Nowadays, “staycation” (the combination of stay and vacation – meaning to stay in one’s country to have a vacation) is very popular in Singapore, given the rising number of chic hotels and new establishments sprouting in many corners all over Singapore.
So Kate and I decided to do so as well. We took our pick to stay at the newly constructed Hard Rock Hotel at Sentosa (Resorts World Sentosa, RWS). There are several hotels now in Resorts World Sentosa, namely, Festive Hotel, Hotel Michael, Crockfords Tower (by invitation only) as well as Hard Rock Hotel.
Introduction about Sentosa
Sentosa was formerly known as Pulau Blakang Mati which translates directly as Island, Behind, Dead otherwise known as the Island of the dead. However, in 1972, Sentosa was mooted to become a popular tourist destination and was renamed Sentosa, meaning, “Peace and Tranquility”.
The island is just located 0.5km south of the main island and is now connected via cable car, a link bridge as well as Sentosa pedestrian board walk.
The Sentosa board walk has now several ‘hang out’ places like the Queens (with happy hour drinks and cakes), Venezia (Italian ice cream), Wine Company and a crepes shop. Also you can shop at the Frangipani Creations (theme of frangipani for bags, hair pins, paintings) and a Sentosa souvenir shop.
Admission to Sentosa Island
If you are staying at one of the hotels at Sentosa, admission is usually complimentary. What you would need to do is to check with your hotel on how to gain complimentary entry into the island. This differs slightly from hotels on the island itself and hotels in RWS (Resorts World Sentosa).
By Foot/Walking ($1)
To gain entry via the new boardwalk, it is only $1 per person to enter and you get to enjoy a nice little walk, about 5-7 minutes along the newly constructed boardwalk.
By Sentosa Express ($3)
The Sentosa express is the new monorail that transits all across the island of Sentosa and back to the main island at Vivocity (a shopping mall). This ride costs $3.
The rates for entry can be found on the website of Sentosa and it is usually cheaper to car pool and go into the island as a group. If you are driving into RWS like we did, remember to keep left as you enter the roads to Sentosa. If you are driving into Hard Rock (near the convention centre), keep left again.
Once you are on the island, all buses and monorail rides are free. Yup, even if you paid only $1 to enter via the boardwalk!
Hard Rock Hotel Sentosa
We first checked into our room. It was located on the top floor, overlooking the entire pool area.
The pool is one of the best things about Hard Rock Hotels. It is always a surprise for me to see how chill the Hard Rock Pool is and this pool didn’t disappoint. Check out this video of the pool!
The pool at the Hard Rock Hotel consists of so many segments. From my memory, I can recall an infinity pool (or lap pool), a children’s play area (complete with water guns, fountains and a slide), a jacuzzi, a lazy pool, a pool by the bar, as well as, you’ve guessed it, the beach pool complete with soft white Australian-imported sand!
Resorts World Sentosa
After lazying in the pool for a while, we decided to grab some dinner at Vivocity. Each room at the Hard Rock is entitled to 2 parking tickets as well as monorail tickets on the Sentosa Express (unlimited rides from Sentosa to Vivo for 3 consecutive days once activated). As we ventured out, we took some of these pictures.
After dinner, we decided to chill out at one of the new restaurants along the boardwalk. We had some wine and shared a strawberry tiramisu. The food was ok, but the nice laidback music accompanied by views of RWS more than made up for it. We wanted to catch the animatronics Crane Dance show (9pm), but to our horror, it was under repairs! So we headed for the 9:30pm fountain show at the Lake of Dreams.
We did catch the crane dance animatronics some time before and here it is
There is nothing much to say about the show except, DO NOT GO! Please view our video that we painstakingly recorded for you (for you to fast forward) so that you can save 15 minutes of your precious time. Towards the end of the show, many people started to walk away (hence you see many movements in the video at the end). The show ended without a finale or whatsover. It just faded out…it has to be one of the worst fountain shows ever.
Sentosa Day Play Pass
On the second day, we decided to go for the day play pass and it was a fruitful 10 hours. The day play pass is a packaged deal where you pay $63.90/Adult , $47.90/Child (Weekdays) and $69.90/Adult, $51.90/child (Weekends) to enjoy 13 attractions from 9am to 7pm. It is really worth it because you get to cover:
1. Fort Siloso
2. Bi-Pedal Bicyle (1 hr)
3. Segway Fun Ride (Beginner’s practice and trail)
4. The Flying Trapeze
5. Skyline Luge (with 1 skyride) OR Unlimited Skyrides
6. Images of Singapore
7. Sentosa 4D Magix
8. Sentosa Nature Discovery
9. Sentosa Cineblast
11. Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom
12. Tiger Sky Tower
13. The Merlion
But to complete all the attractions (which we almost did), you have to plan your time properly to avoid the crowd. So we suggest you cover like we did!
Images of Singapore
Initially, we wanted to start off our day at the 4D magix, Cineblast as well as Desperados. However, on the way up, we realised that Images of Singapore was already opened. So the first stop was here
It was a pleasant surprise because we really didn’t think the Images of Singapore would be such a huge place. It will probably take perhaps 1-2 hours if you read all the information. The whole museum is full of figurines, statues and displays. It depicts how Singapore came about (with the discovery of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles – Nowadays the brand Raffles is associated with everything high class or “Atas” as we would say) and how we thrived from a small fishing village to the cosmopolitan city we are today. Certainly worth visiting.
Cineblast (Extreme Log Ride) / 4D Magix (Pirates) / Desperados
It is good to start off the day at the rides and movies because the queues would usually pick up and you will be wasting precious time queuing. When we reached there, we were first for all the rides and shows! Yay!
