Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Staycation at Oasia Downtown

Me&MyGirls celebrated the Christmas holiday differently this year. Instead of staying at home we decided to have a staycation at one of the newest hotels in Singapore, Oasia Downtown. Our last hotel stay was in June during my birthday and it was at Oasia Hotel in Novena.

Oasia Downtown unlike most buildings which try to blend in with the neighboring structures chose to stand out from the rest. The hotel tower is wrapped with fire engine red structural steel cladding which also acts like a trellis support from which climbers grow. It is truly a towering landmark that can be recognized in the skyline even from afar.

The contrasting red and green colors shout "Christmas" all-year-round and the fresh, tall Christmas trees at the lobbies surely add to the festive cheer. They were decorated with paint-sprayed stars made from recycled Oasia water bottles and old newspaper origami.

We checked-in on Christmas Eve and were led to the Club Floor. The area was impressive with all the casual seating areas surrounding the lobby and the infinity pool. Christmas piano music rang in the air but the ambiance was classy rather than festive. There were a couple of staff who welcomed us and there were quite a few guests here and there. They served coconut water as refreshments. 

THE CLUB ROOM. Our club room was spacious and modern. The room is equipped with the usual hotel necessities with the unique addition of a yoga mat. The floor-to-ceiling window is draped with sheer and block-out curtains but views are somewhat obstructed by the red structural steel clad of the tower which is the hotel's distinctive feature. The wooden cut-out panels and the warm tones of orange and copper creates a very cozy feel to the overall theme.

THE TOILET. The toilet and bath is actually incorporated into the rest of the room because it can be opened almost fully with three sliding glass doors. However, I believe it cannot be locked from the inside. There's a bathtub, rain shower, spacious countertop and in-house speakers. The sink which looks a bit shallow to my liking proved me wrong as the water pressure is just right not to create any splashes. The steel ledge in front of the counter can also be used as an iPad or a phone stand or to dry a small towel.

CLUB LOUNGE AND INFINITY POOL. Refreshments for Club Room guests are available at the Lounge. There are comfy seating inside the cafe and lots of stylish seats if you choose to dine or just relax al fresco. The infinity pool is centrally located where you have unobstructed views of the city but at the same time, the "city" has unobstructed views of you as this area can be viewed from nearby guest rooms and the adjacent condominium as well.

ROOFTOP POOL AND TERRACE. For a more casual feel and in keeping with the industrial style brought about by all the steel columns, guests can opt for the rooftop pool, there are two identical pools and a restaurant in the middle. We tried the pool on Christmas morning and needless to say, the water was freezing! But the girls had short but awesome time there surrounded by lush greenery and blocked from the sun.

My favorite aspect of the stay was the fact that because the hotel opened just over a year ago, most of the facilities are still new, the public and private spaces were generous and the place was not very crowded even during the holidays. However, note that the hotel is not kid-friendly as one staff highlighted. Kid swimmers can use the rooftop pool, but also, the only water space for toddlers to play is where the sun loungers and the steel columns are. The rest of the water depth is 1.2 meters. (Good thing we brought arm floaters for the girls.) The Club Lounge is also surrounded and spotted with feature pools at the same level as the floor without any barricades so young kids must be supervised at all times.

Overall, it was a splendid Christmas holiday. We enjoyed our stay, the food, and the time spent with each other. And at this point, we would like to greet everyone a very Merry Christmas! Until our next family staycation and hotel review!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Polliwogs at Vivo City

The kiddos were back to The Polliwogs last week and they had a blast! The last time they're there was when Lia was just 11 months. Now she is 3 years old. I accompanied both of them indoors and it was indeed a good workout for them and myself. Jane who is still recovering from her surgery stayed in the cafeteria while waiting for us.

The playroom height is very suitable for young kids but adults (most of which are either parents or nannies) need to stoop or crawl to pass through the obstacle courses. There is a space for toddlers, a climbing wall, a rather steep slide, ball swim, and many more. They even have a space for parties and a cafeteria. There are play areas for children of different ages. Some are really challenging and would require more agility and strength to enjoy as designed. 

