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Shangri-La Hotel Singapore hardly needs any introduction. Located in Orange Grove Road slightly off Orchard Road, it is a five-star hotel with 2 pillar-less ballrooms, 21 function rooms and 10 dining spaces in its 3 wings.
1. Tower Wing – 503 guestrooms and suites. First wing in the hotel to be built, it underwent an extensive multi-million dollar renovation and relaunched in 2017. Buds by Shangri-La is located in this wing and the entire 9th floor is catered to the needs of family travellers.
2. Garden Wing – 158 rooms and suites surrounded by lush greenery with palm trees, ferns and colourful exotic plants. The main feature is the cascading waterfall, located near the swimming pool.
3. Valley Wing – 131 opulent and luxurious rooms and suites. The Valley Wing has its own private entrance and driveway and has hosted dignitaries such as former U.S. Presidents Mr Barack Obama and Mr George H.W. Bush.
Since 2002, they have hosted the IISS Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. An annual intergovernmental defence forum, attendees include the most important policymakers in the defence and security community as well as journalists, academic experts, legislators and business delegates.
As a 5 star hotel, service and comfort is top-notch. Their Awards and Accolades spans 10 pages out of 38 pages in their Press Kit! From Best Hotel to Best Spa and Top Restaurants, Shangri-La Hotel excels in every aspect of hospitality.
Fun fact: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, opened in April 1971, was the very first Shangri-La hotel in the world to be built.
The grand sculptures and wall features are inspired by the elements water and wood. The overall designer for the Tower Wing lobby, guest rooms and NAMI restaurant and bar is Mr. Ryoichi Niwata, whose main intention was to bring natural elements into the interiors.
Mr. Charlie Albone, landscape artist | Artwork: Vertical garden at the Lobby Lounge, 9 x 6 metres
Our room was a Deluxe Family Room on the 9th floor and it featured a king-sized bed with a window alcove for the kids to play or sleep, automated curtains, TV channels for children and child-friendly toiletries.
Soft, luxurious sheets with four pillows. Soft, medium, firm, lavender or cassia seed? There’s a pillow menu for you to choose the exact type of pillows you prefer.
It was utter bliss when both children slept on this bed without fussing, instead of clambering up to our big bed and kicking us in their sleep. “Please jab your toe in my nose”, said no one ever. There was a wooden hollow in the ledge with a cover which Elise pretended was a boat.
See that table over there? It served as their little hide-out. The table has an adjustable height to suit children. We didn’t touch it though.
A Nespresso machine with complimentary capsules and tea bags are refilled daily, as are the bottles of oxygenated drinking water. Even the drinking water is premium. The welcome snacks included a fruit platter, popcorn and chocolate chip cookies, which Didi couldn’t stop munching on.
The room attendants folded towel origami the two nights we were there. We had two rabbits the first night and a dog with googly eyes on the second night.
The level of thoughtfulness by Shangri-La towards families is exceptional. Everything that babies and children require are provided and are from reputable brands. Huggies disposable tape diapers and swim diapers (!), children’s toothbrushes and organic children’s toothpaste, baby bath sponges from Mothercare, Sudocrem, Mustela lotion and even baby wipes! We packed half a luggage full of diapers from home and ended up bringing them back again. We packed the bare minimum of 3 sets of clothes for the kids, and we realised it was an overkill because the hotel provides complimentary usage of washer and dryer machines in the centralised pantry!
The bath amenities for the adults are from L’Occitane.
There are no bathtubs in the Deluxe Family Rooms, but you can easily borrow one for the kids from the centralised pantry. We borrowed a foldable Stokke bathtub, a bath seat and some bath toys. A green anti-slip bath mat is provided in each bathroom on the family floor.
A specially designed menu for children is available for in-room dining. Free from MSG or artificial colouring, only high quality ingredients such as grass-fed beef, hormone and antibiotic free chicken, organic eggs and nitrate-free ham are used.
The centralised pantry located near the lift lobby on Level 9 is open 24/7, exclusively for family guests staying on that floor and requires card access. Complimentary usage of the facilities are a benefit for family travellers.
- Complimentary usage of washer & dryer machines
There are two washer and dryer machines, available for families to use at no added cost! Our soiled clothes were laundered and completely dried in 80 minutes. That means you can cut down luggage space for the whole family! Baby laundry detergent and stain remover from NUK is available for use. There’s a steam iron, if you need to press your suits.
