Foster + Partners Capella Resort on Sentosa Island has opened today. Comprising a six-star hotel, villas and a centrepiece garden courtyard, the project frames two carefully restored historic colonial buildings and it follows the natural contours of the site, cascading down the tiers of the hillside as it dissolves into a 12-hectare tropical sanctuary.

The masterplan and the scale of the new elements respectfully relate to the former military Tanah Merah buildings, which dominate the overall composition and provide a gateway to the resort. Views to these buildings from the grounds are largely retained and the hotel incorporates and extends them to frame a garden courtyard. This central space anchors the scheme and establishes a strong plan. A series of further gardens, cascading pools and suites trace the contours of the hillside in a gently layered arrangement. The intention is to regain the lush planting that had formerly existed on the site, so that the buildings will eventually appear to be lost within a rich landscape.

The unassuming treatment of the exteriors allows the landscape and the historic buildings to have prominence and is counterbalanced with the creation of an interior experience that is more dramatic. The villas, for example, while extremely simple in their design, encompass dynamic double-height spaces. The hotel will feature a range of accommodation for business and leisure, a ballroom and spa. Longer-term accommodation will be provided in Villa Suites and Sea Facing Suites lower down the hillside. In addition, the resort has extensive facilities for outdoor events.


Our design aims to achieve a strong sense of place, continuity and context by respecting the topography of the site and sensitively integrating the historic Tanah Merah buildings, which frame the hotel and provide a gateway to the resort. The new elements of the Capella Resort follow the natural tiers of the hill to form a subtle, layered intervention into the tropical sanctuary of the grounds.
David Nelson, Senior Partner and Head of Design

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