Category Archives: Staycation

Gleneagles Staycation

Andrew: ‘Staycations’ seem to be the running theme lately, so we thought we’d use that theme for our time at Gleneagles, combining it as part of our birth story post! It’s easiest to organise this post chronologically.

Birthing Suite

Andrew: So our first “destination” was the birthing suite, where baby’s vital signs were monitored for a while. This was the bed that Dearie had, with unlimited supply of pillows to make her cosy and comfortable!

IMG_6072 
Jasmine: The L-shaped pillow was a lifesaver. After giving birth, I asked if I could bring it with me to our room, but was declined. Heh.

Andrew: I got a very comfy recliner arm chair, which could be stretched out fully. I was so cosy in that blanket. Dearie insisted to take a shot of me in the blanket – yes, even just moments before giving birth, she was thinking about capturing key moments of the staycation.

IMG_6073 IMG_6070

Nice bathrobe

And this was Emmy’s little ‘bed’ with a warmer to receive her when she first comes into the world!

IMG_6066

Andrew: So, to cut a long story short, it took 9 hours for Jasmine to reach active labour, but once she did, things accelerated quickly and ready to push. Once she started pushing, everything just happened so quickly and within 4 pushes, baby Emmy was out! It was like twenty minutes ago, we were watching Pat Sajack and Vanna White on ‘Wheel of Fortune’, trying to solve the puzzles before the participants, and the next minute, we are holding our daughter in our arms. 

Unlike Dylan’s birth where I was just kind of taken aback by what had happened, I was more in the moment this time and could really feel the joy of seeing my cute little girl and seized the chance to snap many shots of her first few minutes in this world.

[We’ll write more about this in our ‘birth story’ post. This post was getting way too long and Dearie heavily cut down my initial post, because she said I was trying to do too much in it and it needed heavy editing. ]

Our room

Jasmine: Ok, so this is the “staycation” part of the entry.

Andrew: After waiting for about 2 hours, Dear was transferred to the room where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. We kind of lucked out last year where they didn’t have any single-bedded rooms available, so they gave us a double-bedded room in place of that. Because of that, I had my own bed, but this time, I had to sleep on a sofa which was quite narrow and hard. Nonetheless, I made myself quite comfortable there in my little cosy corner, which had a good view of the balcony outside.

IMG_6113

The sides can be removed and bedlinen was put down to convert it into a bed every night. Also doubles as Daddy’s cosy corner for snuggling with Emmy.

IMG_6195

And the mandatory picture of the bed!

20140720_133248
Jasmine: Usually on staycation we take pictures when we first enter the room and everything is still neat. Obviously, I was too exhausted and bedridden and in afterbirth pain upon being wheeled to the ward, such that my first thought was: “Huh, I still have to climb off the trolley and onto the bed?” So we anyhow snapped a shot before we left.

Plus bonus shot of our newest addition to the family- Emmeline!

The bathroom

Andrew: Check out the full range of toiletries, including soap, shampoo and conditioner from Crabtree & Evelyn! Not too shabby for a hospital!

IMG_6110

IMG_6111

Jasmine: Oh yes, and since no post of mine is complete without some “fashion” comments, I just wanted to say that the hospital gowns were actually quite comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly, with concealed slits as well as button-down shoulders. Here are the two, erm, styles, they have:

photo(35)Andrew: If you’re wondering what that ‘watch’ is that Jasmine is wearing, it’s actually a device that helps match the baby to the mum. Emmy had a tag too and when both tags came in close proximity, music came out of the tags. This was something they didn’t have last year – quite an advancement, I must say. However, the ironic thing was that half way through our stay, the nurses lost Emmy’s tag, so it was back to using Mum’s NRIC and name to match. So much for technology, huh! 

All day bites

Andrew: We were indeed treated to all-day bites as we had 5 meals a day with tea time and supper everyday. Here was our first tea-time snack – chicken pies with milo or…

 IMG_6109

Vegetarian sandwiches (yuck!). I didn’t know that the sandwiches were vegetarian, if not I wouldn’t have chosen them. To their credit, they tasted incredibly healthy!

IMG_6112

Jasmine: Of course, we brought in some snacks of our own, including my then-craving, unfulfilled from the day before I went into labour, hotdogs (Charlene brought in at least 11 hotdogs for me!) and a must-have-  Lay’s chips! 

 IMG_6178

And something I really looked forward to: eight treasures tea with a honey swizzle stick, served in pretty clear glass crockery!

   IMG_6176

Extensive menus for our choosing, including Western, Asian, deli (mostly sandwiches). There was also a separate confinement menu which we could choose from. We had some dishes from the confinement menu the last time, which were decent:

IMG_6184

Some of our dinners:

Kenna cheated by the impressive-sounding “deli” menu. I thought I would get good quality bread with large servings of roast chicken. Didn’t expect little finger sandwiches made of Gardenia.

IMG_6148

This was what Andrew had:

IMG_6151

  Baked chicken with mozzarella cheese, potato, vegetable and spicy tomato sauce

This was infinitely better than my deli menu. Chicken was juicy and tender and the sauce was delicious!

For lunch the next day, we tried to mix it up with both their Chinese and Western menu. Andrew had:

IMG_6182

 Double boiled fish with ginger and soya beans soup; Steamed chicken with sesame, wolfberries, spinach and lotus root and steamed jasmine rice

IMG_6181

Braised beef cheek with wild mushroom, mashed potatoes and balsamic jus

The beef cheeks were quite tender as well. They came with mashed potato and French onion soup with bread and gruyere cheese. The Chinese menu was light and healthy!

