Saturday, December 2, 2017

Family Staycation at D'Resort, Singapore

Up until a few years ago, I thought staycations were lame. That is until I actually gave the experience a fair chance! 

Our first staycation in Singapore was a babymoon at Hotel Fort Canning, an iconic luxury heritage boutique hotel nestled in the lush greenery of the historic Fort Canning Park. It came about as a result of a strict travel ban imposed by my doctor during the entire duration of my high-risk pregnancy. While it wasn't what I had in mind for a much-needed break before taking on motherhood, I truly enjoyed escaping from work and household chores, getting pampered, ordering room service, catching up on some reading, taking long serene walks and spending quality time with the husband. After a while, I kinda forgot that we were still in Singapore. It ended up being a break that required no planning, involved no hassles or stress, didn't break the bank, was laid-back and comfortable. Not to mention, we lost no time in travelling so it was relaxation mode from the get go! We loved the experience so much that from then on, we decided to make staycations a thing 😊

Fast forward to today - for many people, getting ready to go on a holiday with young children throws up all kinds of stresses such as planning, packing, sorting out what needs to be attended to in one's absence and preparing for worst case scenarios! In all honesty, I do find travelling with my little ones a wee bit stressful primarily on account of of their travel sickness but also because of the planning involved to keep them occupied (and out of trouble!). I find family staycations ideal because by choosing to holiday close to home, you are starting out much more relaxed. It can only get better from there!

For my twins third birthday, we decided to treat them to a staycation at D'Resort located at the entertainment hub of the East - Downtown East. One of Singapore’s first nature inspired resort, D'Resort features an integrated water park experience. The 387-room resort is nestled in the lush greenery of Pasir Ris Park and provides some much needed respite from the hectic city life. 

I originally had my sights set on one of the Rainforest family-themed rooms but they were all booked much in advance (boo!). After some discussion, we settled for the Beach Cove room. 

With warm and earthy hues and a minimalist nature-inspired decor, the room was clean and spacious. There were two cozy queen sized beds, coffee making facilities, a microwave, a large fridge (not those typical mini ones), a sink for washing up and a bathroom stocked with fresh towels and toiletries. There was free wifi and the signal was quite strong.

BBQ pits are an available option when booking your accommodation for an additional $35. BBQ isn't really our thing so we passed up on it.  

After a friday morning well spent cutting the birthday cake at school amidst their classmates followed by a visit to the nearby Indian temple, we all took some rest in the afternoon and checked into the resort in the evening. As you can see, the girls took no time in getting comfy 😀

One of the most attractive features of D'Resort is that it is surrounded by places offering endless entertainment. A water park, cineplex, bowling alley, a huge childrens indoor playground, a fitness centre and legion of retail shops and F&B outlets are minutes away. Access to these places may be attained through a covered walkway which is a good thing especially when it rains or on particularly hot afternoons. The resort itself also offers activities, such as urban farming, cycling to the gems in the east and kayaking to Singapore’s first floating kelong.

Although the resort only has one restaurant called White Tangerine, there is a myriad of dining options a stone's throw away. For each meal we would walk over to either Downtown East or E!hub where there were more choices. When checking in, the resort gives you coupons that can be used at several of the nearby eateries so do check for good deals! 

Our room had a lovely balcony with a view of the beach (although partially obscured by the dense green foliage) and the girls would stand there gazing at the colony of grey herons nesting in the trees. These magnificent birds can make quite a racket!

Since we were at the Beach Cove, all we had to do was step out of the room and we were at the BBQ facilities beyond which was a gate that had direct access to Pasir Ris Park and Pasir Ris Beach (however, you need to note that access is by room key card only). There also is a mangrove swamp that is home to a host of unique wildlife.

You can rent bicycles at the resort and cycle at Pasir Ris Park.

I took the girls to the park and beach one morning for some outdoor fun. The park is charming and tranquil but the beach is average. After overcoming their initial dismay of the beach not being clean enough, they had a good time playing in the water. 

We had breakfast at the White Tangerine Cafe on one morning. This cosy bistro has set breakfasts, and a la carte Asian and Western favourites. From dim sum delights to typical western breakfasts and hearty pastas, you have a few crowd-pleasers. The ambience is good but quality of food and service is average at best. 

It is super convenient that there is a 24-hour Cheers right next to the cafe. We would buy milk and flavoured yoghurt for the kids from there. As I mentioned earlier, our room had a microwave and a washing area so preparing hot beverages for the kids was no trouble at all. 

Since we are NTUC members and had made the room booking directly with the resort, we were offered complimentary unlimited access to the newly-expanded Wild Wild Wet, one of Singapore's largest water parks. One of the main motivations for us to book the staycation at D'Resort was its proximity to Wild Wild Wet considering our children are absolutely crazy about water parks. We felt like it was the most fun they would have on their birthday so free pass or not, we were going to go there either way! The skies had been overcast with incessant rain for the past several days but fortunately for us, on the day we decided to go to Wild Wild Wet, despite dark clouds looming in the sky, there was not a drop of rain. I guess we got really lucky!

