A sanctuary is a refuge of peace and tranquility. Some seek sanctuary from stress of daily life, cold winters or to reconnect with loved ones. The Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa in Singapore is such a place, far removed from the worries of the world in a park-like haven in Sentosa Island, a short drive from downtown Singapore.
Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is built on the site of a former British military barracks from the 1930s. It has accomplished a successful pairing of restored colonial architecture and contemporary luxury accommodation. The resort is set over 10 acres and is a short walk to the white sands and blue waters of the Palawan Beach.
At check-in, your welcome begins to immerse you in the heritage of the resort. There’s a curious vendor cart with self-serve cool drinks and snacks. It’s the Kacang Puteh, which was once used by Singapore vendors who walked the city selling peanuts, candy and other snacks. Sunny, the resort’s decorated golf cart will then whisk you to your villa. Along the way you’ll see the lush tropical gardens of the resort with bougainvillea, bird of paradise, orchids and other fragrant flowers. You’ll surely see the peacocks with their colorful plumes strutting about or the peahens with their peachicks in tow. There’s a beautiful Glass Chapel on the grounds, which is frequented for weddings or special occasions. There are also several pools on the property, including a kids’ pool and a long lap pool with chaise lounges and a bar serving drinks during the day.
You will quickly realize the historical significance of the resort. Prior to World War II, it was the living quarters for British soldiers. Many of the structures are noticeably colonial and have been transformed with modern five-star amenities so you get a taste of the past with the best in modern luxury. In recognition of its effort in preserving the rich heritage of Singapore, the resort has received the prestigious URA Architectural Heritage Award.
The accommodations at the Amara Resort Sentosa are impressive. There are several categories of rooms, for those seeking opulence or those who want something with more historical significance.
The Pool Villas are extraordinary. The entrance opens to a foyer and sparkling blue private pool surrounded by beautiful foliage and manicured garden. The villas have two separate pavilions with the private plunge pool in the center. On one side is the living space with sitting area, wet bar, desk and television. The room also comes with a complimentary mini-bar, always a nice touch.
Across the courtyard and the pool is the bedroom. The bedroom is beautifully decorated with netting over the bed, flat screen television and spacious bathroom with double sink and shower. The masterpiece of the bathroom is actually not in the bathroom, it is outside. Beyond the bathroom doors there is a deep soaking stone bath tub for private time alone with your loved one. It is perfectly private and romantic and one of the reasons the villas are the choice of honeymooners, as well as couples celebrating an anniversary or just looking to reconnect.
The pool area is a well-designed outdoor living space. There is a full size table, perfect for breakfast without leaving your villa. There is even a retractable electric awning, should the sun become too intense. Around the pool there is a sun-tanning area with reclining cushions under a wooden trellis. The villas are completely private, so no need to worry about tan lines or modesty. The privacy inside the lush manicured gardens, the sparkling pool and the posh accommodations of the villas create a wonderful haven within a haven for fortunate couples.
Away from the villas, there are several other lodging options. One of the more picturesque accommodations is found in the Lark Will Terrace. The architecture of this building is a beautiful colonial design resembling a country club villa found in the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. The history of WWII has been perfectly respected and woven into the luxury holiday experience at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa. The former British army barracks’ 18 units are wonderfully restored, designed and decorated with period pieces, a lovely canopy bed, terrazzo flooring and all the modern amenities you would expect. The outdoor bathroom is fabulous, with a large frameless bath. Beyond the bath is a spacious daybed and louvered doors letting in muddled day light. The louvered doors open on to the picture-perfect infinity-edge lap pool with a wooden deck and chaise lounges. Couples come back time and again to these suites, scheduling their vacation around the availability of a particular unit, for its views as well as its fond memories.
The history and heritage of Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is seamlessly woven into the plush accommodations of the resort. The restoration of the Colonial Quarters has garnered numerous accolades from international preservation societies. The exterior of these quarters look as they did almost 100 years ago when they were the original living quarters of British soldiers before and after World War II. The heritage is alive here and you’ll find neat artifacts such as the shoe-sole scraper in front of each unit, where soldiers cleaned the muck from their boots before entering the interior. These spacious units feature four-poster beds and many have a personal dip pool in its own private courtyard.
In front of the Colonial building is another remnant of the wars past, the nearby World War II bunkers, one of Singapore’s last remaining historical air-raid shelters that provided protection against the war, all untouched and well preserved.
The dining experience at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is on par with their fantastic accommodations, and they offer several options to appease their guests’ palates. One of their signature dining experiences is the Thanying Thai restaurant. This is not your normal Thai dining experience of heavy curry sauces and nuclear hot seasonings. This is fine dining fit for royalty, literally.
The restaurant itself is elegant and refined with attentive service. There are white linen-adorned candle-lit tables, rich teak wood furniture and beautiful Thai art pieces and wall decorations.
