Capella Singapore ‘Love at first sight’

The glamourous Capella Singapore had a distinctive beginning with many firsts recorded in Singapore.

Text by Michael Luible, Partner of OXO Living

To me, Capella Singapore was love at first sight. From my previous experience as General Manager of the historic Raffles Hotel Singapore, I feel very passionate a bout heritage hotels that have a story to tell and I was fascinated by the idea of an ultra-luxury resort situated in the footsteps of bustling Singapore. This was something new and had never before done on such a grand scale.

The owners were very visionary in approaching this ambitious project and wanted to surround themselves with a handpicked team of acclaimed architects and designers that included Lord Norman Foster, the late Jaya Ibrahim, Andre Fu and Yasuhiro Koichi to preserve the exciting colonial historic buildings. They wanted to complement the buildings with a contemporary design and modern amenities for the guest rooms, suites, duplexes, villas, manors, distinctive restaurants, bars and spa, whilst ensuring the hotel is nestled discreetly within 30 acres of lush greenery and serenity.

While it is difficult to develop a property from a blank canvas, it is even more challenging to develop a property while working around existing, historical and irreplaceable buildings. Today, Capella Singapore remains unrivalled as an exclusive resort oasis on the doorsteps of a bustling metropolis with glimmering views over the South China Sea. As the first Capella in Asia, it was critical to get each aspect right to position the Capella brand for future success. There was a deep thought and planning process with the owners to truly differentiate and set the hotel apart.

From tastefully appointed accommodations and amenities deliberated to the finest detail, to its distinctive restaurants and bars, welcoming spa and public areas, to the first and only circular ballroom built with a glass-domed skylight and a custom-designed glass sculpture by Nikolas Weinstein, linked by an adjoining one of­ a kind bridal room connected to the happenings in the ballroom by a live TV feed. Once again, we witnessed many firsts in terms of inventions and superlatives with Capella Singapore. In complementing the property’s unique architecture with impeccable and personalised service at the heart and soul of Capella Singapore, I wanted guests to feel as though they were being warmly welcomed to the home of their closest friends rather than simply stepping into a luxurious hotel.

We received an overwhelming response with over 2,000 applications for 200 job openings during our recruitment drive. Team members were selected through a rigorous interviewing process and trained to provide exceptional service, paying discreet attention to guests’ individual privacy and space. Guests were encouraged to define their desired experiences which the team would later be at hand to create with them for meaningful experiences and connections. We were the first hotel in the country to offer its guests the unmatched comfort, quality, and sophistication of a Rolls-Royce Phantom to explore Singapore in style or for airport transfer.

Long-stay Option
We were also the first to offer long stay options in sea ­facing suites and duplexes on an unprecedented level of style with “The Club at Capella Singapore”, allowing guests the opportunity to enjoy the best of ultra-luxury. Guests could enjoy the privacy, convenience and services at the property and the personalized service by the hotel team. Capella Singapore is the first Capella built in Asia so it was critical to get the branding and marketing right to position the property as an ultra-luxurious hotel with a distinctive resort feel as a venue for the most glamorous events. We made sure it was important to communicate this message clearly across all touchpoints and to deliver on this consistently. The hotel eventually opened in March 2009 with two

” While it is difficult to develop a property from a blank canvas, it is even more challenging to develop a property while working around existing, historical and irreplaceable buildings. “

simultaneous high-profile events – the iconic luxury brand Rolls-Royce preview of its la test model and Gucci fashion showcase of the spring/ summer 2009 collection in the ballroom. This was an immense task which at some point, saw construction workers and cleaners rushing to complete the final touches on one side with the glamorous guests driving up the porte-cochere. We also happened to open during a downturn and financial meltdown though we were privileged to have a truly differentiated product that appealed to the more recession ­proof high-net-worth and distinguished traveller. Capella Singapore has now established itself as a prominent hotel venue for glamourous events and celebrations as well as a comforting ultra-luxury retreat a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its opening has since been followed by ongoing extraordinarily heralded press and acclaim. APR

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