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Home and away

Staycations are an easy, restful way to get away from it all without venturing far

HISTORY AND HERITAGE: (Above) Raffles Hotel Singapore.

HISTORY AND HERITAGE: (Above) Jubilee Hall. The grand dame of Singapore hotels offers a suite package called The Raffles Experience.

ISLAND GETAWAY: (Above) Capella Singapore.

ISLAND GETAWAY: (Above) Constellation Room. For a staycation by the sea, Capella on Sentosa Island is a luxe option.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT: (Above) Marina Bay Sands Deluxe Room. Ultra-luxury seekers can opt to stay at either of its two Chairman Suites.

STAYCATIONS are great for fuss-free vacations. They remove the need to board a plane and the accompanying requirement of clearing security and immigration at both ends of the trip. In just a few minutes, you can kick back in your grand suite in a luxury hotel and get ready to be pampered and indulged.

Singapore certainly has more than its share of luxury hotels catering to the high-end staycationer, with many offering luxe packages that create a unique experiential holiday.

Hotel manager at Raffles Hotel Singapore Ronald Dooremalen says: "For many of our guests, a stay at Raffles is often on their bucket list - a must-do when in Singapore both for our local and international guests, hence we host many guests who see it as a rite of passage. We are also the venue for many celebratory stays be it for birthdays, anniversaries or proposals, and something our visitors really look forward to and spend a while planning for."

The grand dame of Singapore hotels offers a suite package called The Raffles Experience, which celebrates the hotel's history and heritage. The experience begins even before you get to the hotel as it includes a two-way limousine transfer. On reaching the hotel, you will be escorted to one of its 12 exclusive Personality Suites.

"Each of them is named after an esteemed guest who has resided in the hotel, including Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne," says Mr Dooremalen. Each room has special memorabilia linked to that celebrity.

The package, which starts at S$1,225++ per night, also includes a one-hour tour with Raffles Singapore's resident historian, Leslie Danker, who will relate stories about the hotel and its colourful past.

"It will enable guests to learn about the stories behind its fabled façade, and come face-to-face with some of the most iconic locations within the hotel," says Mr Dooremalen.

To round off The Raffles Experience, guests get to enjoy a welcome Singapore Sling cocktail as well as either a set lunch at Raffles Grill or a North Indian buffet lunch at Tiffin Room.

Mr Dooremalen says that Raffles Hotel also caters to any special requests, which have included a day out on a private yacht around the Southern Islands with a meal on an uninhabited island, and a helicopter ride over Singapore.

Over at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), ultra-luxury seekers can opt to stay at either of its two Chairman Suites. Bigger than two tennis courts, each has two living rooms and four bedrooms. Each also comes with a baby grand piano, private massage room with hairdressing salon facilities, entertainment rooms with karaoke equipment and fully-equipped gyms.

An MBS spokesman says: "First impressions always count. Therefore Marina Bay Sands hotel aims to deliver the ultimate luxury staycation even before guests arrive on the property. The hotel's transport team provides complimentary airport transfers for guests staying in Sands Suites and above, while a dedicated pre-arrival team ensures seamless and hassle-free in-room check-in. Celebrities and VIPs are also escorted directly to their hotel rooms via a discreet underground route and elevator which takes them directly to their suites."

Romantic touch

The spokesman adds that the MBS team often arranges surprises such as champagne and birthday cakes. For those who want a romantic touch, it can prepare rose petal baths for special occasions upon request. Children are included in this special treatment. They receive kid-sized bathrobes, slippers and miniature candies to make them feel special.

Mandarin Oriental Singapore's luxury staycation offering is its digital wellness retreat package.

Director of communications Usha Brockmann says: "In a world where everything is digitised on an online sphere and extremely fast moving, offline is the new luxury. Specially designed to encourage guests to disengage from and re-evaluate their relationship with technology, the digital wellness retreat package provides a calming and soothing respite away from the stresses and demanding environment of the outside world through luxurious accommodation and sensory spa treatments."

The package includes an ocean-view room and a one hour and 15 minute spa treatment. Since it is a digital retreat, you will have to surrender your phone before the treatment to remove any online distractions. Don't worry though: After the treatment, you will get your phone back cleaned and repackaged in a special bag.

Ms Brockmann says: "Experiencing such a rejuvenating staycation without having the hassle to pack and plan for travel overseas is simply relaxing and time efficient."

For a staycation by the sea, Capella on Sentosa Island is a luxe option.

"As an island resort away from the city's hustle and bustle, Capella Singapore has always been one of the top choices for Singaporeans who want a short break without leaving the country. On weekends, locals make up the largest nationality of our hotel guests, especially so over the long weekend festive periods," says Fernando Gibaja, general manager of Capella Singapore.

If you book Capella's The Manor Experience, you can stay at either its Contemporary (S$8,000++ per night) or Colonial Manor (S$12,000++ per night). You will arrive and depart in a private limousine. You also have the chauffeur service for four hours once per stay. A dedicated villa host will be at your beck and call anytime of the day or night and fulfil your special needs and requests.

Among the requests that Capella has fulfilled includes setting the stage for a surprise proposal at Palawan Beach. It has also organised an in-manor cooking demonstration class by culinary director, David Senia, because the guests had enjoyed his food so much the evening before.

Mr Gibaja says: "A keen eye for detail puts Capella Singapore a level above the rest. Personal assistants are known to surprise frequent guests such as placing their favourite drinks and snacks in the mini-bar during check-in, or ensuring the wife's favourite flowers are fresh in a vase every morning."

This attention to detail is not just for your human family as your furry friends can get the VIP treatment too.

"For pet parents who are celebrating their birthdays, the team at Capella Singapore will customise the pet's bed as well as prepare a pet cake and its amenities," adds Mr Gibaja.

With that sort of luxury service right at your door step, staycationing is truly an easy, restful way of getting away from it all without venturing very far. W

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