A subtle site-specific theme presides over each Ritz-Carlton property across the world. At San Francisco, the city’s infamous fog is honoured via a signature aperitif concocted with dry-ice every evening for guests. In Langkawi, water features abound, including a wishing fountain placed at the hotel’s entrance, inspired by the island’s mystical Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden). And in the Lion City, it’s all about the $5-million-worth, 4,200-piece contemporary art collection found at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
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Though many would argue the hotel’s views of Singapore’s skyline in each room and lofty lounge would’ve surely taken pride of place. But it would seem that 22 years ago, when The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore first opened its doors, views of the marina were purely of water and low-slung buildings — a certain filming location for Crazy Rich Asians was no where near even being built yet. Now, sitting at the glass-clad, 32nd-floor Club Lounge, one’s eyes shoot straight to the three 55-storey towers connected by a boat-shaped sky deck and other architectural crown jewels facing the marina — art pieces in and of themselves.
It’s obvious Singapore and its need for art and avant-garde architecture stems from the country’s economic success. And since the 1990s, key institutions have been popping up to capture such effects of economic transformations: For example, the Singapore Art Museum, which was established in 1996 — incidentally the same year The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore was birthed. But while the museum remains as one of the poster-children of the city-state’s determination to be a modern art hub, the luxury hotel is known mostly as just that: A luxury hotel in Singapore.
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A new room package is about to open your eyes and mind then. Dubbed Canvas Of Views, the package hopes to draw guests back to the hotel’s museum-quality artworks, and then some. You’ll learn from a guided hotel art tour conducted by Assistant Chef Concierge (also known as chief curious-comedian as we found out) Adam Teo, that the unmissable Frank Stella installation dangling at the lobby in fact weighs at a staggering 3,000kg (not 600 as we presumed) and the pair of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures, flanking both wings of the building, are named Sunrise on the East-facing wall (for obvious reasons) and Sunset, mounted on the other end, where popular all-day dining restaurant Colony is located. Speaking of which, be sure to pick up the special art-centric Upper Crust (a cookie-topped muffin) at Colony called Cornucopia, sharing the same name, look and appeal of Stella’s own cornucopia of colossal wonder.
While these mega pieces were specially commissioned for the hotel’s public spaces since its opening, there are others that have been recently added to the collection as well, including Lithuanian-born, Penang-based Ernest Zacharevic’s Curiosity. The street artist famous for the murals at Georgetown was invited to paint this piece live for three hours daily at the hotel lobby for a week in 2015, which of course, piqued the curiosity of many passersby. His completed Mondrian-like painting, which combines primary colours and childlike play, was eventually hung at the computer station, next to the check-in desk. Teo ponders, “I think we finally decided to place Zacharevic’s artwork here because aren’t guests curious themselves when they surf the Internet?” Curiouser and curiouser indeed.
Don’t miss a chance to channel your inner Zacharevic and sketch your own masterpiece at the Drawing Room located in a comfy nook at the Club Lounge. Unlike most drawing rooms we’ve seen, this one actually comes equipped with an easel stand and a wooden box with three stacks of colour pencils. Plus, you have an unhampered panorama of Marina Bay as the ultimate muse.
The art and fun doesn’t end within the confines of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. The Canvas Of Views package also includes a pair of tickets to ArtScience Museum, which lotus-shaped structure can be easily pinpointed from the Club Lounge and some rooms. And though it is a short 10-minute walk away from the hotel, we suggest since you’ve checked into a Club room or suite for this package, choose to take advantage of the limousine drop-off service. Tickets are for the museum’s long-standing Future World exhibition, perfect for Instagram moments, especially when walking through teamLab’s magical Crystal Universe, featuring over 170,000 LED lights that can interact with you.
The magic continues back in your room as you’d be surprise with turndown pleasurableness, comprising an art palette of chocolates with guests’ names on it, as well as a relaxing butler-drawn Provence Bath — the hotel’s newest bubble bath-type, deploying sweet-smelling lavender seeds, and the right ending to a beautiful day. Oh hey, there’s still Spectra, Marina Bay Sands’ light and water show perfectly framed by the iconic bathroom octagonal windows, to soak in — it could very well be the 4,201st installation piece in the hotel’s almighty art puzzle.