Novel staycays: Spend a night in a shipping container or unwind on a yacht

Book a package with a sailing expedition, pampering for mums or pet privileges

With staycation season under way in earnest, hotels in Singapore are offering more than the usual dine-and-swim room packages.

As the pandemic lingers on and the year-end school holidays approach, demand looks set to skyrocket.

In a bid to offer greater diversity and appeal to more targeted demographics, some hotels are positioning their staycations as novel experiences.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts, for example, has launched a Yacht-cation Escape package. Bookings at Orchard Hotel and M Social include a sailing expedition to the Southern Islands of Singapore.

In need of a quiet place to work because the house next door is undergoing renovation? Long-suffering neighbours can seek respite from the drilling and hacking by taking a Reno-Vacation at Frasers Hospitality's serviced residences. Even pets are welcome at Fraser Suites Singapore, Fraser Place Robertson Walk and Fraser Residence Orchard.

For anyone who has ever looked at a shipping container and felt it looked cosy, Shipping Container Hotel may be calling your name. The pop-up hotel claims you can be an off-the-grid pioneer yet still live the luxe hotel life - in a metal oblong.

Meanwhile, if you are a mum fed up with home-based learning and working from home, Fairmont Hotel has a relaxing Mumcation package for you.

Three journalists from The Sunday Times check out hotel life with a difference. It's hard work, but someone's got to do it.

Suite Life: Relax on a yacht and be served by a butler, as part of Orchard Hotel's Yacht-cation

Be pampered with a high tea spread (above left) served in your suite at Orchard Hotel and a yacht trip (top) that takes you around the Southern Islands, including Lazarus Island (above right) where the waters are crystal-clear.

The promotional photos and videos for Orchard Hotel's suite-and-yacht staycation show young adults sipping bubbly, living the carefree, Instagram-worthy luxe life on a yacht.

Not the usual hotel stay, for sure.

But I wondered if all this opulence would be lost on two frazzled parents with a pair of bouncy, always-on-the-move daughters, aged seven and a little under two.


Suite Life: Savouring scents, sweets and spa sans the kids

dote tea lounge and bath products from Lush Singapore (above, far right).

Some things you realise only when you are a mum.

I didn’t know, for instance, that going swimming would for years entail moving in water in a family pod like porpoises.

At first, it was because the kids were too young so it was one parent watching one child each in the baby pools. Now, even though my 11-year-old son can dive to the bottom of a deep pool to fetch bricks, habits acquired in the early years of parenting die hard. Swimming lessons were disrupted during Covid-19 for his sister, who is seven, so she still can’t swim properly.


Suite Life: Nerd out in a steel cage apartment

The Shipping Container Hotel comprises two blue cargo containers in Ayer Rajah Crescent, across the street from Fusionopolis. The container's long, skinny space houses two queen-size beds (above left) - one folds away and becomes a table, the other t

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who get excited at the idea of living in recycled packaging and those who don't.

As I step into the blue box that will be my home for the next 20 hours, I think about the voyages it has taken around the planet and what it has carried. And if I might be able to smell it.

But even if my unit - wrenched from its oceanic travels and plonked here on a grassy patch in Ayer Rajah Crescent like a beached whale - had smelled of cooking oil and automotive parts, I would not have minded because I find the idea of a shipping container hotel cool.


For more stories on exploring Singapore, go to the SG Go Where page.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2020, with the headline 'Novel staycays'. Print Edition | Subscribe