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Travel, Singapore

Tay Suan Chiang
Monday, Jun 2, 2014

Travel, Singapore

Spend a night in a Parisian-chic hotel without the 14-hour flight

The Business Times | Tay Suan Chiang | Monday, Jun 2, 2014

Sofitel So Singapore

35 Robinson Road

www.sofitel.com

A nigh at the Sofitel So Singapore is like a night in Paris - but without the Eiffel Tower or the 14-hour flight.

In the hands of designer Isabelle Miaja, the hotel - which opens today - is an elegant mix of Parisian chic and Singaporean style, with touches of old and new. It also exemplifies the Sofitel So's DNA - boutique hotels characterised by the contemporary design of famous architects, with additional touches by celebrities from the world of fashion, design and art. The Singapore property is the third addition to Sofitel So's stable, which has outposts in Mauritius and Bangkok.

French national Ms Miaja - who is the founder of the Singapore-based MIAJA Design Group - has left her design stamp on nearly all areas of the hotel, from the lobby to its restaurant, Xperience and naturally in the 134 rooms. "There are lots of details in the design, so that guests never tire of the look," she says, and where possible, she throws in "elements of surprise".

The rooms are divided into six categories and designed to resemble Parisian apartments, but with local accents. For example the bespoke coffee tables in the rooms come with a map of Singapore printed on them, and the image is reflected on the ceiling.

Each inviting Sofitel MyBed features a headboard with a contemporary interpretation of Singapore's national flower, the orchid.

In addition, bespoke light boxes, set above each bed, feature images of palatial glass domes inspired by the traditional architecture of Europe and modern buildings in Singapore. "When you open your eyes in the morning, the dome is the first thing you see, and it gives you a little connection with the outside," says Ms Miaja.

The art pieces in the hotel also reflect this mix of French and Singaporean cultures. A painting of Napoleon takes on a cheeky stance with the late French leader declaring that all roads lead not to Paris but to Singapore. The higher category rooms come with bath tubs that resemble beds, and "his" and "hers" amenity kits.

The rooms are divided between two buildings - a conservation 87-year-old building, and a new extension. Working on the heritage building was a challenge for Ms Miaja. Structural walls and existing pillars had to be kept, so "the sizes of the rooms were always changing, and there is no standard one-size room," she says. Keen-eyed guests will notice the extensive use of the hexagon throughout the hotel, from the motif on the lobby floor to the mirrored art installations in the lobby and on the lift landings. Due to its shape, France is often referred to in French as l'Hexagone, or The Hexagon. "Again, it is to show the French side of the hotel," says Ms Miaja.

In keeping with the brand's DNA, Sofitel So Singapore worked with fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld on the hotel emblem. Taking inspiration from Singapore's history as the Lion City, The Kaiser designed a lion emblem. The Lion's Seal, can be found on a range of products in the hotel, such as the bathrobes, key cards and even on some of the room doors.

General manager, Tony Chisholm, says the hotel will appeal to guests who are "looking for a difference, and who want to be engaged."

To celebrate its opening, Sofitel So Singapore is offering a staycation from $599++ for two persons, inclusive of a champagne brunch on Saturday, and a morning-after all-day breakfast on Sunday with two glasses of champagne

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