Last month, we took our first look at Six Senses Duxton, the latest property and only city concept within the Thai hospitality brand’s prolific hotel collection. This time, I visited the property again for a night’s stay at their signature Duxton Duplex Suite. And before I know it, I’m standing in the middle of a massive Tibetan singing bowl used for meditation, eyes closed as I take in the soothing vibrations caused by striking the bowl thrice with a special mallet.
Such is the hotel’s unique welcome experience, but not before a soothing drink of chrysanthemum cordial and Six Senses’s very own sparkling water. I later learn that it is a non-alcoholic version of the bar’s signature cocktail, ‘Escape to Kaifeng’. Just another touch of hospitality offered by the renowned wellness-focused brand, which sees locations across Bali, Maldives, Greece, and more.
Location & Space
The hotel is located in the middle of Duxton Road in Tanjong Pagar. Incidentally, its sister concept Six Senses Maxwell will launch around the corner this October. The street in old Chinatown has a fascinating (and rather seedy) history of less reputable vices, once home to various gambling and opium dens. Six Senses Duxton itself was originally a row of traditional shophouses that’s since been transformed by celebrated British designer and one-time Bond girl Anouska Hempel, best known for her work on London’s Blakes Hotel.
And what a job she’s done. I walk into a dim lobby space with strong tones of black, gold, and yellow. The modern oriental vibe is refreshing and intriguing – there are Chinese porcelain friezes, Portuguese shutters, and Malay timber work, no doubt a homage to the neighbourhood’s past. Behind delicate screens, calligraphy paper from Anouska’s personal collection line the walls. I’m equally impressed by the quality coffee table books around the space, such as James Sherwood’s Savile Row to Vivienne Becker’s The Pearl Necklace. Great if you’re a fashionista, or well, just waiting to check in.
Anouska has ensured that all of the property’s 49 rooms – from a vintage-style Opium Room to an all-white Pearl Suite – are unique in design. My lofty Duxton Duplex Suite, is the only one with two floors, accessible up a spiral staircase at the side, which I don’t recommend using when drunk.
I’m greeted by three large colonial-era windows spilling light in the room. That, and a plate of whole dragonfruit (unusual, but very pretty) on a large ottoman that doubles as a table. The mini bar, I must emphasise, outshines any from hotels I’ve been to. Mainly because you get almost everything you need to make a basic cocktail: a cobbler shaker, paring knife, citrus, tonic water, and premium spirits. Oh, and salted egg yolk fish skins from The Golden Duck – the only brand worth trying.
On top, your infinitely comfy bed (handmade with organic natural fibre, of course) awaits alongside a small but sufficient bathroom equipped with The Organic Pharmacy amenities and cornstarch toothbrushes. You know, biodegradable and all.
Facilities & Service
Due to the heritage nature of the building, there is no gym nor a swimming pool. Those will be available at the Maxwell location later this year. What the hotel offers is something more holistic: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultancy services along with its very own herbal dispensary. The sifu, from respected practice Long Zhong Tang, hails from China, but don’t worry if your Mandarin is lacking, for there will be a translator on site.
Other experiences include a tea demonstration session at the nearby Yixing Xuan Teahouse and a complimentary outdoor yoga session twice a week, in line with the brand’s ethos of wellness.
Food & Drinks
Should there be one thing to assert Six Senses Duxton’s oriental vibes, it’s Yellow Pot, the glamorous ground-floor restaurant full of, you got it, yellow Asian-style pots. The menu here is an innovative blend of classic and modern Chinese fare. Think 48-hour braised short ribs with charred green chilli sauce and stir-fried mee sua with tiger prawns and Hokkaido scallops. The crowd favourite, as is mine, is the juicy and succulent roast duck that’s been marinated in fermented bean curd.
Next door, an antiquarian-themed bar with a kaleidoscopic stained-glass ceiling impresses with drinks developed by Kamil Foltan, who used to head the bar programme at Potato Head Singapore. Try the savoury Duxton Mary with Aylesbury Duck Vodka and soy, or Hong Long Choc with Monkey Shoulder Whisky and tea-infused chocolate liqueur – guaranteed to prep you up for the best sleep ever.