In December 2020, I checked into the Deluxe Laguna Pool View at Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore on 4 December 2020, the first day of the resort’s initial phase of opening. Set in the Changi/Tanah Merah area within the grounds of the acclaimed Laguna National Golf & Country Club which has hosted legends such as Tiger Woods and Sir Nick Faldo, the 198-room resort has the distinction of being the first in Singapore to offer direct access to award-winning golfing facilities. The property is about 10 minutes away from Changi Airport/Jewel and 15 minutes from downtown as well as a short ride away from shopping mall Changi City Point, recreational space East Coast Park and the Simpang Bedok food enclave.
The resort is scheduled to enter its subsequent phases of opening in early 2021.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Escapist luxury urban golf resort experience in Changi.
Must Dos: Take a dip in the lap pool, go for a relaxing treatment at Devarana Spa, have a meal at Greenhouse, chill out at Tee Deck.
DUSIT THANI LAGUNA SINGAPORE
Sporting a sleek, glazed façade of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an overarching curvilinear roof which joins the six-storey hotel and three-storey Laguna National clubhouse together, the building’s visually striking architecture recalls both the aerodynamic swing of a golf club as well as the undulating mounds and dunes of Laguna National’s two championship golf courses. The contemporary interiors marry sexy black and bronze tones with glorious swathes of greenery, while soaring ceilings across various spaces lend a grand airiness to the resort proceedings.
The resort’s guest rooms and suites, meeting rooms, ballrooms, bridal gallery, dining venues, wellness spaces as well as the upcoming Dusit Club Lounge are all housed within the main hotel building, which segues seamlessly into the clubhouse building premises via the second level for those who intend to access the golfing facilities and golf course areas. The resort boasts three swimming pools (a kids’ pool, an indulgently long lap pool with gently forceful jacuzzi facilities as well as a relaxation pool for languorous lounging) which are all neatly situated side-by-side and lined with sunbeds and private cabanas for your sun worship and cuddle moments respectively. Opposite the main hotel building and across the pools lie eight beautiful double-storey Pavilions – each with its own private plunge pool – which will soon be offered as day-use event spaces for C-Suite meetings, birthday celebrations, top VIP functions and the like. Unfortunately, the Pavilions will not be available for overnight stays.
The resort’s unique positioning as a luxury urban golf resort means there is a pronounced emphasis on a premium golf journey to complement the resort guest experience. Aside from housing Laguna National’s two famed 18-hole championship golf courses, the Masters and the Classic, the property will soon offer other notable golf facilities such as Laguna Putting powered by Nicklaus Design (a nine-hole putting course designed over 920 sqm of premium synthetic turf) as well as Laguna Practice powered by Toptracer Range (a 50-bay practice range offering players innovative sessions on virtual courses) in early 2021. The soft opening of the property also coincides with the introduction of Laguna National’s new clubhouse along with The Shop, Singapore’s largest on-course golf shop.
In terms of wellness, aside from the three swimming pools, the resort provides other health facilities such as the sprawling and well-equipped fitness centre DFiT, three outdoor tennis courts (to be opened for reservations in 2021) as well as the tranquil Devarana Spa, where virtually every therapist appears to be Thai and are thus well-placed to administer authentic Thai-style massage moves. Devarana Spa’s signature treatments include their citrusy Devarana Signature Massage, which is influenced by Thai, Ayurveda and Shiatsu techniques, as well as the Singaporean Delightful Journey, which showcases a body scrub inspired by the local “Chendol” dessert (?!).
I went for the Thai-style Body Balancing Massage using Mellow oil (rose, lavender and chamomile). My therapist, Yoyo, was all sorts of brilliant – she managed to unleashed expert moves like “slobbery tongue-esque wide area steamroller” and “push door to avoid serial killer from barging into flat” like a seasoned professional throughout the kneading, pushing and pressing process without ever shaking me out of my semi-slumber.
The property offers complimentary shuttle service at specified time slots throughout the day to Changi City Point, Expo MRT Station and Jewel for your urban, shopping and dining jollies.
DELUXE LAGUNA POOL VIEW
Directly overlooking the lap pool from the second level through double-glazed floor-to-ceiling windows, the 36sqm Deluxe Laguna Pool View plays it all woody, cool and calming natural tones with a touch of modern business hotel (I am reminded of Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena). The workspace area is equipped with a leather desk pad and conveniently located near multiple power points and USB ports. In terms of wellness and entertainment, guests are able to request for a yoga mat, a Nintendo Switch as well as board games. The 55-inch Smart TV offers access to YouTube and complimentary access to various on-demand films, although I noted HDMI access to connect your laptop to the television seemed to be blocked.
The pantry is equipped with Lavazza roasted ground coffee as well as Ronnefeldt tea-making facilities. The Dusit Balance mini bar comprises San Benedetto still and sparkling water, coconut water, isotonic drinks as well as Tapping Tapir natural sodas alongside health bars and healthy nut mixes. Guests are also given a complimentary Dusit care kit comprising hand sanitisers, antibacterial wet wipes and disposable face masks.
