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Cool Dad Hangouts: F1 Party King Robbie Hoyes-Cock of Podium Lounge

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Cool DadsCool Dads

Does the Dad in your life need some inspo on where to take the kids? We’ve talked to some of the coolest Dads in Singapore to get their tips on where to go and what to do with kiddos in tow!

The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is an annual highlight on the September calendar, but if we’re being honest we actually look forward to the concerts and parties most of all. We have promoter and nightlife impresario Robbie Hoyes-Cock to thank for putting Singapore on the party map: 10 years ago he founded The Podium Lounge, a 3-day, star-studded event that takes place just steps from the Paddock Club.

But did you know that in addition to being a jet-setting party pro, Robbie is also a doting father of three? We caught up with Robbie and his kiddos Amelia (age 6), Athena (age 4) and George (age 1) at their idyllic Portsdown black and white – which feels a million miles away from the glitz and flash of the F1 – to find out what they like to do for fun. Robbie, who’s English by nationality but has lived in Singapore since he was 6 months old, is as in-the-know as it gets when it comes to sharing tips on date night restaurants, outdoor parks, and cool ways to exercise here in Singapore. Read on for some very cheeky tips, mama, and be sure to share with any dads looking to up the fun factor…

How long have you lived in Singapore for?

I moved to Singapore in 1982 aged 6 months. I was born in Athens (where my dad was working) and to this day he still tells the story of how Singapore Airlines must have thrown the entire plane away, as I apparently projectile vomitted across business class the whole way here! I was at school in Singapore until 1997 when I then got an offer to do my A-Levels at Eton College and then read Law at Bristol University. I came back to Singapore very soon thereafter, but always ”kept a room” in Singapore at my parents’ place.

Tell us something quirky about yourself?

I once hosted Kevin Spacey for late night single-malts at my little black and white house while he was in Singapore performing in Richard III (2011). He spent a lot of the night in a variety of ”characters” constantly switching between a number of different voices. My favourite was the old New Yorkian baker on 33rd Street. It’s such a shame there was such a scandal that later transpired as he’s one of my all time favourite actors… and no, he didn’t hit on me.

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to hang out with your kids?

Quayside Isle on Sentosa because of the breeze, the boardwalk, the playground, the marina, the ice-cream at Big Fat Mama, and the fact that a cold glass of wine is within touching distance from almost every section of the boardwalk.

What’s your favorite restaurant to bring your kids to in Singapore?

Samy’s Curry at Dempsey Road for three reasons: 1) Eating off a banana leaf tickles them 2) Starting kids on spice and curry at a young age is key and 3) My very first memory of eating in Singapore was at Samy’s around 1985 – 86 when I was attending kindegarten nearby on Dempsey Hill at St George’s Church.

What are your favorite kid-friendly aspects of F1 weekend?

Over the Singapore F1 Weekend I have stayed at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia for the last nine years. This year will be my 10th consecutive year in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of The Podium Lounge Singapore which runs from 14 – 16 September. Aside from catching up with my kids for brunch on the Sunday (usually at the Colony at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore) I don’t really get to spend any time with my kids over that weekend.

The Podium Lounge runs from 10pm – 4am+, all 3 nights in the Grand Ballroom and I have a very understanding wife, Anna who ”covers” for me back at home that weekend! Our star-studded line-up this year includes Keith Duffy (Boyzone), Brian McFadden (Westlife), Joel Madden (Good Charlotte), Taboo (The Black Eyed Peas) and is hosted by Alex Yoong (ex F1 Driver), Yvette King (E! News Asia) and Cindy Bishop (Asia’s Next Top Model) so I’ll probably try and steal a few photographs of the kids with them, as keepsakes for when they’re older.

Do you do any cooking in the house? If so, what do you make?

I limit my cooking to BBQs only and my specialities include Hot Cajun Sauce Buffalo Wings, Tomahawk Steaks (I tell the kids they’re actually dinosaur bones), 48 Hour Bourbon Whisky Marinated BBQ Flavoured Ribs and Potato Salad mixed with Japanese mayonnaise, century eggs and Tobiko (flying fish roe). I know… I have lived in Asia far too long…

What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?

I live within stumbling distance of Tanglin Trust School (which is handy as the kids can walk to school) and behind both The ColBar and Pietrasanta, which is by far and away the best Italian restaurant in Singapore.

