SINGAPORE - With travel bubbles still in limbo in phase three, staycations remain the next best thing to escaping from work-at-home life without the need for a Covid-19 test to get on a cruise to nowhere.
The good news is, there are plenty of new and refurbished hotels to explore this year, whether you are looking for a place to celebrate an anniversary, chill with friends or work and play.
Hotels such as the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore, Duxton Reserve, Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay and Mint Hotel within One Farrer Hotel opened their doors last year despite the pandemic.
In fact, there are more than 8,600 hotel rooms in the works as of the third quarter of last year, according to a recent report in The Straits Times.
Those launching this year include the 169-room Citadines Connect City Centre in Clemenceau Avenue, which offers studio apartments, and the 324-room The Clan by Far East Hospitality, a luxury business hotel.
The Straits Times reviews three very different staycay experiences in these new offerings - a resort in a golf course, a "hospi-tel" concept within a hotel and glamorous boutique lodgings.
Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore's isolation feels like a real holiday
"Is this Singapore?" my husband's colleagues around the world ask in disbelief over Zoom as he gives them a laptop tour of the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore's poolside area.
Dusit International's first property here has that effect on you. Unlike hotels in Sentosa which are set in lush forested plots or by the beach, this five-star hotel is flanked by the green fairways of Laguna National Golf & Resort Club's two championship golf courses.
Black-and-gold glamour at Duxton Reserve Hotel
There is something unutterably sumptuous about black and gold. These shades give newly reopened boutique hotel Duxton Reserve a dash of old-world glamour.
The hotel, in a row of restored heritage shophouses, was formerly Six Senses Duxton, which opened in 2018 and closed during the circuit breaker period. Its owner, The Garcha Group, has since reopened it and its sister hotel, The Maxwell Reserve, under Marriott's Autograph Collection range.
Cleanliness is paramount at One Farrer Hotel's hotel and hospital hybrid
When describing my stay at One Farrer Hotel to friends and my editor, I found myself mixing up the words "hotel" and "hospital" very often.
Perhaps it is the five-star hotel's location - right next to Farrer Park Hospital, to which it is affiliated. Hospital experts were also consulted in the recently completed $2 million refurbishment of 70 per cent of the hotel - or 176 rooms - that fall under the Mint category of rooms at One Farrer.
Correction note: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of Farrer Park Hospital. We are sorry for the error.