Friday, June 25, 2021

The Ultimate Family Staycation at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Singapore


January 2020. That is when we saw our family in India last. It has been more than one and a half years since we hugged them with the promise of visiting them again soon, completely unaware of the fact that in a short span of time, a raging global pandemic would prevent us from keeping our word. The sights, smells, sounds and warmth of home have begun to feel like a distant dream. 

Since that time, our children have grown a few inches vertically (but not horizontally 😆), graduated from kindergarten, acquired new developmental milestones and amassed countless new experiences to share. They constantly ask us when they will get to meet their grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins and this has turned into a source of niggling heartache. The biggest regret for us is not being able to spend time with our parents at the age when they are vulnerable but also the constant thoughts of them missing out on seeing their beloved grandchildren growing up. 

But when things have gone horribly wrong for so many families during this pandemic, we can only remain grateful that our loved ones back home are safe and in good health. Then again, we have witnessed that nothing can be taken for granted so our daily thoughts and prayers are filled with fervent hope that it stays the same way. With nowhere to escape the burden of simmering anxiety and frustration, the only thing we can do is try to give our best to each day and make do with what we have. And truth be told, living in Singapore means that we are relatively better off in the face of this pandemic. 

During November last year, we booked a staycation at Sentosa around the time of the twins 6th birthday. There were some restrictions and of course, plenty of safety measures but we did manage to have an amazing time and it was a much-needed break for all of us. 

This year, we booked a family staycation at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort during the second week of May. The Shangri-La at Sentosa has been hailed as one of Singapore's most family-friendly resorts so we were keen to check it out for ourselves. We were looking forward to the stay as a way to escape from the monotonous routine and gloomy Covid-19 news. But just as we were starting to daydream about the sand and sea, Covid-19 cases in the community started increasing and additional restrictions under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) came into force. With a heavy heart, we postponed our reservation. 

A month later, restrictions finally did ease a little but much to our dismay, dining-in was still suspended. We still decided to go ahead with the staycation because cabin fever had started to kick in and we were desperate for a change of scene. Adding a little joy to what was left of the girls mid-term school holidays seemed logical and so we started packing our bags. 

Staycation Begins!

We checked-in on a Thursday afternoon. The weather was glorious for a change! There weren’t many people checking in at the same time as us so things progressed swiftly. I had the good sense to pre-register for all the activities that the resort offered. The outdoor activities had a booking time limit of 2 hours with the need for wrist bands to be worn. I collected all our beach and pool bands during check-in (note that the indoor activities did not require tags). 





My first impression was the size of the property. It is massive! The resort has 454 rooms overlooking the sea, pools, hills or gardens and 6 restaurants and bars serving a range of cuisines. And did you know that Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa is the only beachfront resort in the whole of Singapore? I didn’t! 

I discovered that gazing out at the pool area and the beach was an instant happiness booster! 


I'm sharing a few more pictures of the stunning resort. With beautifully landscaped gardens, lush greenery, swaying palm trees, vibrant flowering plants, cascading waterfalls, meandering paths and fish ponds, they totally nailed the tropical retreat vibe, don't you think?






The resort's mascot is Toots the frog so don't be surprised to see frog statues all around the resort. This was one of the first questions my daughters asked me so I had to find out! 


The Room

We had booked the Family Garden room to accommodate our family of four. The nature-inspired room with pastel hues was bright, airy and spacious with a decent-sized bathroom and adjoining patio looking out into the verdant green gardens bordering the swimming pool. The patio door came equipped with a card reader for safe and easy access to the outdoors. 




Much to the delight of the girls, we spotted two peahens in the patio of the adjacent room. Apparently there are monkeys about so it is advisable not to leave the sliding glass door open. 



Our room had a King-size bed and an additional sofa bed (that can sleep two children). I wouldn't describe the room as entirely luxurious but it was tasteful, comfortable and stocked with all the essential amenities. 