The luxurious bathroom boasts a sizeable sink with attached make-up mirror, a plugged-in hair dryer (fairly rare these days) as well as a very spacious shower stall with in-built seating and rainfall shower facilities. The perfumed bathroom amenities – dispensed via attached pump bottles – are from Nature Touch. (Suites enjoy bathroom amenities from L’Occitane.) Waffle bathrobes are available for your window or poolside (un)natural lookaway-smile shots for Instagram.
Breakfast is served at Greenhouse, the lush, forest-themed restaurant on the 2nd level overlooking the Masters Course which offers cuisine from different show kitchens – including Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian and Mediterranean – as well as a seafood spread and a charcuterie.
The a la carte breakfast menu features the obligatory bakes, cereals, cheese and yogurt options. From the egg section which offers choices such as Eggs Benedict and Whole Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Chives, the onion-laden Spicy Thai Omelette (chicken, chilli, coriander, chives) stands out – not necessarily in a good way – for its crymaker-juicy wetness. From the local breakfast choices, the Mee Siam (spicy rice vermicelli noodles with shrimps, chicken, tofu and shredded omelette) was my favourite, the pleasingly sour and savoury dish straddling the line between its wet and dry versions in masterful fashion. Elsewhere, the Nasi Lemak (pandan flavoured rice with spicy sambal, roasted peanuts, ikan bilis and boiled egg) evoked memories of modest Malay hawker stalls in coffeeshops with its display of rusticity (especially the chicken wing), while the ever so slightly bitter Lemon Matcha Pancakes (served blueberries, honey and creme fraiche) benefited from the honey and boldly sour cream, although the anticipated zing from the lemon zest never really lands.
From the dinner side of things, the full menu is scheduled to be unveiled on 8 December, with only Western (think Laguna Beef Burger, Red Snapper and Roast Australian Loin of Lamb), Singaporean (options include Wanton Mee Soup, Singapore Laksa and Satay) and Thai options (examples include Coconut Chicken Soup, Green Curry Chicken) currently available. The Phad Thai Goong (stir-fried rice noodles, prawns, chicken or vegetarian, tamarind sauce) performed its requisite sweet duties to a tee (hurhur) while the Char Kway Teow (wok-fried flat rice noodles with prawns, Chinese sausage, chilli paste, bean sprouts) may benefit tremendously from an added dash of sweetness and spice for relief from its striking salinity.
Located next to the pool and overlooking the Masters Course and the vast expanse of mounds and dunes beyond (as well as the odd airplane which flies by from time to time), al fresco bar and grill concept Tee Deck offers a casual, breeze-led dining experience. Several of its dishes such as the playfully tingling Pla Kapong Neung Ma Nao (steamed barramundi fillet, green chilli, garlic, lime sauce), the smoky Moo Ping (savoury marinated pork skewers, sticky rice, dipping sauce) and the excellent Khao Niao Mamuang (Thai mango sticky rice) are also available – perhaps in slightly modified form – at Greenhouse. One should definitely claim their welcome drink – a gingery pandan concoction – at the Tee Deck, where both relaxing daytime and intimate evening seatings are both fairly enjoyable.
At time of publication, the following concepts have yet to be unveiled and are currently scheduled for opening in Q1 2021: Legends Bar & Lounge, an intimate lounge space adjacent to Greenhouse; and pastry, sandwich and coffee concept Dusit Gourmet. Also, all-day dining restaurant The Nest, which boasts panoramic views of the Masters Course and used to welcome public guests, will undergo renovations and be converted to a Laguna National members-only dining space from December 2020.
I must say, during these strange and trying times, my stay at the resort turned out to be an unexpectedly perfect fantasy escape experience. The resort’s unique location in the Tanah Merah/Changi area, far away from the stresses of civilisation and being right smack in the middle of a verdant expanse of open space and abundant wildlife (including herons, olive-backed sunbirds and, if you’re really lucky, the “durian-faced” bird or masked lapwing bird) mean, at least for a limited time, you leave your city existence behind and genuinely no longer feel like you’re still in Singapore.
There was this moment when I was seated at the al fresco Tee Deck in the afternoon for lunch, feeling the generous breeze on my face and staring into the seemingly infinite vastness of green in the distance as an airplane flew overhead past the resort. For a fleeting moment, I was totally immersed in the holiday experience and it almost felt like I was in a Thai or Indonesian resort. Hours later as the night fell, I was seated at the same spot nursing my complimentary gingery pandan welcome drink which I only just remembered to claim and, as I observed the outdoor grounds slowly become cloaked in darkness and the resort enter into a hushed state of serene calm, it dawned on me that I never felt quite so relaxed in a long, long while.
While a further assessment may be in order once the resort is fully operational (I am especially keen on experiencing the resort’s Dusit Club Lounge), the resort’s differentiating points such as its locational advantages and unique golf-inclined slant set it firmly apart from its contemporaries even at this early juncture, and I am excited to experience the resort fully and see what happens next.
Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore
11 Laguna Golf Green