Stone’s sling from Orchard Rd
Cool concepts converge in a hip hood of Singapore, where AccorHotels have artfully merged two of its most popular brands. In fact, they are joined at the hip. Just a stone’s sling from the buzz of Orchard Rd, yet tucked in a lush pocket of suburbia, the recently opened 254-room Novotel Singapore on Stevens and 518-room Mercure Singapore on Stevens adjoin in the shape of the Chinese character: rén (meaning ‘person’).
Worth noting is the fact the architectural calligraphy, along with the properties’ interiors, earned them Gold status at the 2018 Melbourne Design Awards.
Friends with benefits
The two-stroke motif recurs on Novotel’s carpeted corridors and textured walls, while Mercure’s interiors hark back to the Singapore of old, with black and white mosaics, colonial bamboo curtains and kerosene lamps.
That Novotel and Mercure on Stevens have become friends with benefits meant that I could enjoy their shared facilities, such as the splendid infinity pool, a 35m lap pool below a 150m self-sustaining green wall, a tennis court, and the InBalance fitness centre with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Also within this integrated lifestyle resort are tantalising dining destinations. At elaborate L’Aperitif Tapas Bar, a state-of-the-art chandelier of cascading crystal evokes Singapore’s summer rains. Beneath it, artisanal teas of pink rosebuds, marigold and bergamot brew, while signature cocktails arrive smoking from apple wood chips.
Multi-award-winning executive chef, Saiful Effendy Bin Saptu, crafts European dishes at Winestone restaurant, where tipples are fine and platters come served on stone boards. I enjoyed the fare from Food Exchange’s live cooking stations: Asian, European and Indian delights such as tuna sashimi, Singapore chilli crab, 18-hour slow-cooked beef cheeks and tandoori chicken left my tongue zinging.
Bedtime led me along the Novotel stroke of the rén, to an earthy, arty room. Colour-splashed triangular cushions contrasted with the blackout curtains, which afforded me a lay-in on a plush bed dressed with smart pillows (firm on one side and soft on the other). A pummelling shower with eco-friendly toiletries soothed the day away before a magnification mirror scared the life out of me with its honesty.