1. An arresting concept
The establishment has a rich history: it occupies the site of a Tudor-era palace for visiting Scottish royalty and the stunning Grade II-listed building you see today served as the headquarters for the Metropolitan Police until the end of the 19th century. Notable characters have passed through its iconic green doors, including Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, whose inspiration for Sherlock Holmes is rumoured to have come from this institution. Last year, it reopened as a soigné hotel revamped by architecture firm HBA International, who were influenced by its colourful history.
2. Historic artefacts
The hotel’s décor gives a nod to its law enforcement past — from batons, hats and poison bottles that line the lobby to original mugshots that were screen-printed and turned into wallpaper. Upon closer inspection, one will find iconography such as top hats, keys and monocles on tiles, carpets and even the ceiling, as well as sniffer-dog handles in the elevator and a subtle police badge motif throughout the space.
3. Game on
Celebrated chef Robin Gill helms The Yard, the hotel’s in-house brasserie-style restaurant that serves elevated, modern British fare with a strong focus on game meat. Gill’s menu gives respect to the best seasonal ingredients sourced from top producers around the country. The undisputed star is the venison, which is tender and succulent, topped with a jus and served alongside a bed of braised cabbage and a ramekin of hunter’s pie.
4. Whisky lover’s delight
Behind a wall of books lies the secret whisky bar Sibin, for those serious about their tipples. Serving just whisky, the menu features some rare casks, including those sourced from small-scale producers such as Swedish distillery Mackmyra, and hard-to-find limited releases, like a bottle of single malt Scotch from the historic St Magdalene distillery that closed in 1983. Guests are only allowed one double shot of the super rare varieties per night. Those who prefer cocktails can head over to the 40 Elephants bar – named after a Victorian-era girl gang known for their burglary techniques. Drinks are made with rare and unusual types of alcohol such as cloudberry liqueur and mastiha spirit. Recommended is the Smash and Grab, which mixes pisco with a smooth vetiver gris liqueur.
5. Artwork with a cause
Over 600 pieces of specially curated art are featured throughout the property, including a series from Koestler Arts, an art charity in the United Kingdom that offers rehabilitation to ex-offenders through artistic practices. Works range from intricate soap carvings to sculptures, installations and paintings. Be sure to look out for the matchstick installation titled One Strike and the comic strip that humorously satirises life behind bars.
To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com
This article was originally published in the March 2020 issue of SilverKris magazine.