In March 2020, I checked into the Luxury Garden Room at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. Set within a 1930s colonial mansion on Sentosa Island atop a cliff above Tanjong Beach overlooking the South China Sea, the 215-room resort is steps away from the popular Tanjong Beach below and a hotel shuttle bus away from shopping destinations such as Vivocity, Singapore’s largest shopping mall, and the upscale Paragon mall along Orchard Road, the city’s key shopping and entertainment stretch. A cab ride from Changi Airport to the hotel takes approximately 40 minutes.
The hotel is one of three Sofitel properties in Singapore, the others being Sofitel Singapore City Centre and SO Sofitel Singapore. Other notable hotels on Sentosa island include Capella Singapore and W Singapore.
My stay at the property was booked under the “Retreat to Sanctuary” package, which comprised a one-night stay at a Luxury Room, buffet breakfast for two at Kwee Zeen, a four-course dinner for two at The Cliff as well as 60-minute spa treatments for two. I made separate arrangements to be upgraded to a Luxury Garden Room for a better view.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Tranquil, French-inspired sanctuary in Sentosa.
The must-dos (if any): Take a dip in the swimming pool, visit SoSPA for a treatment and to use the facilities, spend time at Tanjong Beach Club.
SOFITEL SINGAPORE SENTOSA RESORT & SPA
The resort opened its doors in 2015 after a S$40 million make-over and rebrand as a Sofitel property (the premises formerly served as the Beaufort Hotel). The tranquil resort pairs its colonial setting – think black-and-white tiles and walkway pillars, lush gardens with trees as well as atmospheric lawns and courtyards with ponds – with French-inspired flourishes which dot both public spaces and guest room interiors alike. As you step into the open-air reception area, you are greeted by a tentacle-esque, galaxy-inspired glass installation Stellar suspended from a soaring pink leather ceiling which is itself inspired by the song La Vie en Rose. From the check-in area with its dramatic lunar installation behind the reception counter to the breakfast venue Kwee Zeen across the hallway, the public spaces boast soaring ceilings and glass windows which allow happy streams of natural illumination. Sheltered walkways connect guests between the dining concepts, the swimming pool and their guest rooms which will be located in either the Peace and Tranquility wing of the resort. During your stay, at the most random of places ranging from the swimming pool area to the middle of one of the resort’s sheltered walkways, you are likely to encounter at least one of the property’s iconic peafowls (that’s the accurate and neutral term, guys – Equality Editor) which have decided to make the resort (as well as the nearby Capella Singapore) their accommodation of choice.
In terms of wellness, the 33m Swimming Pool overlooking the South China Sea is the resort’s most popular destination, with its gleaming aquamarine tiles and rows of loungers and private cabanas offering quite the inviting proposition. Guests have complimentary access to the indoor Fish Spa in front of LeBar where they can sit on red cushions and sink their feet into a little pond to allow tiny fish to nibble on the dead skin on their feet for skin renewal purposes.
A buggy ride away from the main resort area, the 6,000sqm SoSPA offers a variety of treatments, from their signature East-meets-West-inspired The Sentosa Massage and couple-indulging So In Love (which offers 150 minutes’ worth of unadulterated physical worship) to the clock-reversing Global Anti-Ageing Facial and even a Pre-natal Massage. The premises has much to offer, from a floating pool with its own cascading waterfall for rushing water-driven aural therapy and a mud pool using mud from the Moroccan Atlas mountains to a ladies-only area within the lush spa gardens, a galaxy steam bath (it is as cool as it sounds) and a meditative labyrinth for moments of zen contemplation. Adjacent to the spa is fitness centre SoFIT for your daily workout, while two tennis courts are situated a short distance away.
For resort and spa guests with children, the Villa des Enfants kids club provides activities such as crafts and games to storytelling to occupy the ’ickle ones. The popular Tanjong Beach Club below, accessible via a long flight of stairs from the pool area, is famed for its vibrant beachside chill-out vibes and the throves of dogs (and their humans) which run along the beach, frolic in the waters and bark and socialise under the mid-day sun.
