So­phis­ti­cated isle of smiles

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - ROMANTIC -

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

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