And for dinner, we both had the same dish:

IMG_6185

French Onion soup; Steamed white fish, potatoes and steamed seasonal vegetables and marble cake

This was a light and healthy option; not filling enough for most guys, but sufficient for me!

And some samples of our breakfast choices!

IMG_6170

Chicken sausage, hash brown, grilled tomatoes and sunny-side up egg

 IMG_6197

Soon Kueh
 IMG_6196

French toast with peach compote

Welcome gift

Andrew: To prevent Dylan from feeling any sibling rivalry, we got him a welcome gift when he arrived, from his sister. It was a Melissa and Doug airport set.

  IMG_6141

Granny and Ee Ee also bought him a gift – this new bag from Cotton On!

 IMG_6187

Jasmine: Oh yeah, and for our welcome gift, we got a diaper bag with a nursing shawl, a receiving blanket, some Kodomo and Johnson’s baby toiletries (downgraded from Cherub Rubs last year eh).

Other amenities

Jasmine: Probably similar to other hospitals, there were free ParentCraft classes (newborn care), free consultations with lactation consultants, in-room discharge and billing procedures (for single wards). We attended the ParentCraft class the last round with Dilly, so we didn’t bother going this time, but it was quite useful and comprehensive, with a lot of useful info and tips packed into 1h15min, including bathing and dressing newborns. For those who’d rather not attend, you can access the Parent Craft channel on hospital TV.

Our room also came with balcony and a “garden view”:

The glass was extremely dark so we could see Dilly from the inside but he could not quite make us out. Ah well, I think he still had fun scooting around on the ledge!

Best of all, free limo service to transport us from hospital back home upon discharge! The last time we got a SUV. This time, this was our ride:

 IMG_6214

IMG_6218

Advertisements

Dylan’s Staycation at Skang-rila

Andrew: While Mummy and Daddy were away staycationing at the Quincy, Dilly was also having his own little staycation at Skang-rila Resorts. Shall let him relate his experience 🙂

Dilly: Mummy and Daddy always try out different hotels for their staycation, but I have only been to one place and it’s my top choice – Skang-rila Resorts, SK for Sengkang, and named after its giant mascot, the Rila-kumma, which I love so much!

image

image

My Daddy is freaked out by this huge monster of a soft toy, but I love it so much… The soft toys in my home can’t compare – there’s only one pathetic little teddy bear which is so hard and uncuddly, even after I’ve thrown it on the floor endless times.

Skang-rila is my top choice because of its location (5 minutes walk from the shopping mall or playground), food (yes, just like my Daddy) and the range of activities over the weekend:

  • Full range of play activities from outdoor playgym, pull-toy extravaganza and other sensory activities;
  • All day drinks and snacks from Four Leaves (best bakery ever – even better than Dean and Deluca snacks that Daddy and Mummy had which were hard and dry – or so I heard);
  • Spacious rooms with lots of running space
  • All meals fully provided for, complete with personalised feeding and cleaning up services;
  • Full day photo shoot (provided by Ee2 Mobile-Photography Services) from start till end
  • Welcome gift, of my own selection!

With all these activities, what’s there not to be happy about! I’m a happy baby, especially when I get to try out spa treatments like my Mummy!

Hmm, isn’t it a bit inappropriate to be photographing me without my clothes! This is a family friendly blog here.

image  image

image image

After lunch, it was playground time! Even had my personal escorts – 3 of them!

image

Doe eyes

Granny and Ee Ee patiently escorted me over…. Hey Ee2, isn’t this just below your house, I mean, hotel? Why you dress so nice?

image

My body-guards, side by side 🙂

image

This playground beats the one at my place! Nobody else is around…

image

This whole playground is mine!

image

Ooh… let me make my way to the other side to the slide – on my own! Daddy always never lets me go on my own, because he’s so worried for me…

image

Yes yes yes… I’m getting closer to the slide… I can’t wait to go down!

image

Yay I got there! Oh noooo Uncle YZ… Why are you holding me back? I wanna go down on my own! Let me go again!

image

Bring me back to the slide again! Stop taking photos!

So after playground time, I went back to have the all day bites (just milk and raisin bread) and take a nap. This is the life!

image

Wow – this photographer is really committed. Even photographing me in my sleep! Oh, by the way, don’t I look like an angel here?

After waking up, it was time to go exploring again! This time to the mall to buy a welcome gift!

image

Met another friend at the mall, a fellow baby… but she was rather quiet, and didn’t move much. Her eyes were so big, she was kinda scary…

Granny ended up buying for me a truck, which was converted into a pull-toy! Now, why can’t I get an actual pull-toy instead of all these improvised pull devices… First, Mummy used Daddy’s belt on my truck which kept collapsing. Then we used our tape measure at home and now, raffia string… Wow, things just keep going down, don’t they? (Andrew: Dilly, please be appreciate of what you have!) Oh okay…. of course I am Daddy (you cheapo – by the way, I heard Melissa & Doug pull-toys are really good, I have them on my Amazon wish-list. Thanks!).

