Babymoon @ Shangri-La Valley Wing

Jasmine: With the contractions and risk of early labour, we decided to play safe and not travel out of the country this June hols. However, we still wanted a babymoon to recharge ourselves, so we splurged on a staycation at the Shang!

We were initially booked in for a staycation at the Garden Wing, but upon check-in, we were offered a $75 upgrade to the Valley Wing. Now, Shang has 3 wings, each with its own feel and branding- the Tower Wing is catered to business travellers, the Garden Wing more for couples and families who want a lush oasis in the city, and the Valley Wing is the premier wing, where VVIPs stay, including President Barack Obama.

This was what our package included:

  • Complimentary all day bites and drinks (coffee/ tea/ juices/ wines), including afternoon tea (until 11 p.m.)
  • Breakfast: either international buffet at The Line or fine dining at Summit Room
  • Champagne, cocktails and canapes from 5-7 pm
  • $50 dining credit, to be used at any of the Shang restaurants or for room service
  • Hourly shuttle to and from Orchard Road

Enough explanation… We’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Our Room

Our room was the most spacious one in  its category, located on the 12th floor with a view of the pool and small putting green.image

View from our room of the Garden Wing, where we almost stayed

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A well-stocked stationery drawer for business executives e.g. not us…

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The room even had a dressing area with lit vanity!  

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A walk-in wardrobe area leading to the bathroom

IMG_5706 Andrew walked into my walk-in wardrobe picture…

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And the marble-clad bathroom, which my photograph does not do justice to.

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Exclusive to the Valley Wing: L’occitane toiletries. The bathrobes are also monogrammed with VW for Valley Wing.

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All day bites

Jasmine: What a wonderfully pampering concept. We both agreed that our $75 upgrade was well spent as we had breakfast, two lunches (actually afternoon teas) and dinner (actually cocktails and canape hour) there! (Our original package at the Garden Wing would have included international breakfast buffet only but not the fine dining breakfast option that we took at the Valley Wing).

Andrew: Now, when the receptionist offered us the upgrade and told us there will be all day ‘snacks’, I was thinking of chips, chocolates and the likes – little did I know that their snacks would be things like tarts, cakes, free flow sandwiches etc. I even asked a swa-koo question of whether the snacks would be in the room. Needless to say, I was a very happy man!

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Jasmine: All our meals were served at the wonderful Summit Room, which I really liked, because it was stately and yet calming at the same time. A circular room provides better flow, and half the room was done up in Chinoiserie panelling, while the other half had floor-to-ceiling windows which opened up onto a view of the greenery and pool. I entertained the thought of a small 10th wedding anniversary celebration here (Andrew: She’s completed her planning for the 5th wedding anniversary and gone on to planning the 10th…), but was told by our kindly waiter that this room is not bookable for events, it’s only used as a breakfast room for Valley Wing guests. That’s how exclusive it is… sigh.

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We opted for the fine dining breakfast option at the Summit Room as we had experienced international breakfast buffets elsewhere…

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In addition to the healthy buffet spread (this pic below shows less than half of it), we could also place orders for anything we wanted.

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Andrew: The rest of the breakfast buffet was the usual croissants, breads and muffins, which obviously we didn’t want to waste our stomach space for, since we had free flow cooked breakfast options! There were so many things to choose from the menu that we were spoiled for choice.

Jasmine: We designed our own three course breakfast menu. First course, appetizers of ricotta cheese with wild honey and some of the sweetest, fleshiest mangoes we’ve tasted (props to our wonderful waiter who also suggested seasonal dishes and foods that weren’t on the menu)…

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Second course, Eggs Benedict (but you can choose any style, really), which we could add an unlimited number of sides to, such as the tomato polenta cake, asparagus, tomatoes on the vine, portobello mushrooms and hashbrown. I also had a milk-fed cod fillet on the side (right), while Andrew had both a lamb chop and filet mignon (left)! (Andrew: You know it’s a super luxurious break when you have lamb chops and steak for breakfast! The waiter was even tempting me to get more meat! Honestly speaking though, the eggs benedict was only so-so. Fullerton’ Bay’s ones were much better, but I’m not complaining!)

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Third course, french toast with caramelised pears for Andrew and banana waffles for me (I requested a half portion as I was too stuffed at this point)!

