Staycation in Singapore
WHAT IS A STAYCATION VACATION?
As you have probably already deduced, the term staycation is actually a combination of two other words, “stay” and “vacation”. And no, it doesn’t allude to the idea of running away to a foreign country. Rather a staycation, somewhat illogically, is used more to refer to a short-stay vacation. Indeed, the term is often points to the practice of simply spending a day or two outside (or for some people even inside) the home whereas you take on a vacationing sort of disposition. In other words you make a conscientious effort to enjoy the day(s) while freeing yourself, as much as reasonably possible, from the stresses of work and home.
The concept of a staycation is one that developed by and large quite recently, i.e. in the United States during 21st century. During the aughts Americans had to deal with a major financial crisis which disallowed people from taking vacations as they have traditionally known them. And then more recently the movements of the society have been altered by the COVID-19 lockdowns. The latter scenario of course affected a lot more people than just Americans. And one of the ways it has manifest is by basically deading the concept of traveling abroad (i.e. outside of one’s home country) for masses of individuals. So as a result of such, the idea of vacationing within one’s own country has become more and more appealing. Moreover staycationing has become increasingly possible due to many individuals having lost work hours due to the pandemic and thus having more leisure time on their hands.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VACATION AND STAYCATION?
As can be ascertained by the description above, there are a number of differences between a vacation and a staycation. For instance if you’re traveling to a preferred destination for only a single day, then logically there is no need to stay at a hotel, lodge or guesthouse. And even if it is for a few days, the cost of lodging isn’t likely to be astronomical as going abroad. In other words staycations are relatively affordable. Also, since you are traveling within your own country or staying close to home, going on a staycation doesn’t require getting on any airplanes. This is another cost-saving move but also one that has other benefits such as sparing one from jetlag, having to get visas or, in the case of people who are afraid to fly, saving them from the discomfort of having to go up in the air in the first place.
Indeed as you can probably imagine even if you never went on a staycation, doing so is a lot less-stressful than an all-out vacation. In fact the heavy planning and expenditures involved in going on a traditional vacation can sometimes suck the fun out of the experience altogether.
Another problem with vacations is that, in reality, the further you travel from home the more you venture into the unknown. But in the case of a staycation, even if you do travel relatively far from your domicile you’ll still be in your home country and thus enjoy a sense of familiarity. For instance within your own country you should be able to speak able to more or less speak the language wherever you go. And also you actually know how much the local currency in worth in regards to all different types of transactions.
On the downside though, some staycationers may feel as if they have not really traveled at all. And this is not only true for them but also their employers. For instance when a person goes on staycation, he or she may remain online and, combined with their proximity to home, be deemed as available by the person(s) they work for.
But even on an intrapersonal level we, as human beings, are creatures of habit. And as such, our minds are such that we carry certain routines with us even when we travel half way around the world. So how much more when we are actually staycationing close to home? That’s a fancy way of saying that even on a staycation, you may find yourself caught up in your daily routines, still mentally burdened with the everyday stresses of life. And if such is the case, then it kinda defeats the purpose of staycationing.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF A STAYCATION VACATION?
Going back to the stresses associated with taking a traditional vacation, at the top of list is usually the cost involved. Vacations are something you actually have to budget for, not only in money but also in time. Such is not necessarily the case with a staycation. If you are not trekking too far from home, then you can even decide to go on a staycation on a whim. So another way of looking at it is as a vacation you can actually afford, on all levels. For example, you’re less likely to destroy your savings account on a staycation. And in the realm of vacationing affordability is very important. For the bottom line is that partaking of such activities is so integral to our well-being that we should be able to do so, regardless of one’s pay grade.
All in All
A staycation, as in a short-distance, short-stay vacation, may seem like an odd, even redundant concept to create an original portmanteau over. But we cannot stress enough how important vacationing is in and of itself. The health benefits of vacationing are something which the scientific community has long been up on. And as a working adult yourself, you probably don’t need anyone anyway to tell you that it is a good idea for you and the family to get away from time to time.
So the good thing about “staycation” actually being a word is that now people will receive additional encouragement and options in terms of vacationing in general. In other words staycations provide us the opportunity to capitalize on many of the benefits of vacationing without incurring the traditional costs and stresses involved.