Anyway, in case anyone accuses me of being picky, I LOVED my new toy! Kept pulling it all around Granny’s place, which was so spacious and baby-friendly…

image

image

And as you know, we brought almost half of my house over with me, so along with me came my favourite book – which Uncle YZ read with me. By the way, that little Panda you see there is kinda freaky but intelligent…. it copies exactly what I say, but in a higher pitch that sounds like Mummy!

image

After a very eventful Day 1, I was all tired out and went to bed after a sumptuous supper of my favourite milk…. Life is good!

Just to add that I not only got porridge for dinner, but my favourite corn too, which was actually from Ee Ee’s dinner! I get away anything because I am so cute 🙂

IMG-20140705-WA0062

Day 2

Had a good sleep and woke up well-rested the next day…

image

This is not a good just out-of-bed look of mine then started off with some quiet time….

image

So Daddy woke up at 6 a.m. to sit by the pool to have some quiet time during his staycation. Here am I, having a pensive moment at 11 a.m. – holding my pull-toy and staring out at the grass patch below. Hmmm, fascinating….

After my lunch, there was a whole line up of activities for me!

1. Sensory Play with Paper Stars

image

 

image

2. Make-Believe Play – bottle becoming chew-toy and telephone!

image

image

Hello Mummy and Daddy, when are you all coming over? (Don’t come back too soon, I’m having too much fun.)

3. Musical Dinosaur!

This dinosaur, which used to be with me at home, but has since moved over to Skang-rila, much like many of my other toys, by request of Granny…

image

4. Random photo-taking of my handsome face 

image

image

5. And back to my pull-toy!

image

Trying to transfer the ‘smell’ of my smelly penguin over to another penguin…

image

image

image

image

Here’s even a collage of all my activities!

IMG-20140707-WA0007 

After the 5 exciting activities above, I heard that Mummy and Daddy were arriving soon…. so I thought I’d be on my best behaviour and help with the housework before they arrive!

image

Went down for my nap before they arrived and Daddy rudely awakened me from my nap… so I was very moody until they brought me out for dinner!

image]

Daddy walked so fast I had to chase after him….

image

Wait for me, Daddy!

It was hands-down one of the best staycations ever! I love Skang-rila! A big huge for my favourite Rila before I go!

image

[Afternote: Dilly really enjoyed this ‘staycation’ of his. As I was doing up this blog-entry, he kept staring at the computer, looking at the photographs and smiling or laughing. We are really thankful for family members who enjoy playing with him so much, so that Jas and I can go have a relaxing break too!]

Andrew’s Birthday Celebration

Andrew: Celebrated my birthday early this year as Dear is expected to pop any time soon. As always, it’s a combination of staycation, food and shopping and this post shall be divided as such.

1. The Staycation @ Quincy Hotel

Andrew: We selected Quincy this time, for its location (5 minutes walk from Paragon or Far East Plaza) and range of activities over the weekend:

  • Art Jamming at 3pm
  • Movie under the Stars
  • All day drinks, snacks and Dean & Deluca pastries/cakes (note that it is advertised as “all day bites from Dean & Deluca”, which is not entirely accurate- only some items like the teas and cakes are from Dean & Deluca)
  • cocktails with canapes from 6-8.30pm
  • breakfast
  • entry for 2 to Butter Factory (hahaha)

Jasmine: Although the amenities sounded really impressive, the hotel and service were only adequate at best- we’ll be highlighting some lapses and AFIs (sorry for geekiness) if you read on.

Andrew: We didn’t know that we could only sign up for the activities if we were on the Qool weekend package. However, given Dearie’s condition, I don’t think we’d be up for all the activities. The Art Jamming was done outdoors at 3 p.m. and I’m sure Dear would have complained about the heat and the Movie Under the Stars was actually done in their pool area, with sofas and some couples sitting in floats on the pool watching the movie. Dear would have been very uncomfortable on that float! Heh. We planned our own itinerary and had a really great time!

Our Room  

We got a Deluxe Studio room, which had a decent view overlooking Orchard Road. We had stayed at smaller rooms before, like at ParkRoyal@Pickering (Jasmine: actually we got a free upgrade to the suite, dear, but it may have felt smaller coz the bedroom and living room could be sectioned off), but somehow this room lacked that cosy feel, which we felt the ParkRoyal room had, which really made you just want to hang out in the room and chill out for the whole day.

IMG_5972

Jasmine: A very modern room (perhaps too cold and impersonal for my tastes).    IMG_5977

IMG_5983 

Jasmine: The bathroom- again, only ok by my standards- lacked the luxury finishings and double sink that I expect from a really good hotel.

 IMG_5978

 IMG_5979

Jasmine: However, the bathroom did redeem itself somewhat by offering Molton Brown toiletries- the only other hotel I’ve seen offering Molton Brown is Fullerton Bay, albeit packaged even more classily there.

IMG_5981

Minibar and mini pantry.

IMG_5973

Andrew: Free snacks in the room, replenished daily. Dear, of course, seized the packet of Lays and finished it even before I knew it!

IMG_6001

Jasmine: The mini fridge also held several cans of soft drinks and mineral water which were free for the taking! Never made sense to me to charge exorbitant prices for basic snacks in hotel fridges which you can get at nearby supermarkets for a fraction of the price. So glad Quincy at least got this right!

On another note, I’m kinda tempted to put a bar fridge in my bedroom, and stock it with cold water, midnight snacks and icepacks!

Tea Time Snacks

Andrew: After taking some photos around the room, we headed down immediately for the tea-time snacks!

