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Amid a frenetic and highly enclosed stay-home season comes highly sought-after wellness retreats to take our minds off the daily grind. In facilitating greater mental space and inner recuperation, these wellness sanctuaries in Singapore provide guests peace of mind and the chance to reset in rejuvenating environments away from home.
The resort I recently checked into beckoned a sense of familiarity, not so much in territory, but in a resounding space that recalled my much-needed comfort zones. It is the latest urban resort tucked in the Changi Precinct. Dedicated to achieving modern quietude in bustling Singapore, the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore located at Laguna Golf Green, is heavily inspired by Thai heritage and hospitality and aims to advocate the importance of solace through urban wellness.
If you’re looking at things to do in the East of Singapore this weekend, perhaps it’s time to hit the pause button and schedule a weekend of rest and relaxation.
The start of a restful and laid-back getaway in the East of Singapore
A 10-minute drive south of Changi Airport took me to the grounds of the acclaimed Dusit Thani Laguna Resort, where I was greeted by a distinctive curved façade from the clubhouse’s exterior. It houses both hotel and clubhouse, with an expansive golf club lobby to the left, and a quaint hotel reception to its right. I was told that its curved roof was structurally inspired by the swing of a golf club, which heightened my excitement to explore its interiors. This luxury urban resort opened its doors in December 2020. Being the first property under the Dusit brand and the first in Singapore to offer direct access to the two championship golf courses, I was looking forward to my staycay experience.
As I entered the hotel lobby, I could feel a tacit contemporary influence from the hotel’s indoor space. Matte-surfaced walls surround the lobby, bouncing off echoes from the welcome chatter. A fountain centrepiece sits calmly in the middle, tinkling a symphonic dribble of rippling water. Everything about it felt very peaceful, and the modest whiffs of a familiar orchid tea scent drowsed me for a comfortable check-in. The process took no more than five minutes, and I was received by a team who gave me a warm welcome.
A friendly receptionist then assigned me to a room, handing me a paper cardholder tucked with my newly registered key cards. The cards were surprisingly made of wood, and I thought this made a nice and sustainable gesture to the check-in experience at the resort. Inside the cardholder, I found a thin slip tucked beneath my wooden key cards that read “Sip and relax with our compliments”, where I could enjoy a complimentary welcome concoction of Pandan and lemongrass at either of their restaurants anytime during my stay.
Luxuriously comfortable rooms with thoughtful and personalised amenities
With some help from a friendly bellboy who kindly orientated the hotel’s facilities to me with a keen smile, I was ushered to my room. After we arrived, the bellboy bowed and greeted with his palms pressed together in a prayer-like gesture, signing off as a mark of courtesy and respect before he left. Formally known as the wai, it is a traditional Thai greeting adopted as a sign of respect and sincerity to its hotel guests. I found it to be a pleasant touch to the wholly Thai-inspired hospitality experience.
I was told that the resort houses 198 rooms, with a selection of luxurious room types for guests to be pampered with, including rooms on the ground floor that come with an outdoor patio and direct access to its pools.
My room was the 36sqm Deluxe Laguna Pool View room, which overlooked an open atrium of three glistening pools and a file of drowsy palm trees on the second floor. A soothing sight during my retreat, there was ample sunlight seeping softly through the curtains by the bed. The matte walls reflected a warm blend of lighting throughout the room, allowing the interiors to bask in an adequate glow that instantly felt relaxing. There was also enough room to move around, and I particularly fancied the graceful white orchids embellished on the television console.
As I began exploring the rest of my room, I was greeted by a pleasant stash of complimentary refreshments at the minibar. There were coffee pods lined neatly beside a classic Lavazza ground coffee machine, one that would come in handy for a caffeine fix during my stay. There was also a mini refrigerator filled with complimentary beverages and healthy snacks on the first go, and two free bottles of San Benedetto still water awaiting my first gulp from the get-go, replenishable throughout the staycation.