GREAT PLACES IN SINGAPORE TO VISIT DURING A STAYCATION
As far as staycationing is concerned, Singapore is perhaps the best country on Earth for two interrelated reasons. First is that it is chock full of state-of-the-art tourist attractions and places to spend time to enjoy yourself. But more importantly for a staycationer, the nation is small enough that you can get from any one location to any other in a matter of hours. That’s another way of saying that if you’re in the Lion City, no matter where you are the whole island(s) is easily accessible. And that’s yet another way of saying that you can easily visit any of the following venues from home or your place of lodging.
And in terms of the listed attractions we’re keeping cost in mind. In other words, venues like say the Marina Bay Sands proper or the Ocean Restaurant are not included, despite their appeal, due to their relative costliness. And on this particular post we’re looking more at budget ways to staycation alone, with a loved one or with the family. Also we will touch upon the topics of nighttime and adult staycationing. So with no further ado, let’s dig right in.
GARDENS BY THE BAY
Of course we’re going to set things off with the Gardens by the Bay. This high-tech botanical garden is one we have mentioned numerous times in the past because it’s not only electrifying but also educational. Indeed we would venture to say there is something at the Gardens by the Bay for everyone. And it’s also quite affordable, as in a multi-faceted venue where an entire family can gain full access for less than SGD$100.00.
SINGAPORE RIVER BUMBOAT CRUISE
There are a number of different companies offering various types of cruises on the Singapore River, and in some cases such competitiveness can be good for pricing. For instance, this is another attraction which the whole family can partake of for SGD$100.00 and less. And it is truly a memorable experience, affording one a unique view of Singapore’s architecturally-impressive Marina Bay.
And if you’re really into rivers and stuff like that, you may also dig the Singapore Zoo’s River Safari. In all this facility is in fact a zoo, as well as an aquarium. And there are also a couple of premium cruises available therein. And unlike the Singapore River, in this case you won’t be beholding skyscrapers but rather exotic animals from all over the world. It has been noted that this staycation option is particularly appealing to families. And in all you’ll end up spending a bit over SGD$100.00, but by all accounts it’s well worth it.
In fact the Singapore Zoo system in and of itself is a pretty-safe bet when it comes to achieving the true goal of any staycation, which is to momentarily forget about your everyday stresses. And the modern world is intrinsically stressful. Well, the opposite of modernization is nature. And thankfully Wildlife Reserves Singapore saw fit to do just that – preserve wildlife in the Lion City. And in doing so they’ve also imported many non-native animals to boot. Moreover, outside of the River Safari and Singapore Zoo proper they also manage the Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park facilities. So there’s a number of places you can visit, at reasonable prices, to get your nature on.
But for some of us, being around technology can be just as edifying as enjoying nature. Or rather let’s say they are two different experiences. So after staycationing at the Zoo or Gardens by the Bay (i.e. the best of both worlds), on your next staycation you may then opt to hit up the ArtScience Museum. This is a high-tech facility in arguably the most high-tech city on Earth; its architecture alone is indicative of that reality. And its attractions are not only about the modern world, as you’ll also be treated to the works of some of the most-renowned old school artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci. And amongst all of the staycationing options listed so far, the ArtScience Museum is amongst the most-reasonably priced. Or stated more otherwise, you can purchase one reasonably-priced ticket (to particular exhibits) for your entire family instead of for each person individually.
For some of us a staycation may be more of a nocturnal than daytime activity. If you are such a person and are also in a gregarious mood, then it would be advisable to hit up Clarke Quay for a night or two. This is part of the Lion City which has the highest concentration of popular nightclubs. And even if clubbing isn’t really your thing, you would likely still enjoy the overall party-like atmosphere of the ‘hood.
