What is it? Conde Nast Traveller's Hot List this year named the ultra-luxurious Capella Singapore one of the top new hotels in the world. And while resort executives are reluctant to reveal which moguls are regular visitors, fans of Jackie Chan will recognise Capella's tranquil cascading pool and sprawling grounds from pictures on his blog.
Capella Singapore is a fusion of colonial and contemporary. A private driveway leads to a white-columned bungalow, built in the 1880s for the British military to host gala balls in. Connected to the colonial building, facing the South China Sea, is a curved extension designed by London's Foster and Partners.
Where is it? Capella's location, on Sentosa Island amid 12 hectares of lush rainforest, is just minutes from Singapore's central business district. In Malay, 'sentosa' means 'peaceful' or 'tranquil' and it's easy to imagine you're in a Southeast Asian retreat here, instead of in frenetic Singapore.
What about the rooms? One thing that sets Capella apart from other luxury lodgings in Singapore is its spacious guestrooms. There are 112 , including 38 villas (above) and four Constellation rooms, with private roof-top jacuzzis.
Rooms are hi-tech and come with free wireless internet, flat-screen television sets and Bose entertainment systems with iPod docking station. Other luxurious touches include bar fridges stocked with complimentary drinks that are replenished daily, Nespresso coffee machines and free pressing for up to five garments. Top of the range are the two three-bedroom Colonial Manors, each of which has an elegant dining room for entertaining guests, a study, a lounge, a chef's kitchen and a lap pool.
There are separate wings for long-stay guests, who have a choice of 72 sea-facing suites and penthouses and nine 'manors' with private pools.
What about the food? Dining options include Chinese fine dining at Cassia, all-day international and Asian cuisine at The Knolls and drinks and tapas at Bob's Bar, overlooking the South China Sea.
What's there to do? There's a long list of activities including canoeing, cooking classes, cycling, golf, cocktail-making lessons, photography and tea-appreciation workshops, sailing, history tours and market excursions.
Take a picnic lunch down to Tanjong or Palawan beach near the resort. Or hit the jogging and walking trails on Sentosa Island. Golfers may enjoy a round at Sentosa Golf Club and sailors can berth their yachts at ONE 15 Marina Club, in nearby Sentosa Cove. A 15-minute walk away is the recently opened Universal Studios and Resorts World, a leisure precinct with shops, restaurants and casinos.
What else is there? There's a spa, a gym, three cascading outdoor pools (above right), meeting rooms and a business centre, with two boardrooms. The Library is atmospheric, with colonial touches such as wicker chairs, tea served in bone china cups, an original copy of Noel Barber's Tanamera and a helpful assistant. The resort's Mercedes limousines and a Rolls-Royce Phantom are available for guests to tour Singapore in.
Ahead of Christmas, guests can leave presents to be given to charity at the foot of a tree draped with Tiffany ornaments. On December 25, children will be offered pony rides. Adults may prefer New Year's Eve, when guests will be welcomed with Tattinger Comtes de Champagne. The resort promises vintage Dom Perignon will be 'flowing freely' for the remainder of the evening.
What about the spa? Auriga's body therapies are based on the lunar cycle. The spa has nine treatment suites, with tranquil bamboo gardens and a menu of programmes specific to each phase of the moon.
What's the bottom line? Premier garden-view rooms start from S$750 (HK$4,500) a night while a Colonial Manor is S$12,000 a night.
Capella Singapore is at 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore, tel: 65 6377 8888; www.capellasingapore.com.