SINGAPORE - I finally chill at the pool outside my room, just before checking out. After two days of intense exploration at Jewel, I am lulled by the vision of aquamarine water and the clusters of palms submerged in planters.
In this sunken courtyard, I gaze at the clouds drifting overhead. That's when it dawns on me that I have not seen a plane flying for two days, though I am at the airport. The empty sky is a sign of pandemic times.
Still, the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, restful and stylish, is an escape from anxiety.
Its design is contemporary Asia, with stylised frangipani motifs on the facade. Rest on seats shaped like papaya slices. Tropical-fruit furniture are vibrant splashes in a darkened lobby. The subdued lighting lets transit guests, fresh off the borderless world of planes, move into a restful mode at the hotel lodged in Terminal 3.
The Crowne Plaza's identity as an airport hotel is evident everywhere. I check in at the same time as a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight crew and we stick to separate safely-distanced paths to the lobby. Air crew also have their own lifts to rooms on designated floors.
Before the pandemic, international plane geeks would ask for specific runway rooms to spend hours watching planes lift off and land at one of the world's busiest airports.
Now, guests like me can still spy airliners at the viewing galleries in Terminals 1 and 3. I pop into Terminal 3 for partially blocked views of grounded planes, and it is dispiriting. To think we once regarded travel as a birthright.
It is uplifting, however, the moment I step onto the link bridge between Terminal 3 and Crowne Plaza to Jewel, with its indoor waterfall, fantasy gardens, retail, dining and play zones.
Jewel is a destination of many dimensions, and the hotel adds to that experience. Mine is the Stay, Shop, Play room package that includes a ticket for the attractions at Jewel's Canopy Park. The hotel is also close to the new Jurassic Mile, which I visit after my late check-out.
Crowne Plaza has been named the Skytrax World's Best Airport Hotel for six successive years. There are nearly 60 Crowne Plaza properties in airports like Amsterdam's Schiphol and Paris' Charles de Gaulle. These airport stays are designed for business travellers' work and play. I suppose I am a variation of a business traveller during my one-night stay.
My Premier King Pool View room is awash in a calm palette of neutral colours. There is a huge desk and a bath tub.
The room and the fabulous courtyard-pool put me in a resort frame of mind, even as I have city amenities for my work.
I imagine business travellers and even staycationers may be rushed, always trying to do more. So fuel up with breakfast at Azur in the hotel, where I order laksa and latte with a QR code.
My pace had been non-stop, but ending my 48 hours at a pool soothes away the sensory overload, which is what any stimulating journey needs. I am picturing a saner return here.
Hot tip: Buffer time for the pool and plan playtime at Jewel.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
Where: Singapore Changi Airport, 75 Airport Boulevard, 01-01
Rates: My Stay, Shop, Play package starts at $220. It includes one night in a Premier Room, a la carte breakfast, admission to Jewel's Canopy Park and parking.
• This staycation was hosted by the hotel. For more staycation reviews in the Suite Life weekly series, go to str.sg/SuiteLife.
For more stories on exploring Singapore, go to the SG Go Where page.