It’s extremely quiet living in the jungle and it’s great having a pool in the garden for the kids. Guests often refer to my place as being quite ”ulu ulu” (Malay for very remote) but we’re actually right besides Mediapolis and just 10 minutes by car to Raffles Place!

What are the most Dad-friendly places for changing diapers?

That’s a really good question…!

cool dad hangouts robbie hoyes cock of the podium lounge

Favorite playground in Singapore? 

Jacob Ballas in the Botanic Gardens… but I’d like to stress that Singapore is absolutely craving for the types of mega and natural outdoor playgrounds that you can find in places like Centre Parcs and Longleat in Wiltshire and Folly Farm in Wales. I am pretty certain there is plenty of space for the creation of a rustic outdoor playground that blends into the jungles around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and gets more children excited about being outdoors.

Best spot for coffee when you’re on early-morning Dad duty?

I bought an incredible Elektra coffee machine from Brewers in Singapore which has saved me thousands over the years. Before that it was Baker & Cook at Holland Village.

As someone known for all-night partying, what’s your secret to getting your second wind when you have to wake up and deal with the kids on Sunday morning?

We’re very lucky to have two helpers, for this very reason. They alternate Saturdays and Sundays off each week.

Any favorite bedtime book recommendations?

Aesop’s Fables … and I still have the same copy of the hard book that my parents would read for me when I was a little boy.

Any favorite apps/games to play with your kids?

I’d love to say that it’s a maths or reading app, but the truth is that it’s a Flight Simulator called ProFlightSimulator. The girls can spend hours (failing) to land all sorts of planes, jets and helicopters on the runway!

What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids when Mom’s not around?

Sailing. Mum gets terribly seasick so it’s a great chance for me to enjoy some quality daddy-daughter time. My son is still only 1 yrs old and can’t swim unaided so he’s not quite ready for the high seas. My old school buddy from both Tanglin Trust and United World College, James Sharp, has a fabulous sailing yacht up at Changi Sailing Club that we often go on. We’re hugely excited about a week-long post F1 trip onboard the extraordinary Schooner Dallinghoo to the Anambas Islands and Bawah Reserve in particular.

Cool Dad Hangouts Robbie Hoyes-Cock of the Podium Lounge at his home

What are your favorite date night restaurants?

Our top 3 in order are L’Angelus on Club Street, Club Street Social and The Corner House in The Botanic Gardens (only because we got married there, in what used to then be Les Amis Au Jardin).

Where do you like to train/exercise?

I have twice weekly training with Joe Williams at UFIT down the road at Fusionopolis. He’s the best personal trainer I’ve ever come across; such a great lad and super motivating. Also if you close your eyes, he’s a dead ringer for Bear Grylls!

I also have weekly squash coaching from Vivian Rhamanan who’s the current reigning National Squash Champion for Singapore as well as a SEA Games Gold Medalist!

Apart from the training I have a great German (A-grade) squash partner who I play singles with as often as possible, I go to the Polo Club Gym and there’s a great running route along the green corridor and up through Alexandra, Hort and Kent Ridge Park which takes me about 50 minutes door-to-door.

What are your favorite holiday destinations with your kids?

The Mumbles, Wales (for family time with the in-laws); Soneva Fushi, Conrad Rangali Island and Amilla Fushi Maldives (for the white beaches, the turquoise sea and the extraordinary Kids’ Clubs); and Bali (for the spacious villas and the proximity to Singapore)

You throw parties all over the globe, do you bring your kids along? If so do you have any tips for flying with kids?

Given my kids are only 1, 4 and 6 and wouldn’t be allowed to join any of the Formula 1 Events I’ve organized in Abu Dhabi, Monaco or Melbourne, they don’t travel with me when I’m ”working”! But my tips for flying with small children are to always bring a set of children’s headphones (not the standard issue ones you’re given onboard), have dinner at the airport before you fly (there’s no need to eat a full meal again onboard, especially on flights to and from the UK), pack a bunch of healthy snacks and nibbles to tie them over and a spare set of clothes for when daddy’s Bloody Mary gets knocked over mid-flight!

Thank you so much to Robbie and the kids for welcoming us into your home. And many thanks to Samantha Ong for the great snaps! We’ll see you at the Podium Lounge, mamas!

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