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Andrew: I was completely stuffed by the end of this meal, but I just had to have French toast. Wonder if dads also get cravings during their wife’s pregnancies… Heh. (Jasmine: That’s fine, but nobody’s sending me out to buy French toast for you!)

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Jasmine: We of course also had both hot and cold drinks to wash all this rich food down- cafe latte and freshly-squeezed watermelon juice for Andrew, and ginger honey tea and iced chocolate for me!

Andrew: One thing I’d also have to add about the experience at the Summit Room was the great service! The service staff were attentive and friendly, very willing to customise the dishes to our preferences and suggesting good dishes for us. They would go up to you once you’d finished getting your stuff at the buffet and help bring your plate to the table. They also actively engaged us in conversation and made us feel very relaxed and well taken care of.  I really have to say that it’s great service that makes all the difference!

Service at Shang in general is top-notch – the lady who served us at the Garden Wing was also very friendly and personable, offering us free flow of their welcome tea (apple and osmanthus), which Dearie gladly took. Compared to the other hotels we’d stayed in, I’d say this was the best service we have experienced so far.  (Jasmine: completely agree, even the receptionist who did our check-out seemed so genuinely apologetic when I told her that I wished the hotel would have a selection of pregnancy pillows. She even rushed out to bid us farewell when Andrew drove up.)

Jasmine: We also did not one but two afternoon teas there.

We could help ourselves to all day bites from the bar, which included fig lychee tart, cranberry oatmeal cookies, an assortment of Shangri-la truffles (I kept going back for the crispy ones) and chocolate cake…

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And our very own (refillable) afternoon tea cake set. Warm, buttery scones with clotted cream, berry jam and marmalade were also served separately.

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I also had peppermint tea and mango juice, while Andrew had champagne… Seriously, who drinks champagne at 2pm?? Only at the Shang!

Result: happy like bird!

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Finally, cocktails and canapes! Also note the intricate Chinoiserie panelling- a wonderful nod to Shang’s tradition of fine Asian hospitality, the most important aspect of which is pampering their guests with food! I also overheard the receptionist say that Singapore’s Shangri-La is the very first in the world and is 43 years old, but I guess glamorous opulence never goes out of fashion…

Now, the only other place we have had Club privileges at was Hotel Intercontinental, which trust me, had nothing on Shangri-La in terms of their cocktail hour. We did not expect such a variety of sweet and savoury canapes…

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In addition, the waiters served hot snacks from the kitchen, such as mini beef rendang pies, mini fish fingers and chicken buns. My personal favourites, though, were the cream cheese and chive choux puffs, and the chocolate-encased lemon meringue tart.

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Andrew: This was my first platter below…

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Roasted beef with Asparagus Rey Crouton, Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese on Pumpernickel, Smokced Chorizo Cornichorn on Farmer Bread and Herb Cream Cheese Choux

I loved loved loved the cream cheese choux so much that I went back for more, even while they were clearing the trays. Such a tasty yet light and healthy spread. I could definitely have done with one more day of such pampering.

Jasmine: Cocktail-wise, I couldn’t take alcohol, but the waiter mixed up Shangri-La’s signature Lily of the Valley drink for me. He was quite secretive about the ingredients, so I had to ask him twice, but he told me it includes guava, lemon, mango juice and a dash of grenadine syrup! Very nice tropical drink- slightly bitter edge but light and refreshing!

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We’ve been to Fullerton Bay and St Regis and enjoyed their live pianists… But of course Shang had to top them all by having… a HARPIST. I felt like I was in heaven.

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We actually just wanted to grab a few quick snacks before heading off for our dinner reservation at Salt Grill, but the cocktail and canape spread was so extensive that we ended up eating “dinner” there and cancelling our reservation! In fact, as the bar closes at 11pm, we also came back after our shopping trip for a second Lily of the Valley for me and pinot noir for Andrew!

And for those who were wondering, this is the other international buffet breakfast option at The Line (note: we didn’t actually eat there but just strolled through it)…

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Buns and bread baking right before our eyes!

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And a variety of gelatos, ice creams and toppings for those of us with a sweet tooth! For breakfast, they varied it and used this ice-cream counter for their yoghurts and bircher muesli. Creative!

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$50 dining credit

Andrew: We were hoping to use the dining credit for in-room dining, but turns out most of the dishes there didn’t look too appetizing and grossly over-priced. I wasn’t going to pay $18 for a mushroom soup… So, with our $50 dining credit, we went to The Line bakery!

