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Travel How To Escape Without An Air Ticket

How To Escape Without An Air Ticket

How To Escape Without An Air Ticket
By Daphne Chen-Cordeiro
By Daphne Chen-Cordeiro
October 24, 2017
The best place to escape to over the weekend is right beneath our noses. It’s not about running off to Sentosa (which is always lovely, but the problem is: everyone has that exact same idea) but to the centre of the city.

1/5 Morning: A lazy breakfast

Nestled in the Central Business District of Tanjong Pagar, Sofitel Singapore City Centre is a bit of an unconventional spot for a staycation but soon, I realise that how this makes perfect sense. Driving in, Tanjong Pagar is a quiet town. Amidst the skyscrapers and shophouses, there are no crowds, barely any cars, in fact, we are the only ones with a kid in tow.

If we didn’t know that the hotel was newly-opened, we would not have been able to tell. There are no teething problems, the staff are schooled in the Sofitel brand thoroughly (it’s a delight hearing them share it with pride) and anticipate what we need before we even had to ask. Upon arriving at the lobby, we’re welcomed by a manager who leads us straight to Racines for breakfast. 

Staycations are all about sleeping in, so you'll be glad that the breakfast buffet ends late at 11am at the stunning sunlight-drenched Racines, helmed by award-winning and affable executive chef Jean-Charles Dubois. It’s a picture-perfect spot that is made for Instagram: Floor-to-ceiling glass panels for perfect lighting, plush velvet booths to cosy up in, and an open kitchen with extensive local, Japanese and Western offerings, from nasi lemak to sushi to made-to-order waffles. Service is top-notch, which makes Racines even more unforgettable.  

2/5  Late morning: Room up

The hotel hosts 223 rooms and suites that look out to the historic Tanjong Pagar precinct; ours oversee the familiar terracotta roof tiles that local shophouses are known for. Check-ins are usually done in-room, a service that is always appreciated. There are personal touches in the room that gets one comfortable immediately. The mini-bar is complimentary, and visiting guests will appreciate the Handy Phone that provides free Wi-Fi and local and international calls to 10 countries. A unique touch: Every room comes with an activity book, Colouring The Lion City, by William Sim and colouring pencils—the same book is a mainstay and every guest will leave their mark behind for the next visitor.  

3/5  Early afternoon: Take a dip

Now where is that pool? We find the beautiful spot amidst lush greenery. Accompanying the 30m infinity pool is a Jacuzzi, a shallow dip pool and a lawn with pool cabanas whose curtains are billowing in the wind. Guests of Luxury Club Rooms and Suites get access to Club Millésime, which serves complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. We have a bit of fun with the Enomatic wine dispenser, curated daily to suit the canapes served. It’s a hideaway that feels exclusive: there’s a library, meeting room and a reserved terrace spot right next to pool. Even though we opted for a cabana, the butlers continuously send over fruit juices and fresh milk while we order lunch from both the Club Millésime and room service menus (p/s: the Hokkien noodles is a must-try). The small touches shine through: Post-swim, there are sachets of after-sun cream, wet pouches for your swimmers, and a cart topped with bottles of fruit-infused iced water and fresh fruits too.

4/5  Late afternoon: Destress away

If you’re craving for another workout, grab your In-Room Fitness Kit (complete with a yoga mat) and take on the series of workout videos that are available in all rooms. We chose to head down to the hotel’s own SoFit gym, and had the option of using the adjacent Virgin Active Fitness Club–Tanjong Pagar which offers workout and wellness classes. In need of a massage? Guests can get a complimentary ride to SoSpa at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. But we were happy to languid in a relaxing soak. The tub was too inviting: it comes a bamboo bathtub caddy that holds a book (101 Ways to Live Well, by Lonely Planet) and a wine glass.

5/5  Evening: Rest up  

At 6.30pm, the hotel performs the candle ritual, a French tradition that you’ll find across Sofitels all over the world. It’s inspired by the Parisian tradition of people lighting up the streets with candles during King Louis XIV’s reign. After the ceremony, the entire hotel twinkles with candles, readying itself for the night. The best spot to be in the evening? At the 1864 bar, a great place for barrel-aged cocktails and martinis, including coconut Negronis and Reposado margaritas. At the end of the day, we returned to the room to find a cuddly toy for our toddler, a sleep menu of pillow options and camomile tea, readying us for a restful night’s sleep. But there was no need for it—as we sank into Sofitel’s trademark bed, MyBed, slumber came quickly.

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