- Complimentary usage of premium baby products
SSS? Spotted Some Stokke? Shangri-La Hotel has a Stokke V.I.B (Very Important Baby) program where you can borrow its highly raved about bouncer, stroller, Sleepi cot, Tripp Trapp high chair, Flexi bathtub and other amenities for use within the hotel compound. Apart from that, there’re bottle sterilisers, drying racks, bottle warmers, baby monitors, potty chairs, bath toys, diaper bins, toys and board games!
- Cooking equipment
An induction cooker, microwave, hot and cold water dispenser, WMF pots and pans, plates, bowls and cutlery ensure that you can prepare nutritious meals for your babies (but why, when the in-room dining menu is so enticing!).
Themed Family Suites
Welcome to the room we (wish) we stayed in. Five themed family suites (Space, Castle, Underwater, Safari and Treetop), artfully designed, are one of Shangri-La Hotel’s unique product offerings. This family suite has two bedrooms, one for the adults and one bunk bed for the children.
A grandparent or helper can bunk in with the children as there is a flip out bed with door in the room for some privacy. In each family suite, there is a small opening for the children where they can climb through to access the main bedroom. Family suites can be connected to another deluxe room to expand the overall space for large families.
I only managed to peek into this suite as the others were fully occupied.
The amount of detail put into designing the family suite is mind-blowing. The downside is that your kids probably wouldn’t want to leave the room.
Open from 6am to 8pm, the outdoor swimming pool is large and has a 2.5m deep end for skilled swimmers, a children’s play pool, a Jacuzzi and the kids’ favourite – water fountains. Surrounded by palm trees and overlooking the Garden Wing, swimming here can be relaxing.
The lifeguards on duty are sharp and quick to react. My husband’s swim shorts didn’t fit so I had to handle both kids in the pool. At one instance, Elise attempted to cross over the edge of the play pool into the main pool area, and was stopped by them.
Why are kids so fascinated by water fountains? Neither of them can swim, so I plonked them here.
You’d be surprised that many hotels in Singapore do not have proper nursing rooms and often open spare rooms upon request for breastfeeding mothers. This nursing room is fully equipped with a diaper changing mat, hot and cold water dispenser, bar fridge, bottle warmer, comfortable armchair and footstool, Stokke high chair and crib! There are two cubicles. Both include power points for pumping mothers. I used the baby weighing scale to check Didi’s weight (a healthy 10.6kg at 12 months old!).
Buds by Shangri-La is an interactive play space comprising four activity rooms (Bake, Muddy, Stage and Party), an indoor playground and outdoor play area.
Bake is a cooking studio that is every home baker’s dream. It’s fully equipped with Electrolux ovens, commercial chillers and… EIGHT KitchenAid mixers, all differently coloured! 😀 Baking classes are held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for children aged 6 and above. The tables and chairs are child sized to accommodate the little ones. We didn’t try this as Elise is only turning three.
Having heard much about Buds, we were thrilled to experience it for ourselves. Guests on the Family level and Themed Family Suites get to enjoy complimentary access and unlimited playtime and 1 free activity at the Stage/Muddy activity rooms for the duration of their stay. At first glance, Buds is clean and spacious, with plenty of room for the kids to run about.
To protect the little ones, standard temperature checks and sanitisation procedures are conducted at the entrance. Buds uses Biocair to sanitise the air and environment. The indoor play area is segregated into the Explorer Zone, suitable for children aged 4 to 12 years old and the Toddler Zone, for 0 to 4 year olds. Younger children are allowed into the Explorer Zone with parental supervision. Actually, all parents should supervise their kids in indoor playgrounds, regardless of age.
There are two levels in Explorer Zone. Children can climb up the large mesh nets at the front, climb stairs or ropes. About half of the area on the upper level has mesh flooring and is not designed to take an adult’s weight. A warning sign is placed at eye level, but it was too insignificant for most people to take notice of, as I spotted a man doing chin-ups on the blue bars. -_-
Buds uses cassia seeds in place of sand for children to practice pouring and scooping. Cassia seeds are not as messy as sand and are perfectly safe if accidentally (or intentionally) ingested. The way I see it, Buds is constructed in a way for children to take the lead without needing their parents to shadow them. It’s not built to accommodate adults. The play pit has a relatively tall wall that requires some level of difficulty for an adult to enter, yet has a tunnel for kids to crawl through easily.
The ubiquitous ball pit that is seen in almost every indoor playground. Except in Buds, it’s not so much of a pit, but a pool. It is vast and there are probably thousands of balls in a pretty sky blue/white/cloudy white combination.
Over at level 2, kids can try their hand at putting out “fires” with using “fire hoses”, which are really ball guns and soft foam balls. An electronic panel to the right keeps score of your game. Underneath is a climbing slope and short slides for younger preschoolers.
