If you’re considering booking a hotel for a staycation during Phase 2 (HA) and are unsure what to expect, here’s what my recent stay looked like with the current restrictions
When news of the tightened measures and Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) came out on 16 May, my first thought was, “Nooo! My staycation how?” I went on a mad Googling spree and desperately looked up any info on what the new heightened restrictions meant for staycation bookings, but couldn’t find anything! Not on any government websites, and not on the official hotel website or social media. So since I still had a few days to go before my stay, I decided to wait until I got an update from Klook, the booking platform I used to book my staycation (with my SingapoRediscovers vouchers).
Read more: COVID-19: Family Survival Guide
Restrictions on Staycations During Phase 2 (HA)
The next day, a friend sent me a list of updated rules for hotel bookings including those below:
1. No more than 2 individuals in total gathering on any single day in any guest room or in any pair of adjoining guest rooms where the connecting door(s) may be opened by guests during the stay (i.e. inter- accessible rooms), except where the individuals are all from the same household (i.e. same address).
2. Limit the total occupancy in common areas e.g. lobby, to no more than 1 individual per 16 square metres of space accessible to guests and visitors at any point in time.
3. No dine-in at F&B establishments. Only takeaways and deliveries are allowed.
I heaved a sigh of relief – there was the option to request to reschedule our stay to another date after 14 June 2021 or even cancel our stay and receive a full refund inclusive of any SingapoRediscovers vouchers used. We however decided to go ahead with our staycation. My husband and I had already applied for our days off, and we had been looking forward to a change of scenery for a while now (even if for just a night!). So off we went!
What’s the Check-in process like during Phase 2 (HA)?
3pm – We checked into Sofitel Singapore City Centre and were greeted with a warm, “Bonjour!” by the staff as we scanned our TraceTogether tokens. It didn’t look like there was anyone else around, and true enough we only saw one other person checking into the hotel while we were at the reception. The receptionist gave us a quick run-through of the current rules in line with the government’s latest advisory – only family members from the same household in one room, no visitors, and meals included in our package were all to be served to our room.
3:10pm – The hotel kindly upgraded us to a Prestige Suite and we were, as the kids say, shook. With a separate living area, a decent-sized bedroom and a huge bathroom, our toddler LOVED how much space we had and spent the first 20 minutes just exploring every room.
3:30pm – The room also had a kids’ teepee, a nice family-friendly feature that was included in our package. Our daughter received a lovely Singapore-themed colouring book with compliments from the hotel and she wasted no time diving into it! We couldn’t complain. The more activities, the better to kill all this time we had in the room.
Dining at hotels during Phase 2 (HA)
4pm – Child colouring, TV on (thank goodness for YouTube access and… Cocomelon), now it’s mama’s and papa’s turn to tuck into the afternoon tea treats the hotel served to our room! This was also included in our room package and we were grateful that the hotel added some extras to keep us filled till dinner time.
5pm – Obligatory hotel room photo op, duh!
5:30pm – Bath time for the little one. A bathtub is an absolute must for us when booking a hotel stay! It counts as a kids’ activity on its own.
6:15pm – More Cocomelon and some quiet playdoh ‘crafting’ for us while Daddy popped over to nearby halal restaurant Picanhas’ to pick up our dinner order. And yes, I bought some cheap plasticine prior to this trip so we’d have a ‘new toy’ to keep the little one occupied!
6:45pm – Dinner’s here! We tucked into some delicious Brazilian steak cuts over rice, congee and mashed potatoes, with a side of salad, mushrooms and spinach.
8pm – Bedtime for bub, then finally some quiet time for us parents in the form of trashy TV, a cosy bath of our own and lots of late-night snacking on our leftover afternoon tea goodies. Major ‘cheat day’ mood.
7:30am – The next morning, we woke up to blabbering and giggles, as our toddler woke up as usual around right before 8am. More teepee fun ensued before breakfast came a-knockin’ on our door! At check-in the previous day, we were given the option to choose between two timeslots for breakfast to be delivered: 7:30am – 9am, or 9am – 11:30am.
Can you use the hotel pool during Phase 2 (HA)?
9am – Pool time! YES, you can still use the pool during your staycation in Phase 2 (HA)*, but groups are to be kept at a maximum of two persons at all times. So my husband and daughter stuck together to swim and play, while I watched from one of the lounge beds and kept my distance. There was only one other person in the pool with us at the time, but I’m guessing families with two kids or more would not be allowed to intermingle. Hotel safe distancing ambassadors will be around to enforce the rule when more people are in the pool.
*Regulations may differ from hotel to hotel.
11am – Post-swim wash up and midday nap for the bub!
12pm – We were treated to a lunch of pasta for the whole family (compliments from the hotel) while we all washed up and started packing up to leave.
2pm – The hotel gave us the option of a late check-out (4pm) but we had somewhere else to be so we were out of there by 2pm. We opted for Express Checkout – all we had to do was drop our key cards into a little box at reception before heading off!
What we liked
So that’s what our family staycation looked like during this odd, non-lockdown Phase 2 (HA) period! One of the plus sides was it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. But of course, it’s mainly because we stayed in our room for most of it and only went out to get takeout or head to the pool. Our hotel didn’t have spa amenities, but I would think if you booked a stay in one that does, you’d be able to get some pampering squeezed in (like a mani-pedi or body massage, but no facials) since you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere else!
Tips during your stay
- Obviously, be prepared to stay in your room for most of your stay unless you’ve booked tickets to an attraction nearby.
- Prepare some toys and activities beforehand, especially if your kids tend to get antsy. I headed to my neighbourhood toy shop to pick up a bottle of bubbles (for blowing in the tub) and the aforementioned playdoh which proved useful during our stay! If you’ve got older kids, consider bringing some card games, board games, a large colouring mat or a jigsaw puzzle you can do as a family.
- If you’re unsure, call the hotel ahead of time so you can be sure of the hotel’s rules before you go.
- You can always postpone or cancel your booking so you can enjoy the hotel’s amenities to the fullest with less stringent restrictions at another time! I believe hotels are required to give full refunds in this case, but it’s always best to check with the hotel you’ve booked with.