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Colonial Heritage Meets Modern Luxe: The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
The old and the new blend together seamlessly at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.
Opened on 1 October 2018, the five-star hotel is the first Singapore outpost for Kempinski Hotels, Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group.
The 157-room luxury hotel occupies the former neoclassical-style Capitol Building and the Venetian Renaissance-style Stamford House, two architectural icons built in the 1900s that have been meticulously restored by acclaimed American architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Richard Meier, with interiors bearing the creative touches of late renowned Indonesian interior designer Jaya Ibrahim.
The two buildings are connected by a glass linkway on every floor.
The four-storey hotel is a short walk away from City Hall MRT Station via an underground walkway within the adjacent Capitol Piazza lifestyle and shopping mall.
The hotel's Stamford House facade
4 Things We ♥ About The Hotel
1. Elegant, Homey Interiors
We love how late design maestro Ibrahim had captured the elegance and grandeur of the two buildings’ colonial art deco and Victorian aesthetics, and infused these elements into the hotel’s interiors and furnishings.
At the hotel lobby, designed like a warm and inviting living room, you’ll be greeted by two custom-made rock stone crystal chandeliers.
The hotel's warm and welcoming lobby
Drawing from Capitol Building’s art deco style, precise lines and geometric shapes show up as a recurring design theme throughout the hotel.
Public spaces feature travertine limestone columns, high-gloss piano rosewood lacquered finishes and Italian marble floors in a nod to Stamford House’s rich and opulent Victorian design, beautifully juxtaposed against muted warm tones, lightly embossed champagne-coloured wallpaper and the integration of Chengal wood flooring from the original building.
Though the polished interiors of the hotel’s signature restaurant, 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, which opened on 18 December, are the handiwork of award-winning American design studio AvroKO, we marvel how the restaurant’s leather- and dark wood-rich furnishings with Peranakan accents, are so in synch with Ibrahim’s design aesthethics for the hotel.
Chef Alvin Leung's second restaurant in Singapore, 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung serves Asian cuisine with a contemporary spin
2. Stylish, Spacious Rooms
Our high ceiling Deluxe Room (there are eight room categories) in the Stamford Wing, overlooking Stamford Road, was super spacious. Elegant wooden sliding doors open to reveal a free-standing Kaldewei bathtub and shower area on one side, and his-and-hers sinks plus a smart toilet by Duravit on the other side.
We adore the sand-like wave patterns on the beige wall above the bathtub as well as the eye-catching designs on the lamps above the sinks which we later discovered were inspired by the scales of Singapore’s national icon, the half-fish and half-lion Merlion.
The patterns on the bathroom wall were inspired by the scales of Singapore's iconic Merlion
More local touches come in the form of a Peranakan coffee table book, decorative vases and artefacts, and TWG teas.
We found ourselves taking showers pretty often as the bathroom has not two, but three showers – Grohe rain and wall showers plus a Lefroy Brooks hand shower. What’s more, with a shower bench positioned just below the showers, we were stoked that we could sit down and shower comfortably, definitely a first for us!
If you’re looking for the hair dryer, check the compartment on the rosewood lacquered work desk, which also houses – surprise, surprise – a vanity mirror!
All rooms come with Nespresso machines, smart LED TVs and Salvatore Ferragamo’s Tuscan Soul toiletries.
Some rooms and suites have high corniced ceilings and dramatic archways, while others boast details such as ergonomic door handles and intricate silver nickel wardrobe handles designed by Ibrahim.
As rooms and suites come in almost 50 unique configurations, returning guests will almost always get to stay in a different room or suite, unless, of course, they have booked the one and only Heritage Suite or the smaller Bidwell Suite, named after the architect of Stamford House.
The 137sqm Heritage Suite's roomy bathroom features a free-standing deep-soaking bathtub, walk-in wardrobe, a separate bath with rainfall shower and steam facilities
3. Comforting, Modern Asian @ 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung
When we found out that three Michelin-starred Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation fame would be helming the hotel’s signature restaurant, we were expecting out-of-this-world creations that combine culinary art and science on the menu.
