In September 2019, I checked into the Grand Deluxe Room at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, which opened in 2018 and marked the European brand’s entry into the Singapore market. Situated in the heart of Singapore’s downtown civic and cultural district, the 155-room property is part of the sprawling heritage and multi-use lifestyle integrated development Capitol Singapore which also comprises a high-end residential apartment, a shopping mall and a theatre. The hotel is a fully-sheltered connection away from City Hall MRT Station as well as Raffles City Shopping Centre which offers a myriad of dining and retail choices. Nearby attractions include the National Museum of Singapore and the National Gallery, lifestyle destination Funan Mall as well as the buzzy waterfront Clarke Quay and Boat Quay districts along the Singapore River which are just a stroll away. Changi Airport and Marina Bay Sands are 20 minutes and 10 minutes away by car respectively.
Notable hotels in the area include Raffles Hotel Singapore, Swissotel The Stamford, Fairmont Singapore and JW Marriott Singapore South Beach. The hotel belongs to the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) which has its own GHA Discovery loyalty programme. Notable local properties under the same programme include Capella Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore and PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Luxurious European colonial heritage charm in City Hall.
The must-dos (if any): Enjoy the spacious guest rooms and European architecture, soak in the saltwater relaxation pool, have a Singaporean breakfast at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, have a drink at The Bar.
THE CAPITOL KEMPINSKI HOTEL SINGAPORE
Designed by Pritzker Prize Architecture Laureate Richard Meier, the beautiful four-storey hotel is set within two carefully restored historic neoclassical buildings Capitol Building and Stamford House which house the hotel’s Capitol wing and Stamford wing respectively. The hotel’s general aesthetic pairs decidedly Victorian sensibilities with a certain fondness of geometric shapes, tessellations and grand archways. Colours are generally muted, warm and creamy, with generous splashes of Italian marble and leather amping up the luxury factor. Despite the relatively small size of the property, the layout of the room floors is fairly The Shining-esque in its labyrinthine complexity, with a significant number of meandering passageways and turns.
The check-in process is completed at the elegant residential-style lobby on the ground floor with its gorgeous overhead hand-cut rock chandeliers. You might be greeted by a Lady In Red – one of Kempinski’s distinctively-dressed brand ambassadors – who will be on hand to provide helpful information and any necessary assistance. Past the lift lobby to the guest rooms, guests can access The Boutique at 15 Stamford which retails chocolate products and spirits as well as key dining concepts 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung and The Bar at 15 Stamford. Also housed within the same premises is NOOK by Platinum, the private lounge for American Express Centurion and Platinum Charge members which serves an exclusive food and wine menu (wines are from Park90) as well as the regular offerings from 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung. The cosy Lobby Lounge serves afternoon tea in the day, but is repurposed as the hotel’s Executive Lounge for suite guests to enjoy breakfast as well as evening cocktails, canapes and house pour wines and spirits.
In terms of wellness, the hotel boasts Singapore’s first outdoor saltwater relaxation pool, as well as a luxury spa which uses Gaylia Kristensen products. A modest 24-hour fitness centre is also available for your workout needs.
GRAND DELUXE ROOM
Situated within the Capitol Wing with a very unique view overlooking the Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski below, the luxuriously posh 50sqm Grand Deluxe Room boasts creamy colours, high corniced ceilings (the design supposedly pays homage to the scales of the Merlion, Singapore’s ubiquitous mascot), sofa seating, glossy lacquered-finished textures and polished Italian marble coffee and side tables. The outside-facing work table also houses the room’s pantry and minibar which is stocked with curated snacks such as Sea Salt Mixed Nuts, Chocolate Truffles and Italian Mints in hotel-branded packaging; Nespresso coffee and TWG tea-making facilities; complimentary non-alcoholic beverages as well as a selection of wines (including a bottle of Billecart-Salmon champagne brut) and mini bottles of spirits. A Sonos sound system is on hand to assist with the acoustics.
