(SPOT.ph) Most five-star hotels have a curving driveway to pull into, and a sprawling lobby with a towering floral arrangement that’s befitting of a grand entrance. Six Senses Maxwell in Singapore isn’t like that—there isn’t any driveway at all. In fact, you have to alight at an unassuming corner of the four-storey hotel, which is tucked into one of the quieter-than-Orchard-Road side streets of the Tanjong Pagar district.
Six Senses' modestly sized lobby comes across as glamorous and elegant in an old-world, colonial way. In the entry foyer, guests are welcomed by a mirrored wall of shelves filled with all sorts of vintage Panama hats and fedoras. The lobby, which is lined with bookshelves and traditional wood panelling, and is decorated with tasselled Victorian-style furniture, will make you feel like you stepped back into a private club in the late 1800s or early 20th century.
A hotel with history
Six Senses Maxwell, which opened just last December 2018, has a 90-year history behind it. This was originally the site of a nutmeg plantation, and was composed of 14 three-storey and four-storey colonial-style buildings, which in the renovation, were consolidated into one building with 19th-century-style ornamentation on the façade. The main structure has an Art Deco frontage with exposed brickwork and lion head rainspouts, along with flagpole that hints at the possibility of it being a government building at one point.
To play on the old-world theme, the hotel called on French designer Jacques Garcia to work on the interior design. Aside from the colonial grandeur seen in the public spaces, Garcia gave the guest rooms a luxurious but cozy feel with giant padded headboards, oriental rugs, ruby and emerald velvet footstools, marble-topped sinks, and unique touches like a fully stocked bar cabinet and retro telephone.
“What I hate above all are these standard décor concepts without soul, without life, without roots that everybody can see in the interior design magazines,” says Garcia of the interiors. “My work has a constant focus on [its] origins.”
The "Social Library"
One of the highlights of the hotel is Cook & Tras Social Library, a restaurant and bar that looks more like a 19th-century gentleman’s study than your standard hotel bar. It has more than 3,000 books on wellness, nutrition, herbal medicine, and sustainability, among other subjects.
The well-curated book collection was designed by the U.K.’s Ultimate Library, an organization that builds bespoke book collections for establishments and private luxury residences (sounds like our dream job). You can browse through any of the titles organized in shelves within the wood-panelled walls, and read a tome quietly while dining on the restaurant’s Straits heritage dishes or sipping on a Sloe Gin and Tonic whipped up by mixologist Ricky Paiva.
Right past Cook & Tras Social Library is the Murray Terrace Brasserie, which is named after the original heritage building. Hotel and walk-in guests can dine on grass-fed beef, organic poultry, and sustainable seafood dishes amid the cozy resto interior of gold wallpaper-panelled walls and alabaster lamps. If you want a more intimate dining experience, you can order the Chef’s Tasting Menu in their private dining room.
A wellness haven
Aside from the organic cotton bed linen and Frette bedroom slippers, each guest room at Six Senses Maxwell has unique wellness touches that you wouldn't easily find in the usual generic hotel.
Instead of the expected evening chocolate on the pillow, you’ll be welcomed by a wellness kit that contains a pot of Tiger Balm healing ointment and a handful of Po Chai Pills (a traditional Chinese medicinal cure for hangovers and tummy aches). The Tiger Balm is unique to the Six Senses Singapore hotels, and it is an homage of sorts to the original Tiger Balm factory, which was located in the Tanjong Pagar district, just around the corner from the hotel.
Other room amenities include a silken box of silver Oh Balls that the guests can roll their feet over after a long day of touring the city, and a tiny Qi Gong bell that you can chime in the morning when you wake up to clear the space of negative energy (there’s a Qi Gong book to accompany it). Such unique touches are meant to help the hotel guests refocus and reconnect with themselves during their Singapore stay.
Six Senses Maxwell is at 2 Cook Street, Singapore. For more information, contact (65) 6914-1400 or visit their website.