BEST FOR Getting off the beaten track and having a personal destination experience
DON’T MISS Street food in Chinatown. It is safe to eat, exotic (the fusion of four culinary traditions) and highly memorable
PRICE Six Senses Duxton: around $232 per night; Six Senses Maxwell: around $215
CONTACT Six Senses Duxton, 83 Duxton Road, Singapore, 089540, +65 6914 1428Six Senses Maxwell, 2 Cook Street, Singapore, 078857, Singapore, +65 6914 1400, sixsenses.com/hotels. Information is also available through Hidden Doorways Travel
BACKGROUND Six Senses Duxton opened in April 2018 as the luxury hotel and resort company’s first foray into urban hospitality. It was followed by the opening of sister property Six Senses Maxwell around the corner some months later. The vision was to recreate the grandeur that was Chinatown in Singapore. Old spice warehouses were converted into the 49 stunning rooms and suites of the Duxton and the 138 accommodations offered at the Maxwell.
WHERE IS IT? The Six Senses properties are in the heart of Chinatown amid preserved turn-of-the-(last)-century low rises reflecting the colonial mix of British, Chinese, Indian and Malay building designs. Guests are steps away from tea houses, antique shops, art galleries, bookshops and a variety of bohemian dining spots. This section of Singapore is particularly alive with lights and color, but the streets around Six Senses Duxton and Maxwell are as quiet and peaceful as they ever were.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Each property is quite unique. Enter the Duxton through a portal of parked bicycles and golden bamboo pots to be delighted with the bright golden reflections from fine lacquerware and sun-hued silk pillows, decorative fans, golden lamps and yellow carpets. The drama between the dark hardwood walls and cabinetry and the bright interior appointments is both mesmerizing and startling. In contrast, walk into the Maxwell’s Victorian-style lobby and immediately lose 100 years amid plush, velvet furnishings. Further in and the setting becomes an art gallery where each room presents a different framed montage – here, a library of limitless reflections; there, a lounge in red velvet chairs and gold brocade walls.
ROOMS Find 49 rooms and suites at the Six Senses Duxton, all lovingly designed by British designer Anouska Hempel. Each accommodation is individual, managing Chinese and Malay accents, and even some British colonial sensibilities as well. Rooms are named for their local significance: Nutmeg, Shophouse, Opium and Pearl, a romantic narrative laid out in dark lacquered hues, striking metallic accents and natural lighting. Among them is the nineteenth-century spiral staircase complemented by bespoke furniture with matching curves. At the Maxwell, find an intense fusion of art and style marking the work of French architect and designer Jacques Garcia (Louvre’s 17th- and 18th-century decorative arts galleries, NoMad New York City and L’oscar London) and his deep attention to detail showcased across seven room categories and 138 guestrooms and suites. Each room offers its own spin on a bygone era with original elements from years past. Details range from the brass, lacquer and marble mini bars to the handmade Lafroy Brooks bathroom fixtures. All rooms offer handmade mattresses by Naturalmat with organic bed linens prescribed by Sleep with Six Senses.
FOOD AND DRINK At Six Senses Duxton, the Golden Pot restaurant serves Cantonese cuisine for both lunch and dinner, while the convivial lobby bar takes its inspiration from an antiquarian library and medicine shop, presenting a signature cocktail adorned with a yellow chrysanthemum to tickle your fancy. A verandah reminiscent of a period film brings a refreshing relaxation zone of lush tropical foliage the length of the building, a place for refreshments and alfresco dining as well as enjoying the ambient street life. Six Senses Maxwell brings five food and beverage concepts, among them Murray Terrace, a classic European-style brasserie, and Cook & Tras, a social library restaurant and bar. Also of note is Max’s Edible Garden on the rooftop, adjacent to the 82-foot rooftop lap pool and gymnasium. And, of course, this being Singapore, the Rose Lounge & Bar has its own signature cocktail: the Rose Bellini.
MEETINGS Neither property is set up for meetings of any size, although the Maxwell does offer the elegant Rose Room that seats up to 14 guests and includes A/V amenities for presentations. Both properties offer the conveniences of high speed WiFi.
LEISURE Given the historic and happening location of these properties, Six Senses arranges “experiences” for guests, ranging from historic walking tours of the area, to gallery crawls to culinary discoveries to wellness retreats. The city’s compact size and easy-to-navigate subway system puts Chinatown within minutes of any place else one would want to be.
VERDICT One can stay in a global brand high rise hotel and be anywhere in the world. One can stay at Six Senses in Singapore and be only in Singapore as it is – and as it was – for a complete immersion in time and place. Lark Gould