Recently reimagined Singaporean elegance at Marina Bay: LUX Checks In

Checking-in from the heat of a long day, MO’s calming presence of a vast ring of concentric rooms welcomes one in. Across its new colour scheme of pinks and greens, one feels that Wimbledon might just take some notes, to be lifted to a quiet Singaporean elegance.

The room had an immense view of Marina Bay’s iconic skyline (but safe from its heat): lay back, feet up, and helped myself to delicious Singaporean chocolates.

Singapore skyline with a pool

Up on the 5th floor, Mandarin Oriental’s 25-meter swimming pool looks over the Singapore skyline

Wandering around vast zen corridors, I checked out for myself what are supposedly world-renowned cocktails at the MO Bar. Dark blue suave, art deco chic – I had a reclaimed Singapore Sling to begin, naturally. It had a sweetness without overdoing it – and cutting beneath with jagged sourness  it was balanced by a bright lollipop – a humorous play on Singapore’s original historic drink.

A cake store with lavish decorations

Mandarin Oriental has various food stores and its cake shop has artisanal confectioneries, specialising in cakes, pastries, festive treats, and premium gifts for all occasions.

After their recent revamp, I’d like to see the room where the chemistry of cocktails takes place – it seems a Willy-Wonka-cum-James-Bond enterprise – and it delivers. Onto the ‘White Rabbit’ cocktail, made with an edible layer of an image of a White Rabbit, the type that slips onto the tongue and dissolves. But the real taste lies underneath, with a laksa tang.

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From fresh Singaporean breakfast to lunch the next day, I swanned up to the pool for a dip with another view of the skyline, before a welcome Italian twist. Ruinart blanc de blanc, antipasti, fish and exquisite cheese looking over the pool – what more could one want, apart from an Italian waiter himself serving with Mediterranean charm and gastronomic expertise? Well, it had that too.

Read More: Nira Alpina, St Moritz, Review

Night facade of Mandarin Oriental Singapore

Mandarin Oriental has 510 rooms, and 8 restaurants, also including MO BAR, The Spa, and a lounge and club HAUS 65.

A much needed massage at The Spa after months of London brought a zen which – well, I only wish I could maintain it in London, but without the Singaporean skyline and fresh noodles it won’t be so easy.

See More:

mandarinoriental.com

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restaurant with bar and bottles

Is it a club, an Italian restaurant or a sushi house? Actually, Sumosan Twiga on London’s Sloane Street is all three, and all the better for it

Top quality food with a fun vibe has taken off in the world’s cultural capitals over the past few years. For a showoff dining experience, you are no longer restricted Ito temples of gastronomy. Top-quality ingredients and cheffing can now combine to make the ultimate comfort food.

But there’s still a challenge. What if you want a vibe, but can’t work out whether to go for a perfect pasta with beef and herbs, or some top-quality sushi? Or what if your party has split opinions and nobody wants to compromise?

sashimi on a blue plate with flowers

Launched in November 2016, Sumosan Twiga is the combination of the Japanese restaurant, Sumosan, and the brand Twiga

What you do is secure a booking at Sumosan Twiga, on London’s Sloane Street. Past a couple of intimidating doormen – to ensure the maki rolls are not consumed by the wrong type of customer, presumably, to be greeted by a glamorous receptionist, you are then whisked up in an elevator and enter a world of DJs and a partying crowd all dressed in Cavalli and Etro.

Ponder the menu over a couple of Bellinis and you soon note, if you didn’t know already, that Sumosan Twiga is effectively a sushi restaurant and a high-end Italian wrapped into one place. Back in the day, that might have meant some compromise – a chef practiced in one cuisine trying to master the other, with limited success. But not here: whether you stick to Italian or focus on sushi or (as we would recommend) you sample both, this is top-quality cuisine which, a little like the clientele, is here in in generous and beautifully presented portions.

cocktail with a mint leaf and a man pouring sugar over it

The menu offers an array of classic Italian dishes and flavours paired with contemporary Japanese cuisine.

