Saturday, 23 August, 2014

Published April 05, 2014
Razzle-dazzle revamps
Three established hotels opt for makeover magic to add a new gloss to their brands. By Tay Suan Chiang
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In the Passion Suite (above), garnet red textured wallpaper reinforces the image of the hotel’s signature suite. Ultra-luxe themes in the public spaces such as the Bold Lounge are more stylish and fun featuring brighter hues. - PHOTO: THE SCARLET

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The Scarlet

33 Erskine Road

WHEN The Scarlet opened a decade ago, it was not for the faint-hearted. The boutique hotel was decked out in strong shades of black, gold and, of course, scarlet.

But even after undergoing a five-month rejuvenation last year, the hotel has not lost its luxurious touch. The idea is to think of Scarlet as a woman undergoing a little nip-and-tuck to look young and fresh again, but she is still as alluring as before.

Gone are her strong, dark brows and bright red lips. This time, Scarlet has chosen a more contemporary makeup palette using brighter colours such as turquoise, mustard, sapphire and violet. "After 10 years, we felt it was time for a rejuvenation," says Vivian Tung, marketing and communications director for Grace International, which owns the hotel. The company also owns the boutique Huntington Hotel in San Francisco.

"The new look is still boudoir-like, and very much European-inspired, which is what The Scarlet is all about," says Ms Tung. "This time, the hotel takes its inspiration from fashion."

International interior design firm Aedas Interiors is behind the hotel's new look. Simon Thompson, executive principal of Aedas Interiors Singapore, says he was inspired by the enigmatic and gracious hostess herself, "Scarlet", when designing the revamp. "The new interior personifies the characteristics, taste, and multi-faceted personality of Scarlet, by conjuring ambiences and design elements that are bold, fashionable and glamourous."

Most of the $6 million transformation is evident in the public areas, the hotel's five suites and at Breeze, its famed rooftop bar.

A pair of new golden ornate water feature walls on each side of the lobby entrance is what guests see first, when they step into the hotel. The $20,000 chandelier, the centrepiece of the lobby, has been kept as part of the rejuvenation, so that the lobby does not lose its grandeur.

The lobby's previous heavy-looking chairs, that were decked out in shades of red are now gone. The look is now cleaner and less dated. Upholstered seating refinished with luxurious Sonia Christian Lacroix velvets in cobolt, chartreuse mustard and garnet red, provide comfort for waiting guests. On the walls, tanned nude wall panels, upon closer inspection, reveal stitches inspired by lace stockings.

The Bold lounge, which once had a somewhat moody look with black armchairs, now takes on a more playful feel. A mirror wall covered with floral decals makes the space feel slightly larger. A zebra-striped plush carpet done in shades of purple and red adds to the fun. In place of paisley print sofas, there are now smaller chairs done in graphically patterned black, spring green, purple shades and fuchsia.

Gemstone-inspired palettes take centre stage in the hotel's five suites. They still retain their names: Splendour, Swank, Opulent, Lavish and Passion, but now have a contemporary look.

The hotel's signature suite, Passion, is now more edgy with python, patent leather and leopard prints on its furniture. In keeping with its name, garnet red wallpaper is used in this room, but it is no ordinary wallpaper. Ms Tung reveals that the wallpaper behind the four-posted bed has six layers of embossed printing to give it a luxe, textured look.

The Lavish suite is decked out in invigorating colour palettes of ruby, sapphire and yellow, but that is not its main draw. It is instead the world-renowned Hastens bed. The $38,500 bed is touted as the best bed in the world. And with a fairly extensive pillow menu, guests will have no problems falling asleep.

Up on Breeze, its rooftop bar, guests as well as the public can take in sights of the city skyline. A new addition here is the gazebo space, inside which the chefs prepare food on a charcoal barbeque with guests seating at the circular dining counter. Suspended above this counter is an illuminated canopy which was inspired by a wide brim, two-tiered A-line skirt with cutouts of summer floral patterns.

Rates start from $350 for a standard room, to $980 a night for the Passion suite.