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Old 14th December 2020, 10:10 PM   #1
yflyer
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Default Two Singapore Staycations: Duxton Reserve & JW Marriott South Beach

How time flies, even during a Global Pandemic.

It is already almost the end of 2020. While air travel in and out of Singapore remains severely curtailed, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore has been very low, with no local cases for several days now (Fingers crossed!). While cases in many other countries are still at worrying levels, several promising vaccines for COVID-19 have now been approved for use.

In Singapore today, our PM announced a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, with the start of Singapore's Phase 3 re-opening on December 28th. Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel?

With overseas holiday travel out of the question, many Singaporeans have booked staycations for their end of year break.

A recent visit to the W Sentosa Cove reminded Mrs yflyer and I how much fun a Singapore staycation could be. Not that we hadn't done staycations before: In early 2019, we did one-night hotel stays over three consecutive weekends, and also a memorable staycation at the Marina Bay Sands during the SG50 National Day Celebrations on 9 August 2015.

Last week, in what would hopefully be the tail end of Phase 2, Mrs yflyer and I spent a night at the Duxton Reserve hotel at Duxton Hill.

We stayed at the Duxton Reserve on the night of 11 December, the first day of their re-opening. We also spent some time exploring the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh conservation areas -- both very interesting and colourful parts of Singapore. We dined at 1-Michelin Star restaurant Rhubarb, and indulged in cocktails at Live Twice at Bukit Pasoh.

In March next year, the Duxton Reserve will become part of the Marriott Autograph collection. This will be an exciting prospect and a great addition to the Marriott stable of properties. For the moment, though, the Duxton Reserve is an independent hotel.

As for the JW Marriott South Beach, that chapter of the TR has yet to be written. We are scheduled to be there at the end of this week...

But let us start at the beginning with the Duxton Reserve...

Update (25/12): We had a great stay at the JW Marriott! Coverage of the JW Marriott South Beach starts here...

TR INDEX

1. Hotel - Duxton Reserve
2. Bar / Nightlife - Live Twice
3. Dining - Rhubarb
4. Bookstore - Littered with Books
5. Hotel - JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
6. Attraction - Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express (Separate Thread)
7. Run - Marina Bay
8. Conclusion - Final Reflections

Last edited by yflyer; 1st January 2021 at 12:37 PM..
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Old 14th December 2020, 10:29 PM   #2
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The Duxton Reserve is located in the Tanjong Pagar conservation area in central/southern Singapore, part of a row of restored shophouses on Duxton Hill.



This was previously the Six Senses Duxton, but with the Six Senses group exiting Singapore, the hotel will become part of the Marriott Autograph Collection from March 2021, which will surely be good news for Marriott Bonvoy members and fans of Marriott.



The hotel was closed during Singapore's initial COVID-19 lockdown, but just reopened on Friday, 11th December. Mrs yflyer and I were among the first guests to check-in to the hotel for our stay that day.



The hotel was not busy when we checked in just after lunch time on the 11th...



The lobby and public areas of the hotel were striking in their yellow and black theme, the work of hotelier (and ex-Bond girl) Anouska Hempel...



This is a fairly intimate hotel, with only 49 rooms. Given the space constraints of the traditional shophouse design, the ground floor public areas were not large, but the decor was striking and very stylish...



...with history as one of the design themes...



Lots of seating and space to socialise...



...and books to browse...



The beautiful check-in counter...


Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 09:00 AM..
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Old 14th December 2020, 10:32 PM   #3
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There is a dining space / restaurant...





...and a beautiful bar...


Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 09:05 AM..
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Old 14th December 2020, 10:35 PM   #4
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This was a 3 storey restored shophouse, so although there was a small lift installed, we mainly used the stairs...



I personally love hotels with staircases...



...especially one as elegant as this...

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Old 14th December 2020, 10:45 PM   #5
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There are several different room types at the Duxton Reserve, all every different from each other.



For our stay, Mrs yflyer chose a Duxton Duplex Suite...



This was a very striking room design...

A long sofa ran the length of the main level, which had three large full length windows...



A spiral staircase led up to the 2nd level...



...where the bedroom and bathroom were located...



There was a dining/work table on the main level...



Large HD Flat Panel TV on the wall (And another upstairs in the bedroom)



While the only seats in the room were dining chairs, rather than office chairs, I found the table and chair setup adequate for computer use...



Power sockets and USB charging ports close to the table. Wifi speed was decent...


Last edited by yflyer; 16th December 2020 at 09:05 AM..
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Old 14th December 2020, 10:52 PM   #6
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Heading up the stairs...



Mrs yflyer found the bedroom area decor a bit plain compared to the rest of the room, but I found it a very comfortable and serene place to rest and sleep...



Reading lamps and a retro bedside phone...