The maverick London-born chef who calls himself “Demon Chef” is known for using molecular techniques to give a modern spin to traditional Chinese dishes.
Instead, what we saw on the menu were neither extremes nor deconstructed dishes, but foods that were inspired by Chef Leung’s favourite Asian recipes, namely dishes from Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, all refreshed with premium ingredients and the chef’s inventive touch.
Must-trys are the Three-style Corn Salad, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Hong Kong “Pat Chun” Vinaigrette, the perfect palate opener of charred corn, baby corn and delightfully crunchy popcorn tossed in a punchy sweet vinegar; Singapore-inspired, coconut-based Laksa, Housemade Dried Shrimp Floss, Chargrilled Tiger Prawns and Smoked Onsen Quail Eggs, made luxe with tiger prawns, jasmine tea-smoked quail eggs and housemade dried shrimp floss, and best slurped up with a spoon; and Malaysian-style Chargrilled “Bak Kut Teh” Pork Chop, Compressed Watermelon and Angelica BBQ Sauce, where the bone-in pork chop is marinated for 12 hours in a concoction comprising over eight herbs and spices before being chargrilled in the centre of the open kitchen.
Chargrilled “Bak Kut Teh” Pork Chop, Compressed Watermelon and Angelica BBQ Sauce
Beef fans will want to sink their teeth into the Malaysia-inspired 72 Hour U.S. Short Ribs Rendang with Pickled Cabbage, beef cooked sous vide for 72 hours to yield melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and marinated in a robust rendang marinade; and the lip-smacking A5 Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Striploin, 200g, served with appetising housemade spicy Asian sauce, Thai hollandaise and laksa leaf chimichumi.
While Chef Leung’s food certainly need no help with presentation, being plated on gorgeous Monica Tsang Designs ceramic plates (which we would love to own) definitely ups the dishes’ Insta-worthy factor. The plates as well as bowls, tea pots and tea cups are specially designed for the restaurant by award-winning Hong Kong designer Monica Tsang (not surprisingly, a friend of the chef’s). Look out for sharing plates that bear images of a demon chef carrying a chopper, a cheeky nod to Chef Leung’s infamous nickname.
4. Kempinski’s Extraordinary Hospitality Touches
Where other hotels merely have concierges, Kempinski Hotels go one step further with their Ladies in Red, brand ambassadors dressed in elegant red-coloured attire, who not only greeted and escorted us to our room but also took care of our needs and helped craft memorable experiences for us during our stay.
During breakfast, we experienced Kempinski’s seven unique touches. We especially liked the immune-boosting Power Shot fresh juices (we tried cranberry pear and watermelon mango), served in small glasses, made with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.
To load up on more vitamins, there are freshly squeezed juices. Choose from watermelon, orange, pineapple or apple, or order a mix of your favourite fruits and vegetables.
As we are big chocolate fans, we were delighted that we could personalise our hot chocolate with either 85 percent Guanaja or 64 percent Manjari dark chocolate along with toppings such fruit coulis, caramel, marshmallows and whipped cream. There’s also a smooth and rich chocolate spread, made in-house from a decadent blend of cream, 64 percent dark chocolate and cacao butter, to enjoy with waffles and toast or savoured on its own.
Plain oats may be healthy but not always tasty, so when we saw Bircher muesli on the breakfast table, we knew we had to try some. Sweet and tangy, the hotel’s version is made from yogurt, whipped cream, raw walnuts, oat muesli, sultanas, green apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange juice and honey.
Honey connnoisseurs will be happy to know that the hotel serves honey that drips down from a raw honeycomb, packed with pollen, enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants and microbial cultures.
In addition to freshly baked, crusty breads, croissants and pastries, the hotel also serves gluten-free breads.
As no visit to Singapore would be complete without trying its local specialties, the hotel’s breakfast spread always feature local favourites such as carrot cake, prata, chwee kueh, congee, Asian noodles, dim sum and its signature chargrilled kaya or coconut jam (made in-house, of course) toast served with soft-boiled eggs.
Rates start from $568++ for a Deluxe Room. Suite guests enjoy a full 24-hour stay no matter what time they check in.
Photos courtesy of The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore