Review of Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa (Family Staycation)
Last year, we went to Changi CSC for a foodie staycation. Few months later, we needed another break, an escape from our daily grind. So off we went to Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa (“Rasa Sentosa”) from 12 – 14 April 2021 (Mon-Wed) for another staycation. The SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (“Vouchers”) gave us an added incentive to book a staycation this time. Speaking of which, please use the Vouchers before they expire in December 2021.
Head over to my previous articles for inspiration to use the Vouchers in Sentosa, or for tips to save even more with the Vouchers. For example, go through Shopback to redeem your Vouchers on Klook or Trip.com, and get more cashback! Earn S$5 cashback when you sign up using this referral link and spend S$20: app.shopback.com/WJbbfDF4zeb.
So will I recommend Rasa Sentosa for a staycation? Let’s find out!
Why Sentosa? Why Rasa Sentosa?
Changi is quite a distance from the usual city bustle, but we decided to go South this time to the State of Fun, SENTOSA! Another island, another feel. I chose Sentosa because I wanted the children to dip their toes in the sea and the sand. Feel the sea breeze in their faces and bask in the glory of vitamin D.
Instead of exploring the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) area, where we had been an umpteenth times and a staycation once, we decided to go for a beach staycation. But if you are going to RWS, remember to use your Vouchers for Universals Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and Adventure Cove Waterpark (re-opens on 12 May 2021).
Why Rasa Sentosa?
I never knew Sentosa is so big, or at least big enough to have so many hotels! I came up with a quick snapshot of the hotel situation in Sentosa, “Hotels in Sentosa Singapore – Which One to Stay in?“. In the post, youwill find a list of hotels in Sentosa, along with a short summary of each hotel. Take a look and have a better idea which hotel suits you the best!
Of all the hotels near the beaches of Sentosa, we chose Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa because it is famous for being family friendly. Moreover, it is the only beachfront resort in Singapore, that is having direct access to a beach.
Why not Rasa Sentosa?
If you plan to explore Sentosa without a car, Rasa Sentosa is not a good base as it is at the westernmost of Sentosa, quite far away from most things. However, if you plan on driving around, then the hotel’s location is not much of a concern. If it helps, there’s a shuttle bus to bring you to and fro between the hotel and harbourfront MRT.
The hotel is up on a hill and so to travel out of the hotel on foot, we had to walk down a slope and up again when we return. Head to the bus stop at the foot of the hill and travel around Sentosa by the Sentosa buses.
Otherwise, walk a bit further down to Siloso beach and hop on to the beach tram and head towards one of the beach bistros or more affordable options at Beach Station. For one of the lunches, we went to Quayside Isle, but we had to either take the bus or tram to the Beach Station where we can find Sentosa Bus B to bring us there.
But no worries, you can find quite a bit of food found around the Beach Station, also the interchange of Sentosa transportation — Sentosa Express, beach tram and Sentosa buses. We took the tram to the Beach Station so many times that we’re familiar with the stretch of Siloso beach by now, heh. Once, we wanted to head
We booked the room through Klook, one night with SRV, one night with the Klook S$50 voucher. Now they have changed the options to 2 nights. Otherwise, you can get 5% off your booking when you book here at Klook without SRV.
Our Booking Details
- Room Type: Deluxe Sea View Room (King) with Breakfast for Two
- Period of Stay: 12 – 14 April 2021 (Weekdays during school term)
- Room Charges: S$361.79 per night. We paid S$581.70 after using S$90 SRV, S$50 klook voucher, and S$1.88 Klook credits.
- Room Type: Deluxe Pool View Room (King) with Breakfast for Two
- Additional Charge: S$ 25++ per night. For the upgrade, we paid S$58.85 for 2 nights.
Upon the reservations officer’s advice through emails, we upgraded the room before we checked in. This room is supposedly most suitable for 2 adults and 2 children below 12 years old because of the double sofa bed in the room. Having a “complimentary” sofa bed in the room is best for us because EX usually sleeps in her own room, so sharing the king bed could be challenging for us.
