As one of the Lion City’s Grand Dame hotels, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore combines world-class accommodation with innovative dining and an enviable location overlooking Marina Bay, discovers Nick Walton.
One of Singapore’s most acclaimed houses of slumber, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia offers an indulgent yet functional setting for business travellers jetting into one of Asia’s most vibrant cities. With captivating lines by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kevin Roche, leading restaurants, a captivating 4,200-piece art collection, a soul-soothing spa and rooms and suites with some of the best views in the city, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia is a true treasure for travelling road warriors.
Set on Marine Bay, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is located at the heart of the Lion City and is just minutes from Marina Bay Sands and the iconic Gardens by the Bay, as well as key financial and entertainment precincts. The hotel is also a short drive from Singapore Changi International Airport, one of the best in the world. The hotel is also perfectly located for the city’s Formula One night race and the city’s MRT network and is connected to the Marina Square shopping mall but a covered walkway.
This hotel has the vibe of great hotels the world over; smartly uniformed staff are on hand to welcome arriving guests, who make their way into a lobby filled with activity. The hotel is a destination for guests and locals alike, thanks to its great restaurants and meeting spaces, so there’s always a great sense of energy in the Hirsch Bedner-designed lobby. However, I’m quickly whisked up to my room for check-in formalities.
While the Ritz-Carlton Millenia boasts 608 rooms and suites, there’s never the sense that this is a ‘large’ hotel. Guest rooms are beautiful spaces that make the most of natural wood and staggering city views. My Club Deluxe Suite is spacious and well-appointed, with a separate living room and workspace, a walk-in closet, a cavernous bathroom with the hotel’s iconic (and very Instagrammable) octagonal windows, and a master bedroom with double-height ceiling and brilliant views of Marina Bay, the Merlion and the city centre. There are Asprey bath amenities, a walk-in shower and a heavenly bathtub, a Nespresso machine and minibar packed with local delights, and ample space for intimate meetings and catch-ups. The room also comes with access to the hotel’s executive lounge, the Ritz-Carlton Club, one of the best in the region.
Executive Club is a term that many hotels wave around, but few get the concept right and most use it as a means to alleviate the breakfast crowds at all-day dining restaurants. The Ritz-Carlton Club is as executive lounges should be; spacious yet intimate, and capitalizing on the same breathtaking cityscape views, the lounge offers a staggering five culinary presentations each day – breakfast, midday snack, afternoon tea, evening canapes and cocktails and, finally, a late-night snack. Each service is paired with an enviable wine list and an open bar, making this a fantastic base for meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Talking of dining, this is Singapore, a foodie capital, so you can expect greatness from the hotel’s culinary lineup. Unlike some five-star hotels, which pack every corner with outsourced restaurants, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore has just three – but they make up for diversity with spectacular dining experiences. For a true treat, make for Michelin-starred Summer Pavilion, where executive chef Cheung Siu Kong serves delectable contemporary Cantonese cuisine at lunch and dinner using the best-imported ingredients – think pan-fried Japanese Wagyu beef with wild mushrooms; noodles with Canadian lobster; and barbequed duck with fresh mango and lemon sauce.
You’ll be able to enjoy leisurely breakfasts at Colony, which tells the tale of British colonialism and its impact on the region’s culinary heritage through live ‘conservatory’ kitchens, breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, and one of the best weekend brunch offerings in a city in love with champagne-laced brunches. You’ll also find innovative cocktails and fantastic afternoon tea sets at Chihuly Lounge, named for American glass artist Dale Chihuly, while being serenaded by singer-songwriter John Allred.
Singapore is, in many ways, a MICE city, and The Ritz-Carlton Millenia has made a name for itself with its innovative meeting spaces, which include a semi-transparent cover that turns the outdoor swimming pool into a captivating events backdrop. The hotel boasts 11 event spaces, each equipped with cutting-edge technology. These include the Grand Ballroom, which can cater to 1,400 in theatre set up and which is regularly used for luxury brand launches; the overwater stage of the three-tiered pool deck; and the intimate Library, which caters to just 10 guests.
In addition to the beautiful swimming pool, the hotel features an expansive fitness centre, and The Ritz Carlton Spa, a superb space with 10 treatment rooms and a menu of indulgent marine-themed treatments that utilize La Mer products. Look out for the likes of the Bamboo Massage, a 90-minute treatment that combines Ayurvedic techniques to invigorate both body and mind; and the La Mer Miracle Broth Facial, which uses bespoke massage techniques and an infusion of La Mer’s coveted Miracle Broth to renew skin cells.
This is another aspect in which the Ritz-Carlton Millenia stands apart from many of the new, trendier hotels in Singapore. Everywhere you go in the hotel from the pool deck to the executive club to the lobby, you’ll encounter cheerful, well-informed and impeccably presented staff, who embrace problem-solving, who take ownership of the issue at hand, and who ensure a suitable outcome, whether it’s fixing a broken coffee machine first thing in the morning or finding a cab late at night. Special credit should go to the team at the Ritz-Carlton Club, who are professional and diligent, and who make every guest feel like they’re entering a Michelin-starred restaurant.
In a city defined by its contemporary boutique hotels, which can be a little hit and miss for business travellers, it’s a pleasure to stay at a truly luxurious ‘old world’ hotel, where service is crisp and intelligent, and facilities capture the essence of the destination to perfection.
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, rooms from SD525 (US$382) per night, twin share.
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