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Jasmine: Nope, we didn’t buy this penguin cake for Dylan, who was doing his own staycation at the Skang (Granny’s house in Sengkang, which also offers all day bites of free flow muffins and milk, plus live pianists aka Ee Ee)…

Just ordered a couple cakes, a sausage roll, frozen berry yoghurt and a box of 12 chocolates for my family…

IMG-20140609-WA0024Chocolates from Shang, paired with Ben & Jerry’s 

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The pomme cake was our favourite- it was their cake of the month, a cross between a cake and a tart, made of stewed apples sandwiched between layers of mascarpone cheese. Surprisingly, it was light and zesty!

Andrew: Unfortunately the rest of the pastries/cakes were rather typical, but we’re not complaining since we got to use our credit. They do seem to do rather good personalised cakes though!

Facilities

Jasmine: We also booked a pregnancy massage for me at the famed Chi Spa while Andrew used the gym facilities.

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Actually, Chi Spa does not offer prenatal massage, but they customised one for me based on a light Swedish massage. Ask and you shall receive…

This was one of their massage rooms.

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And after the massage, the therapist brought me to their Relaxing Lounge, gave me warm ginger tea, spread a blanket and told me to rest as long as I wanted. It was absolute bliss. After spending the 90-min massage awake and visualising renovations, I could just feel my mind emptying out and de-stressing in this lounge. Heh.

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Andrew: The gym was huge, with a wide range of machines and weights not seen even in the more luxurious hotels we’ve stayed in, who honestly often place very low emphasis on the gyms. The gyms at Raffles Hotel and Fullerton Bay were tiny and ill-equipped. This gym at Shang had equipment I’d not seen in other gyms like kettle bells, elliptical trainers, indoor rower, weights machines targeting the obliques etc. You name it, they have it! And even with all this, it was very spacious.

Shopping

Jasmine: And since we were only 10 min drive from Orchard, we just had to squeeze in a bit of shopping for the family!

Some Eric Carle books for Dilly and a pair of Fred Perry shoes for Andrew (he made some excuse about there being a 20% off with my credit card so I paid for that)…

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Jasmine: And I was looking for a bag as my previous had given way a month ago and I was still trying to make do by knotting the strap onto the bag…

All my bags are under $200 and I typically carry one bag, everyday, for months until it breaks. So this time I really wanted to indulge in a high-end designer bag that would last for years.

I checked Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs and finally wandered into Dior, where I bought this Diorling bag in less than an hour. (Andrew: Am always surprised at how decisive Dearie is when it comes to shopping.)

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Hrmm.. I know these are signature to the brand but I don’t care much for the letter charms that spell Dior. Ah well, I suppose it will be useful as a travel sensory toy for Dylan.

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The wonderful salespeople, James and Mona, also happened to be the same lady and gentlemen who served us last year when we bought the Dior Oui ring, and they recognised us this time! The last time, Mona, the Grand Vendoir of the Dior boutique at Ion, actually showed me a coffee-table book and regaled me with stories about Dior’s stunning jewelry designs and her trip to Paris to meet the designer, Victoire de Castellane! This time, she gave me two coffee-table books about Dior jewelry and invited us to the opening of the Baby Dior boutique at MBS! You can’t get these books in Singapore, even if you tried, and on Amazon the blue book retails for $75 USD! What a wonderful gift!

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I know I don’t look great here but since I have been so lax in taking bump pix, here is one of me at 33 weeks pregnant. Although this Diorling bag is small, it’s made of butter-soft calfskin, and has three compartments, which are roomy enough to fit all my stuff. I also love the candy pink colour and am surprised that the colour somehow seems to match most of my outfits, perhaps thanks to the bag’s contrasting neutral sides!

Ending with a selfie of us!

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Hands down, the most indulgent staycation ever!

Andrew: What I really enjoyed and appreciated was the quality time with Dearie. At home now with our dear son Dilly, we barely have much time to set aside to just talk and spend time with each other. After Dilly goes to bed, I’m sometimes so tired that I also can’t focus on having a proper conversation with her. This Shang staycation was so perfect as it gave us so much time, in such luxurious and relaxing settings that we could just have great connection time, talking about geeky topics like politics and all. Indeed, the best staycation ever!

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