The feeling of arriving at any W hotel after dusk is that of arriving at a party in mid-swing, and despite its resort-like credentials and unexpected location, the new W Singapore - Sentosa Cove doesn't disappoint. The glitz of neon and the glamour of superbly-dressed, youthful staff followed me up red carpet stairs into a lobby-cum-dancefloor. To one side, a DJ and bongo player fused beats as visiting Big Apple celeb mixologist Joseph Boroski shook up a storm in the nearby W Lounge. The décor of the marble-lined lobby is eclectic and vibrant. Beyond floor-to-ceiling glass, the resort's sprawling pool is wreathed by palm trees and canopied-cabanas, bringing a touch of South Beach to Sentosa.
The island of Sentosa, accessible by bridge from Singapore proper, seems an odd location for such an urban hotel brand. Home to sprawling villas (by Singapore standards), theme parks, casinos and plenty of other resorts, Sentosa is an idyllic escape from the city, and is just a 15 minute cab ride away. The W Singapore - Sentosa Cove's resort persona - includes the city's first resort-managed private yacht berths.
My "Wonderful" room, one of 240 guest rooms, is lit like a tattoo parlour in neon pink, but remains spacious and inviting. A bathroom with single vanity, bathtub, twin-head shower and indulgent Bliss amenities branches off from the hallway, and a king-sized bed dominates the rest of the space. A Bose sound system is linked to an iPod docking station. The Munchie Box minibar offers a great selection of late night temptations , while the signature W Bed is gloriously comfortable and comes decked out with 350 thread-count linens. Be sure to book a pool view room.
The staff were cheerful and knowledgeable. Groomed immaculately and always smiling, the waiting staff in the Kitchen Table, the resort's all-day dining outlet, were especially impressive.
Sun-drenched breakfasts in the all-day dining restaurant Feast are a global gourmet trip, with a massive selection of western and Asian delights to sample. Skirt restaurant, the brand's new grill concept, deals in quality aged meats and fresh seafood (southern blue fin toro tuna with avocado and wasabi, S$45; Dh135, braised and grilled beef tongue with shallots, scallion and beef salt, S$14; Dh42).
W Singapore - Sentosa Cove is essentially a seaside resort with all the W elements (funky music in the lobby and elevator, lots of neon, good-looking staff) added on. However, Saturday morning in Feast is a battle between visiting hipsters and DJs on their iPads, and the screaming toddlers of local families looking for respite from city living.
Feeling like a movie star.
"Wonderful" rooms looking to the city are not worth the ride out to Sentosa unless you're attending a party there. The lack of a pillow menu is also a pain for people like me who sleep on something akin to a log. A sand fly problem around the pool and Feast's outdoor tables also needs to be sorted.
With their bold design and rock star persona, W hotels are not for everyone, although the designers, artists and DJs who frequent this one might have to share it with the locals. Travellers looking for a contrast from the city, a spot for an intimate celebration or a corporate gathering with a difference will find the W a chic, inviting experience.
The bottom line
A "Wonderful" room during the week starts at SD$388 (Dh1,166) twin share including breakfast. W Singapore - Sentosa Cove, 21 Ocean Way, Sentosa Island, Singapore (www.starwoodhotels.com; 0065 6808 7288).