LUXURY GARDEN ROOM
Overlooking the resort’s lush, manicured gardens ideal for meditation and yoga sessions alike, the 36sqm Luxury Garden Room pairs its woody resort-style design with Art Deco-style design flourishes, from the French portraits on the walls and giant glossy golden leaves on the handboard to the (literal) fish hooks in the bathroom. The room’s signature Sofitel MyBed isn’t so much a bed as it is a soft wing which receives your body into its angelic embrace. The writing desk has access to various power outlets along the wall, while the white-and-gold-striped leather minibar unit boasts a Nespresso coffee and TWG tea-making facilities as well as a variety of snacks, canned drinks and beers.
The spacious bathroom has a single vanity, a built-in bathtub as well as an enclosed rainfall shower area with shimmering mosaic tiles that convey underwater sparkle feels. On a related note, a subtle and not immediately discernible massage drawn on the glass partition between the shower and the toilet area, which you may only notice if you turn away from the shower-head during your cleansing ritual, may have made me squeal like a kindergarten girl when I first noticed it given my extensive exposure to horror films. Bathroom amenities are from Lanvin.
Breakfast is served at Kwee Zeen, the all-day restaurant near the entrance of the resort which provides both indoor and outdoor terrace seating. The modest buffet spread comprises options such as cold cuts and cheeses; fresh fruits and juices; yogurt and muesli; Western breakfast sides such as hash brown, pork sausage and pork bacon; breads and pastries; a chicken soup noodle station with your choice between mee pok (flat wheat noodles) and spinach noodles; an omelette station; and Asian morning staples such as Fried Noodles, Asian Greens, Congee and Dim Sum. Coffee is self-service and dispensed via two machines.
Boasting both indoor as well as canopied outdoor seats which offer breathtaking views of the South China Sea in a casual yet elegant setting, The Cliff serves Italian classics such as homemade pastas, starters, handmade desserts as well as pizzas, paired with an extensive wine list. Under the “Retreat to Sanctuary” package, guests enjoy a four-course dinner for two during their stay, with their choice from dishes such as the laksa-esque Hamachi Ceviche (coconut aguachile, avocado, salsa verde), Proscuitto San Danielle (melon, arugula) the thickly creamy Spaghetti alla Chitarra (pomodoro, prawn), Cavatelli (nduja, pomodoro, burrata), Pollo & Polenta (stir-fry chicken thigh with tomato sauce, capsicums, olives and creamy polenta), Branzino (spicy tomato marmalade, ceci) and Tiramisu.
Situated at the heart of the resort is pavilion lounge and bar concept LeBar, the resort’s destination for live music, afternoon tea and fruity tipples paired with light bites. The chic space offers a variety of seating arrangements, from bar counter seats and intimate semi-circular booths to 2 or 4-seaters along the corridor with overhead whirling fans and a view of either the fountain pool (which goes all colour change ahoy at night) or the swimming pool. After dark, the space adopts an almost Bali-esque idyllic quality with the Indonesian instruments of the ambient music and generous gusts of wind in the lazy air. As I enjoyed a refreshing G&T and stared at the transitioning colours of the gushing fountain as a table of Europeans nearby giggled as they played a card game, it truly felt like an island escape moment.
Accor Live Limitless (ALL) members of the relevant status tier can choose from a separate menu of cocktails (G&T, Screw Driver and Tequila Sunrise), draught beers and wines for their welcome drink.
The property provides quite the tranquil sanctuary experience as opposed to, say, the wild and flirtatious island hijinks at W Singapore, and should provide an ideal venue for a restful getaway experience away from the city. While the resort itself may not be particularly exciting in terms of on-site activities, its strategically central location makes it a good launch-pad to both exciting nearby destinations (its proximity to Tanjong Beach Club is a significant draw) as well as interesting Sentosa dining options nearby such as Skirt at W Singapore and Quentin’s within the Mess Hall at The Barracks Hotel).
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
2 Bukit Manis Road