Family-friendly staycays: Chauffeur, canapes and cocktails

Book ahead to have the outdoor infinity pool at Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore to yourselves. The Oakwood Mobile Bar rolls round twice in the evening, with unlimited house pours, cocktails, beers, wine and ample canapes.
Book ahead to have the outdoor infinity pool at Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore to yourselves.PHOTO: OAKWOOD PREMIER AMTD SINGAPORE
The Oakwood Mobile Bar rolls round twice in the evening, with unlimited house pours, cocktails, beers, wine and ample canapes.
The Oakwood Mobile Bar rolls round twice in the evening, with unlimited house pours, cocktails, beers, wine and ample canapes.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Now that the kids are growing tall and lanky like beansprouts, it is harder for all four of us to squidge into two queen beds in a hotel room.

Booking larger holiday accommodation rather than getting two rooms is the next step, since being attached at the hip is usually the modus operandi for family vacations.

Our "Family Together" overnight staycation at Oakwood Premier AMTD Singapore starts on a glamorous note when a chauffeur-driven Jaguar pulls up at our doorstep.

The sedan, with built-in massage seats and mineral water and magazines on tap, moves as silently as a ninja to the serviced apartments in OUE Downtown 1. My seat can be reclined, a simulacrum of an airline seat, for those who miss flying.

Our two-bedroom executive apartment is a dreamier, designer version of home. If only our flat had walk-in wardrobes, tasteful greige furniture and a washer and dryer hidden behind a secret wall.

I am a kidult playing house with floors I will never have to clean.

Before long, we are watching television contentedly in three rooms - the kids' bedroom, ours and the living room. (In modern families, freedom from the tyranny of screens sometimes just means liberation from waiting for your turn on an electronic device.)

I used to avoid serviced apartments on overseas trips because they remind me too much of domestic life. The kitchen emanates silent reproach, hinting that I should buy groceries and rustle up dinner, which does not make for a carefree holiday. (My husband can cook only omelettes.)

Here, I open a cabinet to find a ton of kitchen appliances. I can use even a rice cooker, if only I had packed rice.

Son, 11, and Daughter, seven, take out pans and follow a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich provided by Oakwood. The bread and cheese are thoughtfully stocked in the fridge. The kids have whipped this up a few times since, clearly snubbing my version, which features cheese melted in a microwave.

At dinner, we get a customisable dining set worth $140++ with the kind of dependable mains, involving salmon and bolognese, which lodge permanently on child-friendly menus.

  • OAKWOOD PREMIER AMTD SINGAPORE

    WHERE: 07-01 OUE Downtown 1, 6 Shenton Way

    INFO: www.oakwood.com/premier-singapore

    ROOMS: 268 units, comprising studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments

    RATES: The Family Together package starts at $621++ a night for a two-bedroom executive apartment. General rates start at $357++ a night for a one-bedroom apartment. The Jaguar premium transfer costs $100 nett one way, while the Oakwood Mobile Bar is $55++ a guest a night.

We even have a bartender.

The Oakwood Mobile Bar rolls round twice in the evening, a wheeled chariot of unlimited house pours, cocktails, beers, wine and four ample sets of canapes, one for each of us. That is a spread of close to 50 nibbles, including Japanese dumplings and Cajun shrimp and guacamole on toast.

If you are somehow peckish later, wind down with hot soya milk and one of Oakwood's excellent macarons during the turndown service.

It is quite the house party, and Covid-19 safe to boot. Plans are now afoot to revive Singapore's nightlife, which require clubbers to provide proof of having taken a Covid-19 test. But groups of five may prefer to party with a room-serviced bacchanalia here, in the thick of the Central Business District.

Pandemic measures, while tedious, can sometimes bring a sense of splendid isolation. We have booked ahead to go to the outdoor infinity pool, which we have all to ourselves.

In the still of the night, we see lights flickering from Sentosa and beyond: St John's, Lazarus and maybe even tiny Kusu Island. The ships are sleeping and the Marina Coastal Expressway is a ribbon of road aglow with street lamps.

It is an illusion, of course, but it is tempting to think the view is ours alone.

INSIDER TIP

Check out the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre across the road for a closer look at the Chinese Singaporean identity.

Shrewdly, one of the highlights is a discussion on cross-cultural influences on hawker food. The plastic replicas of chicken rice, Hokkien mee and curry puffs look good enough to eat.

Did you know yong tau foo was created by Hakka emigres who longed for wheat dumplings from their homeland?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2020, with the headline 'Chauffeur, canapes and cocktails'. Print Edition | Subscribe