New look for Shangri-La Hotel's oldest wing

Wood furnishings and chic touches dominate the guestrooms; and the lobby area (above) now sports a sleek pool of water as well as a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall.
Wood furnishings and chic touches dominate the guestrooms; and the lobby area (above) now sports a sleek pool of water as well as a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Wood furnishings and chic touches dominate the guestrooms (above); and the lobby area now sports a sleek pool of water as well as a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall.
Wood furnishings and chic touches dominate the guestrooms (above); and the lobby area now sports a sleek pool of water as well as a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
Tokyo-based Ryoichi Niwata (above) of Bond Design Studio was behind the Tower Wing facelift.
Tokyo-based Ryoichi Niwata (above) of Bond Design Studio was behind the Tower Wing facelift.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The opulent vibe of the hotel's Tower Wing has been replaced with an urban resort feel

After an extensive eight-month facelift, the Tower Wing of the Shangri-La Hotel is ready to show off its new interiors.

Every inch of the wing - from its 503 guestrooms and suites to its lobby and meeting rooms - has been given a massive makeover.

The new look of the Orange Grove Road hotel was unveiled on Tuesday. Its management declined to reveal the cost of the renovation.

Mr Reto Klauser, 53, vice- president and general manager of the hotel, says the overhaul is necessary for the hotel to keep up with the fast-paced tourism industry.

"This is a complete departure from what we had previously. The hotel was definitely ready to be updated (for the needs) of our future guests."

This is the first time since 1998 that the Tower Wing, which houses most of the property's guestrooms, has undergone a major renovation. It was built in 1971 and was Shangri-La Hotel's first wing, with the Garden and Valley Wings added on later.

With the recent makeover, those who have been to the hotel before would immediately notice the different vibe and style.

  • HOTELS UNDERGOING FACELIFT

    Raffles Hotel Singapore, 1 Beach Road

    Restoration of the iconic 130-year-old property is being carried out in three phases. A grand reopening is planned for next year. Its last restoration was done between 1989 and 1991.

    Grand Park City Hall, 10 Coleman Street

    The first phase of this hotel's renovation is scheduled to be completed by the second quarter of the year. The whole transformation is to be completed by the end of the year.

    Grand Park City Hall, which is run by the Park Hotel Group, was previously known as Grand Plaza Parkroyal before it was rebranded in 2007.


    HOTELS SCHEDULED TO OPEN THIS YEAR
     

    Sofitel Singapore City Centre, 9 Wallich Street

    Sitting above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, the 223-room hotel is slated to open in July. This is the third Sofitel hotel in Singapore, after Sofitel So Singapore in Robinson Road and Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa.

    Andaz Singapore, 5 Fraser Street

    This lifestyle hotel, housed in the mammoth mixed-use development Duo in Bugis, has 342 guestrooms and suites and will open in September. The first Singapore hotel for Andaz, a luxury brand under Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, takes inspiration from the nearby Kampong Glam neighbourhood for its interior design.

The previous opulent - some might say a little dated - look of the first-floor lobby has given way to an elegant urban resort feel. Gone are the large chandeliers, beige and brown flooring and darkened interiors - replaced by fresh hues of white, cream and blackand contemporary stylish furniture.

The piece de resistance in The Lobby Lounge, near the check-in area, is a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall. Real plants such as Rabbit's Foot Fern, Pilea Depressa and Ficus trees are potted and hung on the wall, mixed with artificial plants - giving the lounge a lush feel indoors.

The space is anchored by a tranquil pool of water that is dotted with quirky metal sculptures of playing children. The works are by renowned South Korean sculptor Yi Hwan Kwon, who was commissioned to make a collection for the hotel.

The guestrooms are soothing retreats, each filled with wood furnishings and chic touches such as a glass wardrobe and a chinoiserie vanity table.

Other areas that were revamped include Nami Restaurant and Bar, which serves Japanese cuisine, on Level 24. It replaces fine-dining restaurant Blu.

A new addition to the hotel is ShopHouse, a grab-and-go F&B concept near the hotel's entrance, that offers freshly baked bread, sandwiches and snacks.

Tokyo-based Ryoichi Niwata of Bond Design Studio is the man behind the grand old dame's facelift.

The 42-year-old, who worked at acclaimed Japanese interior design studio Super Potato before branching out on his own in 2011, says he was nervous about putting his spin on the hotel, given its sentimental value to its owners.

He took inspiration from the hotel's surrounding greeneryas well as the stone and water gardens.

"I wanted to bring natural elements into the interiors. When people check in, I want them to feel as if they are in a garden."

Some areas are still works in progress. Later this month, an artwork - a canopy of thousands of stylised metallic leaves - by Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada will hang from the ceiling of the hotel's lobby.

The space that used to house shops such as a tailoring service and a beauty salon is also being refurbished. It will be turned into a zone for children and is slated to open in November.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'New look for Shangri-La'. Print Edition | Subscribe