The open bathroom features a single vanity, a deep window-side bathtub as well as an enclosed rainfall shower. While the bathtub lacks a head rest for a comfortable lay, it does come with a tray for your loofah, a glass of champagne and/or the latest bestseller/erotic Fifty Shades of Grey-esque read. Bathroom amenities are from the Tuscan Soul range from Salvatore Ferragamo which I first came across at Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, and after using the products, your presence upon entering any room is immediately detected in manner of ION Orchard-esque atas perfume.
The fact that both the living and bedroom face the dining arcade below means one may wish to refrain from bouncing or swishing anything while au naturel near the windows.
Breakfast is served at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, the hotel’s signature restaurant which is helmed by Michelin star chef Alvin Leung. The beautiful space, which boasts dramatic archways, grand windows and European influences, serves a continental breakfast in the morning and an all-day modern Asian menu after. Aside from the mandatory breakfast buffet staples like cold cuts, fruits and Western breakfast sides, the breakfast spread has a notably strong local influence, with offerings ranging from Singapore Breakfast (toasted or steamed bread, kaya, cold butter, soft boiled eggs), Indian Roti Prata and Soya Bean with You Tiao (deep-fried dough fritters) to Prawn Noodle Soup and Fried Carrot Cake. Elsewhere, degenerate drunks and fruit enthusiasts can get their daily dose of Vitamin C with a serving of Mimosa with Strawberry Juice (off the top of my head, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and Four Seasons Hotel Singapore might be the only other restaurant breakfast buffets offering similar drinks).
15 Stamford by Alvin Leung’s a la carte menu (with eyebrow-raising prices) showcases Asian plates such as 15 Stamford Rotisserie Choicken Rice, Laksa with Wild King Prawn and Smoked Onsen Quail Egg and Pork Prime Rib ‘Bak Kut Teh’ with Compressed Watermelon and Angelica Barbecue Sauce as well as grilled options such as Kühlbarra Barramundi with Buah Keluak Sauce and Tajima Wagyu Beef Hanger Steak with Sarawak Black Pepper Sauce. From the dishes I managed to try (with the help of a trusty American Express credit card promotion), the seemingly unassuming but texturally playful ‘Har Mi’ Linguine (dried shrimp, wild king prawn, tobiko roe) had an abundance of shrimpy flavour locked within every inch of its body, while the Patagonian Toothfish (Glacier 51, Australia 300g) manages to straddle a cod-esque butteriness with much flaky bite.
The Bar at 15 Stamford specialises in rum cocktails, with their signature cocktail being the Plantation 1840 (Cuban rum, pineapple juice, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, sugar cane juice syrup, mint sprig). Other tipples include rum-based riffs on classics such as P.C. Negroni (aged rum, sweet vermouth, pineapple cynar, orange bitters) and Peranakan Old Fashion (aged rum, homemade falernum, honey, bitters) as well as non-rum cocktails such as Plum Haze (pisco, lime juice, plum sauce, plum bitters, orange bitters, salt) and Vermouth Sour (sweet vermouth, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white).
The Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski is an extension of the hotel located steps away within the same Capitol Singapore complex, comprising multiple dining concepts: European-style cafe and delicatessen Berthold Delikatessen which serves salads, sandwiches, coffee and an assortment of sweets; German restaurant Frieda which serves traditional German cuisine with Austrian influences; American diner-style concept Capitol Milk Bar which serves indulgent treats such as ice creams, sundaes and milkshakes alongside comfort nosh like burgers and hotdogs; Thai restaurant Chalerm Thai which offers comforting Thai favourites; Italian concept La Scala Ristorante which has its own brick oven; Spanish place El Teatro Tapas which offers tapas, Spanish paella and drinks; and dual Japanese concepts Katachi Style and Katachi Sushi, which offer casual and omakase dining experiences respectively.
Further dining concepts can be found within the adjoined Capitol Piazza, from Chinese restaurant Famous Treasure and Japanese souffle cafe Hoshino Coffee to comfort food mainstay Ponggol Nasi Lemak and the Food Republic dining hall.
Offering a strong dose of sophisticated European-tinged colonial romance, the property is ideal for couple getaways or those seeking a heritage stay experience. While not quite at the same pinnacle of luxury as the nearby Raffles Hotel Singapore, the hotel’s ultra-luxurious guest room experience, enviable location and historical legacy certainly make it one of the poshest around.
The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
15 Stamford Road