The Family Garden rooms are conveniently located on the ground floor, offering easy access to the swimming pools, garden and kids club. 




I absolutely loved the little kid-friendly touches to the room. In the bathroom, there was a kids toilet seat, a bidet (yay!), kids toiletries, a bathtub and even a bath toy (hello again Toots!). In the room there was a set of beach toys, coloring supplies, cutlery sets, kids robes and slippers. I should have checked all this before since it would have saved me a big chunk of space in my suitcase! 




Swimming Pools & Water Play

One of the first spots we checked out at the resort was the remarkable swimming pool and water play area. 


The main pool is divided into 3 zones by means of a lane rope. One is a shallow wading pool for children flanked by a lineup of frog fountains, the second, a deeper pool for experienced swimmers and third, a jacuzzi area with an age restriction of 12 and older. 

There are plenty of lifeguards around to keep an eye on the children and blow the whistle on potential rule-breakers. 


Next to the pools is a small water play area with a splash pad, sprinklers, splash buckets and water guns. I thought my children may have outgrown these features but I was amused to be proven wrong! 



Just next to the water play area are the water slides with a canopy to protect from the sun. There is one closed slide and two open slides that drop into shallow pools. The natural rocky backdrop of the slides combined with animal-themed décor elements makes it very appealing to children (and I admit, to me as well  😛). 



With safe distancing measures in place, the children had to maintain space and patiently wait their turn on the slides which they all did and quite agreeably so. We had a spot of drama when a monitor lizard lazily sauntered into the pool for a relaxed swim. As you can imagine, that sent all the little ones running helter-skelter! The slides were suspended for a short while to accommodate the monitor lizard and once the coast was clear, resumed again. 

Did you spot the slippery fellow in the water?


There are daybeds galore for those who do not fancy getting themselves wet. You can just chill and enjoy the scenic sights around or settle down for a spot of quiet reading. I did what I love doing - going on nature walks and taking loads of pictures. I even spotted a hornbill in one of the towering palm trees.





The pools and water play at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa is definitely a highlight of the resort - there is a zone to suit every member of the family. We spent a large chunk of the evening here and the girls enjoyed themselves immensely. 

Outdoor Play Area

Between the swimming pool and the beach is a large grassy patch with a small outdoor play area. This play area is more suitable for children aged 2-5 years old so I did not bring my daughters here. 


There is a stretch of the Siloso beach right behind this area which is reserved for hotel guests only so even though it isn't exactly a private beach, it sure does feel like one. 



Trapizza

Trapizza had been on my dining-out radar for very long but I’d never gotten around to it. Trapizza is a casual Italian restaurant renowned for its wood-fired pizzas. The family-friendly restaurant also serves favourites like salads, pasta, burgers and desserts. 

Even though we would have preferred alfresco dining by Siloso beach, we had to settle for room service. We ordered two large pizzas from Trapizza and a few starters and everything was excellent. Our children loved the Margherita pizza so much that they insisted on having it for dinner the next day as well! 

Best Margherita pizza I have had in Singapore hands-down! 


Kids Club

The next day turned out to be extraordinarily gloomy. The sky was literally 50 shades of grey. The rain must have started even before we woke up and continued persistently all the way till early afternoon. But by a brilliant stroke of luck, I happened to have a booking for the indoor Toots Club at 11:15am that morning. 

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the room after which the girls played in the bath tub for an hour. 



Just in time I got the girls ready and dropped them off at the Cool Zone which houses the Kids Club. As is with most indoor play areas, remember that socks are mandatory. 


For children aged 4 and below who are under the supervision of a parent or guardian, the Mini Toots Club offers a fun and safe play environment. The special jungle-themed play area features a giant block puzzle, colored ball pits and baby rockers. There are plenty of story books, toys and movies to enjoy as well.