1-ALTITUDE / ALTIMATE
As alluded to in the last section, some people really enjoy nightclubs. But in terms of staycationing, others may deem the idea of having music blasting in your ears as less than ideal. Well there’s sort of middle ground in terms of 1-Altitude and its sister dance club, Altimate. 1-Altitude itself is actually a rooftop bar/diner which, at 63-storeys high (282 meters / 925 feet) gives you a stunning view of the Lion City. Meanwhile Altimate, which is just a couple of storeys down on the 61st floor of 1 Raffles Place, is a full-fledged nighttime. At the time of the writing of this post Altimate is permanently closed, most likely due to the COVID pandemic. But 1-Altitude is still open, and we can say visiting the facility would be a great staycation for a romantic couple in particular.
While we’re on the subject of altitudes we couldn’t forget Mt. Faber. This is actually a hill, being 106 meters / 348 feet at its peak, which also serves as one of the Singapore’s premiere tourist attractions. There is also a park on the mount where you and yours can chill for free. But beyond that Mount Faber also serves as home to a number of eateries, including an adjacent McDonald’s for all of you with Western taste buds. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a relaxing (if you’re not afraid of heights) cable car ride from Faber to Sentosa Island at a cool price.
Just like we have family and couples’ forms of entertainment, we also have those which are more catered to adults. And in terms of the latter, in Singapore, sex work is actually legal. In fact as we have pointed out before, working girls in the Lion City are required to not only register but also to have a valid license with the government. And at the end of the day if such activities do define your notion of an ideal staycation, then in such a situation it is always advisable to do things the right way.
RIDING THE MRT / LRT
This particular option may sound dorky, especially for full-fledged citizens of Singapore. As such riding around on Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) or Light Rail Transit (LRT) all day is more of a suggestion for expats or foreigners in the Lion City. Singapore possesses one of the coolest and cleanest public transportation systems ever. And just taking a day to enjoy some of these rides is not only the least-expensive way to tour the country but also an excellent way to familiarize yourself with getting around.
ALL IN ALL…
There’s no shortage of staycation opportunities in the Lion City, even beyond this list. That is to say that there are a number of places in the comparatively-tiny Singapore you can visit for a day or two to effectively take a load off. And arguably, the best part of it all isn’t the variety but rather all of them being in moderately close proximity, so to speak. In other words you can even visit one or two of them on a single day. Or if you’re a regular staycationer in Singapore, you likely won’t be running out of options in terms of places to shoot the breeze anytime soon.
BEST HOTELS FOR A STAYCATION IN SINGAPORE
Singapore really seems to be up on the staycation trend. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that government puts such a high premium on possessing a quality workforce, and you know how the old saying goes about all work and no play. Also the Lion City is such an ideal tourist destination that perhaps residents of the country don’t really feel so much of a need to travel outside when it comes to vacationing. Either way, it is what it is. And the good thing about this reality for staycationers is that many of the hotels are also in tune with the craze. That’s just a fancy way of saying that they offer staycation packages which affords access to rooms and other privileges at reduced rates for a short stay.
We generally classify a staycation as a brief getaway whereas, at least ideally, one would save more money than on a conventional vacation. And accordingly there are some budget options listed below. But in the name of truly highlighting the best Singaporean hotels for a staycation, there are some premium, high-priced options mentioned also. But one way of looking at it is that even if you do spend a lot of money on a weekend staycation at a five-star hotel for instance, it would still likely be less vacationing for an entire week somewhere less expensive. Or stated otherwise sometimes you have to treat yourself to high-priced expenditures, if you are compelled to do so.
So with all of that being noted, let’s get into our recommended staycation lodgings in the Lion City.
THE VAGABOND CLUB
And we’re going to set things off with the amply-named (for a staycationer) Vagabond Club. This is a luxurious, beautifully-decorated hotel which is actually affiliated the world-famous Marriott hospitality franchise. Its layout is very artsy and would particularly appeal to those who have a strong affinity for interior decorating. And it is also known for being close to the hearts of whisky aficionados, indeed possessing what is referred to as a “Whiskey Library”, home to over 1,000 brands of this liquor from all around the world. But perhaps the best part of the deal is its pricing. For at the time of the writing of this post, a room can be hired for approximately SGD$200.00.
