New at Singapore's Marina Bay: Vuitton, Avalon, ArtScience
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel launched last year, but the development’s crowning jewels—The ArtScience Museum, Louis Vuitton Island Maison and Avalon—opened in 2011. We look back at this year’s best waterfront openings in Singapore.
Louis Vuitton Island Maison
Crystal Pavilion North, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., +65-6788-3888. Open daily 10am-11pm (Fri, Sat and holidays closes at midnight)
The first Maison concept store to open in Southeast Asia, and only the fifth in the world, Louis Vuitton Island Maison’s exterior justifies a visit in itself. Housed in a standalone glass and crystal pavilion at Marina Bay Sands, its nautical inspired design by New York architect Peter Marino pays homage to the traveler and the spirit of the sea. Timber used for sailing ships and the stone of harbors and slipways are intricately incorporated into the store’s floors and walls. It’s not just a luxurious shopping experience, the pavilion’s glass walls also enable visitors to catch views of the surrounding Marina Bay area at almost every turn. Check out the vintage LV luggage on display on the second floor, as well as a selection of artwork, including photography by Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat, digital video work by Ho-Yeol Ryu and a permanent installation by Turner Prize-winner Richard Deacon. The Russian magnates and Chinese tycoons decking out their girlfriends in LV are sometimes worth ogling, too.
#33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 8 Marina Boulevard., +65-6834-3133. Open Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am
Singapore is now home to the world’s highest urban craft brewery with the opening of LeVeL33 in the penthouse of the Marina Bay Financial Centre. A mix of elegant couches, classic barstools and chic al fresco seating, LeVeL33 pretty much caters to all occasions, and the view of the CBD and Marina Bay is stunning. The equipment—a row of towering brewing tanks, two brewing kettles and a whole lot of shiny metal—isn’t for show either; all the beer at LeVeL33 is brewed onsite.
South Crystal Pavillion, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., +65-6597-8333. Open Wed-Sun 10pm til sunrise
If there was a club that Singapore’s beau monde needed to be seen in this year, this was it. Singapore’s newest megaclub—two floors, 12,000 sq. ft. and shaped like a giant 3D diamond—opened with much fanfare in September in one of Marina Bay Sands’ two Crystal Pavilions. Veteran nightclub owner Steve Adelman has shifted base from LA to Singapore for its launch and delivered a line-up of big name DJs, musical acts and celebrity appearances that has reset the bar when it comes to nightlife in the city. We love the bay views, trancy beats, acrobats and lasers. (We don’t love locals checking their FB on the friggin’ dance floor.) Cover charge ranges from SG$20-$90 depending on what DJ is playing.
Banyan Tree Spa
55/F Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., +65-6688-8825. Open daily 10am-11pm
Designed around the ancient folk tale of the Tree of Life, this luxury spa evokes the ambiance of a bamboo garden, with twisted branches on the walls and grained parquet floors. There are 15 treatment rooms, two of which are huge Royal Double Spa Suites overlooking Singapore’s skyline. The kampong-style foot bath, a double rain-mist room and standing bathtubs barely take up half the space while the sunken ceilings look like they might just open up to the heavens. The staff here has trained at the Banyan Tree Spa Academy; so you couldn’t be in safer hands. Rates start from SG$200 for a 90-minute treatment such as the Tender Touch all the way up to to SG$460 for a 150-minute Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Experience.
Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., +65-6688-8868. Open daily 10am-10pm
Opened in February, Israeli architect Moshe Safdie’s lotus-inspired museum is one of Singapore’s most striking buildings and the city’s newest icon. With three floors of gallery space sprawling across 64,500 sq. ft, each of the 10 “petals” that make up the building bring in natural light from the openings at their extremities. Too bad the blinds had all been pulled during our latest visit, an exhibition of artworks by Salvator Dali, an otherwise satisfying, and educational, tour of the Spanish surrealist’s oeuvre. The permanent exhibition, ArtScience: A Journey Through Creativity, is meant to celebrate the confluence of art, design and science, but feels like a bad Powerpoint with props. Hopefully, the current exhibition, Cartier Time Art (Mechanics of Passion) exploring the heritage of Cartier’s watchmaking, Dec 14-Feb 12 2012, will pack more punch.
The Moluccas Room
#01-81 Galleria Level, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave., +65-6688-7367. Open daily 11:30am-11pm
The Marina Bay Sands has no shortage of restaurants and celebrity chefs. The latest opening is a fine dining modern Indonesian restaurant overlooking the waterfront. As a reflection of Indonesian-born chef Alicia Tive, the flavors are true to her birthplace, yet also pay homage to her classical French cooking techniques. A brilliant example is the confit Sakura ayam tuturaga, a tangy confit curry with roasted new potatoes (SG$33). There’s also ikan bakar Jimbaran, grilled fish topped with sweet and spicy sauce (SG$35), and we strongly suggest giving the Angus beef tongue (SG$27) and chicken (SG$22) skewers a go. Aside from tasty, well-executed grub, the view’s not too shabby either.
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