So, it’s finally confirmed that the on-again-off-again summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore will finally happen at Sentosa Island’s Capella hotel – and there’s probably no better place for it in the city state for such a historic occasion.
The exclusive island is home to some of the country’s richest citizens and some ultra-luxury hotels and is accessible only from the main island by a single causeway.
Anyone entering or leaving the hotel areas has to pass through security checks even before this summit was announced.
On the day I arrived on a recent visit to the Capella hotel – which opened in 2009 and forms part of the luxurious Capella Singapore resort and spa – our private car was put through a rigorous check of names and other details before we were allowed to pull up into the hotel grounds.
The first glimpse of the low-rise building with shuttered windows is a strong reminder of the country’s colonial past.
As the car swept to the front, it was almost like driving up to the porch of Hong Kong’s Government House.
We were met by staff smartly dressed in white colonial garb, another reminder of the island’s history, and ushered into a cosy reception area with warm lights and upholstered chairs and sofas which gave it a homely feel. Check-in was fast and efficient.
Passing through a long corridor of white arches and red-tiled floors, and past a small grassy garden, I was in my room in no time.
My only complaint was the tall grass in the garden in front of the rooms felt like they might be home to nesting snakes, but nothing really slithered out during my stay there.
While it wasn’t the Colonial or Contemporary Manors – or the residences – which Trump and Kim would likely be staying in, my premier room was large and spacious, with a comfortable sofa and large window offering a view of the hotel’s split-level pool and the sea, as well as part of the hotel’s lush gardens.
The hotel itself is built on restored colonial buildings, its interiors were designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster who has given it a modern, luxurious feel and efficiency.
After a soak in the luxurious bath and a night of restful sleep, breakfast provided a lovely experience not only in terms of the food but also the view.
Served in the restaurant by the poolside, there was a rich variety of food, but my favourite was the delicious curry laksa and the nasi lemak, both local delicacies.
Yet, the best experience at breakfast was actually “meeting” the hotel’s resident peacocks or peahens which nonchalantly wander around the grounds oblivious of their human neighbours.
A morning sipping fresh coconut juice while basking in the sun completed a relaxing morning.
While we didn’t have any of our main meals at Cassia, the Chinese restaurant, we did however enjoy a very British afternoon tea at the Library on the first floor, with an array of free cookies and cakes.
My stay might have been brief, but it was a peaceful respite from the busy city life: definitely a place where you can shut the world out.