In the foot­steps of Trump and Kim Jong-Un in Sin­ga­pore

Carolyn Beasley lifts the lid on the Sin­ga­pore ho­tels and at­trac­tions vis­ited by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.

Paradise - - Contents -

The nu­clear sum­mit between the US and North Korea in June fo­cused the world’s at­ten­tion on neu­tral host city, Sin­ga­pore, spot­light­ing lav­ish ho­tels and iconic at­trac­tions. So, if you fancy vis­it­ing Sin­ga­pore like a world leader, where should you stay and what should you do?

Ac­com­mo­dat­ing a head of state is not sim­ple and, dur­ing the sum­mit, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his posse stayed at Sin­ga­pore’s Shangri-La Ho­tel. In­cor­po­rat­ing lush gar­dens with free-form pools and ten­nis courts, the ho­tel is a city oa­sis. As the orig­i­nal Shangri-La prop­erty, this ho­tel sets high stan­dards.

If you are trav­el­ling like a world leader, opt for the Shangri-La Suite, with an aver­age price of $SG15,000 (about PGK35,700) a night. You can ex­pect 348 square me­tres of luxe, in­clud­ing a pri­vate lift to your suite. Fit­tings in­clude twin­kling chan­de­liers, bath­rooms glis­ten­ing with white mar­ble and bath­tubs with tele­vi­sions. The suite fea­tures a work­out room, study, and kitchen, and im­por­tantly, per­son­alised bathrobes, pil­low cases and sta­tionery. Thank­fully, there are many other cheaper room op­tions here. High-fly­ing can be hun­gry work, so keep things high-brow in a pri­vate room at NAMI, the Ja­panese fine din­ing restau­rant on the ho­tel’s 24th floor, or head to Shang Palace, serv­ing tra­di­tional Can­tonese dishes. For some­thing ca­sual, Ori­gin Grill of­fers sus­tain­able seafood and a wide se­lec­tion of beef, while Wa­ter­fall Restau­rant serves south­ern Ital­ian favourites.

Less than a kilo­me­tre away, the St Regis Ho­tel was cho­sen by North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-Un, for his stay. For a top-shelf

ex­pe­ri­ence, the pres­i­den­tial suite on the 20th floor rents for a mere $SG9000 (about PGK21,400) a night. The op­u­lence is jaw-drop­ping; think Czech crys­tal chan­de­liers, vel­vet so­fas, gilded ta­bles and hand-painted silk pan­elling. This suite comes with a gym, 10-per­son din­ing room, and a fourper­son jacuzzi. To in­dulge your artis­tic side, tin­kle the ivories on your grand piano or study the orig­i­nal Marc Cha­gall paint­ing.

Opt­ing for a cheaper room need not count you out of VIP treat­ments. The St Regis prides it­self on be­ing the only ho­tel in Sin­ga­pore of­fer­ing a per­sonal but­ler to ev­ery room. Equally, all guests can travel like a leader, hir­ing the ho­tel’s chauf­feur-driven Bent­ley.

For VIP din­ing at St Regis, visit Brasserie Les Saveurs for Sun­day brunch, where cham­pagne bot­tles are opened with a sabre. For ca­sual Ital­ian food, head to the pool­side LaBrezza, or for week­end dim sum, try Yan Ting Restau­rant. At As­tor Bar, an Asian twist is given to the clas­sic bloody mary, and the ‘chilli padi mary’ will leave you tin­gling.

For the sum­mit it­self, el­e­gant Capella Ho­tel was cho­sen. The ho­tel, on Sen­tosa Is­land, in­cor­po­rates two her­itage bun­ga­lows from 1880, pre­vi­ously ac­com­mo­dat­ing Bri­tish of­fi­cers. A stylishly curved mod­ern wing houses most guest rooms.

A din­ing high­light here is a sump­tu­ous Sun­day brunch served at The Knolls restau­rant on the ter­race over­look­ing cas­cad­ing pools and the ocean. You may dine with wild pea­cocks and spy horn­bill birds in the for­est canopy. Mod­ern Can­tonese is of­fered in Cas­sia restau­rant, while Bob’s Bar is the place for a bev­er­age, in­vok­ing a 1950s Cuban at­mos­phere.

If you ven­ture out of Capella, you’ll find Sen­tosa Is­land is Sin­ga­pore’s play­ground. Fun at­trac­tions here in­clude theme park Universal Stu­dios, the wa­ter­slides of Ad­ven­ture Cove, and the SEA Aquar­ium. For an adren­a­line rush, zi­pline from moun­tain to beach at Me­gaZip Ad­ven­ture Park, go ca­reen­ing down­hill on a luge, or in­door sky­dive at iFly.

No mat­ter how won­der­ful the ho­tels, even world lead­ers en­joy ex­plor­ing and Kim man­aged to take in some of the must-see sights of Sin­ga­pore.

Kim’s tour be­gan with the world’s largest glass green­house, the Flower Dome at Gar­dens by the

Bay, a wa­ter­front gar­den com­plex on more than 100 hectares.

Vis­i­tors on a less dic­ta­to­rial sched­ule may also visit the sec­ond glass con­ser­va­tory, the Cloud For­est, that recre­ates the misty high-al­ti­tude trop­ics, in­clud­ing a 35-me­tre-high in­door wa­ter­fall. Su­pertree Grove is an­other high­light, where large tree-like struc­tures dom­i­nate the sky­line, and ev­ery night a free light and mu­sic show de­lights crowds.

From the gar­dens, Kim zipped up to the 57th storey of iconic Ma­rina Bay Sands in­te­grated re­sort. Here the SkyPark Ob­ser­va­tion Deck (en­try $SG23) pro­vides a com­mand­ing view. Al­ter­na­tively, the same view is avail­able at Ce La Vie SkyBar, where your en­try fee ($SG20) can be off­set to­wards a cock­tail.

Kim strolled around Ma­rina Bay, past the colo­nial-era Fuller­ton Ho­tel and the half-lion, half-fish Mer­lion statue. Cross­ing Ju­bilee Bridge, opened in 2015 to com­mem­o­rate 50 years of Sin­ga­pore’s in­de­pen­dence, he came to the Es­planade the­atres where he con­cluded his tour.

Vis­i­tors ex­plor­ing fur­ther may try a tra­di­tional ‘bum boat’ tour, a hop-on­hop-off bus, or per­haps a guided walk­ing tour. The of­fer­ings for vis­i­tors here are di­verse, and Sin­ga­pore can de­liver a fab­u­lous stay whether you visit as a VIP or a reg­u­lar trav­eller.

Light show ... Sin­ga­pore's sky­line (main); Gar­dens by the Bay, vis­ited by Kim Jong-Un (top right).

Ho­tels of choice ... the lead­ers met at the Capella Ho­tel (right); the Shangri-La Suite, where Don­ald Trump checked in (far right).

Supreme ac­com­mo­da­tion ... Kim Jung-Un stayed at the St Regis Ho­tel (above); and took a stroll over the Ju­bilee Bridge (right).

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