Looking for a beachside getaway, Nicola Burke and family checked-in for a staycation on Singapore’s Sentosa island.
Lapping up the sunshine at W Singapore - Sentosa Cove.
When you’re jaded by the city and seeking your next island getaway, where do you head?
Well, in these current times, Koh Samui was sadly off the cards. So instead, myself, my husband and my two daughters aged 11 and nine years, hopped in a taxi to Singapore’s Sentosa island.
Here, in Singapore’s self-styled ‘State of Fun’, you’ll find a plethora of family friendly hotels, from the luxurious Capella to one of the many that are operated through Resorts World Sentosa.
Located in Sentosa Cove, on the southeast side of the island, you’ll find the oasis that is the W Singapore - Sentosa Cove. This impressive, marina-side property is blessed with great facilities, including a shimmering, gargantuan pool. Perfect for lockdown-weary kids and their parents.
And, as we discovered, in these Covid ‘new normal’ times, you want a BIG pool.
Checking into the hotel, we quickly realised that gone are the days when guests can sashay down to use the facilities whenever they fancy. Instead, you’re allocated daily time slots. So if you’re staying in a property with a small pool, you may find yourself turfed out after 90 minutes. Or, horrors, unable to secure a pool slot at all. Which is not much fun, especially when you’re holidaying with kids.
The five-star property is nestled on Sentosa island, Singapore's self-styled 'State of Fun'.
We’ve ‘staycationed’ at the W Singapore - Sentosa Cove three times in the past ten months. The hotel was one of the first to get staycation approval during Singapore’s ‘Phase 2’ and each time the service has improved yet further still (particularly with regard to pool booking slots), ensuring a fun and enjoyable stay.
If you’ve stayed in a W property before, you’ll recognise its aesthetic. Think purple lighting, a funky lobby, eye-catching artwork and a general party vibe. There are 12 different room types, including suites with balcony pools. Our family of four opted to share the ‘Fabulous Guest Room’, with two double beds and a small balcony overlooking the pool.
The room was a good size with two comfy beds and the bathroom had a large bath and separate shower. Sadly, the property no longer provides lovely Bliss spa products in-room, but if you’re looking for a pamper session, head to the AWAY spa downstairs. Just remember that pre booking is now essential.
When your pool time arrives, you can head to the pool deck and receive your coloured wristband. Unlike other hotels, at W Singapore - Sentosa Cove you can’t pre book your pool slots ahead of check-in so a top tip would be to arrive early to secure decent times.
But one positive of this new booking system is that you are guaranteed sunbeds, so there’s no sneaking out before breakfast with a tote full of towels to reserve a lounger. It’s also worth checking how busy the next slot is as we had no problem extending our pool time.
My kids favourite part of the property is the water slide. Mine used to be sipping a cocktail at the WET Bar, located underneath the slide, but sadly the bar remains closed. However, you can order food and drink by the pool. If you’re looking to keep the kids entertained for longer, you may want to invest in one of the hotel’s enormous pool floaties.
When it comes to eats, the W has several dining options. The Kitchen Table used to host a magnificent buffet but the ‘new normal’ version of ‘buffet breakfast’ means you must order your meal a la carte. And these days you also need to pre book one of the two dining slots.
In the evening, for a high end meal, try SKIRT for one of the best steaks in town along with fresh seafood, but for easy, family friendly meals, you could also check out one of the many restaurants edging the marina. Recommendations within walking distance include Greenwood Fish Market, Mykonos and SolePomodoro.
During our stay, I also took some time out to enjoy a work-out in the resort’s FIT gym. In theory, you also need to pre book gym slots, although I had no trouble turning up on the day.
As we move into rainy season here in Singapore, the weather becomes yet more unpredictable. But fear not on Sentosa, if you don’t get your desired pool slot or it’s pouring down, the island has heaps of indoor activities. Head to the SEA Aquarium, Madame Tussaud’s or virtual reality experience, Headrock VR.
As a family, whilst we’re confined to home base, we will continue to return to W Singapore - Sentosa Cove. It has a lot to offer families, plus it falls under the Marriott umbrella so if you sign-up to the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programme, you can start banking those points. I’m saving mine to splurge on the Presidential Suite. When life serves you lemons...
Nicola Burke is the founder of Jetlag & Mayhem, an award-winning family travel blog.