Tim and Monica Pitrelli lived in sunny Newport Beach, California before they moved to Singapore in early 2008.
EL: Where did you live when you first arrived in Singapore?
MP: We stayed in four different serviced apartments before finally moving into our own apartment. We lived by Cairnhill, on Bencoolen, at Robertson Quay and Riverside, so we got early crash courses in each of these neighbourhoods.
EL: Why did you choose to live in Marina Bay?
MP: I showed Tim my two favourite places – a spacious, beautiful apartment in Novena and a new, ultra-modern one at The Sail at Marina Bay. When he saw that his office was just two blocks away from The Sail, he immediately wanted to move there. I would have gone back and forth, weighing the pros and cons and driving myself crazy. But he made it quite easy.
TP: I work late most nights, and by living close to where I work, I never have to worry about finding a taxi. My entire commute is underground, so I’m never exposed to the rain or the heat. I timed it once, and it is ten minutes from our front door to my office door. And most of that is waiting for the elevators on each end!
EL: Best thing about living in this area?
TP: The proximity to the CBD, Clarke Quay, the MRT, the airport, and now the Marina Bay Sands. Plus, I am from New York, so downtown, high-rise living feels normal to me.
EL: Why this particular home?
TP: The view of the bay is outstanding. Plus, we are treated to firework shows every other month, it seems. When we moved in, the building was brand new so there were fantastic deals to be found. But with the completion of the Sands and the economy gaining traction, I think it is safe to say those days are over.
EL: Were facilities important to you?
MP: Yes, and the facilities at The Sail are phenomenal. They have an impressive gym with a rock climbing wall, tennis courts, and a sky terrace on the 44th floor. But you know what sold me? They have exercise bikes and other gym equipment in the pool! Sadly, I have only been in the pool once since we moved in a year and a half ago.
EL: What is the one misconception about your neighbourhood?
MP: People sometimes think that we are far away from the action because we are not close to Orchard. But I don’t feel like that at all. However, I will admit that since we tend to stay in the CBD, Tim thinks that Bukit Timah is practically in Malaysia!
EL: What is missing from your area?
TP: Though the area has grown so much in the past two years, it is still mostly commercial. Grocery and retail stores within walking distance would be helpful. And outdoor concerts in the area sometimes leave you longing for a bit of peace and quiet, but they don’t happen too often.
EL: Preferred local leisure area?
TP: We both love Fort Canning Park. We like to jog to it and explore the paths and sites in the park. We have also had picnics there and once enjoyed a nice bottle of wine in the Sculpture Garden, although I am not sure that was legal.
EL: Favourite restaurant for a special night out?
MP: In our area, we love Equinox on top of Swissôtel The Stamford. There is also a great place in our building called Rocks Urban Bar + Grill. Although it isn’t exactly upscale, we love Viva Mexico in Cuppage Terrace. The food is so good that it always feels special to go there.
EL: Favourite “cheap and cheerful” restaurant?
MP: Hands down, we love Health Fuel Station and Juiced. Both make build-your-own salads and wraps. We go to one of these two restaurants every single day. It is a sort of addiction at this point.
EL: Any hidden gems in your neighbourhood?
TP: We love the little wine bar downstairs, called Cru Prestige. Due to nearby construction, it doesn’t have much atmosphere right now, but it’s close, the pours are generous, and the guy that runs it, Jegan, is the happiest, friendliest guy in Singapore.
EL: Complete this sentence: This neighbourhood is perfect for…
TP: people who work in the CBD.
Equinox, Swissôtel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road, Level 69
+65 6431 5669
Rocks Urban Bar + Grill
2 Marina Boulevard #02-01/02
+65 6438 4404
23 Cuppage Road
+65 6235 0440
Health Fuel Station
2 Marina Boulevard #01-31A
+65 6509 4955
9 Raffles Place #B1-08
2 Marina Boulevard #01-16
+65 6222 6650