A fixture of the pandemic, self-care – denoting the conscious act of maintaining your well-being – is rooted in the 1950s, when patient-centric healthcare became more prevalent. Later, during America’s tinderbox civil rights movement, the term was appropriated by black activists as a clarion call to assert one’s autonomy amid a backdrop of entrenched social injustice.
Fast forward to today, where the concept of self-care has proliferated as a breezy, one-size-fits-all slogan alluding to the importance of mental, emotional and physical wellness. These cannot be overstated, though, considering the vagaries of our times.
Beyond offering retail therapy as a panacea to such challenges, Raffles City Singapore is a holistic lifestyle destination providing respite from the daily grind – imagine a soft cushion to life’s jolts, if you will. In the past two years, the mall has evolved to meet the shifting demands of customers, with a focus on self-care and rejuvenation.
Start by spending quality time with your loved ones at a well-appointed suite in the adjoining Fairmont Singapore, which pampers guests with in-room amenities such as a Nespresso machine and Le Labo toiletries.
A culinary destination in its own right, the hotel is home to two-Michelin starred Euro-British restaurant Jaan by Kirk Westaway, fine Italian favourite Prego and SKAI Bar, where you can enjoy wraparound views of the city over high tea from the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford.
Fuelling up lends well to awakening your muse at Ode to Art, the mall’s mainstay that exhibits a panoply of contemporary art by renowned figures. Think, the greats such as Fernando Botero and Salvador Dali, and living local legend and centenarian Lim Tze Peng. You can easily spend an afternoon poring over the gallery’s trove of sculptures, paintings, photography and installation art.
Further tease your imagination at Penhaligon’s, the century-old grand dame of British perfumiers that leads shoppers into the gilded world of rajas and countesses in plumes of exotic scents. Heartless Helen, for instance, is a mandarin, wood and tuberose infused fragrance evoking an intriguing temptress. Designed with an old English manor house in mind, the store is fitted with a fragrance sommelier bar where you can have in-depth discussions on scents that suit you. You can also choose to have your perfume bottles engraved.
Speaking of sybaritic luxuries, fans of chinoiserie can sharpen their sartorial game with the perfect cheongsam in a modern silhouette at luxury Hong Kong boutique Shanghai Tang. Tailored suit jackets inspired by the Qipao and structured jacquard skirts are among its exquisite collection of threads, alongside intricately embellished homeware items with East-meets-West sensibilities.
Of course, we can’t preach self-care without the trappings of wellness. Head to the SK-II Boutique Spa by Senze Salus to be cossetted by treatments that incorporate cutting-edge technology, alongside aromatherapy facials that use organic essential oils. Treatment rooms feature heated beds folded in with goosedown comforters.
Over the ages, human beings have sought refuge in oases for food, water and shelter. Perhaps malls such as Raffles City are the embodiments of the 21st century oasis, where we can retreat to perform our increasingly necessary self-care rituals.