At the Toots Club, children aged 5 to 12 can have a fun day in an environment that is fully supervised by an experienced team. One of the popular highlights of the Toots Club is the giant treehouse slide. The Toots Club offers some much-needed respite to parents by taking care of the kids and ensure they are having fun while the parents get some time to themselves. When I came back an hour later to pick the girls up, it was evident that they had a really good time. 




Brownie points for having a children's washroom within the Cool Zone!

Chi The Spa

I am not much of a spa person but for those looking to get pampered, you can check out Chi The Spa. At this luxurious spa you can find holistic treatments based on the time-honored methods shared by many Asia cultures. The spa offers services like massages, body treatments and facials. You have specialized treatments catered towards moms-to-be as well as facials specially designed for men. 



Singapore Cable Car 

Fortunately, the weather started to brighten up. It was drizzling ever so slightly and we had no other agenda for that afternoon so on an impulse we decided to take the cable car to Harbourfront Centre and do some shopping. The girls had never been in a cable car before and they were thrilled to bits when we told them the plan! 






By the time we got into the cable car, the rain had completely stopped. From the cable car we caught great views of Singapore's stunning Southern precinct. We enjoyed a bird's eye view of Sentosa and all the attractions including Mount Faber Park, Universal Studios, Resorts World Sentosa, and more. The girls were most excited to spot the shark tank and dolphin pool. 

Rest & Relaxation 

We got back to the room and ordered lunch. Once the girls went down for a nap, I snuck out to Siloso beach for some me-time. A nice long stroll along the shore burned a fraction of those calories from all the overeating!



In the evening we had another pool booking and this time I joined the girls. There was no more rain that day and we enjoyed relatively cool weather. The water was a comfortable temperature and I enjoyed my swim very much indeed. The rest of my time was spent trying to fend off the girls who ganged up on me and were attacking me with their water pistols! 


That night we again ordered pizza from Trapizza and we ordered some desserts as well. Dinner was so good! 


Siloso Beach

The next morning we had a Siloso beach booking. It was cloudy but mercifully, no hint of rain. 

The girls and I walked over to the beach armed with our beach toys. There are lots of daybeds in case you want to work on your tan. I was perfectly content with dipping my toes into the South China Sea and clicking pictures. The girls exuberantly played in the water and sand for about an hour. 



We spotted two peahens strutting around on the beach. These birds are all over the island! We did not spot any peacocks this time but we enjoyed enough peacock sightings on our last staycation at Sentosa. 


I noticed a few people playing beach volleyball. There were others indulging in sea sport activities so I went over to enquire. Turns out, the sea sports activities at the resort are complimentary - there are single to triple kayaks, stand up paddle board and peddle boats to choose from. I filled up a form, grabbed three life jackets and selected a bright green triple kayak. After that me and the girls were off in the calm lagoon paddling away. It was simply wonderful! One of my twins wanted to take a stab at it and she loved it so much that she insisted on paddling the entire duration of 45 minutes. For a first-timer, she was pretty good at it! 


After working up an appetite at the beach, we were ready to fuel up. I tried the Asian breakfast this morning and it was really nice. 


Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa provides a free shuttle bus service that will take you all around the island so if you are not driving, you can hop on and visit the attractions that are close by. 

Trick-Eye Museum

During our last staycation at Sentosa, we had taken the girls to Nestopia, HydroDash and Tanjong Beach. We  had been to Universal studios only a few weeks prior so I didn't want to repeat any of those activities. I ended up pre-booking tickets to visit the Trick Eye Museum. We had been there when my sister and her family visited us more than two years ago and the kids had enjoyed themselves. This time was no different. Striking poses, taking photos and videos, the Trick Eye Museum is a great place for some indoor fun for adults and kids alike. 



Arts & Craft Corner

After a very eventful morning, there was still more fun to be had in the evening! I had booked a session at the Arts & Craft corner. This is probably a popular activity at the resort because while I was booking, I noticed that the slots were running out pretty quick! 

