Singapore, it’s been far too long in between drinks and while over a decade has separated our last encounter as I stepped from the airport there was no denying that familiar soft humid kiss, the gentle misty hug.
When I arrive at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia it is early evening but still light and I am amazed at how much has grown-up around Singapore Bay. There are new structures everywhere I look – the Helix Bridge which connects pedestrians to the Marina Bay Sands precinct and the lotus like Art Sciences Museum where an Andy Warhol exhibit is showing. There is also the Singapore Flyer the City’s own London Eye style attraction and the permanent stands that play host to the City’s Formula 1 circuit.
I hurry to freshen up and grab a quick bite up at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Executive Lounge where from the 32nd floor I watch the early light show (8pm) and sample a bowl of Singapore noodles with prawns, bok-choy and a spicy broth. It’s a Sunday night and I can’t think of many places where I would venture out at this hour on my own but this is Singapore.
Though I expect to find the streets empty I am surprised at 8:30pm people are everywhere and I can feel a pull of energy that draws me across the bridge and into the Marina Bay Sands area where there are a myriad of bars and restaurants overlooking the bay offering an excellent vantage point for the light show and view of the city.
I am impressed. A great deal of thought has been put into developing this precinct which has successfully achieved the right balance, blending high-end tasteful brands, Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton to name a very few with well designed and executed architecture. In a way the brands themselves become draw card as evidenced by the floating Louis Vuitton boutique which could itself be a museum positioned opposite to the Arts and Sciences centre.
Inside the Marina Bay Sands complex I am overwhelmed by the concentration of shopping options – but be warned this is no cheap mall, the prices here are meant to reflect the high-end or aspirational shopper.
Of course any precinct really needs more than just structures and shops, and the programming of the Andy Warhol exhibit says a great deal about the ambitions of those behind the development. As I returned to the Ritz-Carlton Millenia I was sure I spied a few notable artworks in the hotel’s hallways, from Henry Moore to Dale Chihuly and I wondered whether there was more of a story there……