Go to the cinema and take a snooze

Two-thirds of Golden Village Suntec City's 32 seats are usually booked for its lunchtime service, which allows patrons to buy a $12 ticket for a 90-minute nap in its Gold Class theatre.
Two-thirds of Golden Village Suntec City's 32 seats are usually booked for its lunchtime service, which allows patrons to buy a $12 ticket for a 90-minute nap in its Gold Class theatre.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

During her lunch break on some work days, one might find Mrs Felicia Takeuchi, 37, at the Golden Village cinema in Suntec City.

She is not there to catch a movie, but 40 winks.

Golden Village Suntec City rolled out its Executive Zen Zone last month, a service that allows patrons to buy a $12 ticket for a 90-minute nap in its Gold Class theatre.

Mrs Takeuchi, who works in a bank at the nearby Centennial Tower, has since napped there twice.

The zone operates from noon to 1.30pm from Monday to Friday. Apart from a nap in a plush Gold Class recliner, the offer comes with a meal from the Gold Class menu, a drink, an eye mask and a discount voucher for Gold Class dining on another occasion.

As customers lie back, all the lights in the theatre are turned off and soothing music is played in the background.

Golden Village says its novel offering has had good response. Two- thirds of the theatre's 32 seats are usually booked and even sold out on some days.

Mrs Takeuchi says: "It was a really comfortable experience and great value for money."

A 27-year-old human resource employee, who gave her name only as Ms Cheong, was there recently.

"I was tired and just wanted somewhere to rest. I can have lunch in the Gold Class lounge, do some work there and then take a power nap in the cinema hall."

Ms Cheong, who works in Suntec City, adds that the service is especially useful on a Monday or midweek, "when we want somewhere to rest because we work pretty long hours". "It's also good for when you have a headache and can't sleep at your desk."

For Ms Ong Pei Wen, 25, who works in a marine insurance company in Suntec City, the meal that comes with the package is a good deal.

She says: "Food at Suntec is not that cheap, so this is a good deal."

Mrs Takeuchi adds: "Not many people watch movies during lunchtime anyway, so Golden Village might as well make the most out of the space. The prices for Gold Class are quite steep, so it is also a good chance for them to show people what it's like."

A Gold Class movie ticket costs $29 from Monday to Thursday and $39 from Friday to Sunday.

Ms Kelly Koh, a marketing executive at Golden Village, says the Executive Zen Zone was introduced in Suntec City because of the large number of executives working in the vicinity.

She adds: "We wanted to offer them a private, comfortable place to rest and recharge during lunch breaks, while giving them the opportunity to try Gold Class food."

The service is available until Sept 28.

Ms Koh says Golden Village will evaluate feedback and make improvements before it decides to offer it in other Gold Class cinemas. Golden Village runs 11 cinemas and four of them have Gold Class theatres.

Ms Ong has a suggestion: "People were snoring. Perhaps, providing ear plugs could be the next step."

Golden Village Suntec City is not the only business establishment in the city to offer working professionals daytime snoozes.

Chop! Chop! Massage Express, which has two outlets at Chevron House in the Central Business District and Marina Bay Link Mall, has been offering such services since 2003.

For $28, customers can get a bed for a 30-minute nap - any time during opening hours and subject to bed availability as the beds are also used for massage sessions.

The Marina Bay outlet has two beds, while the Chevron House outlet has one bed and sees two to three nappers every week.

Ms Michelle Tiong, 33, the chain's manager, says: "We offer power naps so that people who don't want a massage can also come to rest and rejuvenate."

Physique, a sports performance and recovery centre at One Raffles Place, also offers naps in a private room with a recliner, beverages, Wi-Fi access, use of an iPad and phone chargers for $28 for the first half-hour and $20 for every subsequent half-hour.

Mr Joshua Loong, 29, Physique's managing director, says the service was launched last year to tap an "unmet market".

"Previously, I was working in banking and kept very long hours. If we could have a place to rest, even for a bit, it would have done wonders for productivity."

Indeed, power napping, even if it means sleeping on the job, offers benefits such as bursts of alertness and increased motor performance.

A 2008 study done by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, also showed that naps are more effective than caffeine when it comes to improving verbal memory, motor skills and perceptual learning.

Some companies here, such as software firm SAP Asia and gaming company Garena, also have spaces for their workers to nap in the office.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 07, 2016, with the headline 'Go to the cinema and take a snooze'. Print Edition | Subscribe