There are two different Shangri-La hotels which have made this list, though they don’t appear to be directly affiliated. The one actually named Shangri-La Hotel is located just off of Orchard Road. And as beautiful a facility this is internally, its positioning would also make it ideal for those who may want to spend part of their staycation shopping. The other, which is dubbed Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, is located on Sentosa Island, which is a tourist attraction in and of itself. Both are a bit costly, with the latter logically being more expensive than the former. You can get a room at the Shangri-La Hotel for about SGD$300.00. They also have special packages which couples and families can take advantage of. In fact when you look at the name of some of them, such as the Couple Retreat Package, Fun Family Staycation and Garden Wing Staycation, it’s obvious they have staycationers in mind. And the last two options can also be purchased starting at around SGD$300.00.
The Shangri La Rasa also has its own packages designed to offer short, multi-faceted getaways. But you better have your checkbook on hand before even thinking about patronizing them. However, the difference of course is that Sentosa, once again, is a world-renowned resort island and generally speaking offers more of an escape from everyday life than in the middle of the city.
THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL
As its name suggests, this facility was at one point in time a warehouse. In fact the building dates all the way back to the late 19th century and may prove preferable to those looking for a stay with more of historical slant. Moreover, considering that it was once a warehouse, the overall facility is quite spacious. Additional advantages include it being located on the Singapore River, which riverfront rooms being available. And in its entirety it is a very-beautiful facility.
And everything is all smiles until we get to the pricing. According to some budget sites, such as Tripadvisor, you may be able to score a room in the somewhere in the $200.00 range. Those appear to be special deals. By contrast, normal room pricing is more in the SGD$450.00 range. So yes, you can enjoy this luxurious compound located not too far from the Downtown Core itself – if you’re willing to pay for it.
HOTEL INDIGO SINGAPORE KATONG
The Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong is another option on this list where you can have access more of a traditional feel, if you will. And in this case it isn’t due to the age of the structure. Rather the managers of the hotel have made a conscientious effort to preserve aspects of the Peranakan culture, which has helped shape the Lion City, into the hospitality experience. Moreover rooms are reasonably-priced at a little over SGD$200.00. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Hotel Indigo is actually an international hospitality chain with branches in places like New York City and Hong Kong. So you’re pretty much guaranteed a world-class staycation if you choose to hang out there, even though it’s not as costly as some of the other hotels on this list.
The Parkroyal facilities are pretty much unanimous picks amongst publications ranking the best staycation spots in Singapore. They have gone the extra mile in terms of keeping their compounds sanitized in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally they are part of the Pan Pacific Hotels Group and as such offer discounts to members of the associated Discovery loyalty program. And they also provide similar pricing to frontline healthcare workers, which is quite considerate in lieu of all that has been going on as of late.
There are actually two Parkroyals available. There is Parkroyal on Beach Road, an area which is considered part of the Downtown Core. And Parkroyal Collection Pickering is in Clarke Quay, which as pointed out in the past is the Lion City’s main party ‘hood.
Between the pair the Pickering especially comes off as a cool staycation spot due to its unique, eco-friendly architecture. Additionally just to note, it boasts of its own infinity pool. Moreover it actually has a “Garden Daycation” package where staycationers can enjoy the facility for half a day – for less than SGD$200.00 (as of the writing of this post) – as opposed to an entire night. And speaking of pricing, one advantage the Beach Road facility clearly has over Pickering is its cost, as you can book a room in the former for a little over SGD$200.00. By contrast, you’d be spending from about $100.00 more, at least, to stay in the Pickering overnight.
The Capella Singapore takes us back to Sentosa Island, in fact being one of the most-outstanding and spacious facilities the landmass has to offer. In addition to the state-of-the-art architecture of the hotel itself the grounds are highlighted by the Capella’s green gardens, with the presence of nature being generally advisable as far as staycationing is concerned. And speaking of nature, it is also one of the Lion City’s best hotels in terms of offering views of the South China Sea.
The Capella does provide staycation packages, and it would economically be advisable to find out which ones are in effect before visiting. Moreover some of the discount travel sites, such as Kayak, actually advertised rooms for half price. Perhaps such is feasible due to the drop in tourism due to the pandemic. Either way it would be wise to research accordingly as the standard rate for a night’s stay, at the very least, is about SGD$1,000.00, and it only gets more expensive from there. As such the Capella is particular advisable if you’re a staycationer with plenty of disposable funds at your disposal.
