Excluding hotel chains and luxury brands, what you look for when hunting for a hotel?
Location, location, location, of course.
That explains why the Hotel Singapore Fort Canning (HFC), I won, even before I had set foot in the colonial building.
The boutique hotel of 86 rooms is installed in the town lush, lovely Fort Canning Hill, the home of Majapahit kings in 14 century, and later, the British colonialists, including Sir Stamford Raffles, the "Father of Singapore."
Renamed Fort Canning Park in the 80's, this hill is dotted with 60m trees, towering, lush forests and a spice garden, making it an oasis of calm, the green is far from the madding crowd.
Anyway, if you craves action and rumors, the Park is a short preface to the Orchard Road shopping, vibrant nightlife of Clarke Quay and world-class museums in the city.
Old and new
Looking forward to a fun weekend in Singapore, my family and I checked into HFC for a three-day/two-night stay recently. A 15-minute ride from Changi Airport Park took us winding, tree-lined road. We stopped at a beautiful building with a multi-column facade complete with a garage.
Built in 1926, the building served as headquarters of the British military until the Japanese were taken during the Second World War. After the war, the British claimed the building and used it as part of the British military administration until the independence of Singapore. The building became a symbol of the Singapore Armed Forces' Staff College until 1976, when it was vacant for 19 years before it became a private country club in 1995.
Then, the legends Fort Canning Park, a recreational club members only took over ownership in 2002. After an extensive renovation and makeover by Singapore company award-winning architecture, DP Architects, HFC opened its doors last October.
As we entered the lobby, staircase and large restored original chamfered columns caught our eyes.
"Our approach to HFC was to interpret the" modern heritage "- translate the experience of tradition in a new light," said Toh Bee Ping AD in an email interview.
One of the ideas DP was Fort Canning archaeological treasures showcase showing in pits dug in the floor of the reception hall. Protected by a thick glass cover, the artifacts are real objects 14 and 19 century discovered by the resident archaeologist of the Park.
We have seen the fragments of clay pots and storage jars that may have been used by the royal family of the kings who ruled Temasek Majapahit in the 14th century. Qing dynasty porcelain was also bowls and cups, including two tablespoons Chinese rare, intact, sitting in one of the four wells.
A mix of classic and contemporary forms of the lobby decor theme. Guests can take a seat on the comfy chair rococo 1919 of the award-winning ultra designer Poltrona Frau sofa or curl up in the modern modular Kennedee Poltrona series.
At the reception desk, two iPads are available to customers if they want to look at options for eating and art events in the city. The hotel also offers a concierge service throughout the day to help guests to book tickets for a concert, a guide to the city or an airport transfer.
After the quick arrival, the reception staff escorted us to our deluxe room on the third floor. All rooms and suites, ranging from 30sq m to 94sq m, is called "smart rooms" are equipped with latest generation electronic components. Cable channels, pay TV, Internet, music and games shown on TV Samsung HD flat screen.
Lights, air conditioning and electric shutters Roman managed through a control panel. But it took a little fumbling around before I could get the hang of what button worked for what.
Not a fan of the decor of nasal congestion, classical, I was relieved to see our room in a contemporary style and easy to use. As befits a five star hotel, the room has amenities such as a pillow personalized, high quality Sealy mattress, shower and family size tub, let alone broadband and wireless Internet access. Artemide lamps and Poltrona Frau added a wheel chair for decoration design. A cot for our 10 months old, was placed beside the bed - very mindful of the hotel.
Each room comes with its own Nespresso coffee machine with free flow of capsules. The latest craze in Singapore, the machine produces delicious espresso at a touch of a button. Meanwhile, my husband's tea lover was satisfied with the free movement of teabags Technical Working Group of the premium brand of tea. Even the iPhone/iPod sports resort high-end Bowers & Wilkins brand, no less. We were overwhelmed by the sound quality as Spartacus jazz pianist Bill Evans love song filled the room.
I loved the heavenly scent of aromatic wood shower gel produced by the highest quality, based in Thailand, THANN natural skin care company. The bathroom window, floor to ceiling glass opening onto a postcard-perfect view of the skyline.
Throughout our stay, they were content to just enjoy the atmosphere of HFC and enjoy the park. Every morning before breakfast, we walk in the park, admiring the giant Raintrees and full of thorns Madras bird's nest ferns and epiphytes.
The song sounds Barbets copper smith, Black-eyed cicadas and the Orioles were music to the ears. Our little girl chirped to see squirrels running and fluttering butterflies. We could walk free download trail guides to Fort Canning Park from the website of Singapore National Parks Board.
When administered by the British Army, the park served as a strong 1860's until the Second World War. Today, visitors can still see Fort Gate, remnant of a fortress complex of military barracks, weapons storage and hospital. A guided tour is available in 9mm underground bunker called The Battle Box, a complex in which military operations Lieutanant General Percival surrendered Singapore to the Japanese army in February 1942.
Fort Canning Park organizes regular events such as carnivals, theaters, starlight cinemas and arts festivals such as Shakespeare in the Park and the Ballet Under the Stars.
We dropped in at the Singapore Art Museum, a walk 10 minutes to catch an exhibition of art by artists from South-East Asia. Another five-minute walk took us to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station where they boarded a train at Takashimaya department store in Orchard to meet with friends.
Breakfast at the hotel The Glass House was a delightful experience.
Although the buffet was nothing to scream, chatty and helpful staff made our day. When he was not too busy, we're beating baby away to play so we could have a quiet meal. Even our requests for steamed vegetables and egg yolks to the baby were entertained - at no additional cost.
Asia's bar, the restaurant offers a lunch menu all day with dishes from the region of Southeast Asia.
As a birthday present for your server, husband booked a table at Hotel Gattopardo Italian Grill & Bar Pizza. Led by Singapore-based Garibaldi Group, the restaurant serves contemporary Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The Sicilian-inspired menu features gourmet pizzas in, special handmade pastas and fresh seafood flown almost daily from the Mediterranean Sea.
The food was out of this world!
Lightly seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, grilled octopus melted in the mouth. Fresh sardines stuffed with pine nuts, black olives, breadcrumbs and raisins were to die for.
Heaven savored his homemade pasta squid ink with fresh slices of swordfish and grilled eggplant. Our delicate and refreshing white wine made from grapes grown in Sardinia Vermentino was a fantastic choice, thanks to the staff recommendation friendly service.
Fortunately we left the baby sitters house hotel.
The disadvantage of staying in HFC? So much to do, so little time. We did not visit the hotel THANN Sanctuary Spa, fitness center state of the art broad-, or two full-sized swimming pools filled with mineral water.
It seems we'll have to make another trip back.