Hello. My name is Mrs Smith and I am an addict. For me it’s all about the lines. No, no, not those sort of lines – the sleek, delicious undulating contours of designer furniture. At the Naumi my fixation is fed the moment we enter our Deluxe Room. Don’t get me wrong: there’s none of that stark minimalism that looks amazing but is about as comfortable as a bed of nails. This is all about stylish functionality.
A bright orange Zanotta armchair is the focal point in an otherwise muted living room, where a frosted-glass lamp hangs over a khaki three-seater sofa – it has a vaguely mod Chesterfield style – that doubles as a cosy love nest. A sleek flatscreen TV separates the living and sleeping areas, and Mr Smith makes a beeline straight for it, swivelling it around to make sure we can watch it from both lounge and bed. We can. The king-size bed, flanked by Artemide table lamps, provides greater spin to the designer tale. To one side sits an iPod dock, and I find myself visualising a situation in which I walk alone, revelling in the sights of Singapore, while Mr Smith spends entire days horizontal, downing free drinks from the minibar while listening to the Beatles on his MP3 player. A quick call to our Naumi aide, assigned on arrival (how West Wing is that?), means that Wii and XBox consoles, together with the latest games, could also be brought to our room within minutes. I can see I’m going to have to keep an eye on the outgoing calls.
Hidden surprises are what really whet my interest though. There are plenty here, discovered as I throw open cupboard doors and explore the suite. Inside the pantry there’s a Nespresso coffee machine; beside that, a wooden box is filled with Naumi organic tea bags. A mirrored cupboard opens to reveal shelves of gleaming cutlery, a toaster, microwave and hotplate. There’s more than enough kitchen regalia to whip up something for one’s self should the mood take you, though you’ll perhaps not be surprised to learn we chose to pass on this option.
In the marble-clad bathroom, I find myself burbling like an idiot. ‘Honey, they’ve got amazing toiletries!’ I manage to say, while simultaneously inhaling soothing aromas and slathering body balm infused with orange peel, pink grapefruit and lemon rind onto my hands and legs. The doorbell rings and Mr Smith drags himself from a prone position to answer it. He returns with three extra facial products. There’s only one word to describe my reaction when he presents them: ecstatic. Talk about a wonderful touch.
It hasn’t always been like this. Before September 2007, the Naumi was known as the Metropole Hotel, a fairly conservative, budget-conscious spot popular with business travellers. Its location, in the centre of town right near Raffles City, means that it’s still popular with that crowd but is also attracting more jet-setting types, like Mr Smith and myself.
Having completed a full room dissection, I harangue Mr Smith into pulling on his bathers. The rooftop infinity pool has the reputation of being one of the most glamorous spots to catch some rays in the whole city, so I am keen on a romantic afternoon dip. Sunsets, swimsuits, you can imagine the rest. Coming out of the lift, I’m floored by the dangerously sexy pool surrounded by designer chaises and shaded, round seats (with their pull-over-for-privacy sun shields, Mr Smith and I dub them the love pods) and a breathtakingly gorgeous view of Singapore’s skyscrapers in the nearby financial district. Maintaining our cool while bubbling with excitement on the inside, we take our places on Dedon sunloungers, order margaritas and assess the scene. At one point, I’m struck by the thought that perhaps a couple of laps might do me some good, but, much like the urge to check out the three fitness rooms (cardio, weights and yoga), it passes rather quickly.
With both our stomachs growling like mildly threatening rottweilers behind a gate, we gather ourselves for dinner. The Naumi has a bar in its lobby – entwined floral motifs feature prominently from intricate white prints on the see-through, neon-illuminated screens to the subtle embossed patterns on its sumptuous chairs – and while it does serve casual meals, we decide to head out to find food. We toy with the idea of burgers from Seah Street Deli at Raffles Hotel or stir-fries from the Arch, and even think about dressing up in our most stylish togs for a candlelit meal of modern French fare at Gunther’s on Purvis Street. In the end, we wander down to the Chijmes dining, shopping and entertainment complex for dinner at the delightful Japanese Dining Sun restaurant. Dimly lit with a lofty ceiling and open kitchen, it is, it turns out, the perfect place for super-fresh teppanyaki, sushi and sashimi.
Afterwards, Mr Smith takes me to Tea Bone Zen Mind, a tea café located just a few doors away from Naumi, where we spend some time relaxing and sipping infusions from Japan, China and Taiwan. After much rumination – and even more tea – Mr Smith and I agree that the Naumi is ideally sited for sampling the gourmet goodies on offer in Singapore’s restaurant-packed business district. Particularly for the design obsessed among us.