IMG_5984

 

IMG_6030

Tea time snacks included free flow soft serve ice-cream with toppings, juices and canned drinks,hot drinks, dried fruits and nuts as well as pastries from Dean and Deluca. Honestly, we felt the Dean and Deluca bites were over-hyped. The chocolate-pecan pastry I had was rather dry, but the Lemon Pound Cake was good – cake was moist and each bite was full of lemon zest! I didn’t expect to like it, but I eventually finished off Dearie’s slice!

IMG_5986 IMG_5987 IMG_5989 IMG_5990 IMG_5991 IMG_5992

The free flow soft serve was something that would definitely have been a hit with kids! However, there weren’t that many kids at this hotel – it’s definitely built itself more of a niche with couples. Nonetheless, Dear had a lot of fun making her own ice cream concoction below:

IMG_5993

Andrew: After our tea time snacks, we took a little stroll around the hotel and Dear was quite intrigued by these  ‘busts’ around the toilet.

 IMG_5995 IMG_5997

We also went upstairs to take a sneak peek at the Art Jamming classes through the gym window! They have quite a well fitted out gym – decent for such a small size and this floor is also where they have their infinity pool.

The gym and pool are open 24 hours, so it’s a real nice place to chill out. I went to the pool at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday just to have my quiet time and it was really serene and peaceful, lying on the very cosy benches, looking out at the skyline slowly turn bright as dawn broke. Had a real nice swim after that too.

 IMG_6000

Evening Cocktails and Canapes

Andrew: Quincy is arguably one of the most blogged about hotels we’ve stayed it – there were pages upon pages of Google search results when we did our search and most had quite mixed reviews of the dinner. Food was decent, spread was good, but not stellar – so we went out for our own dinner (and shopping) which we will talk more about later!

IMG_6013

Came back around 7.45p.m. just for some post dinner snacking and was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the food. What was good was that they kept the selection of hot dishes small, but because of that, the dishes were replenished very often, hence you could easily get a freshly cooked batch of food every 10-15 min. We sat there for about 20 – 30 minutes and within that span, we had freshly cooked penne, Vietnamese Chicken fried rice and mussels in cream sauce! I quite liked the Vietnamese Chicken fried rice and had about 3 servings of it (yes, even after I had my dinner) – mushrooms were juicy and tasty, chicken chunks moist and well seasoned!

There was also a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and desserts.

IMG_6006 IMG_6008

Along with our dinner, we each got a selection of a cocktail/mocktail. I had a Singapore Sling and Dear had a Qool Breeze mocktail!IMG_6011

As a nice touch, they had this bowl of chocolates right next to their main entrance, with a cute caption ‘There’s Always Room for Chocolates’ and free flow of mini Mars bars! Looks like free food is the theme of this restaurant and certainly a way to win guests over and keep them in the hotel. (Jasmine: The all-day bites are a good way to distinguish them from their competitors in the same price range, as it’s for all guests at Quincy, whereas you would have to pay extra for club privileges at other hotels to enjoy free flow snacks.)

IMG_6015 

The breakfast spread

Breakfast spread was the usual continental spread with pasta (yes, it appears quite often in their menu, because Modestos is just next door, part of Elizabeth Hotel), scrambled eggs, chicken ragout, spring roll,  sausages and bacon.

IMG_6023

Along with the hot food, there was a spread of freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, nuts and dried fruits as well as juices, cheeses and breads! I have to say, I really really liked the bread they served!

IMG_6019 IMG_6020 

Specifically, I loved the raisin and orange peel loaf that you see on the top of the picture below. I put one slice through the toaster, tore of a bit and ate it and immediately, I was won over. The texture was so light and crispy, and the bread so fragrant and flavourful – went great with cream cheese or even on its own. I had 4 to 5 slices of that. (Think Dear and I wiped out about half of that loaf on our own). I asked the waiter where they got their breads from and they couldn’t answer me – I shall have to hunt down this loaf.

IMG_6021

This is Dear’s platter below! Didn’t get to take a picture of mine, because I was too busy eating.

IMG_6018

An area that we felt could be improved about Quincy was the service. It was adequate, but it didn’t have that extra mile that great hotels have, which I thought was a pity and not something that require much more ‘investment’ in terms of money (perhaps though, in the form of training). We would have appreciated if the waiter or manager could have helped us find out where the bread was sourced from, given that we had given it a positive review. That would have scored them some points! Also, we only realised later that we could order eggs freshly cooked from the kitchen, either sunny-side up or an omelette, but this was not highlighted to us.

When we had to shift table as it was too warm for Dear, the wait-staff didn’t come along to help us move our stuff, even though they were standing by and evidently quite available. When I was swimming, the hotel staff asked me if I would like them to remove the floats from the pool. Honestly, it didn’t bother me, but since they offered, I said okay. However, nobody came to remove them in the 1 hour that I was there. It’s not that we needed such pampering or attentive treatment, but it would have added to the experience. Which is why I said the service was adequate, but didn’t have that ‘extra mile’.

[Plus points for service recovery – they sent us an email today to ask for feedback and I pointed them to our blog entry. The Hotel Manager, Christina,  immediately responded to share that they were acting on our feedback and also, that the bread came from Swiss Treats! I even asked specifically which loaf was it that I liked so much and she told me it was Traditional French Brioche with Fruits. Shall go hunt that down at NEX!]

