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LUXURY HOTELS:  The Valley Wing at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 
Any hotel that offers unlimited and free flowing champagne to its guests every afternoon is my kind of place. There's complimentary afternoon tea too and scones and cakes but it is the Champagne Bar that really sets the style.

Sometimes choosing a hotel is all about choosing the right part of the hotel to stay in. At Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore the Valley Wing is the place, with its own private driveway and lobby 'The Valley' is almost like a boutique-hotel-within-a hotel; with the added advantage of being connected by a walkway past lush gardens to all the amenities of the main Shangri-La.

deluxe suite
deluxe suite
the valley wing deluxe bathroom
master bedroom
suite private entrance
summit room
the valley wing lobby

From the moment you are met at the airport by a special concierge and whisked to your waiting limousine you know you are heading somewhere special.   Settle back in the limo with the international papers, a choice of CDs, cool towel, welcome drink and the five star experience has begun before you've even reached the luxury hotel.

Every guest here is greeted like a visiting dignitary.  When we arrive liveried staff line up to greet us and before we know it our hands are laden with a welcome drink and beautiful wild orchids. Luckily I don't have to carry anything else because, as you'd expect, all my bags are whisked way and deposited in my classically beautiful suite.

All I have to do is float through the lobby with its high ceilings and ornate paintings and up to my room.

 The Valley Wing is all about old-style opulence. Guests are given their own personal in-residence business cards and of course a personal fax number, there is even a laptop for use during the stay, in case I don't want to be burdened by bringing my own. Regular guests also have personalised bathrobes and pillows embroidered with their initials. In fact 'Personalised' seems to be the word here. I feel as if I have been transported back to a far more elegant age. Forget email, I really must write to someone on paper embossed with 'from the desk of Hilary Doling' before I leave. But first I'll sink into the queen Anne chair and drink tea my butler has prepared out of my own person Wedgewood tea set with a selection of Chinese leaf teas.

My bed is snowy with Egyptian cotton sheets and a choice of pillows, the carpet is thick under my toes and everywhere is polished wood, gilt edge-mirrors, silks and brocade. Traditional wooden screens lead to a dressing room   which is itself the size of many more modest hotel rooms and a marbled bathroom with all those little extra luxury travellers love; rainforest shower, LCD TV in the wall by the tub -yep you could easily spend an evening just in here.

And if all this still isn't quite enough pampering for you, book into the presidential Shangri-La Suite on the top floor - the ultimate stay in the ultimate wing. If they can squeeze you in between visiting heads of State and 'A' list movie stars that is. Expect palatial space and your own private elevator.

The Shangri-La group's very first hotel was in Singapore back in 1971 and it is from here the group has expanded. Just lately it has definitely been upping the luxe factor with a series of very stylish ad campaigns and a determination to re-inject style and elegance into the brand.

The Valley Wing is a good example of where Shangri-La's stated commitment to serenity and harmony works best.   Outside they are gearing up for sales season (Great Singapore Sale 25 May - 22 July 2012) and the streets are jumping like fat in a hot wok, inside is an oasis of calm.   We're a Kelly handbag swing away from all the action of Orchard Road without being part of it; a perfect combination.

We breakfast in our private Summit dining room but venture to the main hotel one lunch time to try the delicious Dim Sum at the renowned Shang Palace. We also explore Singapore and shop far too much, always returning like homing pigeons to the sanctuary of The Valley Wing and a glass of champagne or two.

 A gift to regular guests is a copy of the James Hilton book, Lost Horizon, which popularised the concept of Shangri-La. A quote from the book sums up my feeling about my stay perfectly.

'...he felt an extraordinary sense of physical and mental settlement. It was perfectly true; he just rather liked being at Shangri-La.'

When it comes to the Valley Wing, I do too.
Check in: The Valley Wing, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Orange Grove Rd, Singapore 258350
Ultimate Luxury:  T he Shangri-La Suite with its private elevator
Most Indulgent Moment: An in-room Lady's or Gentleman's Retreat bath drawn by your butler with a choice of scented oils.
Insider Secrets: Regular guests get personalise bathrobes and pillows - a home from home.
The Little Things: P ersonalised stationary, laptop for use during your stay, a selection of pillows
Junior Luxies: Children welcomed with a cuddly Valley Wing teddy bear
Dress Code: Classic by night, smart casual by day 
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Hotels Link: www.shangri-la.com
Hilary Doling 12/5/12
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