What is your memory of Shangri La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort? When I was studying at NUS and had a Thor bod—well, in my memory, it was a Thor bod, but memories can be faulty–I used to come to Siloso Beach at least once a fortnight to de-stress and read my notes. One night, I saw moons on the beach. I walked towards them and realized they were gigantic spherical paper lanterns. Everything was illuminated and magical. A couple was holding their wedding at the private beach of Rasa Sentosa. It was then that I decided when I marry, I must have a beach wedding in tux but barefooted at Rasa Sentosa. And having a staycation at the recently renovated Rasa Sentosa sealed the deal for me.
My experience with the wonderful service of Rasa Sentosa began at the carpark. There were a few events at the hotel that day and the carpark was so packed that each car was a hair’s breadth from the next. Exasperated, tired and hungry, I called the hotel, “Hello, I’m a hotel guest and I’ve been waiting for a parking lot for the past 20 minutes. I don’t know what to do. Can you help please?” [Ok, I waited for 10 minutes only lah, but I was hungry and exhausted so it seemed like 20. Time is relative, ok?]
The person answered, “I’m sorry, I’ll send someone to the carpark to help you immediately.” HOW AWESOME was the response.
The check-in process was swift even though there was a queue. I especially like two things: the check-in is held in an open area–no aircon–and the design of the reception counters allows the staff to move and interact with the guests. These two factors break down the formal, stuffy welcome other hotels give, thus making the staff friendlier and more approachable.
3.30pm. Upon learning that I only had a chocolate bar for breakfast and hadn’t eaten lunch–I was busy at work–Ching, the very nice PR, immediately ushered me to Silver Shell Cafe, an all-day dining restaurant on the third floor.
Usually at fruit shops, they dilute juices with sugared water so I haven’t drunk such pure watermelon juice in a long time. I felt healthier drinking the juice. For the main, I had Nasi Goreng ($26). I was floored by how delicious it was. Every grain of the fried rice was coated evenly with sambal: it was edgy but not overly spicy (I can’t take spicy food). The chicken satay was tender; the deep-fried chicken wing rivaled KFC’s; and the sunny side-up was jelly. Quite perfect.
Ching then played tour guide and introduced the hotel facilities. Do you know the water at the swimming pools is made of pure, natural water so that there is little irritation of skin and eyes? The only chemical in the water is a minimum amount of chlorine, regulated by the government.
There are three sections of the private beach where you can play beach volleyball or rent a kayak. In the day, you can hold company team-building activities. At night, the beach can be used for functions and weddings. A stage can be erected.
Beside the pool, there is a herb garden, growing herbs such as basil. Rasa Sentosa, in line with their commitment to biodiversity conservation, has a Nature Project called Sanctuary. For instance, at the entrance of the hotel stands an Angsana tree, the biggest tree in Singapore, which was planted in 1885. On Mondays and Thursdays at 10am, the gardener gives a garden tour.
We returned to the first floor of the hotel to find this graffiti by 5 different international artists (hence the different styles). Some may feel that such artwork is incongruous with Shangri La’s image. Honestly, I was shocked at first but after I got over my shock, I thought that it was such a brilliant idea. The artwork represents how the traditional Rasa Sentosa is willing to move with the times, how Rasa Sentosa is classy but can surprise you too.
Behind the graffiti wall: Leave your children (5 to 12 years old) at Toots’ Club, the biggest children’s club in Singapore, for the entire day. The tree house (pictured above) is three storeys high and your kid can slide all the way down. The staff will look after your kids and feed them for the day free-of-charge!!! Your kids will have a full-day program from 9.30am to 9pm including beach games and pool games. Remember to bring swimming suit, sun block, change of clothes and water bottle for the kids.
In front of the graffiti wall: My friend who visited me had a misconception that a resort is a family place (“with horrible, screaming kids running around,” he quipped) but he changed his mind after his visit. Like I mentioned previously, Rasa Sentosa can be very romantic for a couple; the huge hotel has facilities that can cater to families and be a romantic getaway for couples. For example, the Rasa Spa is a very quiet and serene place. I was amazed at how quiet the spa was. Many of the spa rooms are for couples. Rates start from $52 (hand-and-foot massage, 30 min) or $75 (body massage, 30 min). For more info, visit the Rasa Spa website.
Rasa Sentosa hosts daily activities for guests too, so if you need help to plan your staycation, you can join in the activities.
How to Get to Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort
If you’re not driving, free shuttle buses for hotel guests are available from Harbourfront Tower 1 and the hotel lobby from 9am to 11pm, 20 minutes interval between the buses.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort
101 Siloso Road
T: 6275 0100
PS: Very grateful to Rae, Ching and Shangri-La for arranging this staycation.