Sunday Afternoon Bites 

Andrew: Oh, and what I didn’t mention earlier was that our offer came with a late check-out at 4 p.m. – which gave us another opportunity to enjoy their afternoon bites. Even though we had a lunch booking at Gordon’s Grill, we just had to eat a bit of what they had. The spread was much more extensive than the day before, with laksa (made to order) on the menu and sandwiches!

IMG_6031

The Dean & Deluca spread was similar to the day before, with the addition of… Rainbow cake!

 IMG_6032 

I had paid $7 dollars before to eat this cake at their Orchard Central outlet, so just out of cheap thrill, I had to have a slice here, for free! I didn’t quite enjoy it the first time, but this second time where it was free, I must say it tasted better. Haha!

IMG_6034

IMG_6029

All in all, it was a decent experience at Quincy. Facilities and food were decent enough, room could be improved and service definitely could have been improved. For the price we paid, we could have gotten a room with club privileges at Intercontinental Hotel, hence I would consider this rather pricey. Propose the hotel looks into improving its service and also providing a frequent shuttle into the heart of Orchard. They could also allow an on the day sign-up for their activities, because not all couples would want to do all the activities.

2. The Food!

Andrew: It seems like we’ve already blogged so much about food @ Quincy that I can’t imagine there’s a separate section on it. This section is on the meals we had that were not at the Quincy. Unlike other times where we could splurge on more expensive degustation menus, this time we went to more mid-range places, and interestingly, by coincidence, places that we had been to during our dating days, which did bring back good memories!

Day 1 Lunch: Hatched!

Andrew: So, before we checked in, we dropped by Hatched at Evans Road for a quick lunch as I was fasting breakfast that morning (yes, even after a 10km run!) –so you can imagine, I was famished!

One thing Hatched hasn’t lost is its quirky charm and one of a kind decor and design. Just check out these really cute salt and pepper shakers! (Jasmine: actually, I know exactly where to buy them.)

image

They had plenty of cute lamps about, but we didn’t take shots of them. These were our drinks below: a fruit tea and iced caramel latte!

image

And my food – a ‘Burly Benedict’, poached eggs and corned beef on English muffin.  Ironically, the egg was the worst part of this dish. The corned beef was alright and the English muffin was light and fluffy, even the mashed potato with a mushroom sauce was creamy and comforting.

image

However, the egg was disappointing – the sauce on top was tasteless and the texture of the fried egg was quite ‘rubbery’. Quite a disappointment! Serving was small too, given that I had already ordered the double egg – but I didn’t quibble too much as we had the light bites at Quincy to look forward to!

Dear and I had come to this outlet before while we were dating and quite surprised to find the standard drop quite significantly!

Day 1 Dinner: Everything With Fries

Andrew: We wanted a quick dinner on Saturday after we had spent more time than expected on shopping (more on that later!) and wanted to rush back in time for the dinner canapes, so Everything with Fries at Orchard Central it was!

It was extremely crowded, but a couple was nice enough to offer us their seat, so we returned the favour later too when we saw a couple finding a seat.

Here’s what we had – a crumbed fish burger with sour cream and onion fries, duck leg burger with curry fries and a side of har cheong kai.

IMG_6002

The har cheong kai was the best! Chicken chunks were so juicy, the batter so crispy and well-seasoned, and it went perfectly with the mayo sauce on the side.

IMG_6003 IMG_6004

IMG_6005

Of the burgers, I loved the fish burger more. The duck leg burger was interesting and tasty, but because it was duck, the patty lacked the chewiness and juiciness that we usually appreciate about burger patties. The fish patty was so light and soft that it almost ‘melted’ together with the bun with each bite! Completely divine! The fries were generously seasoned and tasty! Such a simple, sure-win formula.

This restaurant has significantly improved from the time we first went there during our dating days. Dear used to stay near an EWF and this used to be our dinner before we went for cell on Fridays. It has retained its high quality of food as well as strong following, and I can see the range of burgers has increased, as well as desserts!

Day 2: Lunch – Gordon’s Grill 

Andrew: This was the ‘birthday treat’ of the weekend – Sunday roast at Gordon’s Grill! I had been there ages ago with my family and always wanted to come back. This meal was a real steal – at $50 per pax for a 3 course lunch, and $60 for a 4 course (including coffee or tea at the end) – if you check out the a la carte menu, the main course itself is already $40 plus, hence it’s totally worth it!

IMG_6038

The courses included a starter – we had the escargoes and the cold cappellini with crab, truffle and caviar. The cold cappellini was their signature dish and rightfully so – each bite had such a delicate mix and cacophony of rich flavours. Fantastic! The escargoes were well done and juicy, but not out of this world.

IMG_6040 IMG_6042

Next course was the soup, where we had French Onion soup and Lobster Bisque with a splash of Napoleon brandy. The Lobster Bisque was the winner here, with a rich, creamy and robust flavour. 

IMG_6043

IMG_6045

And then, it was the main course! Since their wagon-roasted black angus beef was the signature dish, both of us had it! The other dishes didn’t sound as attractive anyway.

IMG_6046 IMG_6050

As the signature dish of the restaurant, it definitely didn’t disappoint! The serving was generous and the beef was just divine – so tasty, tender and juicyyy! Loved the Yorkshire pudding at the side and the boiled vegetables with mash. Serving was so big that Dearie couldn’t finish half of hers, and of course, I volunteered to help!

