COOLEST STAYCATION IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
Take your staycation weekend up a notch at these hip hotels. BY ELISA CHIA, LYNN WEE & STEPHANIE YEO
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 innity 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 innity 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 benets. 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 innity 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 innity 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 denitely 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-certied 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