Before you arrive, you will get an email where you can request for any extra services or a room upgrade.
Long Check-In Queue | Good Receptionist
“The hotel is especially crowded for a Monday,” I commented to the housekeeper setting up the sofa bed in the room. The check in queue was super long at 3:00PM (the check-in time) and he took a long time to come set up our room.
Thank goodness I booked a 3:00PM slot at the hotel’s indoor playground, mini toots club. So while the daddy was busy queuing up to check in, the sisters went to play and be entertained. You can try to reach earlier than 3:00PM to beat the check in queue though.
“It is crowded like this on all days, because people can’t travel lah,” the housekeeper replied. He went on to mention how he hasn’t been back home in Johor to see his three young kids for almost a year now. The youngest is 3 years old. Hearing him made me feel thankful that I can spend time with my children, even though it can be hair pulling most days.
When we finally got our room, EX quickly got changed for the pool while I waited for the housekeeper to bring the cot and set up the sofa bed. I pat myself on the back for booking 2-hour of pool time at 3:00PM too, because after a short while at mini toots club, it got boring for the almost 4-year old EX. Toots club seems more suitable for her but age limits kept her out. Earlier on when EX saw the pool near Toots club, she immediately went, “I want to go to the pool. I want to go everyday!” At least she got about 45 minutes in the pool on her first day.
Room not set up “properly” | Welcome Basket
When we got to our room, the cot was nowhere seen, the sofa bed was still a sofa. I expected them to be set up before we arrived. Moreover, it seems like the receptionist saw our request only when we checked in and said she would arrange. Erm, what’s the point of us requesting beforehand? The receptionist also asked if we wanted to set up the cot because with sofa bed in the room, it could get squeezy. Erm, the reservations officer we were liaising with in the email didn’t mention this?
The saving grace was that the husband was impressed by the receptionist’s service, saying she’s the best receptionist he has ever encountered. No wonder she’s the service manager.
Anyway, I was quite frustrated because I planned to have JBL nap once we got our room, and the delayed check in didn’t help. So after waiting fruitlessly for about 15 minutes, I called the housekeeping to come ASAP with the cot. Almost half hour later the housekeper came with the cot, and then was rushing off somewhere. Good thing I caught him before he stepped out, “Is someone else coming to set up the sofa bed?”
“You requested?” He asked.
“Yes,” I said calmly, but yelled with frustration in my heart. Yes! Seems like the online team is not communicating with the housekeeping, but the receptionist. On hindsight, the online team suggested sofa bed room for my family, and I assumed they will naturally set up the sofa bed. I should have been more explicit with my requests (and timeline).
He asked me to give him a while, but I said I needed to put JBL to bed now.
“Okay, please give me five minutes,” he said and came back ten to fifteen minutes later to turn the sofa into a double bed, and lined it nicely with the beddings.
I finally put the overtired JBL to nap and was feeling quite appalled by the end of it all.
On a good note, the media team prepared a pleasant surprise for us, a fruit plate and a basket of food. At least in my waiting and frustration, I could munch on them. The team knew we were coming, but just so you know, this post is not sponsored in part or in full, and all opinions are entirely my own and genuine. In any case, I saw a Klook review where the hotel prepared a birthday cake and greetings on the bed because one of the guests was celebrating birthday. So do mention to the reservations team if you are having a celebration, you never know!
About Our Deluxe Pool View Room
The room has that old school luxury feel and decor — the 5-star hotel room with its full set of amenitites. Love the mini colgates. ;P The room interior is not spanking new, but it is well maintained. It’s been long since I stayed in a hotel room with a huge ass bath tub where I could fit in with the two kids. It was also a perfect tub for our bath bombs to explode.
There’s also a shower area for those who need a quick wash instead of a soak.
The king size bed was cushy for us to laze in and a cosy place for JBL to snuggle and relax in.