Perfectly positioned HD Flat Panel TV for bedtime viewing, with a great channel selection...



Wardrobe with wall safe...



The bathroom...



Long sink in black and brushed steel...



Soap and shampoo dispensed from large bottles...





Shower Stall (No tub)...



Bathrooms...

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Old 14th December 2020, 10:54 PM   #7
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Back on the main level, I checked out the amenities, which included a Nespresso machine...



...with 3rd party Nespresso-compatible capsules...



...and Chinese tea, served out of a very pretty teapot...

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Old 14th December 2020, 10:59 PM   #8
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The large full length windows let in a lot of natural light...



The glass windows were fixed closed, with louvres on the outside...



...so rather than curtains, there were wooden doors that you could slide closed...



...these were very effective in shutting out the light and blacking out the room in case one wanted to sleep in the next morning...

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Old 14th December 2020, 11:02 PM   #9
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Overall, I thought this was a very unique hotel room, with a lot of space and character, not to mention privacy.



That said, there are several other room designs at the Duxton Reserve, and the hotel experience would be quite different depending on which you choose, so either choose carefully, or stay at the hotel multiple times to experience each room!
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Old 14th December 2020, 11:10 PM   #10
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Mrs yflyer asked if we could take a look at some of the other rooms in the hotel, and the friendly and helpful hotel staff were happy to oblige...

We visited the Pearl Suite, which was styled in white...



The bedroom of the Pearl Suite...



Gorgeous chests of drawers....



...flanking both sides of the bed...



Flat panel TV and work desk...



...and sofa...



The Pearl Suite bathroom was styled in white marble, and had a bathtub...



This was also a very striking and elegant room design.
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Old 14th December 2020, 11:11 PM   #11
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We also took a peek into the Opium Suite...



...which was yet another striking and beautiful design...



In this case the theme was yellow and black, not unlike the hotel lobby and public areas.
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Old 14th December 2020, 11:15 PM   #12
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We headed out of the hotel to explore the area...





The Duxton Hill area, and in fact much of Tanjong Pagar, is positively saturated with interesting restaurants, bars and shops...



Our first stop would actually be a short walk away, the cocktail bar Live Twice, in nearby Bukit Pasoh...

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Old 15th December 2020, 05:17 PM   #13
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We headed down Craig Road towards Bukit Pasoh. The conservation area itself comprised many pre-war era shophouses. Not far off in the distance you could see the omnipresent high rise office blocks of modern Singapore, which made the decision to preserve these old shophouse structures all the more important.



The Pinnacle@Duxton, one of the most recognisable apartment blocks in Singapore, also loomed large behind the shophouses.



I couldn't help but chuckle when i read the banner hang above an antique shop...



On the way, we crossed Neil Road, where Shake Shack recently opened an outlet.



[Tip: This is probably the least crowded Shake Shack outlet in Singapore. The outlets at Jewel and Changi Airport always have long queues. If you want a quick Shackburger fix, the outlet at Neil Road might be your best bet!]

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Old 15th December 2020, 05:24 PM   #14
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We crossed Neil Road and headed down Bukit Pasoh Rd, where we arrived the building where Live Twice was located, along with another highly regarded cocktail bar, Gibson.



Incidentally, both Live Twice and Gibson (and the adjoining Humpback restaurant) are part of the Jigger & Pony Group.



Live Twice bills itself as a cocktail bar with a mid-century Japanese theme.



It is an intimate bar with a minimalist design, with designer furniture and a very elegant vibe...



The name is inspired by the song "You Only Live Twice" from the Sean Connery-era James Bond movie, and indeed the menu includes the James Bond inspired Vesper cocktail as entry No.007...





The cocktails themselves are also minimalist, with up to a maximum of 4 ingredients, many with a Japanese theme. The staff will be happy to prepare any of the bar standards, but why not indulge in some of these ultra-refined cocktail creations, which stunned us with their purity of flavour....

There is also a Happy Hour menu...



...as well as a food/snack menu which focuses on quality rather than quantity...


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Old 15th December 2020, 05:35 PM   #15
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This was not our first time to Live Twice, and we knew to request seats by the bar when we made our advance reservations. These seats right up front would make it much easier to get cocktail recommendations, and observe the amazing bartenders, including Head Bartender YinYing, as they expertly mixed our drinks...

I could not resist ordering a Vesper Martini, which was served in ultrafine Kimura glassware...



Indeed, the superfine cocktails here were perfectly matched with the delicate (and eye-poppingly expensive) Kimura glassware.

Mrs yflyer began with a Happy Hour selection, an Ume Highball...



We dispatched these very quickly...my Vesper was the the perfect start to the late afternoon, and Mrs yflyer's Ume Highball was subtle yet full of character.
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