Jasmine: I rarely eat beef, but I had read that the roasts were the star of the show at Gordon’s Grill, and it didn’t disappoint! Juicy, tender and one of the most generous servings I’ve ever seen! My one small disappointment was that the meat wasn’t carved and plated tableside, since the roast meats trolley is supposed to be a Gordon’s signature and dying trade in Singapore restaurants- a waiter later told me that that was just for the a la carte orders but I still don’t understand the difference…

Andrew: Finally, we had a mini Baked Alaska to share, because I didn’t want to over-eat!

IMG_6060

Besides the food, there were other nice little touches, which made this restaurant unique. Dear’s Dior Ling got VIP treatment, with a little chair of its own! (Jasmine:  Wow! I’m amazed Dear remembers the name of my bag! Last time he would have just called it “the pink thing”.)

 IMG_6051

Andrew: And all around the restaurants were these paintings in recessed walls, which Dear is planning to do in our home! Oh, someone please save me! (Jasmine: relax… I said, future home.)
 IMG_6052

Jasmine: As a sidenote, I love the decor of this restaurant: elegant but not stuffy, with a nod to the colonial building through its classic furniture but given a modern update with the neutral palette and fantastic figurative artwork in “reverse framing”, yet small enough such that you feel comfortable and not intimidated by the poshness of the surroundings.

IMG_6054 

Andrew: All in all, a great meal. Thanks Dear!

3. The Shopping!

Andrew: As always, we save the best for last! Now, Dear had asked me where I wanted to go to shop and I told her let’s go to Orchard Gateway, since I wanted to try out Daniel and Jamie’s latest restaurant – Dulce and Sucre! Little did I realise that Orchard Gateway was a heaven for men’s shopping because they had an entire floor dedicated to men’s shopping! This is something that no other mall in Singapore has. I believe all the shops there are also unique to Orchard Gateway, giving it a true niche in the market.

We didn’t take a picture here, but they had a store where you could get custom-made shoes, with a choice of the material and design of sole, the type of material used, the design of the shoe etc. The designer walks you through the design elements, then they send the design back to Korea for them to tailor make it. We saw some truly stand-out pieces, but immediately left when they told us that each piece starts from $500. (Jasmine: Allow me to just point out that two days later, Andrew told me he was thinking of going back to check out this shop.)

One shop which we spent a lot of time at was this shop ‘S2VS’, where I bought 3 new shirts – one of which you’ve seen extensively in the pictures at Gordon’s Grill. This I quote from Dear, the shop ‘does colour blocking really well’, which is something I currently do not have in my wardrobe! Well, since she said it, I had to plug that gap in my wardrobe, didn’t I? Heh.

Jasmine: I’ve created a monster. I should never have introduced that man to the concept of coloured shoes. I should have just let him think shoes only came in black. Now he’s talking about colorblocking and custom made shoes, for goodness’ sake. Sighhhh.

image

Jasmine: We also spotted this shop, City Flow, near the escalator, which sold a whole range of creatively designed products from Taiwan, some winning Red Dot Design awards, ranging from quirky Oscar trophy and industrial lamps, to ice cub trays which can make transparent ice cubes (instead of the normal whitish ones), to tissue boxes designed with springs to help get the last piece of tissue out!

Andrew: I was drawn to this amazing range of rings they had, which resembled my wedding band. Dear identified a really nice design in ebony and stainless steel and bought it for me as my birthday present:

image

Even the ring box is stylo

IMG_6055

Nicely matches my skin tone…. and my new Ted Baker watch! (Jasmine: I don’t understand.. why is this watch picture here? Told you I created a monster.)

IMG_6056

Andrew: Wow, now that we’ve blogged about it, I can’t imagine so much was done in the short span of just 1 day! Thanks Dear for this amazing birthday celebration. Beyond all the treats and presents, what was truly good was the  couple-time where we had, just laughing, chatting, and reminiscing about our dating days. It was a much needed recharge for the week ahead and also, for the next phase of our lives when baby girl arrives!

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

IMG_5714

IMG_5717

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

IMG_5791

The room even had a dressing area with lit vanity!  

IMG_5705

A walk-in wardrobe area leading to the bathroom

IMG_5706 Andrew walked into my walk-in wardrobe picture…

IMG_5716

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

IMG_5708

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

IMG_5713

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!

IMG_5763

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.

IMG_5733

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

IMG_5739

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.

IMG_5734

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)…

IMG_5744

IMG_5737

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!)

IMG_5738

  IMG_5742

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)!

IMG_5746

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!)

IMG_5748

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…

IMG_5777

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

IMG_5779

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!

IMG_5775

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…

IMG_5718 

IMG_5719

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.

IMG_5731

Andrew: This was my first platter below…

IMG_5723 From left to right, front to back:
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!

IMG_5725IMG_5727

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.

IMG_5728

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)…

IMG_5750

Buns and bread baking right before our eyes!

IMG_5749     

IMG_5752

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!

IMG_5753

$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!

IMG_5773

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 

IMG_5768 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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)…

image

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.)

IMG_5787

IMG_5790

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.

IMG_5785 IMG_5789

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!

IMG_5761 
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!

IMG_5783

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!

Fullerton Bay Hotel

[We take a break from the Dylan diaries to post this long overdue post about our Fullerton Bay staycation 2 years ago.]

