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  The Straits Times 10 May 06
Labrador Park to get a hotel and spa
by Krist Boo

A YEAR after the first restaurant opened in a nature reserve, the same park will be home to the first hotel too.

By the end of the year, two pre-war bungalows in the 16.8ha Labrador Park in Pasir Panjang will be refurbished into a 60-room hotel and spa. The spa is expected to have 20 treatment rooms, an infinity pool and a glasshouse gym. A room may cost around $180 a night.

One of the buildings was apparently built in 1881 and was occupied by a prominent Singapore ship chandler George Mansfield.

Putting $8 million into the venture is Singapore Explorer, a company with interests ranging from river taxis to restaurants and the RainTree Day Spa in UE Square.

In an interview, its chairman Francis Phun said Labrador Park draws about 10,000 visitors a month to its two conserved World War II tunnels and the Italian restaurant, Olive Ristorante. Mr Phun, whose company manages the tunnels and owns the restaurant, said he hopes the spa hotel - which will also offer aesthetic treatments such as botox and colon detox - will make a name for Singapore as a spa destination.

He said: 'This will probably be one of the most comprehensive spa destinations in the region... Mum can do the treatment, the kids can go on nature trails, and Dad can go fishing at the jetty.'

On the cards too, he said, are plans for the company to start a thrice-daily ferry service from Labrador Park to Sentosa and the southern islands.

Overlooking the sea, Labrador is a haunt for park lovers to view birds, lizards and butterflies. It is home to trees such as the sea apple and the silverback.

The yet-to-be-named hotel is sited near the public carpark and outside the 10ha nature reserve area, which was gazetted in 2002.

National Parks Board's deputy director for parks (west), Mr Tay Boon Sin, said Labrador Park's spa theme complements the nature reserve's serene environment.

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