Babies can be kept safe in the Toddler zone, away from the big kids who may tend to play rough. Here, the babies can fit customised blocks into the wall cut outs, stomp on the piano floor, hide in the enclosed space near the slides or swing on.
Toy car rides that are FREE! Here’s Didi crying for his life because he is not used to sitting in a moving ride. As you can guess, we don’t usually spend money on the rides which cost $2 and lasts for only a few minutes. Yes, I saw that warning label.
Watch your kids while sipping coffee at the snack corner and cafe, aptly named Recharge. Providing caffeine fixes, pastries and other small bites, the decently sized cafe uses Stokke high chairs instead of the commonly seen IKEA ones.
The Party room is a function room open for birthday and party bookings. Prices include playtime at Buds. There was a birthday party ongoing, so I didn’t take photos of the room.
Stage is a music themed room and the details… from the glitzy neon lights to the Hollywood Stars on the floor. On days that there are no activities, the activity rooms are open for free play.
In this music room, you get to choose songs to be broadcast on a projector screen and bang on cymbals and lighted drums installed on the walls. Wigs and props complete the superstar experience.
Befitting a little superstar, this electronic grand piano has preset tunes for your baby to make it or fake it.
Take a break from running around at Muddy. I’m not sure why it’s named Muddy when there’s no mud to be seen. Muddy is the space for your babies to unleash their inner Picasso.
Put on a full sleeved apron, grab a paintbrush and paint on the A4 printer papers or on the walls. I spotted a staff scrubbing paint out of the walls with a sponge and detergent to clear up space though… it’s a never-ending cycle. Paint on wall -> Scrub off -> Repeat. The absolute coolest part of it all was when the UV lights were turned on and everything glowed in the dark! Normal tempera paints will not glow in the dark; the ones at Messy are luminescent glow in the dark paints! You could hear the exclamations from the bedazzled kids, including mine.
Wash off with Mustela hand soap when you’re done.
Outdoor Play area
Wait, there’s more! Walk behind the swimming pool and past the Dutch Pavilion and you’ll find TWO playgrounds for outdoor play! A tube slide is the centrepiece and it is accessed via rope bridges and nets. This is an adventure for the brave. If that’s too daunting, each half of the ship has its own hide out with telescopes and slide.
Wet water playgrounds are an excellent choice for both parents and kids. It’s safer than a swimming pool, yet the kids get to play with water. We’ve been to many water play parks and Elise achieved a personal milestone this round. She had always been afraid of the giant overhead pail that fills up and spills over when full. There were some kids who coaxed her to join them and she eventually overcame her fear of that great big pail.
A winding waterway with various elements for children to explore and manipulate. The kids can observe how the flow of water is obstructed when the movable component is turned. Perfect way to learn through play – though it may not seem like much, kids learn best from self-directed play.
The Line restaurant has long been regarded as one of Singapore’s top buffet restaurants, having won multiple awards for Best Restaurant by internationally acclaimed publications and organisations. Featuring 16 show kitchens and a wide variety of cuisine, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The breakfast spread was impressive – there was dim sum, various types of congee with condiments, breads and cheeses, a noodle and nasi lemak station, Indian parathas, cereal and oat bar with all sorts of milk.
There’s something for everyone. Apple, orange or grapefruit juice? Low fat, full cream, chocolate or almond milk? A sinful croissant or fruit yoghurt?
Something worth pointing out is the Wellness Corner for health conscious guests or those with dietary restrictions. There’s almond milk, nuts and grains, dried raisins, oat porridge, muffins.
A designated family area is set aside for families and there are child-friendly utensils as well as a basket of crayons on each table for them to doodle on.
CHI, The Spa
CHI, The Spa, offers holistic treatments inspired by Asian traditions. Appointed as the exclusive hotel spa partner for Biologique Recherche in 2015, CHI, The Spa uses skilled therapists with natural ingredients to revitalise and rejuvenate.
Craving Cantonese cuisine? Shang Palace serves mostly traditional Cantonese alongside Shanghainese and Szechuan dishes. Baked abalone tarts, braised lobster and pan-fried foie gras with gold foil suckling pig are but some of the tantalising Chinese dishes available on the menu at Shang Palace.
Shangri-La Hotel ranks high as a family friendly hotel. No expense is spared to provide their guests with top range, organic, child-safe amenities and premium branded baby equipment for use at no added cost. It is no wonder why their awards page is 10 pages long and will only continue to expand. I’d like to come back without the kids to fully pamper myself instead of slaving after the kids, but I have to say that our very first family staycation has set the bar way up there.
22 Orange Grove Rd, Singapore 258350
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