Thursday, May 12, 2016

Westin Family: Staycation Plus Universal Studios Singapore!


Kids these days get to travel a lot more than those from past generations. So it's nice to see that hotels are beginning to cater to family travel and holidays. The Westin Hotels & Resorts launched the Westin Family program across 200 of its properties in December 2015.

The program integrates family experiences within the hotel and introduces more meaningful branded amenities for young travelers.

My kids love staycations, and it's as good as any a holiday for them because you can add fun attractions and interesting explorations. What's really helps is a reliable hotel in a good location with nice pool and facilities.




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photo courtesy of Westin Singapore
The Westin Singapore is a 305-room upper-upscale hotel levels occupying levels 32 to 46 of Asia Square Tower 2 in the Marina Bay precinct. It's in the heart of the business district but is also close to heritage zones like Chinatown. The central location makes it easy to get around on foot or via a number of Mass Rapid Train (MRT) stations nearby.




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Upon check-in, kids will receive their Westin Family Travel Journal welcome amenity with a variety of interactive activities that help children of all ages connect with their family and a Local Activity Guide, with a list of kids’ friendly attractions.




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There are additional amenities including a drawstring bag, hat, water bottle and even a whole hardcover storybook - The Little Singapore Book! It introduces Singapore history and culture through simple storytelling and vivid illustration.



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My girls enjoyed the journal activities and reading the books. The journal became my kids' favourite item in the whole welcome kit.

Westin Family celebrates play as a vehicle to explore, learn, develop new skills, express ideas and build relationships with others.

“We curated our welcome amenity with our young travelers in mind, to enhance their well-being through exploration and discovery,” said Lance J. Ourednik, General Manager, The Westin Singapore.




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I love the Westin rooms; they are beautifully spacious and tastefully appointed in peaceful, earthy colours. But the best part is the Westin Heavenly® Bed with the plush pillowtop design making the mattress super comfortable. I also wish I had taken a close-up of the bedlinen to show you how silky soft they are.




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My kids were floored by how luxurious the room was. They were so excited and happy, jumping around and totally making themselves at home.




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The roomy closet makes me jealous. I don't even have this much space in my own wardrobe at home.




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A work desk allows you to take care of business. The safe is conveniently nearby so you can store important items and documents.




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Cooooookies! We found these near the desk - so very thoughtful of them to have an airtight container for the cookies, so we can store and enjoy them throughout our stay. And we got chocolates too. Welcome kit for the adults!




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The other amazing thing about the Westin - ultra luxurious spa-like bathrooms! These alone make it worth staying here.

Just imagine a hot soak in that standalone tub with the view...



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The bathroom is built to pamper with gorgeous fittings, lighting design, and huge dedicated spaces to each section - shower, toilet, sink and bath. Fragrant White Tea By Westin™ bath amenities, soft bathrobes, and cosy slippers complete the experience.


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photo courtesy of Westin Singapore
There is also a Heavenly Spa at the hotel if you should want full spa treatments (or just a break from the kids). Or you could go enjoy the gym - the WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio facilities are open 24 hours.



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The outdoor infinity pool has submerged sun loungers with water jets. Come in the mornings when you can have the pool almost to yourself!





The Westin Singapore kindly arranged a trip to Universal Studios Singapore (USS) for us as part of the staycation.



I think they have recalibrated some of the rides. The Transformers one was a lot more vigorous and thrilling this time. I guess they have to do this to draw repeat visitors! 



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The Revenge of the Mummy ride is my favourite. This high speed indoor roller-coaster is in the dark and can be a bit scary for kids, with real fireballs, swarms of scarab beetles, sudden drops and reversals. But my girls have started to like it.

I can't wait for them to be old enough to go for the Battlestar Galactica rides.




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Bubbles. We had so many favourite moments of wonder for the day out.


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Most playful capture at the attractions: we took several "kawaii" shots, but too many were ruined by monkey faces. So here's one that's not so bad.




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Best discovery of our USS exploration: we found where the best food is! Despite many trips to USS, we do not always eat here because there are better options outside the theme park. But Friar's Good Food has pretty decent grub, and it's no wonder they are the most crowded.

We had the Friar's Catch of the Day - crispy battered fish and prawns (they ran out of calamari though). Only letdown was the fries; they were limp and soggy. Oh, the soft serve ice cream is not bad either. Doesn't have the awful powdered milk taste that some soft serve ice creams have.



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One tip from the kids: bring your water bottles! There are water fountains just outside most restrooms. But note that the water is not chilled. If you want cold drinks, you'll just have to pony up the cash for theme park drinks. Psst, guess which drink is best?



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Best drink award goes to Gloria Snack Shack's Ice-Blended Coconut Freeze (S$6), or something like that. I don't know the exact name. It's made with real coconut flesh, blitzed with ice. So refreshing on a hot day and worth every cent.




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Tip from me: get the Express Pass. The cost may sting a little but the sensation of breezing past the 70-minute line to enjoy your ride instantly is priceless. You can repeat your ride again if you so wish, without a wait! It really doesn't make sense to spend precious time at USS standing in line and sweltering in the heat.

Because we had a kid with special needs, USS gave us free Express passes for her and an accompanying family member. Sometimes they may be kind enough to give passes or single ride Express vouchers to one or two more additional family members so you don't have to be separated as a family. But it depends on the staff handling the matter - some are more generous than others.

Still, it's really nice of USS to do this for people with special needs, although this may not be a well-known policy. Just check with the office that's at the extreme left of the entrance.





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Back at the hotel, we were glad to relax in cool comfort and check out the dining options.




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We had dinner at Seasonal Tastes, the all-day dining and buffet restaurant. The a la carte dishes come highly recommended, more so than the buffets. But if it's variety you want, the buffet certainly has the usual crowd pleasers of chilled seafood, carvery, roasts, Asian hot dishes and desserts.




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Food at The Westin leans towards the healthy. The buffet breakfast features made-to-order eggs and waffles, complemented by SuperFoodsRx™ dishes made from powerhouse ingredients rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Eat Well is one of their six pillars focusing on wellness.




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The Westin Family program lets children (aged 12 years old and below) dine for free with every purchase of an adult meal. Items may be ordered from the Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids, a menu of nutritious and delicious options.




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Families can also receive a discount of up to 25% when booking a second room or have the option to book connecting rooms, based on availability.

Rates at The Westin Singapore start from S$330++ per room, per night, valid for bookings from now till 31 December 2016.

For more information on Westin Family, please visit www.thewestinsingapore.com, www.westin.com/family or follow #WonderAwaits.


WESTIN SINGAPORE
12 Marina View
Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961
Tel: +65 6922-6888





Many thanks to Westin Singapore for the Westin Family experience.
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