We started with burrata with datterino tomatoes, Kobe mini sliders (OK, more Meatpacking than Milan), and lobster with lollo blondo salad as a pre-starter; ingredients with beautiful and it was put together with care. From the Japanese menu we went on to seared salmon, lime soy and mustard miso, as delicate and umami as it sounds, and some rolls: buba, seabass with jalapeno and cucumber, wasabi tobiko and albemarle and salmon with orange tobiko: meatily fulsome and also featherlight.

food on a plate with a leaf

Sumusan Twiga is the brain child of Flavio Briatore, of Formula One fame & Janina Wolkow, pioneer of the luxury Sumosan brand.

Mains were veal milanese with rocket and cherry tomatoes, hugely satisfying, what might be London’s best tagliatelle bolognese with chunks of feelsome beef, and Alaskan black marinated miso cod.

The only discord in our party was over whether it’s better to keep things pure by having Japanese starters and Italian mains (or vice versa) or just order a huge selection; the general agreement was one cuisine per course (whether that’s two or five courses) was better, so your palate does not train itself for the slicing umami of the tuna sashimi and freshly grated wasabi only to have a piece of breaded Milanese and pasta pomodoro, from a different gastronomic planet, with the next mouthful. The general consensus was to split the cuisines by course. But then we ordered another caipirinha, got up and danced, and forgot all about it.

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A palace surrounded by palm trees and a swimming pool at the front
A palace surrounded by palm trees and a swimming pool at the front

Moorish styling at the One&Only The Palm, Dubai

In the first part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the One&Only The Palm, Dubai

What drew us there?

Driving to the One&Only The Palm, Dubai, you realise how exclusive its location is. Your driver turns from the mainland and sweeps along the trunk of Palm Jumeirah – the vast residential development made of reclaimed land in the Gulf. At the top, you turn left from Atlantis (the resort, not the lost city) and proceed down the Palm crescent, past exclusive developments on one side, coastline on the other. Finally, you reach an oasis of lush plants and drive through a gate to the resort, overlooked by precisely nothing.

We were offered a choice of walking to our villa or being taken in a buggy. The latter would be useful in the hottest months, but we walked, passing a swimming pool; a grove of tropical trees; a row of villas bordered with gardens, grass and beautiful pet rabbits; and arrived at our villa.

A restaurant with a view of a skyline in Dubai at night with buildings lit up

A view at night looking across the Gulf to Dubai

How was the stay?

Our residence was on the first floor, opening to a view of the beach, the sea and Dubai. It was so peaceful the urban view seemed like a projection.

Decor was light taupe with hints of gold, and with dark wood furniture. The bathroom featured a huge freestanding bath and walk- through shower. There were hints of Gulf excess in the light fittings, but in a gentle way. The huge balcony had dining and relaxation areas, and the evenings, though warm, were delightful there.

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The main pool is huge, with alcoves where small children played, leaving the rest of the pool largely empty. We had a poolside cabana – a little villa, really – and a private terrace area with an outdoor bed, hammock and chairs. It was hard to resist the siren call of a lunchtime daiquiri, and service was hyper-anticipational and prompt.

A sand island in the sea with a hotel resort on it

The pristine sandy beach surrounding the hotel

Once at the resort, you don’t need to go anywhere else, even to dine. The main restaurant, Stay, is run by Yannick Alléno (whose Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris has three Michelin stars), and is probably the top destination in the Emirate. Our outdoor table overlooked the pool, and Alléno’s purity of execution was evident throughout dinner. We dined the next night at another hotel restaurant. Alléno oversees 101 Dining Lounge & Marina, where locals arrive by boat at the private marina, a DJ plays and Dom Ruinart flows.

Read more: Kulm Hotel, St Moritz, Review

Breakfast was memorable. It had everything from dim sum to Persian salad, pancakes to eggs Florentine, in a vast inside-outside space that kept us delightfully distanced from other guests.

Anything else?

The beach is peaceful, although very hot. It’s a half-hour drive to the Dubai Mall, but well worth it. The One&Only is in another world.

Find out more: oneandonlyresorts.com/the-palm

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Dom perignon dinner london

Superstars from fashion, design and media gathered at an uber-exclusive dinner in Vincent Square, central London, last week to celebrate the launch of Dom Pérignon‘s Plénitude Deuxième 2000 champagne.

