When the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore opened in the mid Nineties it marked perhaps an informal transition into the 2.0 phase of the post Seventies luxury hotel boom, a period that saw the emergence and hyper growth of not only the then Atlanta based group, but Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Aman, Regent, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, Banyan Tree, Six Senses and so on. Apologies for missing anyone.
From a historical point of view Singapore’s opening was a game changer. It was one of the first Ritz-Carlton’s to stray from the clubby design formula, its oversize Octagonal bathroom windows (in not only suites but every room) provided panoramic views as one soaked in their butler drawn bath. It was maybe the biggest bathroom innovation since Regent pioneered the walk-in shower (We recently ranked the view as one of the Best in the World at elitetraveler.com).
It’s Forbes listed owner, the Kwee family helped change the meaning of ‘hotel art’ by including works from Andy Warhol, Henry Moore, other notables and commissioning pieces from Frank Stella and Dale Chihuly among its over 4,000 strong collection. Time Magazine ranked visiting the hotel to views its public area art as Number Two on its Top 10 list of things to do in Singapore.
The hotel has always in my opinion remained well kept with ongoing renovations, but with new competition from other Kwee family hotels such as the Capella and soon to arrive Patina, plus the new Fullerton Bay, W, St. Regis and Singapore’s gaming resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia is getting some additional attention. A new Club Lounge will open at the end of the Summer. And perhaps as part of the new 3.0 trend to make luxury hotels a base for experiences, not just awesome hard product, there will be a Drawing Room. Guests can set up with sketchpads and artists tools and create their own collectibles from the panoramic 32nd floor views.
More mundane experiences will be offered on a daily basis, including chef demos, courses from wine sommeliers, lessons in mixology and even the proper way to fold pocket squares and tie scarves using limited editions by Era Ora produced especially for the hotel. Yes you can buy them in the gift store.
Part of the Club Lounge renovation will be a new state-of-the-art Board Room. Further in 2014 the hotel will overhaul it’s F&B with a steak house, and in the meantime the hotel is gearing up for Formula One where it is the home base for a number of drivers and then its Super Brunch October 27, a perennial sell out with the flow of offerings stretching out of the restaurant across the lobby to the other end of the hotel.