To my right, I spot a writing kit and a Dusit Dream menu sitting atop the room’s work desk. From firm pillows to ones of orthopaedic support, I was amazed by the thoughtful expanse of pillow types I could choose from to obtain my restful, beauty snooze during my staycation. On top of that, my bed was soft and inviting, and my pillows had spritzes of lemongrass fragrance. And as I sat before the television console, I found more complimentary items; this time, a linen pouch of day-care supplies comprising hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes and facial masks that I could use throughout my stay. It was an apt reminder to practice safe habits, even as I began to feel at home. These additional touches provided by the resort made the staycation deal and experience more personal.
As I switched on my television, I learnt that I had access to an extensive catalogue of 7,000 e-Newspapers and magazines; all of which were accessible from the convenient press of a button and were free of charge. Not forgetting a yoga mat that I could request to shape up my personal wellness regime anytime I desired. There was also an en suite bathroom that came with ample vanity space, as well as an inviting rain shower that was ideal for calming wind downs after a long day. All of its amenities were environmentally friendly too. One after another, I was thoroughly impressed by the carefully personalised options I had access to in my room, and I felt very comforted and well taken care of. The pool deck was what caught my attention from the start, and I was so eager to head out for a brief moment to soak up some sun.
Soak in vibes of a relaxing beach holiday alongside dreamy palm trees
As I arrived at the outdoor atrium, I witnessed a tireless rhythmic body of water rumbling from the roars of a passing jet. It was right at that moment that everything around me felt surreal, as if I was really on vacation in foreign land. Blue parasols that were neatly kept and tied lined the parameters of a 1.2-metre lap pool. I sighted a man cautiously sinking his weight into the still waters and felt the instant urge to plunge into the cool waters for a wind down. Beside the pool were flat, grey sunbeds that laid directly under the scorching sun, angled for the perfect bask. With my portable speakers and sunscreen, I was all set for an afternoon of idyllic relaxation.
Open from 8:00am to 8:00pm daily, the scene at the pool deck was slow and peaceful, with its crystalline pools shimmering like a sheet of glass under the glistening sun amidst the rich verdure. To enjoy access to the pools, guests can book from either of the four time slots each day, one from 8:00am to 10:30am, another from 11:00 am to 1:30pm, the third session from 2:00pm to 4:30pm and a final slot from 5:00pm to 7:30pm in the evening.
Closer to the resort’s façade were a line of white cabanas sitting peacefully on the green lawn, facing the resort’s double-storied pavilions. Each cabana was accompanied by a stout palm tree, and there was a sign that directed guests to book a package from the nearby al fresco bar and grill, the Tee Deck. Worth S$100 per guest, each package entitles guests to four hours of cabana usage available from noon, on top of a S$75 food and beverage spending credit, to enjoy a meal by the pool. The Tee Deck is open from 11:00am to 11:00pm every day. The sunbeds are also complimentary for use.
Some few plastic deck chairs basked afloat a shallow wading pool that made a convenient Instagram prop, and I could already imagine the kind of photos that would be taken there. Showers were also situated in the middle of the pool deck, providing swimmers a convenient pre-dip rinse. At a distance, I saw some golfers jogging to catch their buggy rides for their golf pitches at the Masters Course.
An indulging spa retreat for rejuvenating the mind and body
As it got closer to noon, the sun was scorching hot and I was desperate for some indoor ventilation to cool myself down. Sheltering back indoors, I came across an unassuming corner of the indoor atrium and chanced upon the gymnasium, a sprawling 369sqm fitness centre that is the largest within a hotel in Singapore’s eastern precinct. The gym is spacious and opens from 7:00am to 10:00pm daily. With the hotel’s service web application, hourly gym slots can be booked at the convenience of a guest’s click. There were barbell racks, treadmills, kettlebells, dumbbells, and other extensive equipment to choose from for an ideal workout regime. You could also binge on your favourite Netflix classics in HD while jogging along any of the treadmills.
But what I was truly excited about was the resort’s flagship spa and wellness boutique, Devarana Wellness. It was evidently peaceful inside, and I loved the aromatic whiffs of lavender oil that ruminated its interiors. A female Thai therapist approached me and bowed with a wai, as she introduced the different spa and massage packages I could choose from.
The approach at Devarana was visibly restorative, and there was a strong emphasis on the need to connect with the self, in order to experience purposeful healing of the mind, body and soul. I was particularly drawn to the signature Pause programme, which aimed to help guests decelerate from the brunt of their daily hustle and afford time and space for a momentary pause with their rejuvenating treatments. After long weeks at work, it sounded like what I desperately needed and I was excited to start my spa treatment.