We first went for the Extreme Log Ride. It was very realistic! One of the best 3D rides I have been on. It brings you through Himalaymazon. You’ve heard me right! Not the Himalayas nor the Amazon. Haha…not for the faint-hearted though.
Desperados is a 3D shooting game whereby you are an assistant to the Sheriff and to take out the bad guys. You are seated on a saddle that moves according to the game. Holding on to the pistol with one hand and the saddle with the other, you have 2 rounds of trying to top the score. Enjoyed this one as well. Try to shoot well, else your face would be flashed across the screen as a bobo shooter…
4D Magix – Pirates
Kate and I have been to 4D shows previously and this was nothing new. Basically a 15 minutes show with 4D effects like wind blown by your ears, water sprinkling at you, in your face bees and insects crawling from under your seats. Yup, all the effects accompanied by the 3D movie. Enjoy!
Skyline Luge (with 1 skyride) OR Unlimited Skyrides
Next, we went for the Luge. We didnt know at first that the Luge Ride came with 1 skyride. Still, we chose the Luge. So from Imbiah, we Luged down to the beach. The new trail, Dragon Trail just completed construction not long ago and it was an exciting, winding ride. The slogan is true : Once is never enough. But we had another attractions to enjoy.
We were there shortly after lunch, so we beat the crowd and waited only about 5 minutes. Lunch was cheap (@Olio Bites considering prices at Sentosa) and good. We had spaghetti and Fish & Chips. Yum. Enjoy the thrilling Luge!
Segway Fun Ride
After the Luge, we wanted to rent the bicycle and ride into Fort Siloso. However, we were dismayed to find that we couldn’t and we were stopped at the tram station at the entrance of Fort Siloso. So we had to cycle back to return our bikes and head back to Fort Siloso. There were 2 guided tours that day (12.30pm and 3.30pm) but when we finally got back to Fort Siloso, we realised that we just missed the first guided tour! So we were advised by the friendly staff of Sentosa to complete Segway first, which we did.
We waited a short while before it was our turn. As with the Luge, you would have to don the helmet provided. The first practice session was basically to familiarise yourself with the Segway. The instructor would tell you how to move ahead, backwards and left/right by leaning your body (forwards/backwards) and tilting the handles to the desired direction. It was quite easy actually. But you would be envious when you see the instructors being able to move fast and drift! They would then ask you to ride towards a tree, go round it, and return back to the instructor.
The trail is much like a garden walk. On the Segway, it was over in 5 minutes. But it was still fun to go at a leisure speed and try to traverse small humps and engage slopes upwards and downwards. Overall, it was a nice refreshing albeit “risky” experience.
Sentosa Nature Discovery
We also attended the guided tour here. This area is basically free but with the guided tour, it makes the visit extra educational. The tour covered the types of trees and animals/birds that may be encountered and includes a short treetop/canopy walk. Nature lovers would enjoy this one.
Fort Siloso is a museum at Sentosa that covers the defence of Singapore during the colonial and WW2 era. It was really worthwhile to hear the stories that the guide had, and to learn about how it was like during the pre-war and war era.
The tour covered the guns, surrender chambers, life during WW2 under Japanese occupation and the surrender of Japanese back to the allied forces.
This is a really good tour (about an hour or so) for those who are interested in history and WW2. You can board the bus for the tour either at Imbiah or at the entrance of Fort Siloso. It departs slightly earlier, do check with the friendly staff for the exact timings.
As we entered, we were given a token at the entrance. It was a gold coin. We were then ushered into a small theatre to watch a short clip of how the “Merlion” came about. After the movie, we dropped our coin into one of the many merlions at the entrance of the lift and exchanged for a gift card. You can then claim your gift at the souvenier shop as you exit the Merlion.
We went to level 10 where the teeth of the Merlion was. We caught several shots here.
There was also a staff there ready to take a picture for you. After that, we went to the top of the Merlion. The view was spectacular. It covered the whole of Sentosa, including the rides and castle at the Universal Studios, the hotels at Resorts World, a golf course, the cable car ride, the sky tower. Over the distance, we could see our Central Business District (the CBD) as well as views of the ocean and our world famous sea port. Take a look at this video!
We took the lift and exited the Merlion. We were directed to exchange our gift cards for a souvenir and we got 2 hand held fans with Merlion imprinted on it.
Tiger Sky Tower
Our last stop was the Tiger Sky Tower. It wasn’t our first time but we still enjoyed the spectacular views that it offered. Enjoy these pictures!
Dinner @ Ramenplay
We went back to the hotel and lazed in the pool again before heading out for dinner. We wanted to catch the butterfly park but missed it as it was closed at 6:30pm. We had visited the one in Cameron Highlands before, so not much regrets there. We missed the trapeze because we aren’t that adventurous. For those who have tried it, do leave a comment on how it went!
We decided to stay in Sentosa for dinner and we ate at Ramenplay. There was a deal with DBS cards. If you order 2 mains, you’d receive a plate of 2 fried meat balls (Dango). The ramen was good. Remember to order the one that comes with the pork broth because it is simmered for a long time to achieve that taste. The meat was generous and the ramen was Q (also known as springy). The Unagi hot pot was not fantastic, but the unagi itself was delicious. Though a little bit on the expensive side, the meal was thoroughly satisfying. We also ordered the bamboo chicken and Chicken/Leek Yakitori to complete the meal. Yum.
Overall, it was an excellent staycation and we enjoyed all the attractions that Sentosa has to offer with the Day Play Pass. Go stay in the hotels at Resorts World Sentosa while they are still new and nice!
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