Family First Staycation @ InterContinental Singapore

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 27, 2020
in ,

Now that travelling overseas remains a distant dream, a family staycation is the closest we can get to a fun-filled vacation. When the kids heard that we were going for a 2D1N staycation at InterContinental Singapore, they went "Yippee! We are going on a HOLIDAY!"

Little did they know that we were going for one that was specially designed to cater to the needs of families with kids and that they were in for a ball of a time. In this post, I will be sharing more about the newly launched Family First Staycation package which will definitely excite the little ones because it includes an in-room movie night with popcorn and milkshakes (we loovvvveeeee movie nights!), a cosy teepee, pool time, yummy breakfast and dinner, and read this, unlimited ICE CREAM!

Read on to find out more about the fun we had and how you can enjoy this family bonding experience with your kids too. For those who are keen, I am going to hold a giveaway in Jan 2021 so follow me on social media for more updates, yeah?



BACKGROUND

As the flagship hotel of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) in Singapore, InterContinental Hotel is a 5-star luxury hotel that is deeply rooted in the arts and cultural districts of Bugis and Bras Basah. Directly connected to Bugis Junction and Bugis MRT Station, it is highly accessible and close to established historical enclaves including Arab Street and Kampong Glam. 


With its design aesthetic inspired by Peranakan culture, you can feel the rich heritage and distinctive features of the hotel the moment you step into the lobby. From the fascinating collection of paintings and artefacts, delicate fabrics and elaborate furniture, the traditional yet elegant setting reminds you of a bygone era and a unique culture worth passing down from generation to generation.



For the foodies, you can also enjoy a wide range of dining experiences in the hotel's award-winning restaurants including signature Cantonese classics at Man Fu Yuan, hearty European favourites at Ash & Elm (we will share more about our dining experience here below), authentic Japanese cuisine at Chikuyotei and afternoon tea and cocktails at The Lobby Lounge - which is also where you can enjoy scoops of yummy Gelato during your family stay.

FAMILY FIRST STAYCATION PACKAGE

Family retreats are always welcome, especially during the school holidays, and it is awesome for parents and kids to be able to come together to relax, recharge and enjoy family bonding time. As lovers of family staycations, we were thrilled to hear about the new Family First Staycation Package at InterContinental Singapore which will be available for booking up till 31 March 2021. 

The package includes:

  • Breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children (under 12 years) at Ash & Elm 

  • In-room kids’ teepee (subject to availability) 

  • Three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for 2 adults, One main course and dessert from Planet Trekkers Menu for 2 children (under 12 years) at Ash & Elm or Man Fu Yuan

  • Unlimited ice-cream from our traditional cart from 1300 - 1730 at The Lobby Lounge 

  • In-room movie night from our extensive DVD library with popcorn and milkshakes 

  • Kids bathroom amenities  

  • Welcome amenities that are made for families *

  • 20% savings on ala-carte menu items at Ash & Elm, Man Fu Yuan and The Lobby Lounge, non-inclusive of seasonal offers, brunch menu or any other promotions. 

  • Extra bed for 1 child below 12 years old (subject to availability and room type)
     

* Each booking will be entitled to one set of Gingerbread Man Making Kit, from 27 November to 25 December.

Note: The Family First Package above is NOT INCLUSIVE of the Family Suite which includes the bunk bed and slide (read more in the next section). The Family First package starts from $400++. For the Family Suite alone, it starts from $550++. To enjoy both the Family First package with the Family Suite (including bunk beds), rates start from $630++.

A LOOK AT THE FAMILY SUITE

The Family Suite will be sure to delight the little ones because... just take a look at how vibrant and welcoming it is! Designed to engage little ones and spark their imagination, the Family Suite features a spacious, interactive kid’s zone featuring two custom-designed bunk beds with a slide, crawl spaces, a mini activity desk and a kids teepee. 


