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I took a solo staycation at a carpark - and it was so relaxing it almost cured my chronic burnout

I took a solo staycation at a carpark - and it was so relaxing it almost cured my chronic burnout
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Kimberly Anne Lim

We're well over two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, and if there's anything most of us need, it's a proper vacation.

I have to admit, without any travel plans to look forward to — spending hundreds on swab testing is out of my budget — my life has been a pretty dreary cycle of work and errand-filled weekends.

So when the opportunity to experience the new SG Hotel on Wheels (SHOW) at Downtown East popped up, I was all too eager to take some time out for a solo staycation. Self-care, am I right?

The one-of-a-kind nomadic staycation experience is a collaboration between Ultimate, the team behind Airzone, and LS Modular, a container customisation specialist.

Docked at the entertainment hub's Begonia carpark from now till March 2022, the hotel consists of shipping containers converted into Insta-worthy rooms complete with the typical hotel comforts such as air-conditioning and lush beds.

Day 1

3pm: Checking in to my abode for the night

The check-in counter is located around the front of the carpark and is hard to miss. It's open around the clock and staffed with friendly employees who were all too happy to answer all of my questions and provide food and activity recommendations.

For my stay, I settled on a 20-footer room (from $239 per night) done up in a minimalist theme, but there are also 40-footer containers (from $299 per night) decorated in other themes ranging from Pop Art to Peranakan. The bigger rooms also feature extra amenities such as a kitchen and dining area.

As far as first impressions go, the bright, cheery containers reminded me of Seoul's Common Ground and I couldn't resist grabbing some pics around the compound as soon as I had settled in.

Besides the usual amenities, I was pleasantly surprised to find a care package which included vitamins and skincare products waiting for me. The room was also unexpectedly high tech, with a smart TV equipped with Netflix, a Google Home device and a smart lock.

4pm: Unwinding with some alcohol ink painting

The next item on my itinerary was an alcohol ink painting class — the perfect activity for a calm, tranquil afternoon.

Fara Design Art Studio is located in the same carpark as the boutique hotel, but is open to the public. The studio teaches everything from from acrylic pouring to paper quilling. Of course, SHOW guests enjoy discounts on the workshops, so do grab the chance to get creative during your stay.

Fara, who has over 10 years of experience, was ever so patient despite my clumsy attempts at alcohol ink painting. Thanks to her guidance, I was left with an art piece that I wouldn't be ashamed to display at home.

8.30pm: Exploring Downtown East's food options

As the sun began to set, the carpark transformed into a neon wonderland, with fairy lights snaking overhead and LED lights illuminating each container.

After a short walk around to take in the sights, I decided to drop by Downtown East to refuel with some Don Don Donki sushi and milk tea from Koi Thé.

But if you're in full vacation mode, you can enjoy in-room dining with no delivery fee, simply by ordering from the Makan Guru app.

All you have to do is select the dine-in option in the app, scan the Downtown East merchant QR code, key in SHOW's address and enter your room number under the table number field.

11pm: Wrapping up the night with some Netflix and skincare

After a full day of rest and relaxation, there's no way I could forget skincare — it's synonymous with self-care in my book.

Luckily, each room has a Potions LED Photon Therapy Mask so you can give your skin some TLC.

I followed up with a sheet mask (provided for free in the welcome care pack) while watching Netflix, because why not?

Day 2

11am: Checking out, albeit unwillingly

After starting the day with some Nespresso coffee (yes, there's a machine in each room), it was time for me to pack my bags and head back into the real world.

If I could, I'd have extended my stay and visited more of the nearby attractions like Wild Wild Wet. While each room booking comes with two complimentary day passes to the park, it was closed while I was there.

There are also barbecue pits ($50 deposit required) and bicycles ($20 deposit required) available for rental, which I didn't get to enjoy due to time constraints.

Without a doubt, I'll be back to put my tickets to good use.

Final thoughts

Whether you're planning a family outing, romantic getaway, or simply a solo retreat from the hustle and bustle, there's plenty to do at SHOW.

While you're just a short walk from civilisation (i.e. Downtown East), the container hotel still has a quaint charm and the perfect, laid back vibes.

Take it from me, you're going to want to book more than one night.

Book your container staycay now.

Address: 1 Pasir Ris Close, Downtown East Begonia open air carpark, Singapore 519599

This article is brought to you in partnership with Downtown East.

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