Since the next day was Father's Day, the helpful staff gave the kids some sticky templates and colored sand for sand art and two Father's Day cards each to color. It was a pleasant evening spending time together and making memories. The girls weren't able to complete their cards in the allotted time so they came back to the room and finished it in the patio. 




Food & More Food!

For dinner that night, I had ravioli in cream sauce followed by New York style cheesecake while the rest of the family went the Indian route with naan, a couple of curries, rice and condiments. The Western and Indian dishes were all delicious. 



I will admit that eating all three meals in the room can be boring and with kids around, it can also be quite a messy affair. The menu options also start to feel limited after a while. During the daytime, I preferred to sit out in the patio but the girls were worried about the wildlife and insects so they preferred to eat inside the room. As lean as they are, both were able to share the chair and eat with their plates on the in-room desk. My husband volunteered to clean up after all the meals which I was secretly thankful for! 

The only advantage from room service was being able to pace dinner and dessert according to my whims and kick-back with a cocktail (or two!) in my PJs while watching TV 😁 

A Memorable Father's Day

On the last day of our staycation, we kept things light and just headed down to the beach. We celebrated Father's Day with a daddy and daughters kayaking trip. 


The girls wanted to try the paddle boats after that which we did as well. After playing in the water and sand, collecting shells and spotting a couple of crabs, we got back to the room. 




Much to our surprise, there were two peahens right in our patio and they hung around for a while giving us plenty of opportunities to admire them. 


We enjoyed a late brunch, played a movie and started to pack in slow motion. The girls were having such a marvelous time that they really didn't want to go back home! They kept saying that they wanted to stay a few more days.



My Verdict:

For the ultimate kid-friendly staycation in Singapore, Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort is without a doubt your best bet. The resort is the perfect sanctuary for adults to unwind as well as an entertaining paradise for children. It is amazing how this tropical retreat is located only a stone's throw away from the urban jungle. The resort is stylish and luxurious but comforting and rustic at the same time which makes it feel that much more inviting. 

Right from the get-go, the reservation process was hassle-free and the service from the resort staff was faultless. Our room was spacious and clean, the bathtub was a huge plus and all the kid-friendly elements in the room enhanced our stay. The hotel amenities were top-notch. We did miss dining-in and would have loved to check out the restaurants located within the resort as well as some of the other restaurants on Sentosa but the room service was good enough to keep us happy (although more variety of vegetarian options would have been appreciated). The indoor and outdoor activities for the kids kept them occupied for longer than I could have ever imagined. For both adults and kids, I highly recommend the water sports at Siloso beach. The proximity to the different attractions in Sentosa and the ease of getting there is an added advantage of the location of the resort. There is so much to see and do that there is never a dull moment!

Despite the pandemic situation, we felt pretty safe while on this staycation. In keeping with the Singapore law, wearing a mask is compulsory when in public places. The only exception is at the pool or beach. Even after getting our jabs, having to keep our masks did put a damper on the holiday spirit but it is what it is right? Safe entry and booking of all facilities are mandatory. The booking of facilities can be done up to 5 days prior to check-in and I highly recommend doing that in advance to avoid disappointment. The highly sought after resort wasn't crowded even though it was the school holidays. During the weekdays we hardly saw any people at all. Only during the weekend and when we went to the swimming pool would we see some people around. Even then we were easily able to maintain safe distancing. 

An ideal vacation should be relaxing and rejuvenating for the mind, body and soul. That is what the staycation at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa did for us so I'd say, no regrets about the lack of overseas travel 😊 We would definitely consider returning or may even think about checking out the Shangri-La in the city center. 

Highly recommended!

Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa  Resort

Address:
101 Siloso Road
Sentosa Island 
Singapore

Phone:
(65) 6275 0100

Email:
sen@shangri-la.com



Have you been to Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort? What was your experience like? Leave a comment to let me know. 


Cheers,
Megha


This is NOT an invited review or sponsored post

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