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Elegantly French: Sofitel Singapore City Centre
Experience a touch of French flair at the luxurious Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
Boasting a central downtown location, in the heart of Singapore’s vibrant business and heritage district, the luxury hotel, which opened in October 2017, sits above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station.
Throughout the hotel, French elements that are inspired by the sublime geometry of a traditional jardin à la Francaise (French formal garden) are married stylishly with Singapore’s garden city heritage through rose gold accents and botanical plus floral motifs on furniture, walls, art pieces and even staff uniforms.
At the hotel’s arrival lobby, you’ll be greeted by Singapour Je T’aime (above), a captivating 9-metre long art installation. Made up of 700 hand-blown glass crystals that resemble leaves, the shimmering chandelier was designed by Jana Ruzickova and created by Czech glass and lighting manufacturer Lasvit.
The hotel’s 223 stylish rooms and suites, spread over levels seven to 20, feature a soothing earth palette with purple and yellow accents; plush Sofitel MyBeds; Samsung smart TVs; Bose entertaiment systems; Handy phones that offer complimentary calls to 10 countries; and toiletries by Lanvin or Hermes.
5 Things We ♥ About The Hotel
1. Rooms Made For Staying In All Day
Comfy king size bed. Check. Floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views. Check. Soaking tub. Check. Nespresso machine. Check. Minibar stocked with chips and drinks. Check. Bluetooth speakers. Check. Favourite cable channels. Check.
Luxury Club Room
These alone would have been enough to keep us in our 38 sqm Luxury Club Room for quite awhile, but the hotel, of course, is not content with just offering the usual.
We were delighted to find a beautifully illustrated activity book, Colouring The Lion City, plus a box of Faber-Castell colour pencils for our colouring pleasure. We could leave a colourful mark for the guest after us or just marvel at other guests’ creativity. We decided to colour away and it proved to be rather therapeutic!
Photo: C. Leong
We wish we could read all the books on the desk – Singapore Hawker Classics Unveiled, The French In Singapore, Images Of Singapore – but at least, we managed to peruse 101 Ways To Live Well while enjoying a relaxing soak in the tub and sipping on some bubbly.
We were also excited to find a Virgin Active Fitness Kit, comprising a yoga mat, resistance bands, foam roller and instruction videos, so we could work out in the comfort of our room. The hotel SoFit gym is open 24 hours, but if you’re a Luxury Premium, Luxury Club or Prestige Suite guest, you can also enjoy free access to Virgin Active Tanjong Pagar in the neighbouring building.
Virgin Active Fitness Kit
Photo: C. Leong
2. Stylish Club Lounge
When we’re not in our room, we’re chilling out at Club Millésime on the sixth floor. Open from 6.30am to 11pm daily, the lounge serves buffet and a la carte breakfast, afternoon tea (or what the French call le goûter), as well as evening cocktails and canapes to guests of Luxury Club Rooms and Suites.
The lounge also has a library, cosy meeting spaces and a butler service.
If you’re a wine lover like us, be at the lounge for evening wine tastings between 5.30pm and 7.30pm to enjoy free-flow of red and white wines from an Enomatic wine dispenser. There are four red and four white wines to sample in tasting, half glass or full glass portions. Enjoy the wines with a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, desserts and hot dish of the day (we had pan-seared foie gras).
3. French Classics Plus Refined Chinese At Racines
On days when one of us is hankering for Asian food while the other is craving for Western, a place like Racines (French for “roots”) is a godsend. The bright and gorgeous restaurant on the fifth floor serves French classics as well as contemporary Chinese dishes prepared by two brigades of chefs across four open kitchens.
The French kitchen is helmed by award-winning executive chef Jean-Charles Dubois, who is no stranger to Singaporean gourmands, as he has been serving up his version of French classics since he moved here in 2004. Chef specialities include Wagyu Beef Cheek and Lobster Bisque.
Must-trys from the Chinese kitchen, helmed by head chef Andrew Chong, include Nyonya Style Stir-Fried Calamari and Wok-Fried Crispy Cereal Tiger Prawns, Garlic Butter and Curry Leaves.
Frog legs cooked two ways – Cuisses de Grenouille (left) and Stir-Fried Frog Legs in Spicy Szechuan Salt
Frog fans can savour the amphibian’s legs cooked à la française (Cuisses de Grenouille – pan-fried local boneless frog legs with pink garlic, parsley and wild mushroom emulsion), or Chinese-style (Stir-Fried Frog Legs in Spicy Szechuan Salt or Stir-Fried Frog Legs with Ginger, Scallions and Chinese Wine).
We’re also super impressed with the hotel’s herb garden, lining the sides of Racines, which provides fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, dill and mint for the kitchen and bar.
Look out for a specially designed “bee hotel”, set within the herb garden, which the hotel hopes can draw bees in the future and produce fresh honey for guests.
The bee hotel is designed as a mini replica of the hotel
4. Lobby Lounge & Bar
When we’re not in our room or Club Millésime, you’ll find us chilling out at 1864 on the fifth floor. Named after the year Tanjong Pagar Dock Company was founded, the bar is a great spot for watching the comings and goings as it is located next to the lobby area.
The bar makes its own barrel-aged cocktails and there are 22 to choose from. The cocktails are aged in small oak barrels stacked in two cool-looking honeycomb-style shelves.
Photo: C. Leong
Our favourite cocktail is the vodka-based Sofitini, Belvedere vodka blended with apple cinnamon syrup, passion fruit puree, lime juice, ginger and egg white. In a nod to Tanjong Pagar’s heritage, it is served with a tuile (a fishing net to signify the time when Tanjong Pagar was a sleepy fishing village), edible silver balls that depict Tanjong Pagar’s vibrant business and commercial centre, and pretty edible flowers to represent Singapore’s botanical heritage.
But if you’re feeling adventurous, sit at the bar and ask the mixologist to shake up a speciality cocktail for you.
1864's signature cocktail, Sofitini
5. Celebrating Traditions & Rituals
Like other Sofitel properties around the world, the hotel is big on time-honoured traditions and rituals. We were especially fascinated by the Shining Ritual and the Candle Ritual.
The Shining Ritual is perfomed at the hotel entrance every morning at 7.15am. A concierge staff wearing white gloves will wipe the Sofitel name plate using a special white cloth, sweeping from left to right and moving downward in a motion reflecting the graceful movement of the earth. The cloth is then cermoniously folded five times to represent the five continents of the world and stored in a special box.
The Candle Ritual takes place at 6.30pm at the lobby on the fifth level. Front office staff, dressed in traditional attire to represent Singapore’s three major races, perform a short dance routine that incorporates elegant moves from the Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. After the dance, they light the candles in the lobby and other public spaces to signify the passing of day to night.
At 5pm each night, two of our Front Office and Concierge ambassadors, dressed in traditional Parisian attire, light the candles in the lobby to signify the passing of day to night. Historically, Paris is known as the first city of light, so it only makes sense to pay tribute to our heritage.
In 1662 King Louis XIV declared that the streets should be illuminated with candles so that the people of Paris would be safe going out at night. In 2016 Sofitel Brisbane Central performs this ritual, not only to pay homage, but to create a magnifique ambiance for our guests.
Rates start from $450++ for a Luxury Room.
Photos courtesy of Sofitel Singapore City Centre