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Colonial Heritage Meets European Flair: Six Senses Maxwell
The first-ever city hotel project of award-winning luxury hotel and spa group Six Senses is finally complete with the opening of its second landmark Singapore property, Six Senses Maxwell, on 1 December 2018.
Located on Cook Street, a 5-minute walk from sister hotel Six Senses Duxton, in the historic and culturally rich neighbourhood of Tanjong Pagar, the hotel is a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Together, the two hotels make up Six Senses Singapore.
Like its sibbling, Six Senses Maxwell is also housed within heritage shophouses. Formerly the site of a nutmeg plantation and then Murray Terrace, which was later rebranded as Murray Terrace Food Alley, the row of 14 colonial-style 19th century heritage shophouses has been reincarnated as the luxe 138-room hotel, thanks to the creative genius of renowned French architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia, whose design philosophy is “all things in excess”.
The hotel’s sustainably and meticulously restored Art Deco exterior features exposed brickwork and plaster walls, unique lion head rain spouts, claw-like protrusions on the sides, octagonal-shaped columns, intricately latticed ventilation panels, a five-foot way and even a flagpole.
The hotel’s 24-hour gym and 25m-long lap pool on the rooftop are also accessible to guests from its sister hotel. Sharing space on the rooftop is Max’s Rooftop Edible Garden & Bar where an edible garden is being grown to provide fresh herbs, fruits and more for the hotel kitchen and bar.
5 Things We ♥ About The Hotel
1. Stylish European Flair With Heritage Touches
Unlike the dark, opulent interiors of its sister hotel, Six Senses Maxwell’s public spaces sport a fusion of swish European elements with Asian accents in a brighter and more colourful setting.
We spot Garcia’s iconic high-backed velvet chairs with tassels taking pride of place at the wood-rich hotel lobby, Cook & Tras Social Library as well as in rooms and suites, sitting on intricately designed handwoven rugs that took 14 months to make.
At the lift area next to the lobby as well as the long common walkway on the ground floor, we noticed floors made with stones that have been recycled from Italian medieval churches and cathedrals.
Vintage land indentures scattered throughout the hotel offer a glimpse into the development of colonial-era Singapore and its neighbours
Paying homage to the hotel building’s storied past are framed original property deeds or indentures accompanied by brass plaques that explain the historical nature and provenance of each document. Offering a fascinating glimpse into Singapore and the Straits Settlement’s development in the 1800s and early 1900s, these vintage land transaction documents line the walls of the hotel’s walkway on the ground floor as well as the long red-carpeted guestroom corridors on the second, third and fourth floors.
2. Luxe, Cosy Rooms With French Flamboyance
The first thing that caught our eyes as we entered our Terrace Room was the ruby red Garcia-designed headboard in a scales-inspired print (other rooms have green headboards with a peacock-inspired pattern). Other Garcia touches come in the form of his signature red velvet chairs with tassels and lampshades in pleated silk.
As its name implies, each Terrace Room comes with a private balcony
Like those in the sister hotel, the brass, lacquer, marble and mirrored in-room minibars are gorgeous. Well stocked with the essential liquors, sodas, juices and gourmet snacks like potato crisps and fish skins from homegrown brand The Golden Duck Co., bean-to-bar dark chilli chocolate and premium nuts, each minibar also comes with sleek William Yeoward crystal glassware, a shaker, bottle opener, small cutting board and knife, as well as a lemon, a lime and an orange to perk up your cocktails and drinks.
All rooms come with Nespresso machines, while tea drinkers can brew their favourite Chinese teas from Yixing Xuan Teahouse which is just a stone’s throw away from the hotel.
Our bathroom, stocked with The Organic Pharmacy bath products, had a marble-topped sink and a free-standing clawfoot bathtub with handmade Lefroy Brooks fixtures.
We discovered that the photos on the bathroom walls were taken by hotel owner Satinder Garcha, an avid photographer, which we thought was a charming personal touch.
3. Healthful Dishes & Trademark Cocktails
Named after the building in which it is housed, Murray Terrace Brasserie serves Euro-Mediterranean fare prepared with organically grown produce and sustainably sourced seasonal ingredients.
Murray Terrace Brasserie
The smart casual European-style brasserie sports marble top tables, wicker chairs, teak walls, a private room with a lovely floral wallpaper, six double wine chillers and a wine tasting table.
If you’re a beef lover like us, you’ll want to sink your teeth into the Grass-Fed Australian Rib Eye, served on a bed of smooth and creamy pomme puree with braised kale and Bordelaise sauce, or the Australian Wagyu Steak Frites with black truffle and gruyere frites, house-made mushroom ketchup and cracked mustard-maple jus.
Vine Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Other must-trys are the Vine Tomato and Watermelon Salad, a refreshing palate opener of burrata and compressed melon, topped with granite and finished with a lemon balm vinaigrette; Hamachi Crudo, fresh raw hamachi topped with pickled chilli, pickled radish, fennel pollen and citrus bits, drizzled with elderflower vinaigrette; and Lemon Kaffir Tart, with kaffir lime, crème fraiche and meringue pieces.
