Christian Hassing – General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Singapore
One of Singapore’s best-loved and older properties, the Mandarin Oriental Singapore has some of the city’s best restaurants, finest service, most indulgent spa treatments, the most beautiful pool in town and, if you opt for an Ocean View room, the kind of panoramic vistas you’ll never forget. Meet Christian Hassing, the property’s General Manager, who has the inside track on how to make the most of your time here.
Apart from your hotel, what’s your favourite restaurant in town?
I am a big fan of Sushi Mitsuya on Tras Street. I love it because it’s a niche Japanese sushi restaurant that is a truly bespoke dining experience. Head chef Ryosuke Harada dishes out the freshest sushi and sashimi assortments that are simply divine in an authentic edomae setting. If you don’t feel like making a lot of decisions when it comes to ordering, opt for an omakase menu and let the chef make the choice for you.
What is your favourite shop, and why?
Tea Bone Zen Mind, on Emerald Hill, is in two three-storey conserved shop-houses built at the turn of the 20th century and reflecting art deco and Chinese baroque architecture. A visit here will give you a unique insight into the local culture in Singapore; it will be an eclectic and one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll need to book ahead through our concierge for a tea-sampling session, which includes English, Chinese and Japanese teas and snacks. After this, you can buy some of the wonderful tea as a great souvenir or gift for loved ones back home.
What cultural pursuits would you recommend in your destination?
With the growing number of art festivals that attract aficionados, connoisseurs and general tourists alike, the art scene flourishes in the city. A visit to the newly renovated National Gallery of Singapore as well as the ArtScience Museum is highly recommended.
On a day off with nothing planned, where would you go, and why?
On my days off, and especially in the evenings when it’s cool and breezy, I enjoy taking an hour-long stroll along the Singapore river, which takes me to the Three Quays – Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. There are plenty of attractions and many photo opportunities: Boat Quay features the iconic statue of Sir Stamford Raffles and the Asian Civilisations Museum; Clarke Quay has the Fort Canning Park that witnessed many of Singapore’s historic moments; Robertson Quay has the multi-coloured Alkaff Bridge. also known as the Bridge of Art.
What is the hippest attraction near your hotel where you could take the family? And what would you recommend that couples shouldn’t miss?
The futuristic Gardens by the Bay is one of the biggest attractions in the city and is a short stroll away from the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, across the Helix Bridge. From the culturally themed gardens for couples to enjoy, to the children’s playground and the constantly changing exhibitions in the Flower Dome, there’s something for everyone to experience.
What is the X factor of your city?
Singapore is rich in different foodie cultures which, combined, make for a very special and vibrant food scene. Travellers can get a taste of popular local street food such as chicken rice or wonton noodles one day, and top Michelin-starred cuisine the next, all in one destination.
Name one thing your property offers, an added value that guests might not know about?
Overlooking the Marina Bay, guests can enjoy a variety of gourmet delights at our stylish, outdoor poolside lounge, BAY@5. Over a cocktail or a glass of champagne or two, they can catch the laser light show from this perfect vantage point, which takes place every evening at 8pm. During national events with their scheduled fireworks displays the venue is also an outstanding location to view the dazzling spectacle.
What is your most memorable moment (or day) spent at your property?
What I believe many guests at our property love is our pool, where they can have a swim outdoors surrounded by lush, tropical landscape. They can lounge at one of the private cabanas and order drinks and meals around the clock. Because of the weather in Singapore most of the year, we have sun loungers that are partially submerged in water for guests to bask in the sun and stay cool. Truly an urban oasis.
And finally, in your opinion, what is the highlight of staying in your hotel?
The location of the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, at the heart of Marina Bay near the dining and entertainment district. Coupled with unparalleled views of the harbour through floor-to-ceiling windows in well-appointed rooms, the highlight of a memorable visit is the genuine and legendary hospitality offered by our intuitive team.
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