Mr. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, met with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, in the first summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries. The summit took place at the Capella Hotel, Singapore. A lot happened in the summit which mostly includes the following-- they signed a joint statement, agreeing to security guarantees for North Korea, new peaceful relations, reaffirmation of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, recovery of soldiers' remains, and follow-up negotiations between high-level officials. Immediately following the summit, Trump announced that the US would discontinue "provocative" joint military exercises with South Korea and would "eventually" withdraw troops stationed there.
According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the summit had cost the Singaporean government $20 million (US$15 million), half of which was spent on security measures. Each leader also met with Prime Minister Lee prior to their summit meeting. Sentosa, a tropical resort island south of Singapore’s main island, was transformed into a heavily policed security zone from Sunday until Thursday, as it played host to the summit meeting and the hordes of journalists who covered it from tip to the bottom. Also, the island is a home to luxury resorts, private marinas and a sprawling golf course.
The two leaders from different nations and their personal delegates met at the Capella Singapore. Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim stayed-off in two separate hotels elsewhere in Singapore — Mr. Kim at the St. Regis Hotel, and Mr. Trump less than a half a mile away at the Shangri La Hotel. The host country, Singapore, was responsible for security in the public spaces around the island and on roads as well leading to and from the meeting, while the United States and North Korea had overseen the safety of their leaders. Sentosa is connected to the mainland of the city-state by a causeway, a cable car and a monorail, too.
The Capella Hotel
The Capella Resort, Singapore is a luxury resort situated in 30 acres of grounds and gardens located on Sentosa Island, Singapore. The luxury hotel has 112 manors, suites and guest rooms designed by Norman Foster, a British architect who is an eminent designer in the hotel industry and have designed numerous high-tech and intricate architecture. The Capella was developed by Pontiac Land and officially opened on March 2009. They are highly popular among guests for rendering amazing guest experience by engaging them in an unprecedented way.
Picture Credit: CNN Report
The Capella Resort Singapore is anchored by the island's twin Tanah Merah military manors (1880s-built colonial-era officer barracks) which coexists harmoniously with the decade-old contemporary hotel, villas, world-class spa, and event spaces (ideal for vacations, company retreats or nuclear summits). Tanah Merah, which literally means “red earth” in the Malay language, referring to Singapore’s lateritic soil which inspires the resort’s design, from its reddish color palette to terra cotta roofs to imaginative sun shading. The resort also houses plenty of TV’s for Trump and Kim to track their press coverage.
But according to the trusted sources, that’s only one side of the unturned coin! Sentosa has a history filled with anything but tranquility! Before the resort town became a millionaire's paradise, explorers recounted piracy, bloodshed, and widespread disease. The island was formerly called Blakang Mati - meaning ‘Behind Death’ - a name that points to this dark history.
The Capella is one of the best hotels in all of Singapore and the amazing experience begins as one approaches Capella hotel on Sentosa Island. A private driveway meanders up to a Capella masterpiece, where old and new fuse together in luxury. The singular locale of Capella Singapore resort and spa in Singapore ensures that a vacation on Sentosa Island is like none other. The curved, modern buildings gently intermingle with both Singapore’s colonial buildings and the verdant, vibrant rainforest spread over 30 acres of land (which is a sheer joy to watch!)
This mesmerizing blend of the old and the new, the natural and the man-made designed, infuses every acre of Capella Singapore. Where courtyards using native plants invite moments of introspection! It’s a place where the sea waves gently lap against the shore of Sentosa Island, their natural energy inspiring with every crest. The hotel has vivid rooms, ranging from the 829-square-foot Premier Room with one king-sized bed, which is now available for $435 a night on numerous third-party sites, to the 4,693-square-foot manor that accommodates up to eight people for $8,242 a night.
But, there is a question! Why Sentosa? After the entire speculation about locations from Mongolia to the DMZ and more, earlier this month it was announced that the milestone summit will take place on Sentosa, a small resort island off the southern tip of Singapore, connected to the mainland by a road bridge. Sentosa’s geography is likely to have played a part in its selection as the meeting point for the two leaders, providing isolation from the outside world and a natural barrier to any unwanted interlopers. The place was also secured with heavy-armed troops and guards for the protection of Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim. There is another reason as well, Sentosa means “peace and tranquility’ in Malay language which has a symbolic reference to the summit.
