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10 Singapore hotels for art lovers
Botero’s chubbies, nude male sculptures, Dali’s "Space Elephant" and even a photographic streetscape of Joo Chiat, Singapore's hotels offer more than just a place to rest your head
For every naysayer who claims Singapore to be artistically dead, a look around the city's hotels would prove otherwise.
Inside many of Singapore hotels are world-class art pieces. Statues by Salvador Dali, Fernando Botero, and Auguste Rodin, paintings by Pablo Picasso, magnificent installations by Frank Stellar, and quirky pop art pieces created by noted Singapore artists such as Justin Lee.
And best of all, viewing most of these masterpieces won't cost you a cent.
Here are some of the highlights.
The St. Regis Singapore
Art was so intrinsic to the interior design of this five-star property that the lobby color scheme was selected specifically around the hotel’s dominant artworks worth S$10 million.
And what an impressive collection: Chen Ke Zhan's ink painting “Golden Landscape”, sculptures and paintings by Pablo Picasso, Frank Gehry, Chua Ek Kay, Li Chen, Fernando Botero and works by the late -- and highly lauded -- local artist Georgette Chen.
While many of the works are in the public spaces for easy viewing, the hotel also offers a private guided tour called “The Art Of Living” which includes afternoon tea.
29 Tanglin Road, +65 6506 6888, www.stregis.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Feng shui is integral to the Ritz-Carlton’s space, so 90 percent of the art pieces -- worth a total of S$5 million dollars -- were specifically commissioned here.
In many cases, the pieces symbolically come in pairs and represent significant feng shui elements such as water and fire.
Out front is Zhu Wei’s “China China”, a pair of Mao Figures (in fiberglass). One of China’s most visible contemporary practitioners of the post-Tiananmen period, the artist is known for his critique of China’s politics and society.
On the walls and fixed on the lobby ceiling are Dale Chihuly's stunning glass-blown masterpieces.
Other artists scattered about the hotel include Andy Warhol, Frank Stellar, Henry Moore and David Hockney.
For a full tour of the 4,200 pieces on display, ask the concierge for a detailed map, or deposit S$50 and borrow an iPod that comes loaded with a guided tour.
7 Raffles Ave., +65 6337 8888, www.ritzcarlton.com
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort
Art isn’t just for grown-ups.
The hotel recently commissioned an array of international urban artists to create two graffiti murals for its Mini Toots Club.
Six artists from Singapore, France and the United States (Alex, Antz, Ceet, Gilbert, Lazoo and Sonic) devised a 18-square-meter spray-painted mural.
Then four French artists in town for the Voilah! French Festival “Off The Wall” exhibition joined forces with five local students to create a second mural to decorate inside the toddler play area.
The artists were not paid –- all of them donated their time in the spirit of mentoring the students from Delta Senior School -- the hotel’s adopted charity.
101 Siloso Road, +65 6275 0100, www.shangri-la.com
This quirky backpacker hostel has four permanent pieces on display including an eight-meter mural by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) graduates Lim Ziwei and Angela Yeo, a portrait by Maxine Chionh, and a photo essay by Sim Chi Yin.
But by far the most interesting is the photographic streetscape of Joo Chiat Road by artist Marcel Heijnen located in the lavatory.
Yes, that’s right. Drink some water first, then make an excuse to visit the facilities where you can contemplate old Singapore while you conduct your other business.
200 Joo Chiat Road, +65 6247 7340, www.betelbox.com
The imposing corten steel sculpture “The Arcs” outside is indicative of the Capella’s noteworthy contemporary art collection.
Bernar Venet’s piece was specially commissioned and when viewed from particular angles appears to form the Chinese character for “heart” -- a gesture certainly appreciated by its guests.
The other impressive commission is Nikolas Weinstein hand-made glass “chandelier.”
The sculpture that hangs from the grand ballroom ceiling is reminiscent of a tangled film reel. Made out of 10,614 borosilicate glass tubes, it has flexible elements consisting of Kevlar thread and wire rope.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa, +65 63778888, www.capellahotels.com/singapore
New Majestic Hotel
In 2006, the New Majestic Hotel launched with plenty of fanfare around the nine local artists and five designers commissioned to create individual works for its 30 rooms.
For instance, in one of rooms, Miguel Chew’s steel and aluminum female silhouettes dangle from the ceiling, a cheeky prospect when you’re lying in bed.
Unfortunately, you do need to check in to interact with pieces by artists such as Andre Tan, Heleston Chew and Justin Lee, but out in the lobby look out for Cai Zhisong’s “Ode to the Motherland #4.”
The "Motherland" series consists of wood and brass sculptures of nude male figures and the fourth installment is strategically lit. Get close and inspect the statue’s head of hair created out of thin wires.
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, +65 6511 4700, www.newmajestichotel.com
Pan Pacific Singapore
Lin Emery’s "Deva" an aluminum sculpture that turns like a windmill greets all guests who enter the Pan Pacific Singapore.
On the second floor is the public art space where every one to three months artworks -- in conjunction with gallery Ode To Art Contemporary -- are selected for display.
The artists cover a range of genres, international backgrounds and established and emerging names, and best of all, the pieces are for sale.
Currently the space houses mainly landscape oil and mixed medium paintings from artists including Kendall, Adrian Prisecaru, David Bromley, Jean-Francois Debongnie, Lim Ah Cheng and Khin Zaw Latt.
7 Raffles Blvd., Marina Square, +65 63368111, www.panpacific.com/singapore
Marina Bay Sands
Here, art has been integrated into the architecture.
A series of 10 magnificent installations were commissioned to form the Art Path, viewable by walking the public spaces of the hotel.
Perhaps the most recognizable of these is “Wind Arbor” by Ned Kahn; 260,000 aluminum “flappers” that cover the exterior western façade of the hotel lobby plus the northern air-conditioning towers. Covering an area of 6,800 meters and standing 55 meters at its highest, it’s hard to miss.
Other artists represented include Antony Gormley, Chongbin Zheng, James Carpenter, Sol LeWitt and Zhan Wang.
10 Bayfront Ave., 6688 8868, www.marinabaysands.com
The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
The Fullerton Bay Hotel has celebrated its heritage architecture with a series of commissions and art purchases reflecting the building and its surrounds.
Among these are “Pages Of The Past”, a 3-D installation by D’Art infusing Chinese literature written in Singapore, an 18th-century French nautical chart of Singapore’s coastline by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin and a not-to-be-missed 22-meter sculpture of the Fullerton Hotel by Paul-Alexandre Bourieau.
80 Collyer Quay, +65 6333 8388, www.fullertonbayhotel.com
Resorts World Sentosa
Art lovers should make the trek over to Sentosa where works by some of art's biggest names can be found at the Resorts World Sentosa.
A bronze and marble version of “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin; a bronze sculpture called “Adam and Eve” by Fernando Botero; and the impressive “Space Elephant” by Salvador Dali.
One of the most impressive pieces however is Dale Chihuly's glass blown pieces, “Armonia Chandeliers” located in the Crockfords Tower lobby.
8 Sentosa Gateway, +65 6577 8899, www.rwsentosa.com