The balcony is my favourite place to sit out for the pool and sea view. Interestingly, once we opened the balcony door, the air conditioning in the room would go off. We didn’t close the door well on one occassion and kept wondering why our air conditioner stopped working. It’s a good initiative to go green and save the electricity though.
EX usually loves going out to explore, but she loves this room so much she didn’t want to head out for dinner, asking us to pack food back to eat or order room service. I was tempted to laze around and order room service too, but the price is way too high for my liking. I can’t see myself spending $20+ for an Asian fare I can easily buy from the hawker center.
The downside of this Deluxe Pool View Room is its location. This room type is only located from levels 3 to 5, where I get more of the pool view than the sea view, as the room name suggest. I reckoned the view to be more magnificent if we are on higher levels. Nevertheless, it’s still a good view from our balcony. So do book one of Rasa Sentosa’s balcony or terrace-rooms that overlooks Siloso Beach and enjoy the view.
Our room is located at level 5, the same level as the hotel’s main entrance and lobby. Hence, we didn’t need to scan our key card in the lift to get to our floor, but at a glass door that leads to our row of rooms. A good measure to prevent unauthorised access.
From level 3 to 5, the rooms are also at the same level as other hotel facilities. With gym at our floor, guests from other levels can still access our glass door and reach our rooms. Since our children sleep early at around 8PM, I requested a quieter room where we could be further away from the gym and the glass door. I didn’t know that meant a long walk down the row of rooms, and we were still not at the end of the spectrum. No kidding, it’s really a long corridor. At least it’s quieter with less foot traffic.
By the way, the glass door is heavy and doesn’t swing easily. But that’s not the problem. It’s the fact that there are only steps and no slope for us to get to the glass door when we come from the outside! Think of stroller, luggage, and wheelchair?! It’s not only us, I saw another father carrying a stroller of a sleeping baby down the steps too.
Given how family friendly this hotel is, and how this type of room at this level is recommended for families with young children, I am surprised at this inaccessibility. This can be easily solved with a ramp. Oh, they do have a ramp, but it’s only for their staff, the bell boys, to push the luggage trolleys. When we check-out, we saw the staff door to this ramp closing and hurriedly opened it to use the ramp for our stroller and luggage. Much easier.
Pre-booking Time Slots
We had to prebook all the facilities in advance and time slots are limited. Moreover each room can only book each facility once per day. With a baby and toddler, pre-booking of time slots is not the most ideal for us. With the fluidity of our baby’s nap schedule, it’s hard for us to pin down an hour by hour schedule. We did our best to plan, and thankfully our schedule worked out fairly well with the bookings.
Book early to get the time slots you want!
Hubby wanted to book the gym after the children went to bed. But the earlier time slot (8:30PM) at night were fully booked on two nights. So he went for a later timeslot, expecting a crowd, only to find an empty gym.
Children Play Areas
The facilities catered to children is what make Rasa Sentosa popular with families.
As mentioned earlier, there are two indoor playgrounds catered to different age groups: mini toots club (aged 4 and below) and toots club (5-12 years old). Not an active child? There is also an Arts & Craft room for your child to do craft work. We didn’t have time to sit down for crafts and so requested for one of the craft kits they provide. It’s a DIY Colouring tote bag with markers. EX had fun with it in the hotel room while we were busy packing our luggage.
Nestopia at Siloso Beach is also managed by Rasa Sentosa. It is an outdoor playground with over 17 sections and obstacle courses for children. The ticket is priced at S$10. A saving tip, book with SRV child’s subsidies of S$10 and you get to go for for free! Book via Klook or sentosa.com.sg. It’s not as big as I thought and we saw a similar play structure when we went to the new eco playground of Botanic Gardens. But hey, it’s free, so why not?
Next, a hit with the children — swimming pools! We could never make it on time for our early time slot for the pool because our breakfast usually took longer than expected. Our pool time was cut short as a result. Thankfully, we had consecutive time slots for the pool and beach on the second morning. Once we were out of the pool, we made our way to the beach for more water play. The children’s pool was always sandy, so I assumed other people headed over to the pool to have more fun after their time on the beach.
