When it comes to sumptuous destinations, Prestige Malaysia holidaymakers appreciate white-gloved service. In fact, private butlers are less a grandiose gesture as they are an essential precondition. Our readers also look forward to private retreats, but ones that aren’t so secluded as to dismiss a propensity for exciting new experiences. Anticipation is equally high for a gourmet meal crafted by a celebrity chef. Not the veraciously trained chef de cuisine, but by the Michelin-starred masters themselves. And remembering that service can make or break a luxury experience, we’ve got a suggestion that might surprise you.
A mere four hours by car (less if you drive a Mercedes SLS like full-time real estate investor Jesson Lim), Resorts World Sentosa Singapore (RWS) ticks all our luxury-travel boxes instantly. Already attracting billionaires from all over the world, Singapore itself is fast becoming the Monaco of our region, with her density of supercars and super yachts. At the heart of this golden playground lies the integrated resort Genting Singapore developed to the tune of S$6.59 billion. Within its 49ha border are several hotels, beach villas, ocean suites, tree top lofts, wet and dry theme parks, the massive S.E.A. Aquarium, numerous Michelin-recognised restaurants and a rollicking casino.
But this time it won’t be Prestige Malaysia on the judging panel. See, Jesson’s got a unique perspective on life, gull-wing sports car and diminutive Patek Philippe not withstanding. He got a head start on the rest of us when he launched a successful e-commerce business in 2006, before pursuing his passion for motorsport. “Back then, Japan was the motorsport capital. So I set up a logistics and purchasing company bringing in high-performance upgrades. Things were great, and I got carried away with the progress I was making. I mean, guys my age were competing in the rat race while I was already driving a Ferrari at 26,” he says.
Upon arrival, Jesson was checked into the Crockfords Tower. The most lavish RWS hotel, the Crockfords is brimming with old-world charm, instantly putting you in the lap of classic luxury. Previously open only to invited guests, each room is served by a team of personal butlers who shoulder the responsibility of making visitors feel right at home. Literally the cornerstone of your entire vacation, they’ll advise you on the best eateries and attractions on offer. Among the restaurants that Jesson visited as part of our trio of reviewers (Ryan Liew for August Man Malaysia and Agyness Lee for PIN Prestige Malaysia) were the Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, Forest森, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the Osia Steak and Seafood Grill and the crown jewel that is CURATE. Each carefully selected to reveal the very best in culinary greatness.
As he ate at Forest森, slicing into a succulent abalone and lobster starter cooked up by celebrity chef Sam Leong, he told me how a series of unfortunate events undid his business just as quickly as it had prospered. “At my peak, I felt very proud. Then my business fell apart and I went broke,” he says casually. Going through his assets, he realised some properties he had bought several years before had doubled in price. He cashed out, and began rebuilding from ground zero. “Real estate is the world’s largest industry, and it can never fail. In good times and in bad times, an astute investor knows how to make the best of both seasons,” he tells me with a genuine smile.
These days Jesson enjoys sharing his encyclopedic knowledge on property investing with friends for the price of a coffee. Besides of course being CEO and founder his own project development consultancy, advising developers and private investors on every aspect of the real estate sector, from interior design to property management, and even the hotelier business.
Another stand-out dining experience was Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora. As the first female Iron Chef, her restaurant features the Open-Ocean habitat at S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. Cooking with uber fresh produce, this eatery makes careful note not to over do anything, lightly searing or steaming ala sous-vide, to bring out the natural characteristics of meat or seafood.
At this dinner, Jesson was joined by his god-daughter and her family in celebration of his birthday. Then it was after dinner drinks at the Rock Bar. Here a special birthday drink, called the Coronita was presented to Jesson. It’s a fun concoction of Corona beer, sparklers and fun props that had everyone taking selfies even before the first sip.
Another cherished moment was Dolphin Island. This unique attraction allows guests to interact with a pod of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Getting in the water with trained professionals and learning how to ‘communicate’ with these brilliant marine mammals isn’t something you get to do every day.
Neither is reviewing a massive resort while a small entourage of photographers, make-up artists and stylists push and pull you in various poses until we get what we want. Jesson held up commendably well. That’s not to say we didn’t allow him a little R n’ R. ESPA is RWS 10,000sqm bastion of rejuvenation. Featuring an authentic Turkish Hammam, several Saunas, Vitality Pools and a wide range of luxurious treatment rooms, guests might enter with the weight of the world on their shoulders, but they certainly leave in the best possible state of mind.
“All in all, I enjoyed my stay here. The Resorts World Sentosa Singapore staff offered a wonderful experience and I enjoyed it tremendously,” concludes Jesson.
Read the part one of our Resorts World Sentosa Singapore story: The Lap Of Luxury
Grooming by Eranthe Loo; Photography by Ian Wong @ Home Studio