From adrenalin-pumping rides to relaxing and gentle ones, you will be guaranteed a fun-filled day at Wild Wild Wet while beating the sweltering Singapore heat at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone I'd say! Although the girls were a bit too young to enjoy the hair-raising serpentine slides, there were several safe play zones where they could have a splashing good time! The Professor's Playground, Tsunami Pool, Tropica Water Play, Shiok River and Jacuzzi are perfect for toddlers.

Note that Wild Wild Wet now has fancy floats and cabana rentals too. Breeze Café and Ice-cream stop is the only F&B outlet within the theme park

I was only able to take two pictures before I tossed my phone in one of the lockers and got busy for the next two hours letting my inner child loose in the company of my children 😊  We had such a wonderful time! 

After we were done with the water park, we went back to the room, freshened up and headed to Downtown East again for a relaxed lunch at Eighteen Chefs.

The girls were thoroughly exhausted after the day's trip to the park, beach and waterpark followed by a warm bath and a hearty meal. They fell asleep as soon as their head hit the pillow and there was nothing out of them but soft snores for the next three hours 😃 And it was perfect timing too as the rain which had been threatening to make an appearance finally did and there was no stopping it after that!

In the evening, we ended up taking the kids to eXplorerkid, a family-friendly club for families with children aged 12 and younger located at E!hub @ Downtown East. You can board the free buggy from the resort to E! hub but we chose to walk.

I found the prices at eXplorerkid to be very reasonable. However, the childrens temperature wasn’t monitored nor were their hands sanitized. Having had a previous nasty brush with HFMD, I am a bit paranoid about things like that so it would have been more reassuring to have the protocol in practice.

This tactile indoor playground is a great place to let the little ones roam free in a world of discovery and fun. There are ball pits, activity rooms, a two-level obstacle course, toy rooms, rock climbing wall and more. The girls had a fantastic time and I ended up bruised, wild haired, out of breath and probably a few milligrams lighter chasing after them! On the bright side, they worked up quite an appetite for dinner (always a good thing with small eaters!).

Keep in mind to bring socks for both yourself and your little ones when coming here. And long sleeved tops and full pants are a good idea. I hadn't expected to take them to eXplorerkid when we started out of our room and so they were both in maxi dresses which in hindsight, wasn't ideal.

After the excitement of the evening, the kids were on a high from an overdose of weekend adrenaline so they were up till late watching cartoons, singing, dancing and basically in full spirits!

The next day we stayed put at the resort and did absolutely nothing. We woke up super late, had a leisurely breakfast, took a stroll around the property and took a peek at the resort's eco garden. The previous two days had seen so much activity that we wanted to take it easy. 

I realized that only those staying in the Rainforest rooms had access to the Sky Garden and the little activity nooks housed within the block. I thought that kinda sucked. Methinks the management should let all visitors access these areas regardless of the room type.

There were plenty of other activities that we could have done had the kids been a little older. There was Art Jamming offered at at D'Resort, Orchid bowl at E!Hub, laser tag at TAG TEAM and Cathay cineplex, both at Downtown East. 

So, that sums up our eventful and memorable staycation at D'Resort. Although we didn't have an itinerary that was filled to the brim with activities, we managed to keep the kids engaged the entire time we were there. I would say that the resort being an entertainment enclave is the penultimate destination for families with young kids. For us, the free passes to Wild Wild Wet served as a welcome bonus! The Beach Cove room was spacious, clean and comfortable but I would still recommend the Rainforest category of rooms for the additional perks. Dining options within the resort could be improved but if you don't mind the short walk to Downtown East, that will not pose a problem. Having said that, I realize how much I missed the complimentary breakfast that is usually included in hotel bookings. The other gripe that I had with the resort was the noise. If it isn't the squawking herons then it is inconsiderate guests at the resort making a huge din even at unearthly hours. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of my family, I am a very light sleeper so my sleep was unceremoniously disrupted more than a few times each night. But minor complaints aside, I would still wholeheartedly consider this resort for a staycation in the future!

Update: We booked another staycation at D'Resort during the first week of February 2019 along with some friends of ours. We stayed at the Mangrove Walk rooms (the only rooms available since we booked quite last minute). We booked a BBQ pit and enjoyed a fun evening together (note that all BBQ activities need to stop by 11pm). 

I still stand by my previous comments - the resort is a great place for families with kids, the rooms are clean and very well-maintained (however Beach Cove rooms are better than the Mangrove Walk), the proximity to Pasir Ris Park and Pasir Ris Beach is a major advantage for nature lovers, free entry to Wild Wild Wet is the highlight of the stay for kids, the White Tangerine cafe is still mediocre and the noise is still a huge issue (during the day from the squealing guests at Wild Wild Wet and at night by the constant din coming from the BBQ pits located just outside our rooms). 

D’Resort @ Downtown East
1 Pasir Ris Close, Singapore 519599

Ph: 6582 3322

 Hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know what you think...


This is not a sponsored post. The opinions in this post are solely my own

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