The Six Senses Duxton, the chain’s first city-center location, opened its doors for business on 15 April. The 49 room property, which is nestled away on Duxton Road in Tanjong Pagar, is the first of two Six Senses properties that will open in Singapore. The second 120 room property, Six Senses Maxwell, is due to open within the next six months and will be a short walk away from the existing Duxton building.
The hotel was originally supposed to be called “The Duxton Club” and part of the Luxury Collection under Starwood. Plans changed, however, and in late January 2018 it was announced that Six Senses was taking over the development and operation of the property.
I was invited for a media tour of the property where we had the chance to meet the GM, tour the rooms and take really, really bad quality photos. I’ll try and use my own wherever possible, but if not I’ll note wherever I’ve used the press photos. Actually it’s not that hard to tell- just look for the ones that look like they were shot on an early 2000s camera phone.
The interior design was overseen by Anouska Hempel (trivia time: she had a bit part in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as one of the 12 Angels of Death), who has decided to feature a diverse mix of Chinese, Malay and European elements. I’ll let the photos do the talking, but it’s safe to say this is no cookie-cutter Sheraton.
There’s a real black and gold theme going on here, with a fair amount of lobby seating and a communal reading and meeting room.
The lobby is also where you’ll find Yellow Pot, the hotels’s sole restaurant and bar. It’s currently only for stay-in guests, but will be opened to the general public soon.
The Yellow Pot Bar serves up the signature cocktail of the Six Senses Duxton called Escape To Kaifeng, a mix of Tanqueray gin and chrysanthemum cordial, crowned with a yellow chrysanthemum. I had two. Or three. It was really good, as you’d expect from a cocktail program curated by Kamil Foltan, a former alumni of the Tippling Club.
Just off the lobby is the Yellow Pot restaurant, a 50 seater venue offering “classic and innovative Chinese cuisine”. The restaurant is run by head chef Sebastian Goh with a focus on locally-inspired and sustainably-sourced modern Chinese food. I wasn’t able to get a hold of the menu, sadly, but I’m told that this will be open to the public by mid-May.
The Six Senses Duxton has a total of eight room types, but no two of the 49 rooms are exactly the same. On our tour we got to see a total of four room types: the Nutmeg Room, the Opium Suite, the Skylight Suite, and the Duxton Duplex Suite.
The hotel was quiet the evening I was there, at about 30% occupancy. That’s not bad for the first week of operations, and the corridors were whisper silent. Even though the hotel overlooks the road, I didn’t sense any undue noise pollution.
The first room we visited was the Nutmeg Room, which is the entry-level room category in this hotel. At 18 sq. m, they’re shall we say on the cozy side.
The rooms look functional enough, but come with some fairly high-end amenities. Each room comes with a Naturalmat organic mattress as standard, as well as bathroom amenities by The Organic Pharmacy, a tea and coffee maker, a Bose Bluetooth speaker and unlimited bottled water, among other things. With regards to the last point, Six Senses is big on the whole environmental conservation aspect, and does not use plastic bottles in any of its properties. Guests get all the still and sparkling water they want throughout the duration of the stay, bottled in-house in glass bottles.
Water in the room is free, and for a $3.50 charge you get a free flow of it in the restaurant. 50% of that goes towards regional projects aimed at delivering healthy drinking water to those without access to it.
Each room has a pretty kickass minibar with all the trappings you need for your libations.
I opened the mini-fridge, hoping to catch out this eco-conscious hotel in a blatant act of greenwashing by finding plastic drinks bottles within. But no, even the Coca Cola and Sprite were in the old fashioned glass bottles. Touche.
The price list, in case you’re curious:
The bathrooms are pretty standard across all the room types, just with differences in size depending on the room, so I’ll just talk about it once. None of the rooms have bathtubs with the exception of the Pearl Suite, which we weren’t able to visit during our tour. However, they have hairdryers and The Organic Pharmacy amenities as standard (in communal pump bottles, however, instead of individual containers in line with the property’s eco-friendly policy)
The Opium Suite features a separate living room and bedroom, although the architecture of the top floor means the bathroom is attached to the living room rather than the bedroom. The ceiling here are on the low side too, and I had to duck at times to navigate certain parts of the room. I was told that check-in staff are trained to preempt potential problems by not assigning very tall guests to this room.
The bedroom is tucked away in a little enclove. There isn’t a lot of room to move around in here, and guests of larger size may find themselves having to get onto the bed from the front as opposed to the sides.
Duxton Duplex Suite
As the name suggests, this room is split over two levels, with the living room on the first floor and the bedroom and bathroom on the second.
I really liked this room- the loft design reminded me of the rooms at the Studio M I visited a few years back, and it feels a lot more spacious than a lot of the other rooms in this property.
The spiral staircase is pretty nifty too, with full length windows that have blackout sliders (not those floppy curtains that end up letting light in around the edges).
The Skylight Suite has a separate dining room, living room and bedroom. As the name suggests, the piece de resistance of this room is the skylight, which is impossible to photograph properly at night, so here’s the publicity image:
The dining area was a nice addition to this room, with two bench style seats and a long rectangular table. I half expected to see a lazy susan given what theme they were going for with the whole hotel…
The bedroom was small and intimate, and I spotted for the first time the turn down package that Six Senses Duxton provides
The turn down package includes Tiger Balm and Po Chai Pills (I know, right), plus an adult colouring card (in that it’s for adults, not that it has adult materials) and pencils, nutmeg oil, a reusable cotton tote bag and the Six Senses Little Book of Wellness.
Facilities and activities
The current Duxton building has a very small footprint, and lacks a swimming pool, fitness facilities or a spa. The soon-to-be-opened Maxwell property will add all this, and in the meantime the management has had to think out of the box for solutions. To that end, they’ve partnered with local businesses in the area to offer indoor cycling, outdoor yoga and nature discovery walking tours.
The whole idea of drawing from the community is strongly embedded in the activity line up. A TCM practice just across the road offers free consultations for hotel guests. A mother-daughter team from the neighborhood runs workshops on crafting artisan coffee and appreciating Chinese teas.
The property will soon get its own fleet of bicycles to allow guests to explore the surrounding area more easily.
I’ve never been to a Six Senses property before but like the vibe I got from the Duxton visit. The rooms are on the small side, but design wise they’re spot on. It’s kind of interesting because there’s never been a Six Senses city property before, so no one knows what a Six Senses city property is supposed to look like. In that sense (pun), this Duxton property is meant to set the tone for what we can expect from future city locations.
In my chat with the GM I’ve learned that the hotel will soon be available on Virtuoso as soon as their inspectors have a chance to pay a visit, so that’s something to look out for to. Remember, anyone can book through a Virtuoso agent and get additional benefits like room upgrades, late check out, free breakfast and a US$100 amenity credit.
The Six Senses is now open for bookings, with a 15% discount off the Best Available Rate when booking online through the Six Senses website, vxalid for stays between 15 April to 30 June 2018. The cheapest room I can find now is priced at S$391 inclusive of taxes.
Since The Six Senses has no loyalty program, there should be nothing stopping you from booking it through a third party site if the opportunity arises for a cheaper price or more rewards. For example, I can see the property listed on Mileslife at about 6 mpd.