I would highly recommend booking the beach and pool as consecutive slots. The pool and beach are side by side, and so with consecutive slots, you get to extend the kid’s water play time. Compared to two separate trips, there will be less wash up too.
Other than the pool, there are slides and water features for the children. The water slides might be more suitable for children aged 5 and above or for those who are brave at heart. Adults are not allowed to accompany the children down the slides. EX tried a slide once by herself after much nudging. She didn’t slide down fast because of friction, yet she’s not interested to try again.
Rasa Sentosa also have the adults in mind. They have thoughtfully designated a section of the pool for adults only. Initially we mistook the section as closed, so be sure to look out for it. Hubby looked after the kids while I sneaked off for a quick swim without the cares of the world (aka children).
At this private beach at Rasa Sentosa, there are equipment provided for land and sea sport activities. Badminton, soccer and volleyball on land. Kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and paddleboats on sea. While we were there, the people engaged in these water activities were more during the morning than the late afternoon timeslot. Equipments are available for use from 8:00am to 7:00pm.
Tip: Pack the beach toys for your children. ;)
I never quite appreciate beachfront resort until this staycation. After a dip in sea and sand, we could conveniently walk back to shower the children in the comforts of the hotel toilet.
I never saw my children and myself as beach people. So it was surprising that we enjoyed ourselves at the beach. Both of the sisters had fun playing with the sand! EX was happily swimming in the sea, laying mermaid style in the shallow waters, and collecting seaweeds floating in the waters. To think I tried so hard to coax her to take one step into the sea at East Coast Park (“ECP”). When asked, she explained that the waves at Sentosa were gentler than those at ECP.
For myself, I love reading on the beach, something I didn’t expect. I lounged by the beach on one of Rasa Sentosa’s sun beds and read a book. The best rest of this staycation was this 10-15 minutes of reading time. Coming close second, was me swimming alone.
The momentary escape into another world among the breeze and waves was peaceful.
Alfresco dining for breakfast is a popular choice. Glad we made that choice too and caught peacocks strutting past us. We saw a peacock trying to take some food or interact with a table and glad it wasn’t ours. Who knows, it made a turn and walked back in our direction. Hubby took JBL out of her high chair which I wouldn’t have done. Smart move on his part because the peacock stopped by our table and stared at JBL before moving on.
We also saw peacocks strutting around the sunbeds in very close proximity! On the other hand, EX was running around with kids from other tables during breakfast to “follow” the peacock. They were so excited!
To prevent guests from mingling, we were to order the buffet items online. The servers will serve the food to you fairly fast. I like it that I don’t need to self service, but looking through an online menu doesn’t offer the same hotel breakfast buffet feel of picking the food by its look.
Nevertheless, the food was generally a thumbs up. One of the best breakfast buffet I ever had. There is food for everyone, including 13 month old JBL. We gave JBL food like milk, yoghurt, fruits, and bread basket.
According to Rasa Sentosa, “Children of registered hotel guests under the age of 6 can enjoy buffet meals at no extra cost. For more than 2 children under the age of 6 or for children aged 6 to 11, a 50% discount will be given.”
Even though I have my complaints, I still think Rasa Sentosa is overall a great choice, and I have no regrets in booking. I would return for another family staycation if the price is right. I am not sure if I would pay higher than what we have paid for. I also don’t think this is my number one choice for a couple or girlfriends’ staycation. But definitely one of my top choices with children.
4 out of 5 stars.
Need ideas on where to eat for your Sentosa staycation? In my subsequent post, I will be sharing about all the yummy food we ate during our staycation. I will also share a bit more about our experience/itinerary at Rasa Sentosa. ;)
What’s your experience with Rasa Sentosa? Or do you have other questions? Leave a comment below. Love to hear from you. :)
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