SINGAPORE - For the price of an economy-class ticket to Paris, you can now enjoy a first-class staycation at the Raffles Hotel Singapore.
Pay for one night in its The Suite Life package and the second is on the house, with a free suite upgrade, early check-in and late check-out, as well as $100 in credits to spend at its food outlets, spa or boutique. Room rates start at $795++.
If you are on a budget, co-living space lyf Funan Singapore's The Ultimate Local Vacation deal is hard to beat. You get a night's accommodation in a One of a Kind studio from $108++ and can check out at 6pm and enjoy discounts at shops in Funan mall downstairs.
Now that staycations are allowed under phase two, hotels are enticing travel-hungry Singaporeans with the next best thing - a fun-filled escape from the confines of home, but with stringent safe management practices to prevent the community spread of Covid-19.
Such practices include reducing capacity and intermingling, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regimens and screening guests before entry.
Still, demand is expected to be strong because of the week-long school holiday, which started today, as well as two upcoming long weekends on July 31 for Hari Raya Haji and on Aug 9 for National Day.
A total of 47 hotels have received official approval to offer room stays as of last Friday. They range from the three-star Hotel NuVe in Bugis to luxury brands such as The St Regis Singapore, as well as more unusual ones such as lyf and One°15 Marina Sentosa Cove.
Many hotels, including W Singapore - Sentosa Cove, The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts and Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel - are already reporting healthy bookings and numerous inquiries.
Far East Hospitality, which runs 23 hotels and serviced apartments locally, has been receiving more than 80 inquiries daily via calls, social media and its websites. Its chief executive officer, Mr Arthur Kiong, says bookings are especially popular with couples and families celebrating anniversaries and birthdays.
The pent-up demand does not surprise Associate Professor Detlev Remy at the faculty for the hospitality business degree programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology. He forecasts high demand as "most people want to enjoy a different setting or environment" after being cooped up at home during the circuit breaker period.
In fact, analysis of global sentiment surveys shows that people all over the world are now opting for short-stay holidays, he adds.
He expects the staycation scene to evolve, with more Singaporeans booking longer staycations and hotels bundling attraction and food offers with accommodation to create "real holiday experiences" that guests will come back for.
Far East Hospitality's Mr Kiong adds that while hotel staff are as excited as their guests at the reopening, there is also the responsibility of enforcing precautionary measures while ensuring its customers enjoy a "quality stay".
"Balancing these will be the challenge for all hoteliers and guests."
Where to stay
The balmy sea breezes and views of million-dollar yachts in Sentosa Cove probably make this as close to a proper "vacation" as you can get right now.
Its Romantic Escapade deal (from $688++ a night) gives you a marina-view room with honeymoon-worthy decor, a two hour massage for two worth $856++, breakfast and a bottle of wine. It is valid until Sept 15. There is also a Family Getaway deal priced from $388++ a night.
THE FULLERTON HOTEL SINGAPORE AND THE FULLERTON BAY HOTEL SINGAPORE
Families with young kids will like the Perfect Staycation package at these sister hotels. It comes with breakfast for two adults and two children aged younger than 12, $100 in food and beverage credits, bear plushies, parking as well as early check-in at 11am and late check-out at 2pm. Rates start at $430++ a night at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and from $650++ a night at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. These are valid until Dec 30.
The hotels also have promotions for couple stays, working staycations, a one-for-one suite stay and value-for-money staycation vouchers.
MARINA BAY SANDS
Soak in its iconic rooftop infinity pool without the previous hordes of tourists mingling about. Its Sands Staycation package (from $339++ a night) offers a free room upgrade, $50 credit (terms apply), valet parking, early check-in at noon and discounts at the ArtScience Museum and Banyan Tree Spa.
It also has a Stay Longer, Save More deal for longer stays. Book by Aug 31 and stay by Dec 23 for both deals.
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, SINGAPORE
Tuck into a sumptuous picnic on the 6ha grounds of this landmark hotel when you book its Garden Wing Staycation promotion. Alternatively, unleash the kids at Splash Zone, Singapore's largest outdoor water playground and family pool in a luxury hotel, and enjoy $100 in dining credits a day under its Family Fun Playcation deal.