Andrew: Dearie has been nagging me for ages to post photos of this wonderful hotel, which we staycation-ed in almost two years ago! Was prompted once again when I saw a friend staycationing there on Facebook, so here they are!

We staycation quite frequently, but I have to say that this first staycation set the bar so high that other staycations just couldn’t compare (well, you pay for what you get). Everything was amazing, from the hotel room, to the hotel design, the outstanding view, the great breakfast spread, the service. Would go back again, if only I could afford it so frequently.

The hotel lobby

Andrew: This was the most stunning and impressive hotel lobby ever, with (very) high ceilings and lots of natural lighting.

20140504-083531.jpg

20140504-083524.jpg

Jasmine: The architect, Hong Kong-based Andre Fu, has a distinctively luxe, Hollywood Regency style. From a coffee-table book in our hotel room, I read that he envisioned Fullerton Bay Hotel to be a gem on the waterfront, and therefore designed it to look like a jewel box, with metallic and plush textures.

20140504-084556.jpg

Mix of rich fabrics

20140504-084534.jpg

Sofas that you can just sink into

20140504-084552.jpg

20140504-084548.jpg

20140504-084544.jpg

Andrew enjoying life

Jasmine: Although the remodelling and decor were futuristic, there were also nods to the hotel’s history, through archival prints of the building as it was in the 19th-century, and vintage steamer trunks like the one below…

20140504-083535.jpg

20140504-084601.jpg

Our hotel room

Andrew: We were given an excellent room which had a great frontal view of Marina Bay Sands. I spent a lot of time just chilling by the balcony, enjoying the breeze and great view, while journalling. Just happened there was some dragon boat championship during that time too, so I got a great view of what was going on! You’ll see more photos of the view later.

Jasmine: Yes, we were so fortunate to be upgraded to a corner room, which meant not one, but two panels of windows overlooking both MBS and the city.

Both panels of windows had automated sheer and blackout blinds so you could either maximise the view or enjoy the privacy and get a good night’s sleep.

20140504-084245.jpg

Jasmine: Service was second to none. Based on whose belongings were on which side table, housekeeping placed a larger pair of bathroom slippers on Andrew’s side of the bed and a smaller pair on my side!

20140504-084908.jpg

The panel of windows overlooking the city also had a long desk and an ergonomic chair, making this hotel great for business travellers.

20140504-011036.jpg

20140504-084254.jpg

Nespresso coffee to keep you up while tele-conferencing?

Jasmine: The business traveller aside, it was obvious that Fullerton Bay Hotel was built for romance, with the mahogany panelling and mirrors that gave the room a sumptuous, decadent yet thoroughly modern feel.

My other measure of a six-star hotel is how well-appointed the bathrooms are. They should have separate shower and bathtub facilities (each screened off), a double sink, premium toiletries, bath towels and bathrobes. This bathroom exceeded my expectations! Here is the lavish bathtub area done up in marble (there are automated blinds if you want to screen the bathroom off from the rest of the bedroom).

20140504-084235.jpg

20140504-084240.jpg

There was cable TV in the bath, and even a pillow to support the head during bubble baths… I made sure I had a nice long soak each night!

Not forgetting the generous tubes stuffed with Molton Brown toiletries.

20140504-084258.jpg

20140504-084229.jpg

 

And our fantastic night view of the Singapore skyline from the balcony… Dragon boat races by day, MBS lightshow by night! More pictures if you scroll to the end…

20140504-084313.jpg

Breakfast @ The Clifford

Andrew: The breakfast spread at hotels are always amazing, but this one was truly outstanding in terms of quality and not just quantity and spread. First, check out this collection of Yakult! Not the most premium item, but Dearie was going thru a Yakult craze during that period, so this was quite perfect!

20140504-084439.jpg

The cheese platters were amazing, with honeycomb and a nice mix of fresh, tasty nuts.

20140504-084444.jpg

20140504-084447.jpg

20140504-084451.jpg

20140504-084457.jpg

Andrew: There was a good selection of freshly squeezed juices, as well as this energy booster smoothie and a great bircher muesli (not photographed). The bircher muesli was one of the tastiest I have ever tried in any hotel thus far.

Jasmine: There was also an eggs station where the cook whipped up eggs benedict with smoked salmon or ham upon our request! It was truly the best hotel breakfast I had, both in terms of the extensive variety and quality of food!

20140504-084844.jpg

20140504-084504.jpg

20140504-084510.jpg

More shots around the hotel!

20140504-084518.jpg

This was taken in a mirror with an interesting, shimmering reflection, hence the kaleidoscopic quality of the shot.

20140504-084522.jpg

20140504-084525.jpg

20140504-084530.jpg

And Botero sculptures just dotting the hotel!

20140504-084538.jpg

There was also a live pianist when we were wandering around the hotel, making our experience even more otherworldly and perfect.

20140504-083541.jpg

20140504-084614.jpg

20140504-084622.jpg

20140504-084608.jpg

Jasmine: I remember that this was exactly 2 Labour Days ago, and it was our first break since joining HQ and working for about 5 months straight without taking any leave. (Andrew: It was also after my first In Camp Training, for Reservist, which was extremely exhausting, hence it was a fantastic break.) Staying at Fullerton Bay was like one long overnight date, as I have memories of Dear picking me up on impulse from One Fullerton when we were dating, and just strolling around at midnight, admiring the city lights and quietness. One of the evenings, we also had dinner at Fullerton Hotel’s Lighthouse Restaurant, which is well-known for its Southern Italian cuisine, and got a 15% off because we were guests at the sister hotel, Fullerton Bay.

