With bold design and a ton of character, the Six Senses Duxton definitely stands out in the competitive hospitality scene of Singapore. But can the first city hotel from one of our favourite hotel brands fulfil the promise of a “Six Senses” experience? We were excited for the chance to find out.
The barefoot luxury of the Six Senses Resorts and Spas is something we love to experience. We never miss an opportunity to stay at their beautiful properties, so when we were planning a visit Singapore we were glad to discover that the company chose the metropolis as the location for their first two city hotels: the Six Senses Duxton and the neighbouring Six Senses Maxwell.
One of the pillars of Six Senses philosophy is that of creating sustainable properties rooted in local traditions. And this principle comes through in every detail of the Duxton hotel.
It occupies a 19th-century building created as a row of shophouses in Tanjong Pagar, a low-rise district in Singapore’s Downtown. The inspiration for the hotel’s style came from the building itself, and from the colonial history of the area, when Chinese, Malay and European influences mixed to create a hotbed of international trade, liquor distilleries and underground activities.
Visually, Duxton is as bold a move for Six Senses as it gets. The theme, the atmosphere and the overall concept of the hotel are so far removed from their standard “tropical beach holiday” offering that it might as well be an entirely different hotel brand.
The strong character of the interior made a great impression on us as soon as we entered the hotel for the first time. The design is an uncompromising play of gold, black, and yellow, creating a feeling of sheer opulence. Soaked in a dark, brooding atmosphere, which is further emphasised by limited natural lighting, the property makes a statement with its decisive style.
The low ceilings of the rooms fit the mood. Every room is different in shape, with style varying from the monochrome duplex suites to the black-and-gold Opium suites. There is only one room set entirely in light tones: the Pearl Suite, where we stayed.
The property bears the hallmark of careful restoration efforts, and indeed both Six Senses Duxton and Six Senses Maxwell are a showcase of responsible conservation.
What makes Six Senses
Duxton’s location (in the middle of the city), and the heritage building’s structure forced the hotel’s creators to limit the number of facilities. They settled on only one on-site restaurant, Yellow Pot, a decision which was quite logical, as there are many worthy dining options within walking distance. The menu definitely feels Six Senses, as it follows the balanced and healthy principles.
Rather than a full-on spa, the hotel offers services of a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, who, we were glad to discover, is fully accredited. Still, Six Senses without its famous spa? Almost. A fully-equipped spa is available at the Six Senses Maxwell, located nearby.
Duxton makes up for its facility limitations with excellent service and a ton of character. We loved the a la carte breakfasts (the avocado-on-toast is excellent), or sipping cocktails on the long streetside veranda and then grabbing the super chic Tokyo Bikes (provided by the hotel) and exploring Singapore on two wheels.
The narrow offering at Duxton demonstrates confidence in concentrating on basics and making them work for this particular place. It’s a breath of fresh air, and it hints at treating luxury as a way of slowing down in a refined atmosphere. A truly fabulous place.