Many of us in Singapore are feeling downhearted about the coronavirus travel restrictions putting a stop to vacation planning. Changi airport is empty, our passports are collecting dust and family cycling to the Merlion has hit at an all-time high.

As I write this in late 2020, one can still only dream of an international holiday – so we quite often do! In doing so, our family compiled a list of what makes for a perfect family resort. Huge pool: check. Water slide? Check. Family-friendly restaurant? Check. Efficient service with a smile? Check. Spacious bedrooms? Check. Quality bathroom products? Check.

As long as Covid restrictions still cast a shadow on destinations, we are unlikely to experience any overseas vacation any time soon. We, therefore, decided to test our ‘perfect resort list’ at the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove.

Pre-staycation excitement is now an actual ‘thing’ in our household. The kids count down the sleeps and pack their bags days before we are due to check-in. Husband and I take delight in their excitement and the prospect of our weekend of resort recharge at the end of a busy week.

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W Hotels are designed to be consistently colourful, post-modern and creatively quirky. We have been lucky enough to see a few over the years; Sunday skyrise bubbly brunches in Hong Kong, Woo Bar by the Indian Ocean in Bali, and après ski drinks at the W Off Piste Bar in Verbier. Without fail, W Hotels always seem to possess the right atmosphere and a sense of occasion.

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We arrived at the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove on a Thursday afternoon with our children still in their school uniforms, who shamelessly bounced around the check-in lobby. Like many W Hotels, the lobby of the Sentosa edition has a colourful wow factor; an illuminated digital wall at the foyer and the hundreds of small feature popsicle lights framing the red-carpet staircase.

Upstairs the reception is bursting with natural light, perfectly brightening the lobby full of new-age sculptures and wall-hung pieces by artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. One hardly notices the sanitiser and social distancing notices which are discretely stationed at your convenience.

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We checked into a ‘Fabulous Room’ on the top floor of the hotel and were instantly impressed with the large balcony and views of luxury boats in the marina and the enormous W Singapore pool. The balcony was very hot during the day but glorious for spectating early morning Sentosa cove activities like boating, cycling and dog walking, whilst enjoying coffee provided in the room. Views from rooms on the other side of the hall face the Singapore city skyline.

The room featured funky furniture such as a butterfly pendant light and abstract floral wall motif. The interior design made little first impression on my husband who was digesting the concept of our family sleeping comfortably close in one room with two king beds and a cot.

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The W Singapore does an excellent job of personalising special occasions with their welcome card, helium balloons, chocolate platter and DIY icing cupcakes in the room which were a huge hit with the kids. I love the copywriting on the W amenities such as ‘back up plan’ for loo paper ‘down me’ on water bottles and my personal favourite on pencils for ‘when you want to write’.

We could see the pool slide and the sun starting to set from our balcony, leaving us with no question as to how to spend the early hours of the evening. The ‘Wet Pool’ is one of Singapore’s largest resort-style outdoor pool areas.

Not having reserved a pool slot, we meandered down to the pool in our own time, which did not present a problem as it was not busy. The pool really makes the W Singapore a fantastic family destination, perfectly positioned between the marina cove and the open space of lush green lawn. The pool appears to sparkle as manually operated pool bubbles rise to the sunny surface.

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My husband and I sank into a pair of comfortable sun loungers canopied by a large umbrella separated by a small table for our amenities, drinks and snacks. The children exhausted themselves exploring the pool, garden grounds and speedy long waterslide – all within our sight. Soft beats calmed the mood poolside while underwater speakers emanated sonic beats.

Flowers from the Frangipani trees surrounding the pool fell into the water, their pink petals conveniently matching the dusty pink of the illuminated bubble style pool bar chairs.

We found the poolside service to be quick and attentive and the menu satisfying for parents and children alike. We commented that the view of palm trees and boat masts made us feel like we could be anywhere from Miami to Dubai. The W Singapore is a local destination in Singapore that feels like a holiday destination.

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After sunset, we quickly washed and changed for dinner. Momo bath products by Davines left the children smelling like summer fruits and flowers. The service at dinner was again excellent, the family atmosphere coupled with the company of other guests with children meant for a fun and energetic mealtime. Seeing that we were on holiday, it didn’t feel too extravagant to have a champagne and steak at dinner!

The next morning, we enjoyed a coastal vibe breakfast close to boats in the outdoor section of the Skirt restaurant. Our young girls were spoilt with pancakes they decorated themselves with berries, yoghurt and syrup. We loaded up on fresh fruit, fluffy scrambled eggs, smashed avo and more coffee.

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Having watched Sentosa residents cruising past us at breakfast on bicycles with dogs and pushing strollers, we felt encouraged to take a stroll. The W Singapore is one step away from Sentosa cove quayside, home to a selection of fine restaurants and casual cafes overlooking more than 250 world-class boats berthed in the marina.

There are many hotels in Singapore but the W Singapore is unique in the way it makes you feel like you’ve escaped daily life and have been transported to a chic jet-set destination. We had a wonderful weekend creating happy memories in a year that hasn’t been the best for doing so.

If you are an ex-pat family living in Singapore or if you are passing through for a few days, we would recommend the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove as a first-class destination. When we buckled up the kids ahead of a convenient 20-minute drive home they were chanting “we don’t want to go!”

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