At JW Marriott South Beach Singapore, Loong Wai Ting enjoys renowned French designer Philippe Starck’s work and a comfortable stay
THE thought of the duvet-covered king-sized bed at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach makes me giddy with excitement, especially when I had very little sleep last night.
A friendly associate welcomes me at Singapore Changi Airport after my short flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Offering to take my luggage, Zack then escorts me to a waiting car, a new black seven-series BMW. Wow, talk about impressing guests with nothing but the best.
Trying to avert gazes from fellow travellers at the taxi stand, I quickly hop into the car, where basic amenities such as bottled water, mints and newspapers are at hand. My ride also comes with free Wifi, which is especially useful for me to send a message home.
The ride from the airport to the hotel takes 20 minutes. At the hotel driveway, two more associates welcome me into the narrow and long lobby. Art deco and minimalistic furniture decorate the lobby hallway. Peranakan-inspired tiles even find their way into the modern hotel as seen on the walls behind the reception. I love how its French designer, Philippe Starck, marries local and modern art into his designs.
Upon arrival at the hotel, you will not miss the seven-metre-tall digital display of psychedelic imagery projected on a screen. The colourful visual by South Korean artist Lee Lee Nam does wonder to your brain, especially when you’re tired and in need of sleep.
As I am attending the Taste of JW — Taste the Moment, a culinary festival organised by JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts that offers activities like workshops, masterclasses and an invite-only Chefs Showcase Dinner that showcases the passion of the group’s six chefs from across the Asia Pacific, I am booked for a four-night stay. I’m quite excited to see what the hotel has to offer.
After attending the event briefing at Tonic, a quirky yet stylish bar, an associate named Eva escorts to my room on the 19th floor, overlooking Singapore’s Central Business District, St Andrew’s Cathedral on the right, and the War Memorial Park, Singapore Recreation Club, National Gallery Singapore and a glimpse of Marina Bay Sands on the left.
My room at the end of a long hallway promises me quiet throughout my stay. The modern deco of the hotel extends to all the rooms. The walls are covered with lines chaotically drawn over and over again, and the lines extend to the carpet too. To break the lines, there are photos of nature captured in black and white.
A few steps from the hallway, the room opens up to a spacious sleeping area with a king-sized bed in the centre. The bed is comfortable and firm, and it comes with four feather and down pillows to ensure a good night’s sleep. No doubt, the highlight of my room are these four pillows and bed, which seem to embrace me the moment I lay on them. I rarely get good sleep when I travel, but this one is an exception.
A large window provides natural light and a fantastic view of the city both day and night. The room offers many power outlets to charge multiple electronic devices. There is even a power outlet with two USB ports in the closet where the mini bar is located.
The bathroom is almost as big as the room itself. There’s a bathtub and a packet of scented bath salts.
The shower is also great. The pressure is strong and the water heats up quickly. Another plus point is the plush toiletries by Aromatherapy Associates enriched with pure ylang ylang, rosemary and lavender essential oils. Yes, every day I look forward to my shower.
But what touches my heart the most are the little surprises I find every time I head back to my room at the end of the day. I usually find more food in the minibar, compliments of the hotel. One night, I get a slab of camembert cheese and fresh fruit to go with it and another night, I come back to a box of raspberries, blackberries and nuts on my bed.
One of the most photographed areas in the hotel are the swimming pools. However, those who are looking for a leisurely dip while enjoying the view of Singapore should head to level 18. On any day, you will be amazed by the great view that Singapore has to offer. I love to head to the pool a little after 5pm, just in time to catch the sunset.
Other facilities on level 18 include the gym and a social area that comes with a mini bar. This is also where I, together with a group of international media members, join the ballet-inspired killer workout known as barre-to-bar.
Barely 15 minutes into the workout, my body starts to protest and I am on the verge of fainting. Mind you, I exercise regularly and I consider myself to be the fittest among my friends.
