Friday, March 27, 2015

See Singapore! Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort is the place to stay

For the first time ever, a guest post! My family was generously invited by the Singapore Tourism Board to check out their beautiful country. Since my baby Piero didn't have a passport yet and his vaccines weren't complete, we had to decline. Imagine my amazement when the Singapore Tourism Board extended their invitation to anyone I want to go! So I asked for volunteers and Kaye Estoista-Koo, an entertainment, lifestyle and travel writer, was the lucky pick! Kaye will regale us with her fab four-day trip, which I hope will encourage my readers to visit Singapore. I know I want to go! Enjoy!

Twenty-fifteen is an excellent year to take your family to Singapore for the first time or for the nth time. Why? It's SG@50 year, the diamond jubilee of our neighboring nation state.

Everyone, especially Sentosa Harbourfront Business Association (SHBA) is actively pushing that locals continue to enjoy Singapore, especially Sentosa Island, and that foreigners like us go to Sentosa Island in Singapore for the many things it can offer.

Philippines is very close geographically and, in Singapore, Pinoys never have to struggle with the language because everyone speaks English. It's a win-win. Add to that, the SHBA is very involved in coming up with weekend activities and packages centered on the family so your 4 days and 3 nights in Singapore, for example, can be spent just in Sentosa and you won't ever feel that you didn't do enough.

I, along with four other journalists from the Asian region got to experience a whole weekend of the best of Singapore. Over the next couple of blog posts on this #yoursingapore #thegreateggventure series, I'll take you through what we did (I'm planning your itinerary for you!) and where we ate (let me tell you, it was a food marathon like no other). 

How to get there
For this trip, we flew on Philippine Airlines. Each of the local airlines carry excellent promo flight options all year round. And Air Asia, when you're already in any of their destination cities within South East Asia, offers really good budget flights to Singapore as well. Or you can choose Singapore Airlines. Our banks have regular promo tie-ups with the airlines, so make sure to check with your credit card provider when these come up.

Where to stay
We were billeted at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa. The resort lies on Siloso Point, the farthest stop on the exclusive mono rail train that takes you from Singapore mainland to Sentosa Island. From the airport, the resort is less than 30 minutes away. In our case, we were picked up by the hotel service in an unmarked Mercedes Benz or you can request for shuttle accommodation from the airport to the hotel.

Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa or simply, Rasa Sentosa, is one of the most family-friendly hotel resorts I've been to. It flows and functions with the family moving through it in mind. The resort welcomes guests with 454 beautifully appointed guestrooms ranging from 31 to 150 sqm in size with ten different room types. 

What's even better is that all room types come with an attached private balcony and a view of the hills, garden, pool or sea. You can literally take your pick.

Our room for the weekend! Inside the Panoramic Sea View Room is a huge king bed. In some rooms it comes with two single beds and an open concept bathroom with beautiful sea views and a standing shower. 

The bath tub can be accessed from the bedroom area (those doors open and close) or through the room hallway.

The Panoramic Sea View Room will of course have this magnificent view. Our balcony looks out into the South China Sea.

Pools and gardens
The resort provides for many lounge chairs beside and off the main pool areas. As we went around, we saw many parents enjoying a book, sunbathing, or simply relaxing as kids of all ages enjoyed the pool.

The pools in Rasa Sentosa subscribe to the water safety standards of the Singapore government. The chlorine level is so low but the water is so clean, it's safe for even the youngest in your brood to stay and swim in all day.

Rasa Sentosa thinks of everything! Beside the pool areas, complimentary drinks are kept refilled and chilled throughout the day for all guests to enjoy.

This playground, off to the side of the kiddie pool has been designed as a safe space for toddler and infants to play in. 

Along this path, you'll come along peacocks as they are one of 3 wildlife that Rasa Sentosa allows to roam freely on the grounds. If you're fortunate, you'll even catch a mother with her brood trailing behind her or in rare cases, the resort's resident albino peacock chicks. 

Rasa Sentosa has many quiet spots like this where groups of friends, families or solo travelers can relax and watch the ocean soothe their nerves. Rasa Sentosa, even though it has big ships passing through its straits regularly (Singapore Harbour is just next door), has the cleanest waters in the whole of Singapore.

Solemnization ceremonies or garden weddings have been held in these areas located on the outer ring of the resort.

Cool Zone: Play and learn area for kids
Kids aged 5-12 can be left in this section of Cool Zone anytime of day starting at 930am and get picked up again as late as 9pm. The Cool Zone is free of charge and every hour of every day, kids will do a series of guided activities. For example on Survival Friday, they'll do castaway key, way out wildlife, boomerang boom, run for your lives, swamp survival, island escape, survivor's sanctuary, animal antics and ingenous ideas.

Everything in the Cool Zone, from the area of the giant tree with the colorful pit to the washrooms, is kid-specified so that kids can do what adults do in the washroom but sized down for their use. All the kids in the Cool Zone get to enjoy lunch and/or dinner. For free. And it's buffet!

This treehouse inside Cool Zone goes up three levels and kids of the appropriate height and age can use this to move between levels.

The Arts and Crafts room is for the younger set of kids but older kids can still join.

In this area of the Cool Zone called the Mini Toots Club, toddlers aged 4 and below can spend the day with parental or guardian supervision.

Relax and rejuvenate
The 24-hour gym caters to the kind of traveler who wants to work off a jet lag or the traveler who needs to stick to his exercise routine while on vacation.

CHI, The Spa is the world-class signature spa of the Shangri-La group of hotels. In every CHI, The Spa around the world, be sure to try to signature massage of that country. Here, it's called Singapore Massage, a therapy that blends all three of Singapore's native cultures (Chinese, Malay and Indian) into one relieving and relaxing treatment. 

The outdoor massage bed with matching waterfall sound effects (waterfall not included in picture). The blinds will be drawn down when treatment starts. 

Rasa Sentosa boasts of an impressive garden where guests can ask for a guided tour to explain each and every plant or tree or DIY the tour. Here, plants, trees and herbs from across Asia are put on display to help educate guests on the different flora of the region.

More tomorrow on this eggciting Singapore series!

Kaye Estoista-Koo is a guest writer for Topaz Mommy specifically for this #yoursingapore #thegreateggventure series. Kaye is a lifestyle and features writer for the entertainment website, a contributing writer for Manila Bulletin's lifestyle and travel section, a website content writer, an events script writer, and the go-to of a PR group that would like their various brands to be highlighted in a major TV station. 

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