M SOCIAL SINGAPORE
The M Social Singapore is a hotel which is marketed specifically to millennials. And as its name alludes to, it is also heavily influenced by the latest in computer technology. For instance, it boasts of computerized amenities such as self-check in for customers and even what they refer to as “automated room service robots”. But even beyond such gimmicks, the M Social still offers a wide range of unique services, such as a yachting package and even a program called Mix and Stay where you can learn how to be a bartender while simultaneously staying at the hotel.
Also their prices are quite reasonable, with rooms being available via some discount sites for considerably less than SGD$200.00 per night. And it should be noted that at the time of this writing, the M Social Singapore is in pretty-strong demand. So if you are planning on staycationing there, it may be a good idea to book your room as soon as possible.
W SINGAPORE SENTOSA COVE
This is one of the more-expensive options on this list, with average room prices being somewhere in the range of SGD$550.00. The W Singapore Sentosa Cove is recognized as a hotspot for the more well-to-do residents of the Lion City, and its pricing reflects that reality. But accordingly so do the features and luxuries the W Singapore provides to its guests. Or look at it this way – if you really want to break away from the norms of everyday life, there’s no better way to do so than to chill in the lap of luxury for a day or two. And the Cove is considerate enough to offer food credit to those who stay for the night in an attempt to bring costs down.
THE ST. REGIS SINGAPORE
The St. Regis is another premium option for staycationers who have a little more dough to spend. In fact itself being part of reputed St. Regis international hospitality chain, people who travel the world know the type of luxury the facility provides. But along with such five-star treatment – including butler service by the way – comes the applicable pricing. And in this case, the average room is going to set you back about SGD$450.00. But this yet another facility you can enjoy if you want to be on Orchard Road. Also if your idea of a staycation includes actually venturing outside of the hotel compound, the St. Regis Singapore is just a stone’s throw away from the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which itself is a cool place to chill.
OASIA HOTEL DOWNTOWN
As its name implies, the Oasia Hotel Downtown puts you smack dab in Singapore’s main financial district, the Downtown Core. Yet at the same time it is specifically designed to provide you a ‘refreshing’, ‘refueling’ and ‘recharging’ stay – or with staycationing in mind, so to speak. Moreover despite its location it is actually reasonably priced, where patrons can acquire rooms at costs a little over SGD$200.00 per night.
And being in the Downtown Core not only puts you in the midst of some of Singapore’s most-impressive architecture but also in close proximity to A+ list tourist attractions such as the Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay. In other words, if you plan on visiting such locales during your staycation, then it would be a good idea to consider staying at the Oasia if you’re on a budget. Also if you’ve ever dreamed about residing in the Downtown Core but could never actually afford it, staycationing at the Oasia Hotel will allow you to live that fantasy for a day or two.
MARINA BAY SANDS
We’ve written about the Marina Bay Sands in the past on various occasions. That’s because it’s safe to say that its compound, in its entirety, embodies more attractions in the Lion City than any other site in the country. For instance, besides the world-class hotel there is a casino, shopping mall, the ArtScience Museum, the floating Apple store, etc. And it is yet another hotel on this listing which is part of a high-class, international franchise.
Moreover actually staying at the Sands gives you access to the SkyPark Observation Deck, a rooftop attraction which houses a large infinity pool, a nightclub and a number of other hangout spots to boot. But as to be expected, the Sands is one of the pricier hotel options in the Lion City. Yet this is another facility which has capitalized on the staycation trend by offering discounts for such patrons. And as such, you can enjoy rooms from starting prices just above SGD$300.00.
Staycations should offer flexibility. In other words, if you’re venturing outside of the home for just a day or two, then you shouldn’t be intimidated by the prices of the hotels you want to visit. But of course, such thinking is more of a fantasy than reality. However, if you do some legwork, including actually calling your preferred destination, you may be surprised to find out that they actually want your staycation dollars. And as such, they oft have packages available where you can enjoy the best of their services at discounted, short-term rates.