Sophisticated isle of smiles
Singapore’s popular island escape has grown from a family destination to become a playground for adults with top hotels and restaurants, writes Tiana Templeman
SENTOSA Island in Singapore dates back to the 14th century when it was rumoured to be a pirates’ lair. Some locals insist that it still is.
Sentosa’s many attractions have been known to part unwary visitors from their silver faster than any buccaneer but Australians have little to fear. Our strong dollar and savvy approach to seeking out the best deal ensure a visit to the leisure isle is smooth sailing.
Sentosa has always been a popular destination for families but it has recently reinvented itself as an adult playground, thanks in part to Resorts World, now home to six hotels, dozens of restaurants, a high end casino and shops, among other diversions. Provided you avoid the weekend and Singapore school holidays, Sentosa is an ideal spot for a couple’s getaway.
Singapore’s skyscrapers are less than half a kilometre away but the atmosphere is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Travelling across the bridge to the island takes less than a minute but it feels like you are a world away. Rainforest covers over 70 per cent of the island and many of the buildings are hidden behind lush vegetation. Jungle hugs the roadside, parrots scoot across the sky and peacocks strut around the resorts.
The name Sentosa translates as “peace and tranquillity” in Malay and it is a wonderful place to relax but there is also plenty of fun to be had.
A Sentosa Play Pass includes one or two days entry to multiple attractions and saves up to 70 per cent on admission fees. Make it your First Mate as paying individual entry fees quickly adds up.
Free buses transport visitors around the island so it is easy to get wherever you need to go. Imbiah Lookout is Sentosa’s highest point and home to 11 attractions. Skyline Luge and MegaZip Adventure Park are two of the most exciting. Luge riders strap on a helmet and zoom down one of two concrete race tracks, hugging the corners and racing each other to the bottom. It is best to opt for the three ride package so you can do your favourite run twice. The chairlift ride back to the top offers excellent views, particularly at night when the track is lit up for added excitement. Arrive in the evening after the families have gone home for maximum thrills.
MegaZip has a challenging high-ropes course, a simulated parachute jump and a 450 metre-long flying fox. There are multiple zip lines.
Sentosa may be better known as a family destination but the island is home to one of Singapore’s most romantic hotels. Capella Singapore, an intimate resort set high on a hill overlooking the Straits, is surrounded by jungle and has tiered swimming pools encircled by couple’s day beds.
While Capella is perhaps best suited to adults, couples travelling with children can also enjoy some quality time together. Kids and romance go hand-in-hand at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa which has a free kids’ club. Parents are encouraged to leave children in the program for the day so they can participate fully in the scheduled activities. Complimentary meals are