My kids literally went bonkers the moment they came into the room and they couldn't stop jumping up and down and checking out every single corner. There was this giant giraffe in our room and they lovingly named it Stephen (don't ask me why) the moment they saw him and went on to give him lots of warm hugs.


One of their favourite hangouts is the homely teepee which fits them nicely and makes a great place for them to have an afternoon tea. Oh yes, we were delighted to find a beautiful tea platter waiting for us in the room, which includes marshmallows, macarons, jellybeans and chocolates. Thanks for the sweet gesture, InterContinental! For the coffee or tea lovers, you will also be relieved to know that there is a Nespresso Magimix machine with a box of assorted capsules and a range of TWG luxury tea bags for your enjoyment too.

Parents, it's time to rejoice because the family suite comes with a connecting bedroom that has a plush king-sized bed, woohoo! There is no door in between meaning you can still keep an eye on the kids when they are playing on the bunk bed. Another piece of good news is that there is not just one but TWO television sets so while they are happily watching cartoons on their side, you can feel free to watch a movie, catch the news or even a football game in the comfort of your room.


I had queries from some of you on whether the suite comes with a bathtub and the answer is... YES! Seeing a bathtub in our hotel room always excites the kids because they know they get to soak and play in there for an hour or so and it's great news for me too because I get to take a break. It might be the last time these three are sharing a tub since the eldest is growing up so fast which made me cherish these moments so much more.


Besides the tub, the suite also comes equipped with kid-friendly amenities including a stepping stool and Osme Organic toiletries like hair and body gel, nourishing cream and extra mild hand soap which are suitable for the little ones to use during your stay.


The younger ones were also elated to see that the wardrobe had kid-sized bathrobes and slippers too, yay! We stayed in the Family Suite on Level 4 which happens to be where the swimming pool is located so that made it very convenient for us to go for a dip when we wanted to. 


NOTE: The Family Suite is suitable for families with 2A2C only. For those who have a third child, you will be allowed to stay if he/she is below the age of one as a cot can be added to the room. Otherwise, you will be required to book two connecting Deluxe rooms with an additional fee under the Family Package instead. We were informed of this policy after we checked in and were granted access to the Family Suite solely for the purpose of this media feature.

FAMILY DINNER @ ASH & ELM

Located at Level 1, Ash & Elm features three culinary theatres – a charcuterie and cheese room; a wood-fired oven and an open charcoal-grill kitchen. Out of all of us, the hubby is the only one who has been here and that was when he came with his colleagues and was blown away by the impressive Tomahawk. In fact, he felt very certain about the high quality of food served in this restaurant which was why we chose to dine here.


As part of the Family First Package, you will get to enjoy a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for 2 adults, as well as a main course and a dessert from Planet Trekkers Menu for 2 children. Of course, you can feel free to top up any dishes from the main menu and we gave in to the temptation to order an extra Beef Tenderloin just because this preggie Mama has a particular liking for steak.


It was a good thing that the kids loved every bit of their food starting from the appetiser to the dessert! It was the first time we tried a duo-flavoured bread, in this case it was tomato bread and herbs infused bread which was super yummy! They also tried the tomato soup, broccoli and french fries followed by the main dishes which was Chinese Fried Rice with Chicken and Mini Beef Burgers. They did prefer our Mushroom Essence for starters instead of the tomato soup but I have to give credit for how the chef drew a smiley face on the soup to start our dinner on a cheery note.


As for the adults, the hubby and I tried the Seafood Linguine which was our main dish from the menu and while I liked it because of the fresh prawns, squids and clams cooked in shellfish broth, he thought the whole dish could be a tad more flavourful. Right, this man usually prefers his food to be bursting with flavours while I like mine to be mild and simple.


For dessert, we had the Signature Carrot Cake and Chestnut Cake which boasted a nice spongy texture and was complemented with a scoop of sweet berries flavoured Gelato. The kids loved the Ice Watermelon Popsicle which they said looked like a bar of chocolate and tasted like the real fruit.


