The Rasa Sentosa Resort is a beautiful escape from the urban atmosphere that is Singapore. Lush foliage, a waterfall in front of the lobby, and it's waterfront setting all contribute to the escapism feeling. Granted, the waterfront is marred by the many barges, cargo ships, and other commercial vessels that sit just outside of the hotel's beach property but you take what you can get when it comes to this area given it's shipping focus.
The lobby is an open air lobby so stepping out of an air-conditioned taxi from the airport to check in was a shock. I was lucky that I checked in late at night since the check in lines can be quite lengthy at noon - 10 people deep even when 4 or 5 clerks are working away feverishly.
I reserved a water-view room. The room is smallish compared to U.S. properties of the same caliber but was well appointed. I king sized bed was flanked by 2 night stands, a metal sculpture hung over the bed as a decorative headboard, and recessed lights through gave the room a modern feel. A large flat screen television is directly in front of the bed and a small refrigerator (stocked full of honor bar items, not enough space for your own items) is enclosed in the cabinetry alongside a cutlery tray and nook which housed the hot water heater (very fast) and the various coffee and tea items and utensils (free of charge). The bathroom has shutter doors that open to the room so privacy is maintained by closing them though the shutters themselves would not do much for a higher-level of privacy so keep that in mind if traveling with those who you are not totally comfortable with! A full tub, walk in shower stall (smallish) are found in the smooth stone bathroom. It was modern and stylish and comfortable, though space for your toiletry kit is limited.
The air conditioning was adequate though it struggled to keep the room cool during the day when the sun penetrated through. This was my fault for not closing the sliding door shutters to prevent the sun from heating up the room (I wanted the view vs. walking into a dark room). The humidity was a struggle for the AC; even at the lowest setting the room felt damp-ish though toward the early morning things felt better. The bed was quite comfortable - crisp white sheets and 4 king-sized pillows are the standard here. Outlets are abound so you will have plenty of places to plug in, and internet is included in the room rate - a plus in my view. 2 -4 bottles of purified water are provided every day so you won't be forced to purchase the expensive in-room bottles of mineral water.
The service at the hotel was excellent. Everyone greets you with a big smile and you are treated very pleasantly. I had absolutely no issues with the service whatsoever. The states should take note of the levels provided in Singapore and its neighboring country Malaysia - it is day and night IMO.
Food - there are a few restaurants on site but be warned - all are very expensive. The breakfast buffet is incredible - Chinese, Indian, Singaporean, American/European - all are represented here. Fresh fruits (longan and rambutan one day) are presented as well. It is quite the buffet and you would be hard pressed to not be able to find something to satisfy you 2x over. However, for the price of close to S$40pp you would expect that much. A noodle shop opens at 11AM if you want something less expensive and are a late riser but be warned on the alcohol costs - I believe this is the norm all across Singapore but my single can of imported beer was more expensive than my beef noodle soup dish. You can order a la carte from the buffet breakfast area and a separate restaurant (Barnacles) offers a la carte dining as well. Trapizza, a pizza, fast-ish food place on the beach, a circuitous route from the hotel, offers beer, drinks, pizza, etc. for the beach goer and is a nice change though non-hotel guests frequent it and the lines prove it. The ordering process there is strange - a single cashier took the order and helped to place it so the wait for a drink, if you are 5 people back, can easily be 10 minutes long. They need to address that and quicken the process since the wait was too long for a drink.
The beach is a rough sand and is ringed with palm trees throughout. Public access is allowed so the crowds can get thick on the weekends. However, due to the very heavy ship traffic in the waters just 10s of meters from the outer barrier islands the water quality is suspect. Hardly anyone was swimming in it (people opted for the pools) and the sand itself, at the water's edge, was filmy. The pool are as a result is crowded, mainly children playing about, but that is commonplace at family resorts. A pool-side snack bar/restaurant is present though I did not look at what was offered there - most likely snacks, finger food, etc.
The resort offers a free shuttle service that takes you to a major mall at the entrance of Sentosa Island. Traffic is brutal in the area so take advantage of the shuttle vs.a taxi. It runs every 20 minutes or so. The mall is a high-end mall and is also the hub for many mass transit lines so you can get to just about anywhere in Singapore from there. Sentosa Island offers many different attractions, a Hard Rock casino is north of the Rasa as is a Universal Studios as well. A golf course is east of the island - I undertand your handicap needs be be good in order to book a tee time in advance. Sentosa Island is the weekend getaway for Singaporeans who want a local getaway from the city life - the attractions available bear this out as do the crowds but the development of the area is such that it doesn't always feel that crowded.
Overall the property is very nice - the atmosphere, the service, the location itself on the water, all give it a leg up on the other properties in the area if you are looking for the escape.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Sentosa Island, Asia’s leading leisure destination, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa is just a 15-minute drive from mainland Singapore and close to major attractions such as Orchard Road, Chinatown, Little India and Clarke Quay. The resort features 454 guestrooms and suites complete with private balconies and views of the sea, landscaped gardens and the hill. Guests can choose to wine and dine from any of the six restaurants and bars in the resort, take a dip in the natural water pool, make a splash with sea sports or slow down their pace with a rejuvenating spa treatment at CHI, The Spa. On the island, a plethora of activities and attractions such as the Marine Life Park, iFly, Skyline luge, beach clubs and Southeast Asia’s first Universal Studios Theme Park awaits. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shangri-La`s Rasa Sentosa Hotel Sentosa Island
- Rasa Hotel Sentosa Island
- Shangri La Sentosa