction; rooms reinforce the sense of calm, done in earthy creams and browns. Bob’s Bar re-creates a plush 1950s Havana drinking den, serving zingy fresh-pressed mojitos; and it is the spot for sunsets.
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Situated on the mostly serene Sentosa Island—Singapore’s equivalent of a beach getaway—Capella is like a mini hamlet, a fecund hilltop refuge where the clamor of the city disappears. But active diversions exist nearby. S.E.A. Aquarium and the shriek-inducing rides and characters of Universal Studios are next door. The resort offers direct walking access to Palawan Beach just below, via steps, and the Sentosa Golf Club is two minutes away by taxi. The city’s largest and most eco-friendly shopping mall, VivoCity, designed by 2013 Pritzker Prize–winner Toyo Ito, is almost as close.
Need to Know
Rooms: 61 rooms, 61 suites and villas. From $560. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Pretty, Instagram-ready dishes are the norm at Cantonese fine-dining Cassia, where menu options include wok-fried prawns with black pepper and double-boiled guinea fowl soup with abalone and French morels. The Knolls lures guests with views of water—the property’s three cascading pools, the South China Sea beyond—especially from the alfresco dining area; and afternoon tea includes 30 different brews. Spa and gym details:Auriga Spa (named for the constellation whose brightest star is Capella) spreads out over 12,000 square feet, with nine treatment rooms and, for the brave (foolhardy?), a vitality pool with an ice fountain. Some treatments take their inspiration from the phases of the moon. The fitness center, with Technogym equipment, is open round-the-clock.
Who’s it for: First-time visitors to Singapore who value greenery over immediate access to Singapore’s classic sights.Couples looking for a tranquil getaway close to the city. Work-crunched executives in need of space and silence to think and decompress. Our favorite rooms: The Colonial Manors are black-and-white bungalows with three bedrooms, a private garden, and a plunge pool. Breakfast with a show:Skip morning room service for breakfast at the Knolls. Here the island’s free-roaming peacocks often wander by.