Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Toddler Staycay: Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa (Luxury Room)

👍 Great, relaxing ambience, large pool area, 'out of the city' resort feel.
👎 The hotel is definitely due some TLC (refresh, refurb, repair, etc).

Over the Chinese New Year weekend, the Year of the Covid* 🦠 restrictions meant no visiting or travelling so ... staycay it is (again)! This time we left the city, and went 'overseas' (well ... sort of) to the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa! Sofitel is a French-based chain, so the hotel should be luxurious, chic, and stylish, right? Well let's find out!

* Technically it does seem like the entire 2021 will also be year of the Covid, doesn't it? Ah well, fingers crossed that the vaccine does its job and we can start travelling again in the later part of the year!

Hotels in the Staycay tour:
Raffles Hotel | Capella Singapore | Marriott Tang Plaza | The St.Regis Singapore | Grand Hyatt | The Fullerton Bay Hotel | Parkroyal Collection, Marina Bay | Marina Bay Sands | Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa | The Capitol Kempinski Hotel

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Lobby

The lobby and check-in areas certainly do feel quite stylish: what with the huge chandelier hanging right above. We also quite like the tasteful sprucing-up of the decor with lanterns and other Chinese New Year-themed items. There are just two check-in counters, but we didn't have any problems with queues or crowds, perhaps as the Sofitel Sentosa has 'just' 215 rooms.

Check in was quick and efficient, with an 11am early check in (and 2pm late check out) granted - fairly decent as it's our first visit to Sofitel, and have no status with Accor.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Lobby Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Lobby

After check in formalities are done, we spend a few minutes meandering around the Hotel grounds, which are really very nice. The entire area has a really lazy, resort, and out-of-the city ambience to it, with walkways surrounding pools (some of which still have some koi in them) and gardens with plenty of seating and relaxation areas (shaded by lots of trees). Our little one had a whale of a time here just running up and down corridors and ramps, frolicking in the gardens, and tossing stones into the ponds. It's an entirely different experience from any hotel in the city (with the exception perhaps of Raffles).

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Grounds Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Grounds Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Grounds

Part of the appeal of the Hotel is also thanks to a small family of peacocks constantly roaming the grounds. These peacocks are suprisingly ubiquitous, popping up in the gardens, the pool, Kwee Zeen (Sofitel Sentosa's chinese / asian and breakfast restaurant), etc. The little one had a great time chasing them around (but eventually got frustrated as peacocks apparently walk quicker than a 17-month old).

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Peacocks Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Peacocks

Anyway, moving on to the accommodations: the entry level room is called the Luxury Room, and is perhaps surprisingly small (given the land size that the hotel occupies). We do like that the door opens to a little foyer that can be closed off, so you can keep your shoes, stroller, and any other unsightly appliance out of sight.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

The room itself is fairly functional and good enough for a short stay, although if your toddler still needs a cot it might be a bit of a squeeze. One criticism I have is that the table does not have any power sockets, so you do need to pull your cables across to the row of sockets on the wall beside the bed, which can be a nightmare with young children.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

The other side of the bed isn't particularly spacious either, with room for the wardrobe (necessary amenities like safe, ironing board, bathrobe & slippers included), a one-seater sofa, and a small ledge just wide enough to open a medium-sized suitcase on.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

The television's decently-sized, but - as far as we can tell - doesn't support AirPlay or Google Cast (or Netflix or YouTube), so you'll have to rely on hdmi cables if you want to play your own content. It also shows that heading early to breakfast means usually means shorter queues: A welcome reminder for you late-risers as the hotel doesn't do timeslot reservations.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

The switches controlling the room lights are located bedside, but curiously they're also underneath the bedside lamp ledge. This means that you can't actually see them if you're standing or sitting up on the bed. You might also spot many scuffs on the woodwork: It's actually a common theme throughout Sofitel Sentosa in that there's a fair bit of wear & tear and that a refurb is probably due sooner rather than later.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

Water bottles & a small covid-19 cleanliness kit is provided (no masks, though), and the coffee/tea station has the usual complement of nespresso and a few assorted teabags.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

The bathroom's not the biggest, but is good enough for a small family not to get into each others way. Bathtub is strictly 1 adult (+ 1 child) only, though. Bath amenities are by Lanvin - a French brand, surprise surprise - and were ... adequate? We weren't particularly enamoured by the scent or cleaning power or anything.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

Sadly the toilet - like too many other hotels in Singapore - does not have a bidet or even a hand wash hose. The wear & tear around the hotel was most evident here in the toilet + shower as our room had 5 tiles come off in our 2-night stay.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Luxury Room

Now that the room walkthrough's done, let's move on to the pool! Sofitel Sentosa's pool was probably the most enjoyable pool for us the entire staycay tour. Not the pool itself - the pool floor seems to be in need of a deep clean, and the shallow area that's safe for kids isn't that large - but more the surrounding relaxation areas. There are dozens of pool chairs and sheltered cabanas suitable for a small family to really relax in, and you even get peacock visitors from time to time. Because of covid you are limited to 2 hours a day, but thanks to the larger capacity I didn't have any problems getting a timeslot of my choice after check-in.

Pool staff went around handing out mandarin oranges, which was a nice treat.

I forgot to take photos of the gym, but it was huge and well equipped, so you probably needn't worry about missing a workout. Unfortunately I didn't visit the spa, so I won't be able to give you any thoughts on that.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Swimming Pool Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Swimming Pool

Breakfast is served at Kwee Zeen, and is your usual mixture of Western and Asian main courses. Perhaps of special note is a couple of 'healthy breakfast' choices: An egg white omelette, and poached eggs with a whole accompaniment of fruits, grains, and vegetables. The main courses that we tried were actually pretty decent: I liked the Nasi Lemak (maybe because there was begedil which I adore), and the porridge & dim-sum combo wasn't bad either. I do recall that the bacon from the American Breakfast set being hard & salty though.

Officially it's one main course order per person (which might be a deal breaker if you're a huge eater). We didn't try ordering more than 1 main course each, but we had no problems getting multiple 'side dish' servings (e.g. extra plates of fruits, etc). As I mentioned above, the hotel doesn't do timeslot reservations so do try to make your way over before 9am.

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Kwee Zeen Breakfast

In summary, if you're looking for a place that is slightly more 'vacation' than 'staycaytion' (and don't quite feel like ponying up for Capella), Sofitel Sentosa's a really enjoyable place to spend a couple of nights. For longer stays you could also visit the surrounding areas in Sentosa (Tanjong Beach is within walking distance).

Our toddler also enjoyed himself thoroughly in relaxing with us in the poolside cabanas, chasing the peacocks, and meandering around the gardens and pools. For older children there is a kids club (Villa des Enfants) with some pretty interesting activities to keep them occupied & stimulated.

Yes, the hotel is getting old and needs some refurbishment soon, and yes, the decor has aged a bit, but other than that the relaxing garden & pool ambience, great poolside areas, and decent dining options will really let you 'get away from the city.'

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