FAMILY ACTIVITIES - DAY

Now, let's take a look at the activities we can do as a family during the stay. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, but they might give you a good idea of what you can do. First up, here are some of the day activities.

-> Swimming

We might have stayed just 2D1N, or to be more exact, it was 23 hours. However, we made it to the swimming pool twice which I think says a lot about how my kids enjoyed it. We love that the pool is located outdoor which means we get to enjoy an abundance of sunshine and a nice view of the Bugis vicinity from the rooftop. Besides the main pool, there is also a spa pool which is 0.9m deep and comes with jacuzzi, as well as a wading pool 0.5m in depth which is good for toddlers.



In view of the pandemic, the hotel has kept a limit on the maximum capacity so you will need to call the concierge to make a reservation before making your way there. Pool towels are available when you sign in and take your temperature at the entrance. The swimming pool is located on Level 4 and opens from 7am to 10pm.

-> Fitness Centre

Unlike some of the hotels we've visited which prohibits younger guests from using the gym, we were surprised to learn from the concierge that kids can enter the fitness centre provided that they are supervised by an adult. The firstborn was happy to hear this and while the two younger siblings went for a swim with me, she went for a workout session with Papa.

They spent a good hour sweating it out and judging from the pictures and their feedback, the place was well-lit, spacious and equipped with a good range of exercise machines. The big girl was happy to see that there were rubber mats and ample space for her to practise her yoga moves, yay! The fitness centre sits on Level 3 and opens from 7am to 10pm. You will also need to call them up to making a booking before you go.



-> Ice Cream 

One of the highlights of our stay was that the kids got to enjoy delicious ice cream every afternoon! Yup, as part of the Family First Package, you can make your way to the Lobby Lounge to enjoy unlimited ice cream from 1pm to 5:30pm. There were three flavours to choose from when we were there, namely Mango Passion, Earl Grey or Chendol, and we loved every one of them. You can also select toppings like chocolate balls, rainbow sprinkles and marshmallows too. Look at how happy the kids were with their Gelato!

FAMILY ACTIVITIES - NIGHT

When night falls, that doesn't mean the fun has to come to an end during the staycation. In fact, after having the hearty dinner at Ash & Elm, we were feeling all satisfied and ready to begin our exciting family night. 

-> Take a Walk in the Neighbourhood

Since the hotel is directly connected to Bugis Junction (the door is near to the entrance of Ash & Elm), it is really convenient to walk out and take an evening stroll after dinner. You can head to Bugis Street to check out the specialty stores or hang around in the mall for a bit. For us, we decided to be practical so we made our way to the supermarket where we grabbed some fruits, milk and snacks to get us all set for the next part of the night.

-> Movie Night

Yup, this was the yet another highlight of our stay and we loved that the Family Package gave us the opportunity to watch and re-watch some of our favourite movies. While the list of DVDs available might not be a long one, it sufficed as it contained some of the classics that the kids loved. We eventually decided on Abominable and Incredibles 2 and once the kids were bathed and settled down, it was time to snuggle on the bed for a family movie night.


Popcorn and milkshakes - you can choose from vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavour - are included in the package too so feel free to call up the concierge to make your order for the kids.

Do note that the DVDs are on a first come, first served basis so you might not be able to get the title you want if it is on loan. As there is no DVD player in the room, you will also need to call up the concierge to inform them that you wish to have a movie night so they can get the technicians to come and install it for you. To avoid waiting time, I would suggest you do this in advance.

BREAKFAST

We always look forward to a nice family breakfast after a good night's sleep - is it just me or do you sleep better in hotels too? For our breakfast on the second day, it was served at Ash & Elm from 7am to 10am. As part of the Family First Package, two adults will get to each select a set from the Breakfast Inclusive Set Menu while two kids will each get to choose one item from the Breakfast À La Carte Kids Menu.