Barre-to-bar Singapore founder Jessica is concerned when I tell her I can’t go on anymore and opt to sit out the workout. But a short rest later, I find myself joining her again for another 30 minutes of routine that targets the abs, leg and arm muscles.
At the end of the workout, my heart leaps for joy at the sight of the sumptuous, I mean, healthy breakfast.
As guests of Taste of JW Culinary Festival, I enjoy top notch facilities at the executive lounge. Like most executive lounges in luxury hotels worldwide, it caters for business people, who want a quick bite or catching up on emails.
With time on my hands, I check out Beach Road Kitchen located in another building. Beach Road Kitchen celebrates freshness and food at its best with live kitchens. The 247-seat all-day dining restaurant offers a seafood-focused buffet and a la carte menu.
A visit to South Beach is not complete if you have not dined at Akira Back, a restaurant offering Japanese cuisine with Korean twist. Helmed by a chef of the same name, the cuisine includes Miso Black Cod served with yuzu sake foam.
Every bite is flavourful and Back puts a twist in almost every dish without taking away basic flavours or overwhelming it with unnecessary additions.
Taste the moment
PREVIOUS chapters of taste of JW, a signature event by JW Marriot Hotels and Resorts held at the group’s properties across the region, peaked with a culinary festival, Taste the Moment. Last month’s Taste the Moment was held at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach.
The two-day event was packed a host of activities which included workshops, masterclasses and an invite-only Chefs Showcase Dinner. Among the notable workshops were Art of Plating conducted by expert stylist and photographer Dionna Lee and For the Love of Truffles by Chef Stefano Di Salvo.
Besides food-related activities, there were two interesting workshops - the 40-minute Inhale to Heal workshop by Aromatherapy Associates and the Sound Bites workshop by Italy-born and Singapore-based sound designer Sara Lenzi who was assisted by food artist Albero Lomas.
Participants learnt the power of scents to heal and enhance well-being and how sound can affect our perception of taste.
The highlight of the workshops and masterclasses was none other than For the Love of Truffles. With over 30 years of experience as a chef and in F&B management across hotels worldwide. Di Salvo currently oversees culinary operations at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach as its Executive Chef.
As part of the multinational Press trip, the journalists also got a chance to discover Singapore’s rich gastronomic heritage through a food-focused excursion in the city. We went to Little India for fluffy Roti Prata, which is equivalent to Roti Canai, and Tiong Bahru market for Chinese fare and colourful Nyonya kuih.
To burn off calories from the food crawl, the group then walked to the National Gallery Singapore on St Andrew’s Road, just opposite JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, for a fully guided tour. Officially opened in November 2015, the gallery houses one of the world’s largest public collections of Singapore and Southeast Asian art.
The gallery consists of two national monuments: the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings. Some of the interiors are kept as they are, such as the prisoners holding cell (yes, you can sit inside it) and the courtroom where the judge presides over cases.
Taste the Moment events have been held in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul and Phuket. Other Taste of JW events were Taste the Art, Taste the Tradition and Taste the Journey.
Expect the Venice JW Marriott Food & Wine Festival in May in Italy. For details, visit http://tasteofjw.com/en
JW MARRIOTT HOTEL SINGAPORE SOUTH BEACH
30 Beach Road, Access via Nicoll Highway, Singapore
TEL +65 6818 1888
FAX +65 6822 2621
STAY 634 rooms and suites including 322 deluxe rooms,
56 premier rooms, chairman and presidential suites
EAT Akira Back serves modern Japanese cuisine with Korean accents by award-winning chef Akira Back, Beach Road Kitchen, Media Bar, Court Martial Bar and Tonic
DO Go for a swim at the
outdoor pool overlooking Singapore’s skyline
GO Shopping at the bay area, Chinatown, Little India and
Haji Lane for those who are keen to explore the city on foot
HIGHS Luxury stay at a great location. The nearest MRT is a short walk away from the hotel. The employees are genuinely nice and helpful.
LOWS Since the lobby is longish in shape, it can get crowded at times.
Pictures by JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach