COOLEST STAYCATION IDEAS FOR FAM­I­LIES

Take your staycation week­end up a notch at th­ese hip ho­tels. BY ELISA CHIA, LYNN WEE & STEPHANIE YEO

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

We checked into th­ese gor­geous and In­sta­wor­thy ho­tels.

M SO­CIAL SIN­GA­PORE

Were we in a ho­tel or a mod­ern art gallery? Neon-pink glass pan­els line one wall of the lobby, and the floor is a clash of mar­ble and in­tri­cately pat­terned tiles. A cosy area with a quirky bookshelf-lamp and an over­sized floor mir­ror sits near the en­trance, mak­ing it the per­fect back­drop for an #ootd shot.

De­signed by the renowned Philippe Starck, it breaks (al­most) all the rules of cookie-cut­ter ho­tels. M So­cial Sin­ga­pore claims to be the first in Sin­ga­pore to have a self­check-in kiosk, of­fer­ing guests an easy and fuss-free process.

At noon, there was al­ready a long queue and, go­ing by the ac­cents, it’s a hit among Sin­ga­pore­ans opt­ing for a week­end staycation.

But it’s not merely the lobby that speaks vol­umes, its rooms share the same cool, glam­orous vibe, too.

Span­ning 236 sq ft, the award-win­ning Loft Pre­mier room we stayed in had a lux­u­ri­ous touch. The dou­ble-height space comes with a queen-size bed and a Ne­spresso cof­fee ma­chine.

Don’t for­get to dial for room ser­vice, with a twist. Our re­quest for ex­tra bed­room slip­pers was ful­filled by the ho­tel’s guest ser­vice as­so­ciate, Aura, the first au­ton­o­mous ser­vice de­liv­ery robot in Sin­ga­pore’s ho­tel in­dus­try. She de­liv­ers a range of items such as packed meals and ameni­ties, right to your door.

The ho­tel also has a fit­ness cen­tre and a 31m-long lap pool, which runs 1.2m deep, on its fifth floor.

There are plenty of din­ing op­tions avail­able, thanks to its prime lo­ca­tion at Robert­son Quay, but we chose to end the night at the ho­tel’s hip res­tau­rant, Beast and But­ter­flies (pic­tured, bot­tom left).

Its art­fully mis­matched fur­ni­ture, retro lava lamps and tablet-lined wall make it visu­ally stun­ning, and the food’s not bad, ei­ther. We en­joyed Asian fu­sion dishes such as as­sam short ribs ($35), ham hock ($25) and yam brulee ($10).

HOW MUCH Rates start from $216++ per night for a Loft Pre­mier room, which can ac­com­mo­date two adults and a kid aged 12 and be­low; top up $20++ per per­son for its buf­fet break­fast.

FIND OUT MORE www.tinyurl. com/M-So­cial-Sin­ga­pore

OASIA HO­TEL DOWN­TOWN

De­spite be­ing sit­u­ated in high-rise Tan­jong Pa­gar, Oasia Ho­tel Down­town isn’t dif­fi­cult to spot.

This swanky ho­tel’s dis­tinc­tive fa­cade is made up of ve shades of red alu­minium mesh, with 21 species of creep­ers grow­ing on it, al­most like a mas­sive ver­ti­cal gar­den.

The same lush­ness is echoed through­out the prop­erty. Its openspace lobby on Level 12 is sur­rounded by fo­liage, while cushy so­fas and fur­ni­ture in earthy tones oc­cupy the spa­ces. There are also pavil­ions on the sides of its huge green lawn, of­fer­ing a stun­ning view of the vicin­ity.

There are four room cat­e­gories – Su­pe­rior, Deluxe, Club room and Club suite. The rst two – mea­sur­ing 247.6 sq ft each – are suit­able for fam­i­lies with kids, while the Club rooms cater to par­ents look­ing a ro­man­tic staycation. Chil­dren be­low 12 years old are not al­lowed on Club Lev­els 21 to 25.

We checked into the 301-sqft Club room, which has a king­size bed com­plete with pil­low mist, as well as a mini bar with a Ne­spresso cof­fee ma­chine.

The bath­room comes with a tub and is stocked with pre­mium toi­letries from Aus­tralian brand Bi­ol­ogy.

Even more lux­u­ri­ous is the ho­tel’s ex­clu­sive club fa­cil­i­ties. At the re­sort-like club oor on Level 21, sub­tle touches of cop­per dress up the area, while the Tif­fany blue pan­els liven up the neu­tral colour pal­ette.

It also boasts a club lounge – of­fer­ing free snacks and drinks through­out the day and evening cock­tails and canapes from 6pm to 8pm daily – and an innity pool (pic­tured above) which comes with pri­vate ca­banas – where we lounged the af­ter­noon away.

Be­sides, the ho­tel has two rooftop pools that run from 0.15m to 1.2m deep on Level 27, which sports a more play­ful theme – it has colour­ful swings and chairs (pic­tured, be­low left) that add a whim­si­cal ac­cent to the over­all set­ting. This level is open to all ho­tel guests.

If you’re a tness en­thu­si­ast, don’t for­get to check out the 24-hour gym, or wake up early be­fore break­fast and join the Sun­day morn­ing yoga class; mats are pro­vided.

As club guests, we had the op­tion of hav­ing our break­fast ei­ther at the lounge, or at The Mar­malade Pantry, a home-grown bistro lo­cated on Level 1. We chose the lat­ter, which doles out a wider spread of in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal dishes like dim sum, crois­sants and more.

HOW MUCH Rates start from $240++ per night for the Su­pe­rior room, which can ac­com­mo­date two adults and one child be­low 12 years old. Break­fast for two is in­cluded; pay an ad­di­tional $15++ for kids aged ve to 12.

FIND OUT MORE www.tinyurl. com/Oasia-Down­town

PARKROYAL ON PICKERING

What a green ho­tel this is, lit­er­ally. As we stepped into Parkroyal on Pickering, it struck us that ev­ery part of the prop­erty is hugged by lush fo­liage – from the front desk to the lift lobby and walk­ways.

Com­plete with wa­ter fea­tures, moss-in­spired car­pets and nat­u­ral wood el­e­ments, it cer­tainly lives up to its “ho­tel in a gar­den” con­cept.

We felt like we had been trans­ported into an oa­sis of calm even though the ho­tel is sit­u­ated at the junc­tion of the busy Raf­fles Place and Chi­na­town dis­tricts.

The build­ing is an ar­chi­tec­tural stun­ner, as well – its wave-like fa­cade seems to be in­spired by the rice ter­races of Bali. This was es­pe­cially ob­vi­ous to us when we looked down from our Or­chid Club Ju­nior suite (pic­tured left) on the 13th oor. Here, we also en­joyed a com­mand­ing view of Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, and even had a glimpse of the Ma­rina Bay oat­ing plat­form.

Speak­ing to the staff, we re­alised that this is a green ho­tel through and through. Eco-war­riors will ap­prove of fea­tures such as the so­lar­pow­ered sys­tems, as well as light, mo­tion, and rain sen­sors for ef­fi­cient use of re­sources.

We con­tin­ued to soak in the ho­tel’s idyl­lic am­bi­ence at its innity pool on the fth oor. It’s 1.2m deep and we were glad we had packed along the kids’ oats.

Af­ter swim­ming, we lounged in one of the bird cage-like ca­banas, which are a hotspot for In­sta-wor­thy shots.

Our room cat­e­gory gave us ac­cess to the swanky Or­chid Club lounge. This mar­ble­clad sanc­tu­ary offers all-day re­fresh­ments, in­clud­ing evening cock­tails and cham­pagne break­fast.

To com­plete our stay­cay, we in­dulged in a sump­tu­ous din­ner at Lime. The ho­tel’s sig­na­ture res­tau­rant is known for serv­ing some of the most in­ter­est­ing themed buf­fets, such as a Thorny Temp­ta­tions one dur­ing the durian sea­son. Not only did we savour it fresh, we also had creative dishes such as wok-fried sam­bal durian with prawn and petai, as well as durian ravi­oli.

HOW MUCH Rates start from $500++ for the Or­chid Club Ju­nior suite, which can ac­com­mo­date up to two kids be­low 12 years old, and in­cludes full Or­chid Club benets. Smaller Su­pe­rior Rooms are also avail­able from $280++ per night on week­ends, in­clud­ing break­fast for two adults. Only one child is al­lowed in this room cat­e­gory. Kids be­tween six and 12 years old pay half of the usual break­fast price of $38++.

FIND OUT MORE www. parkroy­al­ho­tels.com/pickering

JW MAR­RIOTT HO­TEL SIN­GA­PORE SOUTH BEACH

It’s rare to nd innity pools that are shal­low enough for tod­dlers and preschool­ers. Guess what? JW Mar­riott Ho­tel has two.

There is one on the sixth storey that faces Sun­tec City. Imag­ine our ex­cite­ment when we dis­cov­ered an­other on the 18th storey (pic­tured above), which has sweep­ing views of the Padang, Es­planade and CBD sky­line.

Both pools be­gin from 0.5m and go up to 1.2m deep. At the shal­low ends, I could re­lax in the com­fort of in-pool chaise longues while keep­ing close watch on my two kids. Ear­lier, they had bor­rowed swim arm­bands and kick­boards from the staff.

My fam­ily had checked into this ve-star prop­erty for a week­end staycation, af­ter hear­ing so much about its uber-stylish decor. Lit­tle did we ex­pect that it would be child-friendly, as well.

This is Sin­ga­pore’s rst Philippe Starck-de­signed ho­tel, pre­vi­ously known as The South Beach. It was re­branded the JW Mar­riott in De­cem­ber last year.

Right from the ho­tel en­trance, we were wowed by a colour­ful, gi­ant in­stal­la­tion – a 7m-high video wall com­bin­ing art with tech­nol­ogy.

Even the el­e­va­tors to the rooms were de­signed to make guests feel as if they have en­tered a mys­ti­cal un­der­wa­ter world. As soon as the doors closed, my kids would chal­lenge each other to spot the marine crea­tures on the wall­pa­per as the mood light al­ter­nated be­tween blue, green and red.

Our Club Pre­mier room was tted out with some of Starck’s most iconic fur­ni­ture pieces, such as the Her­itage and Lou Reed chairs. At 452 sq ft, it has a bed­room, a liv­ing room, a pantry and an ex­pan­sive bath­room with a stand­ing bath­tub.

It might cost more to book the Club rooms and suites, but it gave us ac­cess to the ex­ec­u­tive lounge (pic­tured, above left). The lat­ter was where we en­joyed free buf­fet break­fast, af­ter­noon tea, hors d’oeu­vres and evening cock­tails. Chil­dren be­low age 12 are not al­lowed in af­ter 7pm, though.

In most other ho­tels, the lounge is de­signed with busi­ness trav­ellers in mind, but at JW Mar­riott’s, it has low ta­bles and chairs for fam­i­lies with young chil­dren.

On Sun­days, make a reser­va­tion for its buf­fet brunch at Beach Road Kitchen, the ho­tel’s all-day din­ing res­tau­rant. There’s a ded­i­cated kids’ cor­ner where the chef and his team en­ter­tain the lit­tle ones.

HOW MUCH Rack rates start from $700++ per night for the Deluxe room and $750++ for the Club Pre­mier room. Check out the ho­tel web­site for pro­mo­tions. All rooms can ac­com­mo­date up to two kids, if shar­ing beds with par­ents. Kids aged ve and be­low dine free at buf­fets at Beach Road Kitchen.

FIND OUT MORE www. jw­mar­riottsin­ga­pore.com

THE FULLERTON HO­TEL

It’s a sur­real feel­ing stay­ing overnight at The Fullerton Ho­tel. This was, af­ter all, the stately build­ing that has wit­nessed his­tor­i­cal mo­ments of Sin­ga­pore since 1928.

It was also where pi­o­neer lead­ers, such as the late

Dr Goh Keng Swee, Lee Kuan Yew and S.R. Nathan, be­gan or pro­gressed in their ca­reers.

“The gue­stroom you’re sleep­ing in tonight could have been Mr Lee’s for­mer of­fice,” our guide Bill said, half in jest, as he took us around the prop­erty, pre­vi­ously known as Fullerton Build­ing. It was gazetted as Sin­ga­pore’s 71st Na­tional Mon­u­ment in 2015.

Dur­ing the free one­hour tour, which is also open to non-ho­tel guests, our hu­mor­ous guide also high­lighted many In­sta­gram­wor­thy photo op­por­tu­ni­ties – not just be­cause of the grand neo­clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture, but also the sto­ries be­hind it.

There are few prop­er­ties left with re­volv­ing doors in Sin­ga­pore and my kids had fun go­ing in and out at Fullerton’s. Per­fect Boomerang mo­ments!

An­other pre­cious ex­pe­ri­ence was tak­ing a dip in the 1.2m-deep innity pool, which is set against a ma­jes­tic back­drop of Doric col­umns. Here, we also en­joyed views of bum­boats cruis­ing on the Sin­ga­pore River.

Com­pared to other ho­tels we re­viewed, our Straits Club Pre­mier Quay room looked a lit­tle dated. But it didn’t af­fect the kids who, in fact, felt like roy­alty here.

Dur­ing the check-in, they were given an ac­tiv­ity book and an ice-cream pass. The ho­tel pre­pared kid-size bathrobes and bed­room slip­pers in the room, too.

Our room cat­e­gory gave us ac­cess to the Straits Club lounge where we could en­joy cham­pagne break­fast, af­ter­noon tea and evening cock­tails. We had toi­letries from Bot­tega Veneta, as well.

We also loved that our Fullerton Fam­ily pack­age in­cluded ad­mis­sion tick­ets to Ad­ven­ture Cove Wa­ter­park, as well as one-hour Go­green Seg­way/e-scooter rental for four peo­ple. What a good deal!

Be­fore check­ing out, we tried the Sun­day brunch buf­fet at Town Res­tau­rant on the ground oor, where the ho­tel’s bear mas­cots came to say “hi”.

An ob­ser­vant staffer no­ticed that my ve-year-old was get­ting rest­less af­ter hav­ing his ll and of­fered to usher him to a play­room. Lo­cated in the base­ment, this was con­verted from a func­tion room. An ex­ter­nal ven­dor con­ducts ac­tiv­i­ties, such as face-paint­ing and bal­loon-sculpt­ing, here ev­ery Sun­day.

The room also has a food cor­ner, where kids can re­fuel with mini burg­ers, pasta and pas­tries while they play.

HOW MUCH Rates for the Fullerton Fam­ily pack­age start from $478++ per day. This in­cludes buf­fet break­fast for two adults and two kids, ad­mis­sion tick­ets to Ad­ven­ture Cove Wa­ter­park, as well as one-hour Go­green Seg­way/es­cooter rental for four peo­ple. FIND OUT MORE www.fuller­ton­ho­tel.com

PARK HO­TEL FARRER PARK

Leave the car at home and take a train to your stay­cay – this new 20-storey ho­tel is right above Farrer Park MRT sta­tion, which makes it con­ve­nient to get around.

We were wowed by the qual­ity nish­ings and spa­cious­ness of its 290-sq-ft Pre­mier Loft room, as well as the views of Lit­tle In­dia from its oor-to-ceil­ing win­dows.

And there’s not one, but two, TVs – one next to the queen-size bed, and the other fac­ing the pull-out sofa bed, which sleeps two kids com­fort­ably.

Lit­tle de­tails that im­pressed us: Bo­dum glasses, the rain shower in the bath­room and toi­letries from Ap­pelles Apothe­cary, an Aus­tralian nat­u­ral skin­care brand that es­chews parabens and an­i­mal test­ing. You may ask for kids’ ameni­ties and games, too.

While the ho­tel doesn’t have a kids’ pool, it does pro­vide oat­ies for your lit­tle ones, who will denitely want to swim in the invit­ing 25m-long, 1.2m-deep pool with a cas­cad­ing “wa­ter­fall” ef­fect. There’s also a jacuzzi area where you can chill out.

You can have break­fast at its ha­lal-certied Thai res­tau­rant, Blue Jas­mine, which faces the pool, or at the Cof­fee Belt on the ground oor, which serves spe­cial­ity cof­fee and lo­cally in­spired eats such as pandan waf­fles and brick toast. Blue Jas­mine’s tasty food and won­der­ful ser­vice makes it worth a re­peat visit at din­ner time, too.

Take ad­van­tage of the ho­tel’s cen­tral lo­ca­tion to ex­plore the bustling streets be­low. Treat the kids to yummy prata and naan at eater­ies, grab bar­gains at nearby Mustafa Cen­tre and City Square Mall, or ex­plore the her­itage trails of Jalan Be­sar, Farrer Park and Lit­tle In­dia.

HOW MUCH The ho­tel’s school hol­i­day pack­age is $250++ for a one-night stay in a Pre­mier Loft room, for a fam­ily with two kids aged 11 and be­low. It in­cludes break­fast for four, as well as four EZ-Link cards worth $3 each, and is valid un­til Dec 31.

FIND OUT MORE www.parkhotel­group.com/ far­rerpark

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