Sarah Ann Macklin and Rosanna Falconer

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, Peter Hawkings and Emilia Wickstead

Paco Sanchez and Richard Geoffroy

Louise Galvin and Charlie Bracken

The cuisine and champagne were made even more glorious by the short speeches from Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave at Dom Pérignon, which themselves blended the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida with the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. As to the Plénitude Deuxième (P2 for short): released 17 years after the vintage, it’s a sumptuous, complex drink, rich and open as many of the 2000 vintage champagnes were.

Nadja Swarovski and Rupert Adams

Lady Ashley Adjaye and Tamara Rojo

Farhad Heydari and Darius Sanai

Melinda Stevens

The extra time it has spent maturing in the Dom Pérignon caves in France have given it a soulfulness which determines that it will never be sprayed around over over half-naked waitresses in St Tropez nightclubs, as lesser version of prestige champagnes sadly continue to be. Instead, it is a champagne to enjoy with your soul mate, perhaps at a three Michelin-starred restaurant over a proposal. It should be contemplated as I did, wandering outside after the dinner and looking over at Westminster School‘s cricket pitch on Vincent Square, some decades after I last played there, as a desperate last-minute addition to the school Z team, never imagining I would be back 32 years later to sip a drink made 15 years in the future – and why would one, unless one were Baudelaire?

Darius Sanai
Images by Richard Young
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Broomhall House

For the first time since its construction in 1702, the ancestral home of the Bruce family (the Earls of Elgin and Kincardine) is open as an exclusive venue for private events, in collaboration with Wild Thyme and Hickory luxury catering, chauffeur service Little’s and The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Charlotte Davies journeys to the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland to dine with Lord Bruce surrounded by the portraits and antiques of his ancestors.

Entering Broomhall House rivals walking into the British Museum; casts of the Elgin marbles line the walls of the entrance hall, a Roman sarcophagus stands by the fireplace and flanking the doorway are a pair of 4th-century marble columns thought to be from Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia – the Bruces certainly know how to make a memorable first impression.

What sets Broomhall House apart from other stately homes offering private events is that it is still very much a family home. It feels lived in, as it has been, Lord Bruce proudly informs me, by thirteen generations of Bruces. Over 70 children have been born and brought up within the historic walls.

Walking from entrance hall to drawing room, Lord Bruce recounts the first hundred years of the family’s history, illustrating the heroic lives behind the portraits that adorn the walls: the family first settled in Britain in 1066 during the Norman invasion, and in 1314, Robert the Bruce successfully defended Scottish independence against the English and the family held the throne for two generations. We are later shown King Robert’s sword, which after a certain politician’s mishandling (we’ll name no names), is now kept safely behind glass in the dining room

Passing through the elegant ballroom we learn of Edward Bruce who in 1598 negotiated the succession of James VI to the English throne and arranged the new constitutional entity of Great Britain, and the 8th Earl of Elgin who established political unity in Canada. Whilst the old schoolroom, now a small museum displays some of the gifts the 9th Earl, Victor Alexander, received as viceroy of India in the 1890s. The list of family accolades is quite overwhelming.

Our tour ends in the dining room (which like the rest of the house, is reassuringly more cosy than grand and imposing), where dinner is served round a large oak table. Here we have a moment to appreciate the beauty of the artworks and antiques that surround us; a spectacular mantelpiece that was reconstituted from the marriage bed of James VI and Anne of Denmark and the birth-bed of Charles I and his two sisters, and the pièce de résistance: a 19th-century silver statuette of Queen Victoria (commissioned by the Queen as a reminder of her omnipresence in India). Under the glow of the chandelier and flickering candlelight, we dine on a three-course meal of four types of salmon, beef and a selection of small cakes. The evening passes all too quickly; while sipping wine from nineteenth-century silverware, we discuss a wide variety of subjects from the state of the art market and role of portraiture to the family’s collection of classic cars, which include a 1920s Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and a 1912 Napier.

broomhallhouse.com

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