If you're not hopping on board a plane to a seaside destination this year-end, Sentosa and its trove of hotels as well as attractions and beaches is likely your next best alternative for a short getaway from city life (and your WFH "office").
To celebrate the holiday season and bring on the festive cheer, Resorts World Sentosa has rolled out a 2D1N Joyous Stay-In package, which includes a night's stay at either Equarius Hotel or Hotel Michael (Deluxe Room or Deluxe Suite), and a festive dinner for two at any of these restaurants: Syun, Table65, Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, Ocean Restaurant or Curate Cucina Pisana.
Those with kids in tow can consider Hotel Michael, which is just steps away from the major attractions like Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A Aquarium, as well as the many food establishments.
Equarius Hotel, nestled along the fringe of a tropical rainforest and which would require a shuttle or a longer walk to reach the attractions, is better suited for couples after more private surroundings (especially during the holiday period - there were lots of families and children at Hotel Michael while we were there).
We stayed a night at Hotel Michael, and here's how our Christmas staycay went.
Already beautiful with its postmodern and Art Deco elements, the elegant lobby greets guests with lovely decor for the yuletide season. But with it being the school holidays and the festive period, there's a crowd to be expected.
There is, however, a queue number system implemented to facilitate the check-in process, as well as a roomy waiting area (with seats well spread out) in the lobby for guests waiting to be checked in.
For the health and safety of guests especially during the pandemic, security is rather stringent too, so each occupant's name will be cross-referenced at the lift lobby.
PSA: Be sure that everyone's name is listed when checking in so you don't have problems getting past security.
The room and amenities
Our night was spent in one of Hotel Michael's newly renovated Deluxe Rooms. Spacious and well-appointed, it comes with a circular window that affords lovely views of the cable car line and neighbouring buildings.
Each room boasts Serta mattresses exclusive to RWS, as well as plush duck feather pillows and a duvet that invite you to sink in - in fact, it was only the promise of breakfast that got us out of bed the next morning.
Whilst there weren't any drinks or snacks in the mini-fridge, cartons of water, as well as coffee and TWG tea packs were available, alongside an electric kettle. There's also in-room entertainment with various channels for movies, kids' shows, and more on the TV.
Verdict: There aren't many fancy extras but it makes for a plush and comfortable night's stay once you're tired out from a day of activities.
Note: Maximum occupancy of two adults and two children (four to 12 years old) for the Deluxe Rooms (king or twin beds), based on existing bedding in the room.
An additional daily rate of $70++ per room will be levied on rollaway beds and amenities for the third guest.
We woke up to views of the cable car line from our room.
If you're the type who's particular about hotel bathrooms, this one won't disappoint with marble and marble-look furnishings, a mosaiced shower with a rain shower head, an array of Vitaminspa toiletries (like showering essentials, and dental and shaving kits), and fluffy towels.
A merry Christmas dinner for two
The Joyous Stay-in package comes with a festive dinner for two at your restaurant of choice: There's Japanese fine dining restaurant Syun, Michelin-starred modern European establishment table65, Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, Ocean Restaurant, or the newly opened Curate Cucina Pisana, which serves up Pisan cuisine.
Helmed by Chef de Cuisine Davide Bizzarri, Curate Cucina Pisana is clad in refined marble furnishings and hues of gold and dusky green - just perfect for an intimate dinner date or cosy gathering.
You'll get a taste of the lesser-known Pisan fare here, with artisanal produce imported from boutique Pisan producers.
Our four-course dinner kicked off with two glasses of champagne (complimentary with the Joyous Stay-in package) as well as a starter of grilled Fremantle octopus atop braised white cannellini beans.
Next up, Risotto Baccala, Prosecco e Zafferano, with Carnaroli risotto cooked al dente, and a creamy stock laced with the distinct aroma of prosecco and saffron. A light melt-in-the-mouth cured codfish (baccala) mousse rests atop.
The star of the night, at least for us, was the Punta di Petto, which shines the spotlight on fork-tender 48-hour low-temperature-braised beef short ribs drizzled with a sweet Chianti wine sauce that still has us thinking about it.
It's served alongside caramelised onions and an airy parsnip veloute.
Never heard of risotto cake? Neither did we. But that's what was served for dessert, a rich decadent Pontasserchio rich dark chocolate tart with a chewy mouthfeel from the rice grains. Raisins, pine nuts, and candied fruits studded within added an extra sweet festive touch.
Note: Curate Cucina Pisana is closed on Tuesday and Sunday.
Curate Cucina Pisana is at 26 Sentosa Gateway The Forum, #01-231/232, Singapore 098138.
Breakfast for two
There's also daily breakfast for two at the hotel's Fratelli Italian restaurant, available from 7.30am to 10.30am (last order is at 10.15am).
There isn't a buffet here, but we had a choice of either the Western set or the Asian set with local fare like a chicken char siew bun, fried bee hoon, almond beancurd, and fried chicken.
The Western set comprises eggs en cocotte, a salad, hashbrowns, and sausages, as well as a trio of bread and pastries served with condiments. Both sets come with a fruit salad, a choice of tea or coffee, as well as a glass of juice.
Make the most of your stay with a trip to Universal Studios Singapore
While you're there, you don't want to miss a trip to Universal Studios Singapore with all its merry Christmas festivities.
The young ones, especially, will have a ball of a time meeting various Dreamworks and Illumination characters like the lovable and mischievous Minions (including a new Minion!), Shrek and Princess Fiona, as well as Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar from Sesame Street - all dressed up in their holiday outfits.
There'll be interactive augmented reality features to try out on your smartphone, and even a humongous postbox (at the adorably named North Pole Post) where you can write to Santa and have your mail dropped into it by the friendly Postmaster Elf!
At the same time, if your kiddo is obsessed with Pinkfong's Baby Shark, you'll definitely want to visit the S.E.A Aquarium.
Catch Pinkfong mascots dance and perform (on selected dates), get snap-happy at themed backdrops, or walk through a special interactive musical walkway that'll play the hit song with each step you take.
Tickets to Universal Studios Singapore are priced from $59 for Singapore residents. Tickets to S.E.A Aquarium are priced from $23 for Singapore residents. Visit Resorts World Sentosa's website for more information.
Afternoon tea with marine life
Speaking of the S.E.A Aquarium, it has also launched an afternoon experience at Ocean Restaurant.
Here, you'll get to nibble on delish treats like Hiramasa Kingfish Tartare with Coconut Foam Kueh Pie Tee, Canadian Lobster with Seaweed and Citrus Zest Pie and Bordelaise canele spiked with rum while watching stingrays, fish and sharks glide by.
Unfortunately, we recently heard that it's now sold out, but a little bird told us there'll be more of such afternoon tea experiences coming in the new year so watch this space!
Resorts World Sentosa's Joyous Stay-in Packages are priced from $538++, with a choice of a 2D1N stay in the Deluxe Room or Deluxe Suite at either Hotel Michael or Equarius Hotel.
For more information or to book your stay, visit its website.
Hotel Michael is at 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.