Covering a mixture of therapeutic exercises and an hour-long wellness session with an in-house instructor, the Pause programme helps guests achieve self-nourishment through physical conditioning, welcoming them to reset and take a positive initiative towards a journey of personal healing. On top of that, there are a slew of massage therapies and five essential oils I could pick from to customise my own therapy experience. I went with the “Singaporean delightful journey” treatment, which was a Singaporean special that incorporated a ‘Cendol’ scrub, inspired by the popular Singaporean dessert. If you’re feeling uninspired and burnt out from the daily grind, this spa retreat in Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore will relieve all your stress and fatigue.
Lunch with a view at the hotel’s nature-inspired restaurant
It was already half past one when I ended my spa session. The massage was so thoroughly rejuvenating and satisfying, and I appreciated how attentive they were to every knot and pressure point on my stiff back. I was relieved of all the bad posturing at my work desk, and I thought it made the right time for lunch.
Just past a marbled spiral stairway at the resort’s golf lobby was a cloistered dining compound that was seemingly decorated with incredibly lush greenery. I could instinctively recognise the hotel’s main restaurant, with the smell of the elusive kitchen aroma ruminating from a distance.
Glowing in hues of jungle green, The Greenhouse is the resort’s all-day dining restaurant, serving multi-ethnic delights of intercontinental spreads. As its name suggests, the restaurant’s compounds were teeming with foliage, descending into multiple enclaves that provided diners with adequate dining privacy. With five cooking stations, guests can choose from an extensive menu of Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese, and unforgettably, Thai cuisines, all of which do not skimp on taste.
There was a nice lambency to the restaurant. And, I really liked how the floating straw lamps and trailing greenery contributed to the overall ambience. It was almost as though nature was subtly drawn into the restaurant’s confines from the nearby green fields, painting an eco-sanctuary in its own regard. I could see natural sunlight from the pool deck spilling through the transparent glass panels, as I toured past the restaurant’s bar. Just a few steps ahead, I saw a brightly lit terrace overlooking the green mounds of the neighbouring Laguna Masters Course through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling latticed, toroidal window panels, and the scene was quite a sight to behold. Talk about lunch with a view.
I had the chance to try out a few delectable mains to fill my voracious appetite. Dusit Thani Laguna’s signature Laguna beef burger was topped with crispy brioche buns, pattied with a cheddar-topped wagyu beef brisket. I also ordered the highly recommended Tom Yum Goong, which was infused with galangal and lemongrass and served with freshwater king prawns in the right level of spiciness. Topped with serrated coriander sprigs, I could taste a hint of piny fragrance as I had my first sip of the broth, which made it all the more delicious. Its Porcini mushroom pizza was a nice companion to the rest of my dishes, as it contributed a burst of truffle goodness and a cracker-like consistency that no other dish had. For someone who enjoys his thin-crust pizzas, I appreciated the crisp of its applewood-fired crust, and thought it added a nice and light crunch to my meal. I also got to try their stir-fried Phad Thai, which was simple and straightforward with tangy rice noodles topped with a thin egg coating and several marinated shrimps. Guests can also be treated to a wide selection of beverages available from their menu as an accompanying thirst quencher.
Easy access to Jewel and other places within the Changi Precinct
Amidst a spectrum of recreational offerings, guests are also treated to a convenient expanse of attractions and activities beyond the resort’s confines. From beaches and late-night supper joints to rustic nature parks and a retail splendour at the gem that is Jewel Changi Airport, the Changi Precinct has it all covered.
The hotel provides the convenience of a complimentary shuttle service that travels in a loop, first from the hotel to Changi City Point and back, then to Jewel Changi Airport and back. It runs from noon to 7.30pm in the evening daily and requires pre-registration to be done beforehand. The shuttle arrives back at the resort at half-hourly intervals, but timings may vary from time to time depending on traffic. Guests can refer to the shuttle service schedule at the hotel lobby or reach out to a receptionist for specific directions to their desired locations.
But if doing nothing floats your boat like me, Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore welcomes you to spend time within it and nowhere else.
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