I decided on Taste of Singapore which came with a dim sun basket, kaya butter toast, soft boiled egg and chicken congee while the hubby tried the American Breakfast which consisted of two eggs, a sausage, grilled bacon, baked tomato, mushrooms, hash brown and baked beans. While the portions were not huge, they were truly appetising and gave us the energy we needed to start the day. I especially loved the dim sum basket as the har gow and siu mai tasted better than I expected.


As for the kids, they went for the Banana Pancakes and Scrambled & Soldiers since these were the only two choices on the menu, other than the watermelon popsicle which we wouldn't recommend for our kids so early in the morning. The pancakes drizzled with maple syrup was one of their all-time favourite breakfast but the surprise was in the toast which came with a generous portion of scrambled eggs and and chives on top which tasted surprisingly delicious. Adding on the fresh fruit platter, muffins and pastry as well as yoghurt for the kids, it was no wonder we left the restaurant with full tummies and happy hearts.


TIME TO CHECKOUT

If given a choice, I think my kids wouldn't mind staying within the suite for another couple of days, even if it means just idling around. We requested for a late checkout since we arrived after 3pm on the first day and wanted a couple of hours more to enjoy the room and facilities before we left. Of course, this was subject to availability but luckily since we were there on a weekday, the hotel staff managed to extend checkout time to 2pm for us. Woohoo!

What did we do in that extra time? We ate the fruits we bought (check out the strawberry platter done by the hubby), we watched TV, we went for a quick dip and we just sat around enjoying each other's company as we took our time to pack up and bid farewell. Guess who got lots of goodbye hugs from the kids? Well, Stephen, of course. Haha.


It's always easier to show you our happenings in a short video so here you go! This summarises all the fun we had at InterContinental Singapore and we are very thankful for every minute of this family staycation.

I'm also thrilled that I will be able to host a giveaway when the new year begins so that one of you will be able to experience all the fun we had too. Stay tuned for more updates, yeah?

BIG thanks to InterContinental Singapore for the wonderful hospitality and in coming up with this great initiative for families to come together on a staycation and enjoy precious bonding! We sure hope to be back again someday!

******

InterContinental Singapore

Address: 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966,

Telephone:  +65 63387600 

Website: https://singapore.intercontinental.com/

For more information or to make your reservation for the Family First Package, go HERE. To book the Family Suite, go HERE. Alternatively, you can email to sinhb-resvn@ihg.com.

******

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between A Happy Mum and InterContinental Singapore. We received a media invite for a 2D1N stay in exchange for writing this review. All photos and opnions are my own.

 


Creativity #123 - DIY Gender Reveal Piñata

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 24, 2020
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Remember when we did our gender reveal volcano back in 2015 when I revealed to the girls that they were gonna have a baby brother? That was such a momentous day and up till now, they still recall it fondly and we would watch the video every now and then to see our volcano erupt blue bubbles again and again.

This time round with Baby #4, I reckon the siblings gender reveal should be a special occasion too and I wanted to make it not just memorable but exciting too. What better way than to celebrate the moment with a party piñata and let the kids smash it open to find out whether they are gonna have a Didi or Meimei? Since birthday parties are going to be rather quiet this year, this was a great chance for them to have some fun too, yippie!

What made it even more awesome was that the kids were involved in the making process which made them look forward to the reveal day too. In this Creativity 521 post, I'll be showing you how we made our DIY piñata from scratch using just cardboard, tape and crepe paper. If you don't know yet, scroll down to the bottom and watch our video to find out if we are having a baby brother or sister.

Materials we used:

1) Cardboard

2) Blue and pink crepe paper

3) Sticky tape, double sided tape, masking tape

4) Gold cardstock paper

5) Scissors

6) Pencil, ruler, eraser

7) Twine

To get started, draw the shape of a romper in the size you desire on the cardboard. I made it as large as possible while making sure that I had enough to make the second romper and long strips for the sides, which I will talk about later. Of course, feel free to change the shape into something you like, for instance a pacifier or milk bottle.

