With the launch of SingapoRediscover vouchers, a lot more people are looking to book a quick staycation and just relax for a while. To help you unwind, Circles.Life has partnered with Trip.com and I wrote a quick article on how to best utilize your vouchers on their platform here. Best of all you might even win a stay a 2D1N stay at the Shangri-La Hotel or Ascott Raffles Place.
As someone who has been to quite a few staycations since 2020, I thought it best to share with you in this article, what to expect and anticipate when you’re planning for a staycation especially during this COVID period.
I also did a quick review on Marina Bay Sands in phase 2 back when it opened in July if you want to take a look at how strict hotels are now!
1. Does The Property Allow Staycation?
While a lot of hotels are open for staycation, there are quite a few hotels that do not do so because of various reasons. To be sure, make sure that there is a sign that says “Staycation Approved” like on Trip.com where it is indicated very clearly.
If you want to be sure whether the property is safe for staycation, you can check out this link for the list of hotels that are approved for staycations now.
2. Check In for Check-in
Remember this incident back in December where guests had to wait an absurd number of hours to check in?
The snaking queues were a result of hotels being overwhelmed by the unprecedented crowd of new staycationers when the SingapoRediscover vouchers just came out and everyone ‘chionged’ to use it.
Since then, popular hotels that are anticipating a lot of people have implemented a queue system where you can book your slot when you are going to check in. Be sure to check with your hotel on any prevailing check in etiquette that's required before you stay. If there is one, make sure you book your slot to avoid any surprises like being unable to check in or finding yourself in a very long queue.
3. Hotel Amenities: Are They Available?
While you’re on your staycation, you’ll most likely want to use the facilities of the hotel. The most common would be either the hotel pool, or the hotel gym. You can definitely check with the hotel before or during the trip to see how you are able to use the facilities. Due to safe distancing measures, most hotels will have a booking and time slot system to manage the crowd better.
If you’re staying at Marina Bay Sands, my experience is that one room is allowed only 1 hour of swimming per day, and each person needs to have one key card. To access the pool, you’ll need to book the pool at least 1 day in advance through the MBS website. Once you have reserved your slot, all you need to do is show up!
Most hotel gyms have some sort of system to manage the crowd as well although some establishments have voted to close their gyms entirely. Once again, it's best to check in advance to avoid disappointment!
4. Restaurants - Get a Reservation
I think you should be pretty familiar with the theme of ‘checking in to get a slot’ by now.
If you’re dining at one of the hotel restaurants, you should definitely find out how to reserve a table for your upcoming meal. This is especially important for those who bought a deal packaged with breakfast or other meals, as you wouldn’t want to miss your chance to use it!
5. Prepare to use Tracetogether
While most places still accept SafeEntry, places like Marina Bay Sands have completely switched over to TraceTogether. If you haven't already, make sure you have TraceTogether token or the app ready to access these areas.
The last thing you want is to be stuck downloading the app and wasting your precious time when you could be enjoying the pool 😎
My Extra Personal Tips
Here’s a few more tips that you may find handy when booking your staycation. As someone who is a somewhat seasoned ‘staycation-ist’, these tips helped me a lot!
Stay on Weekdays
This is for those who are able to do so, especially if you still have a sort of ‘work from home’ arrangement going on. The advantage of staying on a weekday - cheaper rooms and lesser crowd. Need I say more?
There’s a lot of great deals as well, such as this promotion by Pan Pacific Hotel Groups, where you get 100% cashback in terms of dining credits when you stay from Sunday to Thursday (up to 31 March 2021)
Avoid prime check in time(11 am to 1 pm)
Especially during this Covid period, avoiding people and the crowd is definitely the best way to go. I personally find that the prime check in time for most hotels are usually around 11am to 1pm as people want to get an early check in.
If it is possible, you can choose to go earlier if your hotel has early check in slots, or go slightly later as most people would have already checked in by then. If you do go between this timing, just be prepared to wait a bit longer than usual to get your room!
Prepare extra masks
While staying at the hotel, there’s always that small chance that you may lose the mask that you are wearing (like that one time where my mask got blown off the roof of the infinity pool 😂)
This is why it is essential to pack a few more masks just in case you lose the original you were carrying! Some hotels like Marina Bay Sands also provide free masks for their guests, so you can always ask the staff if they’re able to give you a free mask.
SingapoRediscover Vouchers (SRV) + Cashback/Deals/Discounts
Make sure to make full use of your SRV vouchers by stacking as many cashbacks and deals as possible. There’s only 5 merchants you can use your vouchers with, with one of them being Trip.com. I personally booked one of my recent trips using the vouchers too.
Circles.Life is also running a promotion with Trip.com where you can win big prizes such as a 2D1N at Shangri-La Hotel and Ascott Raffles Place. All you need to do is book through the Circles.Life link in the app or below, at any time from 18 January up to 31 March.
I mean, if you’re going to book already then might as well make full use of your vouchers to give you some lucky draw prizes! Take note that the vouchers expire on 30th June, but you can book your staycation for much later if you aren't free during the June holidays.
All you need to do is to go to your Circles.Life app and go to ‘Shop’, then click the Trip.com promotion. You need to click the blue ‘Book Now’ button and make your booking through there.
If you’re like me and prefer to book on desktop, you can click here and book through their website directly. Just make sure the email you use on your account is the same as the one you used to register for Circles.Life for verification purposes 😉Remember you have to book through the Circles.Life app or the website above to qualify for the draw.
With that, I wish you safe and relaxing times at your very own staycations 🙏