The post Covid hotel landscape is a different beast… Gone are buffet breakfasts, all day sunlounger hogging and midnight cocktails at the hotel bar. The ‘new normal’ is a much more regimented affair. Scanning in, temperature checks, selecting pool slots in advance. However, in a world where we can’t travel internationally, I remain incredibly grateful for the chance to staycation.
Singapore is not a bad spot for a staycation. You can rely on warm temperatures, decently priced hotels and good service. There are 400+ hotels in Singapore and 200 are now open for staycation. A few family favourites, including the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, are still being used for quarantine, although you can book a ‘Daycation’ package. There are still ‘Staycation Deals’ to be grabbed although with mixed reviews. I have heard that it can be hard to book a pool slot at the Marina Bay Sands (surely the reason you’re there in the first place) and the uber expensive Cappella is looking a bit run down.
We recently treated ourselves to a two night stay at the W Singapore. This was our third time visiting the property in 6 months. The first time was just before Singapore’s Circuit Breaker (aka lockdown) commenced. Everything was open, we were just subject to temperature checks. Our second time was just after they opened in Phase 2. Management were still figuring out how to safely allow people by the pool and everyone seemed a bit on edge. Our most recent experience shows the W is running more smoothly. Yes it’s not like the old days but it’s as close to paradise as we are going to get for some time.
Where is the W Singapore?
The W is located in a beautiful part of Sentosa, known as Senotsa Cove. With bustling outdoor restaurants and glistening yachts parked in the Marina, you almost feel like you’re in Europe.
The W chain is owned by Marriott and you should join their Bonvoy club to earn points and gain F&B discounts on the property.
What room should I book?
There are 12 different room/suite types. The ‘Wonderful’ rooms face the condos, the ‘Spectacular’ have a Marina view and the ‘Fabulous’ have a pool view. The next tier up come with plunge pools and pool cabanas. On our first stay, we booked the cheapest Wonderful with a King bed which was fine.
On subsequent stays, where we brought the kids, we booked the ‘Fabulous with 2 Double, pool view and balcony’. I definitely think it’s worth paying extra for the balcony and pool view. Request a high floor as they are much brighter.
On both occasions I have checked in an hour early (around 2pm) and the rooms were ready. My understanding is that they have to leave at least 24 hours between each guests to clean and sanitise the room.
Instead of welcome drinks at check-in, you now get a a few face masks and hand sanitiser. You can also book your daily two hour pool slot. If you are doing breakfast at the hotel, you also need to book your breakfast sitting (there are 3 available).
The W chain has a very 2000s vibe with its purple lighting, white fluffy statement chairs and swirly carpets. That said, it’s fun, party mode and a welcome change to other staid and stuffy properties. Our most recent room was 526, the Fabulous Pool View. There are two comfortable double beds (apparently you can buy all the W bedding), desk and armchair. The balcony has a small banquette and table with two chairs.
The bathroom is light and spacious. There’s a decent size shower and big bath. Sadly the old Bliss spa products have been replaced with MOMO which are ok but not as luxurious.
If you lean over the balcony, you can check out the Away suites which are Garden level, with your own plunge pool. They look a bit small and shaded but I’d still be keen to review them another time.
With no beach in walking distance, you are here for the pool. And what a pool it is. This is a mammoth pool with separate shallow section for little kids. There’s a fun water slide which the kids spend hours on.
As you have to book in your time slot, it’s easy to grab a couple of loungers. On both days I booked the 11-1pm pool slot and we had no problem extending to the 1-3pm as it wasn’t so busy. You now receive a coloured wristband and they will turf you out if you haven’t booked. Unlike other properties, as the pool is so big, they can accommodate larger number of guests. That said, I would be annoyed if I couldn’t sit by the pool when I wanted to. For the most part, you need to wear a face mask when you’re on the lounger. Yes it’s annoying but I’m happy to be on a lounger by the pool in the sunshine.
The gym is excellent. You are supposed to book a slot but I just turned up and there was hardly anyone in there.
I haven’t been to the spa yet as it gets booked up quickly. I fully intend to on my next visit!
They are slowly getting their act together with breakfast at Kitchen Table. The buffet has been replaced by order what you want from the a la carte. It’s pretty pricey and service can be quite slow.
F&B by the pool is now open and surprisingly good. The pool service is excellent (hats off to all those working there) and I recommend the frozen margarita, spring rolls and Korean Fried Chicken.
I have mixed feelings about their upmarket steak restaurant Skirt. The food is good but it is very expensive. When we dined there, our reservation was delayed by an hour. I understand there may have been teething problems as the restaurants are only just getting up and running. But at a restaurant this expensive, you don’t expect to wait an hour for a table that you had booked two weeks prior.
There are a multitude of dining options close by. Delicious restaurants within walking distance include Greenwood Fish Market, Mykonos and SolePomodoro. Joe & The Juice is where you need to go for coffee. For a special dinner, head to Panamericana at the Sentosa Golf Club. Book all of these places in advance, especially if you’re in Sentosa on the weekend.
Things to do in Sentosa
This deserves a post of its own. There are so many fun activities for the family from Universal Studios to the Aquarium. If you have a Sentosa Islander card, there are quite a few discounts on. We booked a hilarious ride on the Segway (although you need to be age 10+ for the proper tour) and I highly recommend Headrock VR for aircon fun. Next time we’ll attempt the MegaZip (still working up the courage for that) and I’m also keen to drag the kids on a historical tour around Fort Siloso.
A few days at the W can leave you feeling refreshed. I see why people choose to live on Sentosa, with its never ending blue skies, sea views and salty air. With limited options for travel in Singapore, I am sure we will return to the W soon. I need to bank up my Bonvoy points for a free stay!