Staycation Experience @ RWS: What to expect for your stay?



 2020 has been a topsy turvy year.

Our usual practice was to go on an overseas holiday in December. With Covid19 hampering our travel plans, we decided to head to Singapore's favourite holiday destination - RWS.

Covid19 has changed many things in Singapore. Having a staycation is no exception. Here are our observations on the changes to be expected during our stay at The Equarius @ RWS.

1 Longer Check-in time


Check-in time has always been slightly longer at RWS due to the number of holidaymakers. However, since the hotel has reduced occupancy rates during Covid19, we had expected it to be shorter. Unfortunately, the opposite happened during our stay. Our pre-arranged check-in time was at 2pm and we only got the keys at 430pm. We were 10 in the queue when we reached at 2pm and there were already 4 counters serving check-in guests. Thankfully, they had converted the restaurant into a big waiting room while guests wait for their turn.

The long wait was due to the fact that the hotel needed to collect information of all the guests in the room and they have to type in the details on the spot. The guest's information was necessary due to the stricter rules in entering the premises and to prevent any uninvited guests to the hotel. The other thing is that check-in for others is not allowed now for the hotels.

While we understood the rationale, it may have been better if this information was requested prior to check-in. This way, it could be pre-keyed and lead to a faster check-in. For the record, we booked the rooms in October and was taking the staycation in December. So this was not a 'last-minute' booking surge issue as experienced in other hotels. We were the lucky ones as there were guests still waiting to check-in at 7pm.

2 More stringent checks before allowed to the rooms



Our IDs were checked before we are allowed to the rooms. Thankfully, we had IDs stored on the phone so this was a minimum inconvenience to us. Before you head to the hotels, do ensure you have the IDs of all person including young kids. For kids, you can use their school passes, passport and birth certificate if necessary.


3 Rooms are sanitised

The moment you head to your room, you will be greeted with a 'Clean, Sanitised and Safe' sticker to let you know that the room is ready. Cups and spoons are wrapped in plastic to indicate that it is new.

There is also a Covid19 package for each room booked. Very thoughtful.

4 No more buffet breakfast

Unlike pre Covid19 days, buffet breakfasts are not available. The restaurant in the hotel was closed. Meal was served at Fratelli Trattoria located at Hotel Michaels. You can choose from Western, Italian and Local Delights for breakfast. Serving size was adequate for us.


5 Booking of facilities can be improved


To use the pool, you would have to book it in advance. There is a limit of 50 pax per person and you can only hold one booking at a time. Booking was done via online. We managed to book it for the first time but subsequent times, we had to call the front desk as there were issues booking online.

As for safe distancing, on our trips to the pool, it was always less than 50 people at the pool during our stay.

6 Staff trained for Safe Distancing

Despite the long queues for check-in and the overall stringent procedures, the staff was well trained for safe distancing. We had seen safe distancing ambassadors at the hotel and around RWS when there are queues to control the crowd.


7 Attractions bookings need to be finetuned

Attractions to RWS SEA Aquarium and USS required pre-booking for hotel guests. Despite that, on the day we wanted to go to the MarMSEA Aquarium, there were snaking queues to enter the aquarium. We arrived at 3 pm and was told that the queue is as long as 1.5 hours. Given that the aquarium closes at 5pm, we decided to return another day. This happened despite us booking the slot before we head down. The booking could be fine-tuned to timeslots instead of just the day itself.

8 Not crowded at parks, but expect queues

The areas in the hotel, park and shops are not crowded despite it being a holiday. With 50 % capacity till Dec 27, this is expected.

 We had no problem heading into restaurants or shops. Nonetheless, do expect queues in some attractions. For SEA aquarium, there were queues INSIDE the aquarium for popular exhibits. At USS, queues for rides went as long as 100 minutes when we were there. The reason is that rides have now reduced the number of seatings thus resulting in a longer wait.

Overall, it was a pleasant staycation. Given the options available, RWS is still a decent one-stop destination for a break in Singapore. With Phase 3 coming up on Dec 28, more families might decide to have a staycation together. While that is encouraging, we do hope it will be in control. During our stay, we had seen at least half a dozen groups with more than 5 people in them despite the rules on the social gathering of more than 5.

Regardless, if you are heading out for a staycation before the year-end, stay safe and enjoy your break!


#notsponsored
Photos were taken with iPhone 12. While it looks good on the phone, the resolution was not as great as I thought it will be on PC. Looks like it is back to the trusty camera for future reviews!

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