Yachts and pool villas: Families splurge on big-ticket staycays for school holidays

The "Yacht-cation Escape" package offered by M Social and Orchard Hotel, which are under Millennium Hotels and Resorts. PHOTO: MILLENNIUM HOTELS AND RESORTS
Ascott Orchard Singapore is expecting to operate "at near 100 per cent occupancy" over the year-end school holidays. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

SINGAPORE - Many hotels and serviced apartments are seeing strong demand for the year-end school holidays, with some expecting to be fully booked.

This is before school formally ends next weekend and ahead of the distribution of $100 SingapoRediscovers vouchers, which will be issued from next month.

The vouchers, which will be given to Singaporeans aged 18 and above, are intended to encourage spending on local attractions to support the tourism industry.

But it seems families need little encouragement. Many are already splashing out on big-ticket staycations with extras like yacht trips.

Ascott Orchard Singapore and lyf Funan Singapore, which are serviced residences, are expecting to operate "at near 100 per cent occupancy" over the year-end school holidays, says Mr Ervin Yeo, managing director for South-east Asia at The Ascott Limited.

Hotels like Fairmont Singapore and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport are also seeing a surge in demand from families.

Many families are splurging on luxury packages and high-end room categories.

Mr Lee Richards, vice-president of operations (South-east Asia) of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, notes a willingness to fork out for staycations with unique features, amid the pent-up demand for travel during Covid-19.

M Social and Orchard Hotel, which are managed by Millennium Hotels and Resorts, offer a popular Yacht-cation Escape package, which starts from $1,380++ at M Social and $1,600++ at Orchard Hotel for two persons.

At Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, demand for its pool villas and suites has been greater than for its smaller rooms. PHOTO: AMARA SANCTUARY RESORT SENTOSA

At Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, demand for its pool villas and suites has been greater than for its smaller rooms, says Ms Dawn Teo, senior vice-president for Amara Hotels and Resorts. This is in part due to families preferring the convenience of a private pool.

Ms Cinn Tan, chief sales and marketing officer for the Pan Pacific Hotels Group, which has eight properties here, observes that families favour the bigger space of serviced suites, which have a separate living room and kitchenette.

In response to this, hotels like InterContinental Singapore are wooing families with child-friendly features such as adventure-themed bunk beds with slides, which were launched earlier this month.

The growth in family staycation bookings, coming ahead of the highly-anticipated SingapoRediscovers voucher disbursement, shows that Singaporeans might be planning long-term for their staycays, or for several rounds of it, hotel industry insiders say.

The Family Suite at InterContinental Singapore features a spacious King Bed Room connected to an interactive kid's zone. PHOTO: INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE

Since these vouchers are valid till June next year, Singaporeans might be looking to use these vouchers for staycations "a little further down the road", says Mr Peter Draminsky, regional vice-president and general manager at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

He says he is seeing further segregation within the market for families, such as "a growing trend of mother-daughter staycations". His hotel, which also offers pet staycations for guests and their furkids, is among a growing number of hotels here which offer staycations with variegated appeal.

It is not only families who are driving the year-end demand for staycations. Boutique hotel Amoy, which is managed by Far East Hospitality and targets millennials, is fully booked for next month.

Mr Guillaume Places, hotel manager at Hotel G Singapore, says that December is likely to be the strongest-performing month for his hotel, whose target audience includes "millennials looking for Instagrammable experiences".

Its packages include #BURGERSINBED, with two burgers to be enjoyed in the hotel room.

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