The location is unique; only a 15-minute drive from the city centre, directly situated on the beach and surrounded by immensely tall palm trees. Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is the only hotel in Singapore that offers this golden combination. One minute we drive past Singapore’s skyscrapers, the next we cross a bridge that gives us access to Sentosa Island. It doesn’t take long before the kids catch a glimpse of a giant rollercoaster: “Look Daddy, this hotel even has its own amusement park!” Almost right. The rollercoaster is part of Southeast Asia's first Universal Studios that is only a stone throw’s away from the hotel. The island is also home to S.E.A. Aquarium, KidZania Singapore, MOSH!, iFly and Mega Adventure Park. More than enough entertainment to last us at least two weeks. Despite this large-scale entertainment, the island is surprisingly enough also the perfect place for nature lovers and has a variety of nature trails.
Still, why should you leave the 5-star resort in the first place? What to think of the Cool Zone, one of Singapore’s largest kids’ clubs. An enormous space divided into units for the various age groups with all kinds of toys, an indoor slide, play stations, air hockey and an art studio for arts & crafts. And that’s only indoors. When we are accompanied to one of the bars for a welcome cocktail, we have a great view of the resort from the bar’s terrace. “A swimming pool with water slides!”, it’s only then that the kids realise that there is another source of entertainment in the huge garden: a swimming pool, water attractions and a playground. It wouldn’t look out of place in a small amusement park. The swimming pool with two outdoor Jacuzzis is one of the largest free-form swimming pools in Singapore.
With all of the above-mentioned facilities, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is not your average small and intimate resort. On the contrary. Although the resort is fairly crowded during the summer holidays, its vastness makes sure it doesn’t feel crowded at all. Even at the busiest time of day, there are enough day beds available and if you want to have the oversized swimming pool all to yourself, it’s best to take a dip in the pool at the beginning of the evening when most families are preparing for dinner.
Apart from the broad range of entertainment options, there is also a wide choice of culinary delights. In the main building, that seems to enfold the garden like an arch, are various bars and restaurants. Restaurant Casserole, for example, if you want to indulge yourself in the a la carte options from the Southeast Asian, Moroccan, Indian and Western cuisine or enjoy one of the buffets at the Silver Shell Cafe with a live cooking extravaganza every evening and where the chefs prepare the most delicious dishes right before your very eyes. There is special children’s buffet for the kids: this all-day-dining outlet presents delicious excitement for kids with its dedicated and scaled-to-height children’s buffet section, which is enticingly arrayed with a wide selection of main dishes, salads, sandwiches and fruits alongside colourful marshmallows, cupcakes and gummy bears. For the youngest guests, there is a Baby Zone with a microwave, baby dining utensils, high chairs, bottle warmers and everything else you may need. This comes in very handy, as you don’t need to bring all this along yourself.
It only takes a couple of minutes to walk from the main building to the beachfront restaurant Trapizza that serves the best pizzas and pastas. It remains to be seen whether there are any hungry mouths to be fed, as our daughters soon discovered the Siloso Beach Bar next to the swimming pool. Here, they serve a great variety of candies and other snacks. For children, the ultimate dream come true because what’s more fun than to whoosh down the slides into the swimming pool and then swim on to the pool bar for a large bucket of popcorn.
Teens and adults can also choose from a wide range of activities – even though they won’t be able to resist a little swim to get a bucket of popcorn either. There’s lots to do on the resort’s private beach, such as volleyball, soccer, frisbee, cricket, golf and tennis. And above this all, sports enthusiasts can rent non-motorised water sports equipment, such as kayaks and paddle boats for some beach fun. The Flying Trapeze is worth mentioning: as if they are true circus artists, daredevils show their tricks on a trapeze that is metres high off the ground. Luckily, there is a large safety net.
If you wish for your energy level to get back up again after all these exciting activities, you can always go to CHI, The Spa. A lovely place to enjoy a massage or one of the many body and face treatments without having the children around. In traditional Chinese philosophy, "chi" or "qi" is the universal life force that governs well-being and personal vitality. For people to maintain good health, it is believed that “chi” must flow freely within the body.
As mentioned above, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is fairly large; there are no less than 454 rooms, ranging from 30 to 150 m2. We are staying in the so-called Deluxe Sea View Suite with, needless to say, a view of the beach and the South China Sea. In the distance, a great number of large cargo vessels that patiently await their turn to be allowed to enter the port. Very surreal indeed. The two-bedroom suite offers enough privacy and in the evening, when the kids are asleep, we enjoy a drink on the roof terrace. If you want to immerse yourself in absolute luxury, then choose the Sentosa Suite on the top floor where you can play hide-and-seek with your roommates as the suite measures no less than 150 m2. Then again, you’ll have your private dining room, a kitchenette and an enormous bathroom with an indoor Jacuzzi. Yet, it’s perfectly alright to opt for one of the superior or deluxe rooms that also offer a high level of comfort.
# In a unique way, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa knows how to combine the thrills of a place near the city centre and the relaxed indulgence of a beach resort. If you have enough of the city’s hustle and bustle, you’ll be back in the oasis of rest and relaxation in a jiffy.
# A resort of this size can offer a wide range of facilities. No one has to get bored – not even for a second.
# Then the island of Sentosa itself: an extraordinary mix of large-scale entertainment and a variety of possibilities to explore and enjoy nature.