Some shots of the Lighthouse and the food:

20140504-011053.jpg

20140504-011116.jpg

 

20140504-011136.jpg

The wonderful Noir double-finger ring Dear bought for me to celebrate 6 months of being married!

20140504-011105.jpg

20140504-011209.jpg
By day, we were happy to explore the waterfront area, and take advantage of Fullerton Bay’s “shuttle bus”- as I remember, the “shuttle bus” actually involved the concierge hailing a taxi and giving the cab driver $10 to take us to our destination!

Perfect and free view of the MBS Light Show

20140504-084636.jpg

20140504-084643.jpg

20140504-010940.jpg

20140504-010952.jpg

Jasmine’s Birthday Staycation!

Andrew: Given that it was Jasmine’s first birthday celebration as a mum, I wanted to make it truly special for her, so I planned a weekend of pampering and romance for her.

They say once you become parents, ‘romance’ becomes the last thing on your mind as your focus is now on your child, tending to him, ensuring he/she is well-taken care of and you start seeing each other as mother/father instead of husband/wife. It is true that it has been more challenging to find ‘date’ time, hence special occasions become times where we do something special for each other.

We stayed at Park-Royal on Pickering, supposedly one of the most eco-friendly and modern hotels – we’ll talk more about that at the end of the post. Booked her a pampering massage and little did she know that while she was having her massage, I went in search for roses to create a nice surprise for her in the room. Unfortunately I didn’t know where cheap ones could be found nearby so I ended up going all the way back home to the florist near our place to get these roses! It was my first time doing this and I’m glad it turned out well:

IMG_4996IMG_4998 

Jasmine: After a lovely massage where I fell asleep, it was wonderful coming back and being totally blown away. Andrew has done many sweet things for me when we were dating, but never anything this romantic. For the old-fashioned girl in me, it was bliss. Thank you dearie.

IMG_5010 
The birthday girl with her birthday surprise:

IMG_5018

Jasmine: I also selected this unusual bouquet in a basket with red calla lilies from good ol’ Far East Flora:

IMG_5016

Andrew: After that, we made our way to Sky on 57 by Michelin Star chef, Justin Quek. Ambience and food were great!

Jasmine: What I like about Sky on 57 is that it combines Singaporean flavours with a European refinement. If you are looking for strong, robust tastes, you won’t find them here; rather, what you can expect are subtle hints of popular flavours, such as the laksa emulsion for the codfish.

IMG_5020 IMG_5022

IMG_5023 IMG_5033 

 IMG_5035 IMG_5038

IMG_5039

Andrew: We were enjoying the quality time and food, so didn’t really get to take down the names of the dishes, but the best dish was his signature Foie Gras xiao long bao (with consomme of black truffle, braised and minced pork). It was great, just having time to talk and get to know each other again.

Happy Birthday Dearie!

IMG_5045

 IMG_5048 IMG_5052

Andrew: The macarons were also pretty good – gula melaka (if I’m not wrong), and we ordered a few to bring back.

Jasmine: These pandon macarons with gula java filling delivered the intense hit of sugar and taste that complemented the subtle meal perfectly.

IMG_5062

Night View on top of MBS

Andrew: Went around taking some pictures of the hotel to walk off our dinner:

IMG_5069

IMG_5075

 IMG_5076IMG_5081

IMG_5064

Andrew: The rose petals were repurposed into a petals-bath for Dearie (Jasmine: clever!)

IMG_5089

And we had in-room dining for lunch (Caesar Salad + Nasi Goreng) the next day :

IMG_5091Andrew: The most important part of this celebration was not the luxury, the food, the hotel or the pampering, but just time to reconnect as a couple and create wonderful memories together. 

Jasmine: Oh yeah, did I mention that because it was my birthday, we got upgraded to a suite? Check it out: 

By day

IMG_4991

IMG_4974

By night

IMG_5086

Our sitting room:

IMG_4973  IMG_4986

Jasmine: Some detail shots. I liked the hotel’s commitment to eco-friendliness. The fridge was lined with metal to insulate the cold, rather than blow cold air in like conventional fridges. Rather than offer mineral water in plastic bottles, the drinking water in the glass bottles were purified by the hotel. I took quite a fancy to those glass bottles and was rather tempted to bring one home… but honesty prevailed at the end of the day. Heh.

IMG_4983 IMG_4978IMG_4975 IMG_5095 
Jasmine: The toilet with the double sink- another luxury I’d love to have in a future home.

IMG_4977

Jasmine: To reduce the carbon footprint, Parkroyal on Pickering also does vertical gardening. I went on a LJ to URA and found out that URA mandates that all new properties have “green areas” equivalent to the size of the building’s foundation. So I guess the plant-lined terraces that give the hotel its distinctive geometric look are there to fulfil the green quota. Smart, since they’ve turned it into an architectural highlight.

IMG_5005

Not the best picture but gives you an idea of what I was trying to say about the hotel incorporating vertical gardens in the architecture.

IMG_5100

  IMG_5105

Jasmine: pavilions by the pools. And yes, that’s the floral bouquet being “worn” as a bag!

IMG_5117

IMG_5109

IMG_5113