Tranquility Isle: Singapore’s Sentosa Cove

Unrivaled in location, quality, and prestige, Sentosa Cove opens Singapore up to an international market that was before kept at bay

By Stephanie Wilson


 The marina is state-of-the-art in that it is able to accommodate ten megayachts and about 200 other pleasure crafts and yachts.

A cooling breeze blows gently in off the azul waters, bringing a sense of calm to an island of activity. A megayacht appears on the horizon, floating slowly into the expansive marina-the largest in Singapore- docking just as the sun sets. In the distance, the call of wild parrots sounds like music floating in the gentle breeze. It makes sense that the name Sentosa means peace and tranquility in Malay, a language spoken throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Sentosa is a small island off the southern coast of the island nation of Singapore, and is the country’s only tropical resort. A destination for more than five million tourists a year, Sentosa is connected to the main island by a causeway stretching almost a quarter mile. More than half of the 1,200-acre isle is covered by an exotic rainforest, home to monitor lizards, monkeys, peacocks, parrots, and more. Pristine white sand beaches, golf courses, themed attractions, and a heritage center claim the remaining space.

On the southern edge of this tropical paradise, a new development is making waves in such a way that will change the face of Singapore: Sentosa Cove. Being compared to Miami’s Fisher Island, Sentosa Cove is the spectacular centerpiece of Singapore’s billion-dollar plan to develop one of the world’s most exclusive integrated marina residential communities. Gurjit Singh, Director of Sentosa Properties, explains, “What we are creating is a cove for people to come to escape the city life.” He continues, “We are the ‘Grand Master Planners,’ in that we are creating the entire development from scratch.”

Sentosa Cove is more than just a development-It is a self-sustaining gated community, one that is the very first to allow foreigners to purchase and own property in Singapore. Such purchases are normally governed by the Residential Property Act, which imposes restrictions on foreign ownership of private residential property in Singapore. Sentosa Cove has been able to strike an agreement with the government, allowing them to be the first community in which foreigners can own land, with one condition: the units be owner-occupied. As Singh says, “This is a good thing. We don’t want people to build and leave it vacant: We want the community to be lived in.” This opens the island nation up to an international market that before was kept at bay.

Sentosa Cove is not only the most coveted address in all of Singapore, but also the most ambitious, with 2,500 homes to be completed by 2010. The cove will also include low-rise apartments, and two condominium towers, offering splendid views of Sentosa Island, downtown Singapore, and the beautiful rolling waters of the South China Sea. The estate will be connected by a network of waterways, footpaths, roads, and buggy trails. Also being included is a commercial component, offering food, beverage, entertainment facilities, retail fronts and more. This development has already caused quite a stir: To date, everything put on the market has been sold out, which predicts quite the sunny future for this community, which is located just miles from the equator, offering endless summers to all who are lucky enough to call it home.

The development includes a plethora of generous parcels available for purchase, ranging in price from $3- 10 million for the land alone. Individuals have the ability to build their own dream homes, as long as they adhere to architectural guidelines. “Being a tropical destination, our architecture needs to fall in line,” says Singh. “The architects have come up with wonderful, modern, tropical designs. Some of them have gone very earthy, using materials like wood and stone.” These homes are flanked by lush golf courses, nestled on the coast, or along interior waterways. Many of the properties offer private berths for docking owner’s boats.

Sentosa Cove will also be home to the most exquisite leisure boating marina, with berths large enough to host megayachts. “The marina is state-of-the-art in that it is able to accommodate ten megayachts and about 200 other pleasure crafts and yachts. That is something that is unseen and unheard of in Singapore to date,” says Singh. The marina is a very substantial one, occupying almost 35-acres of water space, making Sentosa Cove the ideal home for boating enthusiasts in the region. It is also the first in Singapore to offer sheltered waters for the boats.

As Singh points out, “Singapore is the mid-point between many countries. We hope to one day be using Sentosa Cove as a playground for the yachts that come from the Mediterranean and go down to Australia or cut across the Pacific… [These boats] already use Phuket Island in Thailand as one of their stops. We are now positioning Sentosa Cove in such a way that they would now stop here. And while they are in Sentosa Cove, they can take advantage of all Singapore has to offer.” The boating world has already caught on to the wonders of Sentosa Cove: The Singapore Asian Boat Show, which brings much of the yachting community of the region together, is to be hosted by Sentosa Cove.

Sentosa Cove will also be home to One° 15, a prestigious marina club that will offer club facilities, golf at the nearby Sentosa Golf Club, an infinity swimming pool, tennis courts, gym, Jacuzzi, spa, and sailing school. Singh says, “At the marina club, we will teach our residents the tricks of the trade of being a boat owner… We are creating an opportunity for people who have never owned a boat-we want them to enjoy the facilities within Sentosa Cove.” As a haven of luxury within the resort community, and poised to become the yachting center for all of Asia, One° 15 is a place for those who embrace first-class living.

The future of Sentosa Island as a whole looks bright as well, with the new “Resorts World” being constructed. This will incorporate a Universal Studios Experience, Quest Marine Life Park, six hotels, a festive walk, and a retail and entertainment complex. Singh says, “We are also looking at a water park and casino element… We are taking the island of Sentosa and creating something fantastic.”

Sentosa Island, which once was home to a small fishing village, has come full circle, once again offering a home to those who choose to center their living around the water. With the illustrious Sentosa Cove creating a new style of residential living, Sentosa is being rejuvenated. Singh says, “Sentosa Cove will give people a community in which to interact with others who enjoy the same style of living.” This is a style of living that is based on sheer luxury, one that anyone in the world would be lucky to embrace.