I was recently invited to experience The Club at Capella Singapore on Sentosa. These are luxury serviced apartments for people who wish to stay in Singapore for more than just a holiday. Guests are usually expats just arriving and needing a temporary base or who are soon departing and need somewhere to live until they leave.
The Capella hotel lies on a grassy knoll in 30-acres of grounds, just over the bridge on Sentosa Island. The first thing you see as you drive up is the terribly grand main hotel, with gleaming white walls and a bright, terracotta-red roof. The Club residences are set away from the hotel and guests are ferried to the residences in golf buggies, the main form of transport around the estate. Our buggy whizzed passed resident peacocks and huge 150-year old Ficus trees, ancient in Singapore terms stopping in front of an ultra-modern building, which houses the club residences. The buggies were a real hit with the kids and they refused to walk anywhere as they preferred a ride. The space, greenery and lack of any noise, other than the odd peacock squawking and our kids squealing or squabbling, made me feel like Singapore was a million miles away.
The Club’s low-lying, futuristic architecture is a huge contrast from the main colonial buildings, a former Royal Artillery Officer’s Mess. We stayed in an enormous 3-bed apartment. Interiors were stylish, inoffensive to suit most tastes: dark wood, contemporary furniture, a neutral colour scheme, an LCD TV and Bose sound system. The kitchen was ultra-modern with dark grey tiling and deep red cabinets as well as Miele appliances, a Nespresso Machine and a fridge stocked with San Pellegrino mineral water, Evian and juice (apparently replenished daily). All the apartments have balconies with views across the South China Sea. However, the ‘view’ from ours wasn’t really a view. The apartment was on the lower level and as there were no lifts, it was a bit of pain having to carry our stroller up and down the stairs. This is worth noting if you have toddlers or a baby.
There are 62 suites, ten penthouses, nine contemporary manors and one colonial manor. Its small size means staff know every guest by name. Accommodation ranges from 1-bed suites (apparently the biggest in Singapore) up to lavish 3-storey manors with their own swimming pool. Some of the apartments have a helper’s room and pets are also welcome. We saw several pooches being walked around the ground by their owners or helpers. Initially I thought the residences might be a bit isolated for some expats but I was wrong as I soon found out. After a big panic when I realised I’d left my contact lenses at home, I had to get to Vivo City so I got the shuttle bus from the hotel lobby to the shopping mall and was there in five minutes. The CBD is also only ten minutes away.
A complimentary breakfast is served every morning in The Club House. It was simple, but perfectly adequate – toast, cereal and pastries. We also got to try breakfast at The Knollsin in the main hotel. The breakfast here was divine – Sushi, pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon – you name it, they had it. We filled our boots! Baby C spied a huge jar of M&Ms by the entrance and despite our attempts to block her view. A very helpful waitress brought a bowl filled to the brim with them. Of course given the choice of cereal or these, she went for the one with the most sugar and spent the morning bouncing off the walls.
The Club House facilities were excellent. There’s a huge pool, a superb gym, personal training, yoga classes, a playground and tennis courts. I was also impressed at how friendly and welcoming both staff and guests were at The Club at Capella. My kids quickly made friends with some children from the USA who were staying for six weeks whilst their father was in Singapore on business. The Club also hosts regular residents events and these are a great way to meet the other residents. You could be rum-tasting one month or cocktail making the next. There was a racial harmony party when we were there, with all sorts of local food specialities from Hainanese chicken rice to Laksa. They also put on the movie, Mulan, for the kids and there was an exhilarating performance from Bhangra dancers.
Hotel facilities include the Auriga Spa, where I had one of the best massages I’ve ever had (and I’m fussier than Goldilocks was about her porridge); Cassia, the fine dining Chinese restaurant; Bob’s Bar; and their three-tiered pool, which has absolutely stunning views of the jungle and sea. Residents get discounts at all these venues.
What’s in it for the kids: The pool has a shallow side with steps so its great for kids and they can also have swimming lessons. There’s playground, an XBox Connect in the lounge and plenty of other kids to meet. Universal Studios is a short walk away and Port of Lost Wonder is even closer. The Club Residence backs right onto Palawan Beach and you can get a tram to all the attractions on Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong Beach. School buses pick up and drop off from the lobby of the main hotel.
The cost: A 3-bed apartment costs around $24,900 a month (you do get what you pay for). Minimum stay is 15 days, there is no maximum. I met a family who had been staying there for six years and I can understand why.
The verdict: The Club at Capella Singapore takes the term ‘luxury serviced apartments’ to a different level. I loved that it felt so secluded and I was surprised at how family-friendly it is. If you have cash to splash (or your company is putting you up) and you want a smooth entry into or exit from Singapore, this will be hard to beat.
This is not for you: If you’re an expat on a budget!
And if you’re not on the hunt for luxury serviced apartments, then the 112-room Capella Singapore makes for an amazing staycation (with or without kids)!
For more information visit The Club at Capella Singapore. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +65 6591 5015.