Singapore: W Sentosa Cove
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Address21 Ocean Way 098374 Sentosa, Singapore 65/6808-7288 wsingaporesentosacove.com
Grazing on diverse Singaporean flavors at Kitchen Table
Sipping cocktails by the palm tree-lined outdoor pool
A day-tour of Little India
- 24-hour gym
- Away Spa
- Outdoor Pool
- W Lounge
- Multilingual staff
- Complimentary wireless high speed internet access
- "Whatever, Whenever" services
THE VIBEThe W brand has built its reputation around a sleek, urbane sort of luxury, with modern design and pulsing energy throughout all its properties. In Singapore in particular, this works exceptionally well—the hotel's verve mirrors that of the city itself. But at the W Sentosa Cove, there's an even niftier trick at play here: Surrounded by lush tropical greenery, sandy beaches and yacht-filled marinas, the secluded resort island of Sentosa—just a quarter-mile off the main island—is a luxurious world apart from the rest of the city.
The hotel itself is stunning: a glittering glass complex tucked at the end of a winding residential road that ends at the waterfront. Inside, it's all crisp white hues with neon and metallic accents, with a steady stream of up-tempo music pulsing from a live DJ stationed in the lobby lounge. There's a sprawling, palm-lined pool outside, surrounded by glowing sculptures and daybeds, filled with sun-worshippers nursing icy Singapore Slings.
Fortunately for travelers who arrive feeling more jet-lagged than jet-set, the 240 rooms are more subdued; the sleek neon-and-glass motif remains, but the rooms are mercifully soundproof, with peaceful waterfront views. Adjustable mood lighting and a fully-kitted out sound system come in handy when it's time to get moving, as do the cans of Red Bull the housekeeping staff leaves in lieu of cookies.
THE FOODIt's for the best that they skip the in-room sweets, as you'll want to save your appetite for the hotel's restaurants instead. The marquee offering is SKIRT, an Argentinian-style steakhouse with an open-flame parilla grill and locker full of aged meat on display; but I preferred Kitchen Table, an all-day smorgasbord of dishes that reflect Singapore's highly unique cuisine, a delicious clash of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western flavors. Graze the family-style offerings (a bite of scallop-and-foie gras dim sum here, a forkful of tandoori lamb there) or order one of Singapore's traditional specialties from the a la carte menu: chili crab, a gloriously messy tangle of crustaceans steamed in a sweet tomato-chili sauce; or delicate spring rolls called popiah, a local street food classic, here gilded with succulent hunks of crab meat.
Chef Matthew Woolford credits his diverse kitchen staff for the gastronomic whirlwind that makes up his menu: "We have chefs from mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and Singapore," he rattles off. "I encourage them all to bring their cultural identity to the kitchen—they're not reading off of recipe cards; they're cooking the way their family has been for years," he says. The myriad of influences blends together seamlessly, combining to create a cuisine that's dynamic and intriguing, much like Singapore itself. —Jamie Feldmar
In the Area
- Killiney Kopitiam: A traditional kopitiam (coffeeshop) billing itself as the oldest Hainanese café in Singapore, now with several locations across the city. Get the classic Singaporean breakfast—a cup of kopi, unctuous black coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk, and kaya, a coconut-egg jam slathered on toast and served alongside soft-boiled eggs—for under $4 at the no-frills original location. 67 Killiney Road; +65 6734 9648; killiney-kopitiam.com
- Maxwell Road Hawker Centre: Singapore is legendary for its hawker centers, open-air food markets with dozens of vendors crammed cheek-by-jowl into stalls with individual kitchens. Maxwell Road is one of the oldest and best examples, with over 100 vendors slinging local specialties like ginger-laced Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice and smoky char kway teow, thick rice noodles stir-fried in pork lard. 1 Kadayanallur Street
- Little India: While Singapore overall is almost freakishly clean and orderly, Little India is one the few areas the city lets its hair down. A riotous combination of colorful markets, street vendors, sari shops, spice sellers, Bollywood record peddlers and more combine in one of the loudest, messiest and most delicious neighborhoods to wander through.
- Tiong Bahru: Escape the crowds in the megamall-filled main shopping district and stroll through this hip young neighborhood, filled with vintage-stocked boutiques, Western-style coffeeshops and twee independent bookstores. There's another great hawker center here, too, and an abundance of pick-your-own-live-seafood restaurants.
- Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel: You certainly won't be the only tourist sidling up to the iconic Long Bar at Raffles, the birthplace of the Singapore Sling in the early 1900s, but c'est la vie: make like Rudyard Kipling and down the tropical concoction (a sweet-and-sour mix with gin, pineapple juice and Benedictine) while planning your next adventure. 1 Beach Road; +65 6337 1886; Raffles.com/Singapore