The Shangri-La Hotel: The luxury hotel is set in a tranquil 15-acre site off Orchard Road, and has 747 hotel rooms spread over three wings, including 26 suites for heads of states and distinguished guests. The area surrounding the hotel was declared a "special event area" for the time-period June 10 to 14. This means that security restrictions was imposed in the area, and people and vehicles who enter the demarcated area had to see stricter security measures and may be subjected to spot checks.
Earlier, some observers said that the gazetting of the area around Shangri-La Hotel raised the likelihood of the hotel being the venue of the summit. But with Capella Hotel being announced as the official summit venue by the White House, it is now likely instead that one of the two leaders stayed at Shangri-La Hotel. The hotel's presidential suite, called the Valley Wing Shangri-La Suite, is where some experts think Mr Trump stayed during his visit. It has a private entrance and lift too.
Picture Credit: The Washington Post
It has also hosted former US presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush. The hotel, which is located away from Singapore's main shopping belt and within a residential area, guarantees privacy for its guests. Crucially, it has solid experience in hosting high-security events, such as the landmark meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and then Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou in 2015, and the Shangri-La Dialogue which attracts dozens of defence ministers each year.
The St Regis Hotel: The St. Regis is built less than half a mile from the Shangri La Hotel, where Mr. Trump stayed during the summit. But while the Shangri La is set on a residential stretch of road, the St. Regis sits on a busy commercial boulevard next to a run-down strip mall with two money changers, a pet store and “Maids R Us,” a hiring agency. While previous reports had suggested that Mr Kim's preferred choice of lodging was the Fullerton, the hotel is not within any special zones gazetted by the Government for the summit.
This increased the likelihood and Mr Kim will stayed at The St Regis instead, which is a nine-minute walk away from Shangri-La Hotel. The St Regis was the choice hotel for the Chinese delegation in 2015, when Singapore hosted a historic meeting between Mr Xi and Mr Ma. Located in Tanglin Road, a block away from the bustling Orchard Road belt, the hotel may not be able to provide the same sense of privacy that Shangri-La boasts. The hotel features 299 rooms and suites, including the lavish presidential suite on the hotel's highest floor on the 20th storey.
The suite includes a bedroom, living room, dining room, office and terrace, and features a private balcony, jacuzzi, a gym and a butler service. Each room in the suite is lined with gold, and accented with brass, onyx and silver metals. The walls are adorned with hand-painted silk panels, with custom-made Czech crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
Family & Firms Behind The Capella Hotel:
The 112-room Capella Singapore, which juts out of a lushly landscaped island in Singapore’s harbour, is owned by the city’s well-renowned and eminent Kwee family, according to Singapore media. Their Pontiac Land Group company has been building a network of lavish hotels across Asia and the Singapore firm has even intruded on the Trump Organization’s New York base, building a 72-story condominium and museum gallery project in midtown Manhattan.
The hotel on Sentosa Island was purchased in the yesteryear’s fall by the Kwee family, a billionaire quartet of four brothers, according to the media accounts. According to Forbes, they have estimated the family’s holdings at $5.5 billion (U.S.) and their budding hotel empire has ties to the Ritz-Carlton chain, a rival to the Trump Organization for the affection of wealthy and business travellers.
But a mystery lies within! Both the hotel and the Kwee’s firm did not confirm the reports of the family’s involvement in the hotel. A hotel spokesperson said she could not “disclose details related to this event” and the real estate firm did not reply to a request for comment from The Associated Press! But the hotel was among nine properties that the Kwees were said to have bought late last year from their former partner, Ritz-Carlton very own and the veteran Horst Schulze, who is still listed as ‘chairman emeritus’ on the group’s website. The group’s board of directors include Evan Kwee, son of Pontiac Land Group Chairman Kwee Liong Tek, and Ng Chee Yuen, founder of Shenning Investments Pte. Ltd., the Kwee family’s real estate investment firm.
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