Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Staycation at Shangri-la with kids

We sprinkled some fun and excitement last March holiday by going on a staycation with Shangri-La. The one at Orange Grove road.

I'm not sure what will be your decision in booking a venue for staycation. For us, it will be coming across great deal. We managed to book a 2D1N deal on Lazada for $399 last December, but we're seeing it at $500 now though. So yeap, not sponsored, but sharing for the good benefits of many who will be staycation-ing during this pandemic when travel cannot be in plan. The deal we bought included both lunch and dinner at The Line restaurant, which we reckoned was a very attractive buy.  

Garden Wing Deluxe City View Room 
We were given a deluxe room at the Garden wing with city view and a private balcony. Very much pleased with the room set up that they added a roll in bed for us. We are 2 adults and 3 kids. And of course, they didn't very much approve 5 pax in a room. They suggested we get connecting rooms instead. We love staying cosy, so we did not. 

Deluxe room at Garden wing

Bathroom was spacious with a bathtub, standing shower and two basins. Six bottles of mineral water were given, along with two little packs of preserved snacks. The in room mini bar was empty, not sure why. Perhaps a good way to unsure uneaten snacks remain untouched for next guest. But I think it's good that the kids wouldn't be bugging to snack on this or that. And I was mildly disappointed that our room didn't come with the usual hotel's pen and notepad. We needed a pen to get on a treasure hunt game, and the notepad usually keeps the littlest occupied. 

 
Check-in
Check-in time stated was 3pm. We emailed a week before to request for early check-in and late check-out, but they could only accede the requests based on availability that very day itself. That left us wondering on what time we should be there. Having an indicative time will definitely help us better with the planning, rather than playing with luck. We chanced in at 12pm. Managed to get over the administrative part, but room was only ready at 2.15pm. We had lunch at The Lobby Lounge in between, where it serves local fare like chicken rice, fish soup, katong laksa etc at premium prices. If you are a frequent of Shangri-La, consider signing up for their Golden circle membership where you can accumulate points for every dine and stay. Not valid for deals. We redeemed our points for lunch, and was most satisfied that our bill came up to $1 for 4 main courses at The Lobby Lounge.
 
Welcome packs were given to the kids upon check in. And this delighted the kids much. Adults were given masks and alcohol wipes. It was a nice welcome for all. 
 
Kids welcome packs
 
 
Adults welcome packs

 
Activities
For a night booked, we were entitled to a session of play at buds, their indoor playground, as well as, a session of play at Splash Zone, their outdoor water playground. Buds session is at $18 per hour. Splash Zone is free, and limited to an hour session. It wasn't enough for the kids. I did try booking 2 sessions, but was declined. We managed to book 2 play sessions at buds though, on separate days. Happy kids, happy parents. 

The kids had a great time at Buds, with the slides, climbing structures, ball pits and creative rooms for music playing and painting.

Buds at Shangrila


Buds playground
 
Booking of these kids activities are only upon arrival. We emailed to check if we could pre-book before check-in, but there was no reply. Some hotels do pre-booking of kids activities and pool sessions before check-in, but policies varies. Booking of kids' activities can only be done on that very day itself with a booking site. The slot sessions indicated online were very much fully booked till our check-out time. We were upset for a moment, but was reminded that we can walk in to buds to check on the updated slots instead. And phew, that's where we secured buds and splash zone sessions for the kids. Do check the weather forecast when booking splash zone. 
 
Splash zone

Pirate ship at splash zone

Other hotel activities include a treasure hunt at our own time, own target. A hunt map is given upon check-in, you can start this hunting game while waiting for check-in. Redeem an ice-cream upon completion. The answer to their first question is fluid. So don't get too stuck on that. There are also baking, tie and dye activities which can be booked with additional fees. It's $10 for baking and $28 for tie and dye. We skipped both.

Do consider getting on some activities while waiting on room availability. Just so you can spend more time relaxing in the room instead of running in and out for activities. Badge making activity outside buds is free. Just walk-in.

Facilities 
Swimming pool consists of the swimmer and wading pool. Booking session isn't required but entry is based on first come first serve. We entered at about 9.45am smoothly, but had to leave at 10.25am for our splash zone session. The queue to the pool was insane when we left. Entry is only allowed based on a one in and one out when capacity is full. 
 
Queue to the pool
 
Being an early riser reaps benefits. And don't forget, breakfast may delay you a little. Noon to 3pm seems an off peak, when guests are in midst of checking in and out. And of course, that's the hottest time of the day. But sunshine is always better than rain when it comes to play. So if you don't mind the hot sun, consider dipping into the pool upon arrival until your room is ready, and you can whisk off to shower upon collecting your keys.
The orchid within the hotel's open

We very much enjoy the lush greenery garden within the hotel. Walking around was quite an adventure too.

Meals

We had both dinner and breakfast at The Line. It was ala carte buffet where everything you order will be served to your table. The spread was good and very much satisfying for our tummies. Breakfast did take them quite a while to serve, crowded morning I guess. And that gave us less time for the pool. Not included in our package, we had our next day lunch at Waterfall Ristorante Italiano, which serves southern Italian classics. Very great tasting, and the recommendations on their menu made choices easy.



Check-out
Check out time was at 12 noon. And nope, we didn't score a late check out. Even though we tried reasoning that we needed more shower time, as our splash zone session ends at 11.30am. Was politely declined and told that we could shower at the common bath area. Nice alternative, but not a compassionate and convenient option for us. We dealt with the time tight option of one bathroom. And phew, made it to surrender the keys, albeit 5 minutes late. We sent the man down to return the card keys, while I hurriedly pack through our stuff.

So yeap, it was a wonderful break from routines, and the hustle and bustle. Staycation is the new vacation. Not perpetually I hope. Trekking the globe is still where we hope to be getting back on.

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