A Girls Trip to Sentosa – A Weekend of Indulgence
by Felicia Chia
Jump-starting the weekend, I escaped the chaos of the office early – with friends flying in from around Asia for a girls reunion on Sentosa, there wasn’t a moment to lose.
The destination for this long-awaited get-together was Capella Singapore, a five-star tropical escape that required no passport and no currency exchange, just a short hop from the city centre. As I approached the picturesque driveway of the grand colonial structure, I felt better already – not ten minutes away from the CBD, the hotel is a world away from the city’s busy streets, offering the epitome of tropical tranquillity.
Surrounded by lush greenery, it’s an ideal location to begin three days of downtime, a healthy mix of rest and relaxation, pampering, good food and maybe just a bit of retail therapy to round off the experience.
Despite the tropical garden setting, Capella is not far from civilisation – nothing in Singapore is very far away. Vivocity, Singapore’s largest shopping mall, sits at the entrance to Sentosa, with the hotel conveniently providing a regular shuttle service to the mall. Having checked in, it was clearly important to take a look. Within minutes, credit cards were whipped out as the gang hastily stocked up on essential items for the weekend. Vivocity is a big place to negotiate though and as energy levels fell,Es Boudoir provided the ideal location for the requisite pedicure – it was Friday night after all and we needed to look our best!
Our next destination was Club Street, one of Singapore’s liveliest areas for bars and restaurants on a Friday night. With Club Street and adjacent Ann Siang Hill now pedestrianised on Friday and Saturday evenings, there has been an increase in merry-makers out to enjoy the Meditteranean vibe, with tables placed along the street, encouraging a convivial ambiance. The only problem was deciding where to go first! O’Batignolles for a glass of French wine, cheese and cold cuts, or Bartini for a cocktail? We settled on a bottle of champagne at Drinks & Co – not such a hard decision after all.
Choosing a dinner destination here is not easy either. There are a choice of excellent French restaurants, including Les Bouchons, Le Carillon and L’Angelus, tapas style joints like Los Primos, My Little Tapas Bar, Lolla and Pluck and a host of other international choices. If there’s one place in Singapore to restaurant hop and try a few dishes in each place, this is it.
Recommended places would include Lolla for their tomato salad and desserts, Ding Dong for their Asian Wagyu Beef Tartare with homemade chilli sauce, Pluck for their Curry Roasted Cauliflower and Seared Scallops and Le Petit Navire for their freshly shucked oysters. Well sated, we headed for a suitable digestiv at one of the most creative cocktail bars in town, Operation Dagger, located in a basement behind Oxwell & Co. Lucky to find a table in this tiny underground hidden gem, we ordered a seasonal mulled wine cocktail which, like all drinks prepared here, is presented in unique creative way. Echewing the traditional bottle displays, Operation Dagger looks more like the underground chemistry lab of some secret scientific sect than a bar, but the results of the inhouse alcemy are very much recommended, with the Snow and Gomashio well worth a mention.
Despite perhaps an overly enthusiastic evening of cocktail consumption, the next morning was not a right off, with the soft luxury of the Capella’s ample bedding ironing out any creases. With blue skies and shimmering panoramic views of the South China Sea, cameras and phones were soon out to capture the stunning views from our private balcony.
With such perfect weather, the pool beckoned for fresh juices and a hearty breakfast of satay, nasi goreng, mee goreng and nasi lemak – the ideal start to any day! After a healthy soak it was time for some serious pampering, with treatments booked at the award-winning destination spa, ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa.
We split up for our chosen treatments – massages, facials and hamman rituals and an hour or two later, suitably relaxed, we reconvened to enjoy the communal facilities – flitting between the rock saunas and crystal steam rooms, ice fountains, experience showers, vitality pools, outdoor plunge pools and the forest Onsen-style pools.
Pampering awakes the appetite and luckily W Singapore is located nearby, so we dropped in for afternoon tea at WOOBAR. Presented in a decorative birdcage, this decadent high tea selection features ten savoury and sweet treats with a modern twist. Apart from traditional dishes like scones and macaroons, the spread includes interesting additions such as Aburi Brie Nigiri Sushi and a slice of double-torched brie, served with rice and pickled cucumber. All this was washed down with an exquisite selection of Dilmah fine teas.
Late afternoons are best enjoyed at the beach and we headed to Tanjong Beach Club, located along one of Singapore’s most beautiful stretches of sand, to enjoy the sunset with a few of their signature cocktails. TBC is open all day on the weekends, serving brunch, lunch and drinks in a chilled-out atmosphere, but it gets busy on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with resident djs bringing in the party crowd.
As night fell we resisted the urge to eat at TBC and headed back to Resorts World for some local treats on Malaysia Food Street.This themed hawker centre offers popular dishes found around Malaysia and Singapore and is a must visit if you’re on the island and hankering for some tasty assam laksa or chicken rice balls. After a hearty feast, we returned to the hotel and collapsed.
Sunday morning was spent back at the infinity pool at Capella, enjoying the impeccable poolside service and dining.
After checking out, we grabbed a taxi and left Sentosa for Tiong Bahru for some lunch, shopping and café culture. First stop was multi-label boutique, Nana & Bird, followed by the vintage-styled Tiong Bahru Club for drinks and then lunch opposite at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, famous for its local hawker delicacies. The chwee kueh (steamed rice cake topped with preserved radish), teochew fish ball noodles, wanton noodles, tow kwa pop (grilled stuffed beancurd puff) should all be tried here. To walk it off, we wandered along the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail which takes in some of this old neighbourhood’s more iconic buildings and sights, with many opportunities for some creative photography. No trip to Singapore would be complete without gourging on the national obsession that is Chili Crab, so we headed to another enclave rich in history, Dempsey Hill. Here the army barracks used by the British during colonial times have been converted into cafes, bars, restaurants and shops, providing locals with a popular Sunday destination for brunch and more. It’s also home to the legendary Long Beach, a chili crab institution and well recommended.
Here the weekend ends in a flurry of bibs, chili sauce and tender crab meat, served with the fluffy mantou buns that are immediately addictive. Don’t just try the chili crab though, the pepper crab is also a taste sensation in its own right.
All smiles, it was sadly time to say our goodbyes as the visitors reluctantly made their way to Changi for the trip back home. Three days of decadence and indulgence had us checking our calendars for the next getaway. Until the next time, Singapore!
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island,
tel: 6377 8888,
No.1 Harbour Front Walk, #02-227
tel: 6275 2868
2 Gemmill Lane,
tel: 6438 3913,
46 Club Street,
tel: 6221 1025,
22 Ann Siang Road,
tel: 6423 1228,
23 Ann Siang Road,
tel: 6557 0189,
Oxwell & Co
5 Ann Siang Road,
tel; 6438 3984,
Drinks & Co
44 Club Street,
tel: 6222 2005,
90 Club Street,
tel: 9010 8130,
Le Petit Navire
18 Ann Siang Road,
tel: 6221 6897,
7 Ann Siang Hill
Tiong Bahru Market
& Food Centre
30 Seng Poh Road
25 Dempsey road,
tel: 6323 2222,
Martin Sinclair has been General Manager of The Regent in