The ability to curate is to carefully arrange a series or a collection that fits like a glove. It could be an assortment of watches, a gallery of sculptures, or a line-up of vintage cars – to be collated in a particular fashion that allows the recipient to get the story at first sight.
And that is why Capella Hotels & Resorts has engaged its very own hospitality experts to design curated tourism experiences at each of its six locations – in Singapore, Ubud, Sanya, Dusseldorf, Bangkok, and Shanghai. These experts are Capella’s Culturists who design and host Capella Curates, a series of experiences that are uniquely aligned with the host location.
We experienced two of Capella’s Curates series in two locations that are on the opposing spectrums of a holiday retreat. Our first stop was Capella Singapore, a vast enclave located on Sentosa Island that boasts more than 150 rooms, which include villas and manors with their own private pools. The scenery changes when we hopped over to Capella Ubud, a luxurious tentage accommodation in the lush rainforest, and the philosophy is to follow a simple rule: love nature.
- CAPELLA SINGAPORE
- CAPELLA UBUD
What Capella has curated for Singapore’s dynamic city is to explore the urban city with a vintage aesthetic. Here, the Capella Culturists have arranged a "Qi & The City" tour to present the opposing synergies within Singapore’s evolving landscape.
The concept takes its cue from fengshui principles, with the philosophy of Chinese metaphysics applied in this exploration journey. We took to the road in vintage Vespa sidecars, where cruising out in the open makes one soak in the sights and sounds of uninterrupted city life.
While the city teems with the majestic city skyline composed of the Singapore Flyer, the Art Science Museum, and the behemoth of urban architecture of Marina Bay Sands, the route also explores the back alleys lined with statement murals that cover the preserved colonial buildings. Humble market stalls line up against new-age boutiques along Haji Lane, a street that’s known for being Singapore’s first indie neighborhood. The cultural heritage here is rich, and one has to quickly take it all in before whizzing out of the corner only to face the silvered skyscrapers once more.
Within the vast compound, Capella Singapore is designed with the preservation of its colonial aesthetic. Up on the second floor, the Living Room is decked in rich mahogany, with Victorian-style furniture and Persian carpets to soften the hardwood floors.
The space is open all hours of the day, providing guests with a refuge to settle in with a good book, or mingle as one would lounge at home. Dining experiences are also aplenty, starting with Chef’s Table led by Capella Singapore's culinary director David Senia.
The dining space is an open kitchen concept, where guests are led through a multi-course dinner, during which one is free to interact with the chef and his team throughout dinner service. It’s upscale dining without the airs of strict etiquette. Chef’s intent is to “let loose, have fun, and eat. Food is meant to be enjoyed.”
- CAPELLA SINGAPORE
- CAPELLA UBUD
There is a change of scenery when one leaves behind the cosmopolitan cityscape of Singapore to venture into the muted landscape of Bali. The roads, while rugged, exhibit the raw charm of the island’s villages.
Earnest displays of hand carved statues, and other wares hang in abundance on shop fronts. Stretches of rice paddy fields separate one house from the other as we drive through the undulated roads of Ubud.
Capella Ubud is a two-hour drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, with its entrance hidden from the tricky maneuvering of uneven roads. Through the hotel’s wooden gates, the resort is flanked with rice fields on either side, immediately opening up the green landscape that Capella Ubud has settled into.
The area was built around the forest’s vicinity, without any felling of trees or clearing of vegetation for the building space. Palm trees turn into organic columns, and the placement of the tentages are resting on terraced areas, or built on stilt platforms to form a staggered arrangement down towards the riverside below.
This Capella Curates journey takes guests towards a more physical program, be it within the comforts of the resort or out in the great Balinese outdoors. Capella Ubud houses a state-of-the-art gym where full exercise equipment is provided in the Armoury, including hosted yoga classes that combine the art of Balinese dancing and gentle yoga.
Among the more physical activities offered in the programs, Capella takes guests on a trek on one of Bali’s greatest peaks – Mount Batur. Preparation takes place before twilight, where Capella guests will take a journey from the hotel at 3 a.m., and go on an uphill trek aided by experienced local guides.
The final destination is a platform that allows one to take in the extensive viewpoint of Bali, including the view of the island of Lombok in the distance. As part of Capella Curate’s activity, ‘The Top of the World’ also includes a picnic breakfast where a spread is prepared once you’ve reached the top. Nuzzled with blankets and canteens of black coffee, the hike concludes with watching the purple horizon turn a faint orange glow, bathing the world in light of another day.
With properties coming up in Maldives and Sydney, Capella is no stranger to being the ultimate guide, no matter where you are.