Once that is done, cut out the shape with a scissors, taking it slowly and carefully at the corners and bends.

Use the cutout as a template to trace another same sized romper on the cardboard.

Cut that out too and you know have two cute romper shapes!

Now, cut out long strips of cardboard around 2.5 to 3 inches in width, depending on how thick you want your piñata to be. These will form the sides.

Using sticky tape, start using the strips to wrap around one of the romper cutouts and stick them in place. The thicker the cardboard, the harder this is, so it will be better if your cardboard is not overly thick. You can use sticky tape both on the inside and outside to make the shape more sturdy.


Fold the strips with care at the turns to make sure they fit the romper neatly. Do this all around, leaving it open at the top of the piñata. Angel took charge of this and made sure our romper shape remained intact throughout.



Repeat for the second romper on the other side. This will get tricky towards the end as you have to insert your hand through the opening at the top in order to stick the tape down on the inside.


To make sure my piñata is strong and will be able to hold the contents (I decided to buy not just candies and chocolates but stationery like notebooks and pens as well), I used a coloured masking tape to double secure the top and bottom.


Now comes the second half - decorating the piñata! This is actually the more tiring part but it's worth it when you see the piñata completed in half blue and half pink. To begin, making sure the crepe paper stays layered, cut them as shown below. I left the height at approximately 2 inches and cut them into 1 cm-wide strips, making sure the top part stays joined and uncut. Repeat this as many times as you need.

Open up the layers one by one, doing it as meticulously as possible because the crepe paper tends to tear easily. Ariel did a great job at this although it took us a long time.

Now comes my job - cutting and sticking the crepe paper onto the piñata. I did this layer by layer starting at the sides and stuck the top part of the crepe paper in place using sticky tape. Make sure the layers overlap so that you will not be able to see the cardboard eventually. If needed, cut out big pieces of crepe paper to cover up before sticking the striped ones on top.

As expected, you will need quite a lot of sticky tape for this so it does help to have a helper who cuts fast! Haha. Asher was too happy to do this for me and was a great help.

For the edges, I used double sided tape instead of sticky tape so that they could be hidden underneath the crepe paper and not be visible.

Once half of the piñata is covered up in blue, proceed to do the other in pink! Yup, it starts all over again, haha. You can draw a line down the middle of the romper before you begin to make sure the halves are more or less equal.

Woohoo! Looking good, right? We are almost done!

To add a splash of gold, cut out two question marks from the cardstock paper and use double sided tape to stick them onto the front and back of the piñata. I loved this a lot and think it made a huge different to the final look.

Put in your contents before sealing up the top part, making sure that it does not open up easily so that no one can take a peek. Haha. Yup, I secretly went to get all the contents and put in extra care to hide them so that the kids wouldn't be able to know in advance. Before sealing, make sure you poke two holes, one on the left and the other on the right, at the top and insert your twine, knotting it to make sure it stays snugly in place. Now, you are all set to hang the piñata!


I was thinking of the best place for the kids to smash the piñata and we decided to head to the park, find an outdoor space which was deserted and had a tree of the right height for us to hang the piñata.

Yup, time to let the FUN begin! Neither the hubby nor the kids knew about the baby's gender up till this point so it was really exciting for them, and even for me, to wait for the big moment when the piñata fell and the contents could be seen.


I guess it's better to showcase the big reveal in a video and let you see how it all went! So here you go!

Do you like it? I am pretty sure this video will hold a special place in our hearts for many, many years to come - we have already re-watched it countless times- and I'm definitely gonna show it to our baby next time too.

Thankful for a supportive hubby and wonderful kids who make me even more excited about the arrival of our new baby. They have been awesome and it's because of them that I am feeling so positive and excited about this new journey that we are going to embark on soon. 

Cheers to being a family of SIX in a few months' time, woohoo!


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