Nine years on, venues say Grand Prix is still a great ex­cuse to party

Today - - SINGAPORE | NEWS -

SIN­GA­PORE — When the Formula One Grand Prix came to Sin­ga­pore in 2008, it brought with it all the glitz and glam­our as­so­ci­ated with the sport, in­clud­ing a range of par­ties at­tended by a clien­tele that does not just in­clude mo­tor­sport fans.

Now in its tenth year, this par­ty­ing scene has far from burned out and is still a hot ticket, sev­eral venues told TO­DAY.

De­spite a drop in at­ten­dance at the an­nual event here — last year’s daily av­er­age at­ten­dance slumped to 73,000, its low­est in nine years — the par­ties sur­round­ing the race con­tin­ued to pack in crowds.

One of the big­gest F1 par­ties is held at The Podium Lounge and has at­tracted fa­mous faces in­clud­ing celebrity chef Gor­don Ram­say and for­mer foot­baller Rio Fer­di­nand.

Its chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Rob­bie Hoyes-Cock said: “The Podium Lounge has grown its at­ten­dance every sin­gle year since 2009 when we first started host­ing this event within the race­track at The Ritz-Carl­ton, Mil­lenia Sin­ga­pore.”

years ago, The Podium Lounge moved the party venue to a larger space at The Ritz-Carl­ton’s grand ball­room which can host over 3,000 guests and ac­cord­ing to Mr Hoyes-Cock, the par­ties “have been a sell-out event ever year since”.

With the night race tak­ing place at the Ma­rina Bay Street Cir­cuit, bars in the area with the best views of the F1 ac­tion tend to be the hottest des­ti­na­tions.

One of them is Ce La Vi, which is host­ing its eighth F1 party this year. Lo­cated at Ma­rina Bay Sands, it at­tracts a mix of lo­cals and for­eign­ers.

“More than 50 per cent of our guests dur­ing last year’s week-long F1 party were lo­cals,” said Ms Hwon Kang, PR & mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive for Ce La Vi. “This year, we’ve re­ceived nu­mer­ous en­quiries on ta­ble book­ings weeks in ad­vance by lo­cals hop­ing to get the best spot for the view of fire­works and, of course, the F1 race track.” Ms Kang said that F1 “has not lost its novelty value at Ce La Vi” and has seen “con­sis­tent num­bers since our first F1 party”.

Lan­tern, the rooftop bar at The Fuller­ton Bay Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore, is an­other F1 party hotspot.

It of­fers guests an ex­hil­a­rat­ing view of the ac­tion, thanks to its lo­ca­tion at the race’s hair­pin turn.

Fuller­ton Her­itage gen­eral man­ager Cava­liere Gio­vanni Vit­erale said its din­ing out­lets dur­ing the Grand Prix sea­son are “pa­tro­n­ised by a good mix of reg­u­lar guests from the lo­cal com­mu­nity and over­seas”.

Grand Prix par­ties at both The Fuller­ton Ho­tel and The Fuller­ton Bay Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore are “usu­ally booked to ca­pac­ity” every year, he added.

The good pa­tron­age how­ever, is not ex­pe­ri­enced at all venues near the race cir­cuit.

Take for ex­am­ple, high-end rooftop bar and dance club Em­pire, which has seen at­ten­dance drop by about 15 per cent at its F1 par­ties from three years ago.

Mr Christo­pher Lim, founder and di­rec­tor of Hid­den Door Con­cepts which runs Em­pire, said most guests who at­tend tend to be more in­ter­ested in the af­ter-par­ties and off-track en­ter­tain­ment than the race it­self. An­other venue that has seen a slight drop in num­bers is 1-Al­ti­tude lo­cated at 1 Raf­fles Place.

“We have started see­ing a drop in at­ten­dance since 2015 but the num­bers are not quite dras­tic,” said Mr Ian Sim, the venue’s gen­eral man­ager. “The de­cline has been about 0.8 per cent, which cor­re­sponds with the fall in over­all at­ten­dance to the race over the past few years.”

While in­ter­est in F1 par­ties may be wan­ing for some par­ty­go­ers in Sin­ga­pore, there still re­mains a con­sid­er­able crowd that still look for­ward to the an­nual event.

Fashion de­signer Jo Kilda, 39, has at­tended a few af­ter-par­ties and en­joys the glitz and glam­our as­so­ci­ated with them.

“I feel the crowd is get­ting younger com­pared to the first cou­ple of years,” she said.

“Hav­ing said that, I strongly be­lieve F1 is one of the most an­tic­i­pated events every year and my hus­band and I look for­ward to it as it’s a chance for us to let our hair down.”

I strongly be­lieve F1 is one of the most an­tic­i­pated events every year and my hus­band and I look for­ward to it as it’s a chance for us to let our hair down. Jo Kilda FAshioN De­siGNer

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