Besides cocktails, Cook & Tras Social Library also serves small bites, local specialities, ice creams, sorbets and desserts
Drinkswise, we headed over to the dimly lit, swanky Cook & Tras Social Library which, true to its name, doubles as a library that houses an impressive 3,000 books on wellness, nutrition, herbal medicine, local interest, natural history, sustainability and climate change.
C+T Shakerato is the perfect cocktail for coffee lovers
Signature cocktails include the vodka-based AE Martini, C+T Shakerato, made with Martini Riserva Rubino, Averna, Xocolati, mole bitters and cold brewed coffee, and Mulled Wine Cobbler, organic Tempranillo, port poached pears and winter spiced syrup.
But if you’re feeling adventurous like us, sit at the bar and ask super friendly, award-winning mixologist Ricky Paiva to shake up one of his speciality cocktails for you.
4. Extraordinary Experiences & Touches
We can’t get enough of the calming sound vibrations from Six Senses’ signature Singing Bowl welcome service. We were invited to step into a large brass Himalayan singing bowl to enjoy soothing sounds and vibrations when the rim of the bowl is gently stroked with a wand. A smaller bowl was also stroked by the side of our ears. The sound frequencies created by the singing bowls are said to restore the flow of energy, bring about peace and a state of well-being.
In keeping to Six Senses’ strong commitment to guest’s wellness, a set of stainless steel Chinese exercise balls (or Baoding balls) can be found in every room and suite. When the balls are rotated clockwise and counter-clockwise, vital acupuncture points in your hand are said to be stimulated which will help restore energy and blood flow to your body.
Every room and suite also has The Oh Ball, a maple hardwood ball that comes with strings attached to it, to massage the feet and relieve foot pain.
The wellness touch shows up again in the form of a thoughtful “intimate wellness bag” placed on the bed during turndown service. The wellness kit comprises nutmeg oil to soothe aches and pains; Tiger Balm to relieve headaches, stuffy nose and insect bites; Po Chai Pills, a traditional Chinese herbal remedy for indigestion and vomiting; brain teaser toys, colouring card, colouring pencils and an organic cotton tote bag.
The turndown service also came with two complimentary bottles of chilled tinctures (the hotel’s version of “nightcap without the alcohol”) formulated with herbs, plants and flowers such as hawthorn slices, rose buds, roselle, lavender, snow chrysanthemum and globe amaranth by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician from Long Zhong Tang TCM clinic, which is located just opposite sister hotel on Duxton Road.
One tincture is to be taken first thing in the morning to improve appetite and detox the body, while the other is taken before bedtime to help lower blood sugar, reduce fatigue and promote better sleep.
Enjoy free ice cream made in-house, with three flavours available daily
As we are huge ice cream fans, we were beyond thrilled that all guests get to enjoy complimentary ice cream from the hotel’s cool (pun intended) ice cream tricycle, which is stationed along the five-foot way next to the entrance of Murray Terrace Brasserie usually between 1pm to 5pm daily. The ice cream is made in house and there’s usually three flavours available daily. We sampled dragon fruit sorbet, vanilla and chocolate chilli, our favourite flavour.
5. Inspiring Activities
As Six Senses’ mission is to create exceptional guest experiences, we were expecting no less than inspiring, educational and fun activities that can be tailored to suit our needs and preferences.
Learn all about Chinese tea history, the four major types of tea and how to brew a perfect cup of tea from Vincent Low, owner of Yixing Xuan Teahouse
Wanting to learn more about the history of tea and Chinese culture, we signed up for the complimentary Chinese tea appreciation session and demonstration at nearby Yixing Xuan Teahouse. We gleaned fascinating facts on brewing the perfect cup of tea, recognising the different teas, selecting quality tea leaves, inhaling the delicate tea aromas and more from teahouse founder Vincent Low. The gentlemanly Mr Low also served us two kinds of teas – white and green – brewed in a small purple sand teapot and served in mini porcelain cups.
We also signed up for the complimentary TCM consultation with TCM physician Professor Zhang Mao Ji of Long Zhong Tang TCM clinic. He asked us a bunch of questions about our health, felt our pulses and examined our tongues before giving us his diagnosis and prescribing medicinal herbs (charges apply).
If you’re a heritage fan like us, pick up a map from the front desk that will point out the eight heritage trees in the vicinity, highlight different architectural designs of shophouses that were built in the 1800s, and show where you can trek to explore a hidden oasis of peace in the neighbourhood or venture further to discover hipster cafes in the Tiong Bahru estate.
For yoga fans, there are complimentary yoga sessions held at 8am every Thursday and Sunday at an open space behind sister hotel on Duxton Road. The yoga experience also includes a singing bowl meditation session under a large Angsana tree.
Rates start from $333++ for a Merchant room (weekend rate).
Photos courtesy of Six Senses Maxwell & C. Leong