Holiday like a Crazy, Rich Asian!
As well as beautiful people, the new hit film stars utterly jaw-dropping locations. Here’s Grazia’s guide to holidaying Crazy Rich Asians- style
THE E v Ening Entertainment Supertree Grove at Gardens By The Bay
The film’s Gatsby-esque evening wedding reception was shot in Singapore’s ‘Supertrees’, a multi-million dollar park ( gardensbythebay.com.sg) with metal structures that soar 50m into the sky and are covered with plants. At night they’re lit, creating a magical scene, so evening is the best time to visit ( you also avoid the heat). As well as the ‘trees’ there are two domes, one with a tropical forest and indoor waterfall, the other a mass of flowers. Book dinner at Pollen in the Flower Dome and, after enjoying Med cuisine (from £44 plus taxes for two courses; pollen.com.sg), you can walk around the dome when the other visitors leave.
THE choice HOTEL Sarkies Suite at the Raffles Hotel
Having flown first class from New York to Singapore, the romantic couple – Nick Young and Rachel Chu – stay at the world-famous Raffles Hotel, arguably the grandest hotel in town. Nick books them into the opulent Sarkies Suite, one of the hotel’s presidential suites (and where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed). This will set you back upwards of £5,000 per night but you can’t check in just yet – the hotel’s closed for renovation, opening in early 2019. If your budget doesn’t stretch to that of a Crazy Rich Asian, take afternoon tea in the new lounge area of the gorgeous lobby ( rafflessingapore.com).
THE mone y- shot b Each The luscious beaches of Langkawi
Samsara Island, the fictional setting for the film’s lavish hen-do for Nick’s cousin, was actually filmed in Malaysia, at the five-star Four Seasons in Langkawi, which is set between a white sandy beach and soaring limestone cliffs synonymous with the Malaysian archipelago. For film star luxury, you’ll need to book a Beach Villa (from £1,600 a night; fourseasons.com/ langkawi) but there are lovely garden rooms from £580 per night. The resort has two swimming pools, one for families and one that’s adults only. Also don’t dismiss the Rhu bar where the best spot is the swing seat overlooking the beach.
THE instagramable pool The infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
In the film a squad of synchronised swimmers duck and dive here, but even without that entertainment, this is a seriously spectacular spot. The world’s largest infinity pool – 150m long – gives you a spine-tingling view of Singapore’s skyscraper skyline.
The pool is only open to guests so to swim you need to check in (from £230pn; marinabaysands.com). Alternatively, take in the pool view and skyline from the hotel’s adjacent Cé La Vi Bar ( celavi.com) which is open to all.
THE BOUTIQUE SPOT Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion boutique hotel in George Town
The exquisite house where Nick’s ice maiden mother meets Rachel over the traditional Chinese game mahjong is actually in George Town, the capital of Malaysia’s Penang province. It’s a picturesque little place filled with brightly painted shophouses with shuttered windows. Rooms at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, named after the 19th century tycoon who lived there (14, Leith Street, George Town +604 262 0006), start from £100 per night, so you can check in and enjoy the mansion when all the day-trippers have gone.
THE FOODIE HANG- OUT Satay at the Newton Food Centre
Even crazy rich Singaporeans eat here. Collections of street food stalls – two have even been awarded a Michelin star – offer an aromatic mix of dishes that reflect Singapore’s many cultures – Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indian. In the book, Nick, Rachel and friends head to Lau Pa Sat (18 Raffles Quay) with its pretty Victorian wrought iron architecture and easy location next to the CBD (Central Business District). However, for the film, director Jon M Chu chose his favourite, the Newton Food Centre (500 Clemenceau Avenue North), where you can feast (cheaply) on delicious local classics such as satay, char kway teow (oyster omelette) and hokkien mee (fried noodles with chilli, pork, and shrimp).
EXPERIENCE SEAFOOD ‘Bawk, bawk, bitch!’ at the Humpback
The location for the lunch where Rachel’s friend Peik Lin urges her to take the fight to Nick’s mother is a popular seafood restaurant (£30pp; humpback.sg). It’s on Bukit Pasoh Rd, a lovely street in Chinatown known for its preserved 19th-century Peranakan shophouses. These candy-coloured buildings are the architecture of the Peranakan people. Opposite the Humpback visit The Reading Room (19 Bukit Pasoh Rd, +65 6220 9019) – a coffee house by day and cool bar by night.
THE WEDDING DESTINATION Ornate wedding cake architecture at Chijmes Hall
A flower-strewn aisle and lush indoor greenery transformed this neo- Gothic, former colonial-era chapel ( pronounced chimes), into a fairy-tale society wedding venue. It’s actually an event space and home to a plethora of restaurants including the destination dining Whitegrass ( whitegrass.com.sg), helmed by Aussie chef Sam Aisbett, which has a Michelin star and is on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Expect top Australian and Japanese produce mixed with Asian flavours such as Japanese yellowtail tuna, white beetroot and smoked organic soy (set menu from £30 plus taxes, tasting menus from £60 plus taxes).
The ‘trees’ at Supertree Grove
Langkawi beach, Malaysia A beach villa
The colonial exterior of Raffles Hotel
To infinity, and beyond!
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The impressive gateway
The Mansion at night
Whitegrass Chijmes Hall