Sep 1, 2013

Urban Retreat at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

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(Daddy relaxes)

You know what they say, the two things certain in life are death and taxes. But here is a third one - vacations are certainly always good for you. And when time does not afford one to take a lengthy holiday, staycations can do the trick as well. So when Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore came knocking and invited us for a weekend staycation over at its newly renovated Garden Wing, it was an offer I could not refuse.

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore consists of 3 wings in total and each caters to a different set of clients. The Tower Wing is the flagship tower with over 400 rooms, including its Horizon Club Lounge which comes with lounge privileges. The Valley Wing is considered to be the most exclusive wing as this is where most heads of states would stay during their visit. Lastly, the Garden Wing - where we would be staying - has a resort feel with lush greenery and gorgeous landscape throughout.

This wing would be the ideal choice for families due to its close proximity to the hotel pools. But more on that later, for we still had the tiny business of checking into our rooms. And my word - checking in was indeed an experience itself. The Garden Wing has its own check-in counter (turn left as you enter the main lobby) and everything was a breeze.

Which was a good thing, seeing how the three monkies were getting overly-excited in checking out the Garden Wing rooms!

Truth be told, I did not expect the room to be so immaculate with its furnishings relying heavily on the use of wood and neutral shades. The room exuded a homely feel and it really did make one forget about being in a cosmopolitan city like Singapore.

For the wifey and me though, the acid test when it comes to rating the comfy level of hotel rooms has got to the beds. If the hotel beds make us go all teary and put up enormous resistance when we check out, then I think we are onto a winner. Well, it turned out that our super-inviting king-sized bed did that and much more - it turned us into sloths. Luckily for us, the monkies had their own adjoining room so we were pretty much left alone as we lazed through the afternoon.

All Garden Wing rooms come with a private balcony as well, which probably gave us another perfect reason to relax and keep that inertia intact for a little while longer.

Throw some welcome fruits, chocolates and other nibbles into the equation and that's it - there was no compelling reason for me to leave the room.

Even kids get their very own welcome basket of goodies as well!

And if you do need a reason to step out of your room, the CHI Spa and massive Gym will be your best bet or head down to the Garden Wing Lounge between 5pm to 7pm where where Garden Wing guests can enjoy complimentary evening cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)! And all these while, the kids can keep themselves busy feeding the numerous kois at the Koi Pond at designated feeding times.

There is a free shuttle which runs hourly to either Orchard MRT or Takashimaya that guests can make use of too, which is perfect if you do not want to be caught in the crazy traffic and parking during weekends. We obviously could do with a little jaunt down to the Orchard area and when we returned to our rooms, a little surprise awaited us. 

I really thought the pot of freshly brewed tea was a nice touch, and it served as the perfect wind-down to a pampering day.

Next morning, and the monkies were the first to jump out of bed... all because I had promised them water play time at the swimming pool after breakfast. Ahhh breakfast, nothing like a sumptuous hotel buffet breakfast to complete any staycation experience. And being Garden Wing Guests, we had the option of having ours either at Waterfall Cafe or the famous The Line restaurant.

Waterfall Cafe serves a Mediterranean-inspired breakfast while the Line is the one to head to if you are craving for local delights. Which the monkies did.

Over the years of being a parent, I have come to an interesting conclusion - kids eat faster when dressed in their swimming attire. And yet again, I was proven right as the monkies finished their breakfast in record time thanks to this.

Granted it is no water park with no water slides in sight, but water play is water play and somehow the monkies thoroughly reveled at the pool area.

I have to add that I love the kids' swimming area as compared to other hotel's kids pools, it is substantially bigger and gives more room for kids to play in.

All that swimming definitely worked up a huge appetite so after checking out, we had the opportunity to return to The Line for their out-of-this-world Sunday Brunch Buffet. There are 16 theatre buffet stations with more than 100 dishes that it could get rather overwhelming.

But one would have to start from the legendary cold entrees of course and with items such as oysters (freshly shucked at the station!), chilled prawns, crabs, and sashimi, it was no surprise that this ended up the fave part of the buffet for the wifey and me.

Yep, all mine! Muahaha!
The Western and Chinese food sections were not too bad as well but my fave was the Indian food section, with its satay and chicken tikka beckoning me to pay them visit after visit.

For the kids, they too would have to contend with making difficult choices - pasta, pizza, noodle soup, mini burgers, dim sum, sushi or fried rice? Definitely more than enough to keep their bellies happy.

Looking at how everything was superb so far, I was half-expecting the desserts section to disappoint. Boy, was I wrong big-time. Rows and rows of delectable cakes, pastries, crepes and even nyonya kuehs called out to me as I was trying to make the most of my calorie intake. In the end, let's just say I failed. Miserably.

After all, how can one ever resist a chocolate fondue fountain?

Not my monkies, I'm sure.

As an added bonus, Sunday Brunches at the Line also features roving Balloon Sculpters - ideal for parents who want to buy that extra time so as to stuff more food into their mouths. Erm, like us.

The brunch rounded up a great weekend staycation at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore and for families who are looking for an urban retreat amid lush green environment, the Garden Wing rooms are as close as one can get. Do check out 'The Urban Adventure' package (valid from now to 31 Dec 2013) to enjoy the best of both worlds - luxurious comfort at Shangi-La Hotel, Singapore and unlimited fun at Universal Studios Singapore! For more details, visit HERE.

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