The Thanying Restaurant is from the former chef of the Thai royal family, so each dish is created for the royal palate. Meticulous effort is put into the preparation and the presentation and served in the tradition of Thai Court Cooking, everything is in bite-size portions and all seeds, bones and pith removed for the convenience of the pampered diners.
Each dish appeals to your sight as well as taste buds. The Gai Hor Bai Toey marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaf is a particularly delicious and interesting dish. It is chopped spices, chicken, and other veggies served on a leaf. One then wraps and then eats all in a delicious mouthful of flavor in a delightful presentation. Another memorable dish is the Peek Gai So Sai, which are boneless chicken wings. These are far from chicken nuggets. Each wing is deboned and the meat removed. It is then chopped, seasonings are added, and then it is put back into the wing skin and fried. Absolutely delicious and you’ll think about this next time your order wings at the pub.
One of the many enjoyable main courses was the Tay Po which is codfish and spinach with spicy and sour sauces. Dessert was also a treat, with mango and sticky rice and the signature dish, the Taptim Benjarong which is steamed and chewy tapioca in coconut cream served over ice.
The Thanying Restaurant is a wonderful Thai fine dining experience, voted among the best by many food critics, press and the culinary industry. It is an experience that should not be missed during your stay at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa or when in the area.
One of the interesting things about the Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is that they have their own garden on the property. Many of the herbs and ingredients that you’ll find in each of their dining outlets are sourced right from the property. To grow the numerous herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits on the property adds something extra to the freshness and the goodness of each dish. The chefs can are often be seen at the garden picking what’s needed for the day’s feast to be served to the guests.
Shutters restaurant is the all-day dining option. For breakfast you can expect a lavish buffet with a wide range of breads, fresh fruits and all kinds of Asian and western dishes. The friendly staff is there to take care of all of your needs. In the open, kitchen chefs scurry about preparing the fresh dishes as guests order omelets from the live cooking station. There is also a bar serving healthy juices; the server prepares your fresh juice in front of you.
Shutters is much more than a great place for breakfast. At night it’s a romantic dining option, as couples eat al fresco on the expansive terrace. Indoors you’ll find dark woods, candles and an open kitchen, making it a great place for a quiet dinner or delicious lunch as well. Shutters is known for it’s On the Grill restaurant featuring Wagyu beef, Australian Angus and Australian lamb T-bone. They also have an extensive French and seafood menu.
For some libations and entertainment, there’s a fun lounge called the Tier Bar. There’s a chic indoor space, but most of the crowd tends to gather outdoors on the deck. There’s a pool table, good music and couches for conversation and cocktails. The staff is very friendly and quick with a drink and friendly conversation. They serve up some great tapas and signature drinks, such as their Date Rum mojito. Tapas standouts are the Mini Crab Cakes and the Spicy Buffalo Wings.
Amara Sentosa is a beautiful park-like resort just minutes from the frantic pace of Singapore. There a lot of things to do in Sentosa, including the nearby Universal Studios and the Palawan beach. There’s also plenty to do on the property, from taking a walk around the property where you’re sure to see the many beautiful peacocks sharing their regal beauty or taking a dip in the beautiful club-like pools.
For those who want to get physical, there is an amazing work out facility. It’s not your run of the mill gym equipment and weight room; this is a mental and physical workout like none you’ve had before from Aileron Wellness. This is a concept-driven boutique gym with top-notch facility and certified trainers like Sofian Yusof, focusing on fitness education and physical wellness.
It is an interactive and playful workout by dedicated and passionate trainers who get to know their clients and create custom programs for them. After an introduction to the concept, the trainer takes his client into the playroom. There are a number of kinetic exercises and unusual equipment designed to get the heart rate up and give a full workout in a fun and un-routine way. Hitting machines, running, with weights, tapping with weighted poles are all part of the training. A heavy dose of encouragement and enthusiasm is thrown into the mix. Aileron Wellness is play with a positive physical outcome. It is a fun and unusual experience of unconventional methods and sure to give each client the desired results over time.
After a rigorous workout and perhaps a dip in the pool a desire for a deeper level of relaxation will be in order. Spa Luna takes its guests further along the rejuvenation experience at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa. Set in one of the restored colonial barrack structures is the expansive spa. This is full-service spa has a wide range of options on the menu. The Aromatherapy Relaxing Spa Treatment is a great option. The treatment begins with a full body rose salt scrub that leaves the skin soft and invigorated. From there, a 20-minute sauna followed by an aromatherapy massage. The treatment is fantastic as the therapist works deep into sore muscles, leaving your body relaxed and rejuvenated.
The Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa is a sanctuary of peace and calm in a tropical setting. The nearby beach, excellent dining, amazing Allieron workout experience and the Spa Luna ensure a holiday full of wonderful memories to cherish for many years.
Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa
1 Larkhill Road
Sentosa Island, Singapore 099394