Family-friendly staycations: The best hotels in Singapore to check into during the school holidays and festive period
When the weather outside is this frightful (we'll leave it to you whether that means the humidity or thunderstorms), it can be stressful trying to figure out what to do with the kids during the school holidays. Jewel Changi Airport is packed to the brim, and braving outdoor play may not be up every parent's alley. We humbly suggest every Singaporean's favourite hobby — the inimitable staycation. There can't be anything more grand than huddling in your sleek suite with the family, away from the maddening crowds and unpredictable climate. Exceptional food and drink await, a glorious pool is at your doorstep, and if you're lucky, a kids' club or the equivalent too.
Some of our finest hotels are mind readers, too. These saviours have come up with brilliant furnishings and activities for the little ones so all parties are kept happy. We've rounded up some of our city's best family-friendly hotels for the ultimate break. Why not take some time out and treat yourselves? It is, after all, two weeks to Christmas.
JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach
There's no shortage of activities for children at the chic JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach — its new family initiative, Family by JW, features culinary, creative, and active experiences for everyone to soak in together. Expect thoughtful multi-generational spaces that host programs designed for the youngest to oldest member, such as the newly launched Premier Family Room. With enough space for a king and a sofa bed that sleeps up to four adults, it has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Kids aged seven and below can also sleep in a camper van, essentially a smart play station that doubles up as a bed and is inspired by JW Marriott's Americana heritage. Each child from five to 12 years old is given an amenities kit to take home — a wonderful collaboration with the Guggenheim Museums and Foundation. Inside, your child will find an activity guide, crayons, turn down and wind down cards, toiletries, balloons, snacks, and gifts.
Keen to try something new? Apart from the joyful feasting you'll be indulging with your family, try JW Marriott's unique underwater experience where you'll have the chance to learn to swim like a mermaid, as well as learn about its rich mythology and culture. Now, take that fellow parents.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore takes on Monopoly — how's that for a novel idea? From now till the end of the year, families with older kids can spend hours playing with the Ritz-Carlton's first bespoke edition of Monopoly. Get onboard to discover different facets of the hotel, such as their butler-drawn bath and concierge-led hotel art tour. Keen property tycoons can also aim to buy Singapore's major museums, landmark attractions, and the Ritz-Carlton's restaurants, art pieces, and rooms.
If you have younger kids, the Ritz Kids Night Safari is right up your alley. The immersive program takes your little ones on an adventure with a sleeping tent, edible turn-down amenity (who's missing out now?), passport, and discovery map. Hurrah, at last, camping without the heat, mosquitoes, and flies.
You could spend countless days at Capella without ever leaving its whisper-quiet lush grounds. The elegant façade of the hotel feels nothing like Singapore, and its multiple pools, generously-sized rooms, and plenty of chirping birds add to that ambience. During your stay, your children will be given the opportunity to participate in a cooking or baking class, make mocktails, and have their gleeful mugs shot during the various sessions in a dedicated photography session.
If you're planning to be there on Christmas Day (lucky, lucky you), make sure you partake in Capella's decadent Christmas Brunch. The young ones will be enthralled by kiddy favourite treats like mini beef sliders, Hawaiian mini pizzas, and activities like caroling, electric animal rides, a magic show, gingerbread man cookie decoration, and face painting.
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is an absolute dream for children, and it almost feels like the entire place could be their playground. For starters, they have Buds by Shangri-La, an interactive play space like none you've ever seen. Occupying both indoor and outdoor areas, younger guests can call on their inner budding artist, young performer or chef in the specially themed areas to encourage fun and learning. Buds' superb water play zone is currently undergoing an upgrade, which includes expanding the wading pool, building additional shade structures and incorporating a new swimming pool with water sprays. When it reopens early next year, your kid will never want to leave.
Make it even more memorable by checking into one of the five Themed Family Suites or 19 Deluxe Family Rooms. Each of the themed suites offer dream-themed beds, such as Safari, Treetop, Castle, Underwater, and Space. In our opinion, the most brilliant feature is a connecting tunnel between the kids' and adults' rooms. If you forget anything for your brood, don't fret, because there is an entire room of childcare amenities from Stokke that you can request during your stay. Packing light to a staycation? A Christmas miracle, indeed.