One thing I have noticed is the fact that although a few years have gone by since our last visit, nothing has changed and the place (of course with the kids tearing the place down every minute of its opening hours) will definitely be under extreme physical wear and tear. The place is crying for maintenance and most features especially the faux leather covering of the courses need to be restitched or replaced. Overall, the playground would benefit with a makeover. I believe the kids don't mind the interiors but a paying parent would appreciate value for money and quality of materials. 

It's $25/child for 2 hours on a weekday and you need to buy socks to enter (even at the cafeteria) if you forgot to bring, or not wearing a pair. If you want to know more, you can visit The Polliwog's website here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Family Staycation at Oasia Hotel

We had an awesome experience the last time we had a staycation at a boutique hotel. So now, for my birthday, we chose to stay in another of Far East Hospitality’s hotels. This time, it’s Oasia Hotel in Novena.

Jane booked a Club Room. It has a bath tub (which the kids love and one of our main criteria in choosing a hotel room) and Club Lounge privileges. We stayed on the 23rd floor which is just a storey above The Living Room (the Club Lounge). We were there on a weekday, Thursday to be exact.

Although it’s a birthday staycation, it’s actually more of a surprise for the kids. They knew about it just that morning. We packed early, had brunch and prepared for our trip. We had 2 pieces of luggage, one medium-sized for all of our things and a Trunki for Lia’s soft toys and Ate’s books.

We arrived just in time for the 2 pm check-in and was immediately led to our room. Let me take you on a little tour.

THE LOCATION. Situated in the heart of the city, Oasia is easily accessible from Novena MRT, and even connected to Novena Square by a link bridge. And being adjacent to the shopping malls means being near to restaurants, and basically, everything you need.

THE LOBBY. The main lobby was simple but the wood cladding and natural stone face for the lift lobby are both very impressive. The lifts were fast, silent and steady.

THE ROOM. The hotel room is small but packed with everything one will need and more. Light-colored wood panels cover most of the walls and above is a drop ceiling along the perimeter of the room. The floor is not carpeted but there is an area rug around the bed. The window has a full panoramic view of the cityscape and can be covered with either sheer blinds and/or blackout shades for privacy and glare control and each may be operated via switches near the bed. The only artwork is a mosaic of upcycled, probably old or “made-to-look-old” wooden cornices and wood scraps. There is a built-in desk, and a rickety swivel chair (that needs replacement, by the way.) The wall sconce for the desk light may look cool when new but at this point needs an update as well.

And as a birthday celebrant, I was presented with a complimentary cake. It was delicious!

There was also a Nespresso machine, complimentary TWG tea bags, Perrier bottles, mineral water, and even coconut water. So the drinks were fairly covered. 

THE TOILET. Covering almost a third of the room's floor space, the toilet and bath is masculine and modern. Granite tiles clad the area wall to wall, and the floors have the same surface treatment. There is a tub and a separate rain shower. The toilet seat is sadly cramped in a corner and usually blocked by the swing door. A sliding door would be a better option, to say the least. The bed can be viewed from the shower and vice versa while a roller blind may be manually drawn for privacy. The vanity is huge with adequate counter space. A speaker on the ceiling is also provided for music or if you don't want to miss the audio of what you're watching (or in my case, what my kids are watching) on TV. 

THE LOUNGE. "The Living Room" as they call it is located on the 22nd floor. The lift lobby is more beautiful than the rest of the lobbies for obvious reasons. It is where cocktails and refreshments are served for patrons occupying the Club Rooms and Suites. It is decorated casually with drinking glass chandeliers, wood flooring, exposed beams, and glass shelves as dividers.

Further onward is the swimming pool area. We were fortunate that when we visited, there are no other visitors using the area so we enjoyed the pool all by ourselves. What a delightful bonus treat indeed!

The downside, however, is that the place has only one exit, and one has to go through the lounge before you can reach the lift lobby to your room so we made sure we had fresh and dry clothes before we came there and definitely before we exit.

By the way, there is also a swimming pool area and gym on the 8th floor and a cafeteria near the main lobby.

THE SERVICE. Whatever little details the hotel failed to notice was overshadowed by the hospitality shown to us by The Living Room staff. A special shoutout to Ms. Letitia for her excellent service for going beyond the call of duty to make us feel important and welcomed. Even the cleaners were courteous and well-mannered.

Overall, we had a great time at Oasia Hotel Novena. It can be a place for families to stay, unwind, and enjoy the what the hotel and the city have to offer.

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