[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]fter an extensive eight-month facelift, the Tower Wing of the Shangri-La Hotel is ready to show off its new interiors. Every inch of the wing – from its 503 guestrooms and suites to its lobby and meeting rooms – has been given a massive makeover.

Mr Reto Klauser, 53, vice- president and general manager of the hotel, says the overhaul is necessary for the hotel to keep up with the fast-paced tourism industry. “This is a complete departure from what we had previously. The hotel was definitely ready to be updated (for the needs) of our future guests.”

This is the first time since 1998 that the Tower Wing, which houses most of the property’s guestrooms, has undergone a major renovation. It was built in 1971 and was Shangri-La Hotel’s first wing, with the Garden and Valley Wings added on later.

With the recent makeover, those who have been to the hotel before would immediately notice the different vibe and style.

The previous opulent – some might say a little dated – look of the first-floor lobby has given way to an elegant urban resort feel. Gone are the large chandeliers, beige and brown flooring and darkened interiors – replaced by fresh hues of white, cream and blackand contemporary stylish furniture.

The piece de resistance in The Lobby Lounge, near the check-in area, is a 9m-tall basalt rock feature wall. Real plants such as Rabbit’s Foot Fern, Pilea Depressa and Ficus trees are potted and hung on the wall, mixed with artificial plants – giving the lounge a lush feel indoors.

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The space is anchored by a tranquil pool of water that is dotted with quirky metal sculptures of playing children. The works are by renowned South Korean sculptor Yi Hwan Kwon, who was commissioned to make a collection for the hotel.

The guestrooms are soothing retreats, each filled with wood furnishings and chic touches such as a glass wardrobe and a chinoiserie vanity table.

shangri la hotel singapore
Wood furnishings and chic touches dominate the guestrooms.

Other areas that were revamped include Nami Restaurant and Bar, which serves Japanese cuisine, on Level 24. It replaces fine-dining restaurant Blu.

A new addition to the hotel is ShopHouse, a grab-and-go F&B concept near the hotel’s entrance, that offers freshly baked bread, sandwiches and snacks.

Tokyo-based Ryoichi Niwata of Bond Design Studio is the man behind the grand old dame’s facelift.

Tokyo-based Ryoichi Niwata (above) of Bond Design Studio was behind the Tower Wing facelift. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The 42-year-old, who worked at acclaimed Japanese interior design studio Super Potato before branching out on his own in 2011, says he was nervous about putting his spin on the hotel, given its sentimental value to its owners.

He took inspiration from the hotel’s surrounding greenery as well as the stone and water gardens.

“I wanted to bring natural elements into the interiors. When people check in, I want them to feel as if they are in a garden.”

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Some areas are still works in progress. Later this month, an artwork – a canopy of thousands of stylised metallic leaves – by Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada will hang from the ceiling of the hotel’s lobby.

The space that used to house shops such as a tailoring service and a beauty salon is also being refurbished. It will be turned into a zone for children and is slated to open in November.

Adapted from The Straits Times. Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.