There is also a romantic Couples Retreat package, as well as a Valley Wing Indulgence for those who prefer free-flow champagne and a butler-drawn bubble bath. Rooms start at $295++ a night.
SINGAPORE MARRIOTT TANG PLAZA HOTEL
If flexibility and a city location are important, this hotel's packages may appeal to you.
Its Ultimate Family Getaway includes a 24-hour stay with flexible check-in and check-out times, a room upgrade, a free extra bed or cot, breakfast for two adults and two kids aged younger than 12, plus $70 in food and beverage credits, parking and 50 per cent off a second room. Priced from $300++ a night, it is valued at $620++.
The hotel has a similar deal for couples. Valid until June 30 next year.
LYF FUNAN SINGAPORE AND ASCOTT ORCHARD SINGAPORE
Co-working space lyf and serviced apartments Ascott Orchard Singapore offer a Stay 3 Pay 2 Deal. Rates for Ascott Orchard start at $201++ a night and includes breakfast for two and a parking coupon.
Lyf's rate is $380 nett for three nights, as well as a $30 voucher for CapitaLand malls and a parking coupon. Lyf also has a more budget friendly Ultimate Local Vacation Package (see main story).
All deals are valid until Dec 31 and available to members of its Ascott Star Rewards loyalty programme, which is free.
SOFITEL SINGAPORE SENTOSA RESORT & SPA
You will not have to fret over where to eat when you book this Sentosa hotel's Infinite Family Experiences package (from $338++ a night).
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are part of the deal, and soft drinks are free flow. Plus, you can opt for an early check-in or a later check-out. It also has a couples' spa stay promotion.
GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL
Check in as early as 10am and eat your way through the weekend when you take up the hotel's Restless In Singapore package. Priced at $498++ for two nights' stay for two people, the highlight is feasting at the heritage hotel's renowned restaurants, such as a three-course lunch at Gordon Grill and a set dinner at Min Jiang. You can check out at 3pm and enjoy a room upgrade, if available.
The hotel also has a family staycay promotion at $288++ for one night. Promotions are valid until Dec 22.
RAFFLES HOTEL SINGAPORE
Besides The Suite Life package (see main story), the iconic hotel has two other staycation promotions for those with big budgets. Both offer stays in Residence Suites or better, return limousine transfers and 50 per cent off the second night.
The Royal Raffles Experience($2,330++ a night) includes afternoon tea at The Grand Lobby and an expert-led session on afternoon tea etiquette, while Retreat at Raffles(from $2,199++ a night) includes a one-hour private yoga session and $200 in Raffles Spa credits.
Both of the premium packages are valid until Dec 13, while The Suite Life deal is valid until Sept 30 and excludes the National Day long weekend.
W SINGAPORE - SENTOSA COVE
This modern luxury hotel in the upscale Sentosa Cove area offers an Escape! Dining Package starting at $465++ a night. This includes breakfast for two and $50 in dining credits.
The luxury Manors at this Sentosa resort are as big as four five-room flats put together and can accommodate six adults and one child, although only five people are allowed currently.
The Manor Experience is the priciest of all the packages here, starting at $9,000++ a night, and includes an extensive list of benefits, such as a villa host, private yoga session and a personal chef on call.
Capella's regular room rate starts at $624++ a night. Offers are valid until Sept 30.
M SOCIAL SINGAPORE AND ORCHARD HOTEL SINGAPORE
These hotels under the Millennium Hotels and Resorts group have launched special-interest packages. Learn to mix cocktails from the resident mixologist at M Social Singapore under its Mix and Stay package ($180++ a night) or create your own perfume when you book its Bottled Up Happiness promotion ($240++ a night).
The Savour A New Staycation package at Orchard Hotel Singapore ($288++ a night, pending the hotel's approval) includes a room upgrade, breakfast in bed and an unlimited plated dinner for two. Kids stay free at both hotels if they use existing bedding.
THE BARRACKS HOTEL SENTOSA
Create your own tea blend while enjoying luxury perks at this colonial-style hotel's Sea Breeze & Champagne Staycation package (from $559++ a night).
Besides the tea-tailoring experience, the deal includes 24-hour accommodation, breakfast, a one- way limousine transfer and afternoon tea with free-flow champagne. Top up $800++ to book a breakfast yacht charter that is ideal for groups. The hotel is awaiting approval to reopen.