CHECK­ING IN

The Six Senses group has made its lon­gawaited de­but in Sin­ga­pore with an in­ti­mate her­itage prop­erty that’s big on char­ac­ter.

DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS - BY DAVEN WU

Six Senses de­buts in Sin­ga­pore.

Set in a row of eight mid-19th-cen­tury shop­houses along Chi­na­town’s leafy Dux­ton Road, the 49-room Six Senses Dux­ton marks both the lux­ury hos­pi­tal­ity brand’s first foray into an ur­ban des­ti­na­tion, and Lon­don-based de­signer Anouska Hem­pel’s first hotel project in Sin­ga­pore.

The re­mark­able con­ser­va­tion project led by ar­chi­tect Faye Moey has pre­served the fa­cade’s eclec­tic mix of Malay tim­ber fret­work, slen­der French win­dows, Por­tuguese shut­ters, and elab­o­rately carved Corinthian pi­lasters so typ­i­cal of build­ings of that era. The in­te­ri­ors, mean­while, are a fan­tas­ti­cal con­coc­tion straight out of Hem­pel’s play­book. Here, the pre­em­i­nent de­signer has imag­ined a lost Chi­nese girl who be­lieves she is an em­press and comes into her royal des­tiny at the hotel. Which ex­plains the vivid pan-Asian flour­ishes so fa­mil­iar to fans of Hem­pel’s work on Blakes in Am­s­ter­dam—namely, red and gold trim, lac­quered pots, glossy ebony wall pan­els, and im­pe­rial yel­low so­fas that are lay­ered with styl­ized black room screens, four-poster Chi­nese plat­form beds, wall­pa­per em­bossed with 18th-cen­tury in­den­tures from Hem­pel’s pri­vate col­lec­tion, and elab­o­rate golden fans.

Due to the pe­cu­liar­i­ties of the build­ings’ orig­i­nal foot­print, each room has a unique con­fig­u­ra­tion, though Nat­u­ral­mat or­ganic mat­tresses, bath­room ameni­ties by The Or­ganic Phar­macy, and mini­bars stocked with craft spir­its are stan­dard of­fer­ings. The suites, in par­tic­u­lar, fea­ture un­ex­pected ceil­ing height re­stric­tions that may prove chal­leng­ing for tall guests. The en­try-level rooms are calm co­coons of white and dark hues, but Hem­pel’s love for the­atri­cal set pieces are shown off to best ef­fect in the mood­ily lit Mont­gomerie Suite and the daz­zling sil­very white shim­mer of the Pearl Suite.

The Ori­en­tal­ist vibe is amped up by the hotel’s menu of di­ver­sions, among them Chi­nese tea classes, morn­ing yoga in the ad­join­ing park, and a well­ness kit at turn-down that in­cludes nut­meg oil for jet lag and mus­cle aches, herbal pills for gas­tric woes, and Tiger Balm for ev­ery­thing else. All this, along­side an in­house TCM prac­ti­tioner who pre­scribes from his medic­i­nal herbal dis­pen­sary sweet tinc­tures of snow chrysan­the­mum and marigold to stave off travel-in­duced in­som­nia.

And after an even­ing trawl­ing through the neigh­bor­hood’s at­mo­spheric haul of karaoke bars, Korean bar­be­cue joints, and hawker fare, a night­cap of hot whisky, brandy, and ab­sinthe in the hotel’s an­ti­quar­ian-themed Yel­low Pot bar is just what the doc­tor or­dered.

In July, a slightly larger sopho­more Six Senses prop­erty—this time de­signed by Jac­ques Gar­cia, the cre­ative ge­nius be­hind La Mamou­nia in Mar­rakesh and Paris’s Hotel Costes—will open a few blocks away. 83 Dux­ton Rd., Sin­ga­pore; 65/6914-1428; sixsenses.com; dou­bles from US$290.

Above, from top: In­side a liv­ing room of the Sky­light suite at Six Senses Dux­ton; the hotel’s newly re­stored fa­cade at dusk.

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