Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Getaway | 8 Things to Do at The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

If we can take some extra time away from work. the first thing that comes to my mind is usually to travel out of the country to explore, relax and get a totally different experience.

However, I've come to realise that one or two night staycations in our local hotels is pretty nice too as you can also escape from the mundane, and be a tourist in your own country :)

After all, Singapore is unique. A country forged from a natural melting pot of cultures who have lived together on this island for over a hundred years, there are many things to discover in Singapore, if only we take the time to get off the beaten path and explore #golocal

Last week we crossed our first hurdle of our parenting journey in primary school {i.e. the dreaded Primary One School Registration Exercise} and decided it was time to celebrate with a staycation at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore!

The beautiful heritage hotel is certainly no cookie-cutter hotel from a world-wide chain.. it is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that is uniquely Singaporean. Located in the heart of our city, The Fullerton Hotel is hard to miss especially if you're in the area to see attractions like The Merlion, Cavenaugh Bridge {Singapore's oldest bridge} etc. or strolling along the Singapore River.

The building played a large part in Singapore's history as it was once a fort to defend the settlement against attacks from the sea and also home to our nation's General Post Office, The Exchange and the exclusive Singapore Club. The historic significance and monumental architecture certainly makes the building eminently suited for a grand hotel.

Did you know that The Fullerton Hotel is so prestigious that the government made sure that One Fullerton across the road had a low building height so that it wouldn't block the building from across the Bay? This also ensured that hotel guests would have unobstructed views of the sea.

I've never stayed in a hotel with such rich heritage before and it was not only luxurious, but truly educational and enriching as well.

There are always a few ongoing hotel stay offers, and if you're thinking of having a short staycation there as well, here are 8 Things to Do at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore for a more fulfilling time!

The surrounding arts and entertainment districts along the charming Singapore River and Marina Bay are definitely worth exploring as well, but this list is confined just to activities within the hotel itself for those who truly just want to experience all that Fullerton has to offer in two short days, like we did, since you're paying a premium for such an opulent hotel.

1. Go on the Fullerton Heritage Guided Tour

This really is on top of my list since it is FREE and you get to learn hotel "secrets" you probably wouldn't have realised unless you read into the history of the The Fullerton Hotel, or went on this 1-hour tour.

Led by the friendly resident tour guide, Ms Florence Minjoot, we stepped back in time and heard about the bustling activities along the Singapore River and how the brisk trade led to the construction of The Fullerton Building, which was then later used as The General Post Office and a government building where prominent former and current Singapore leaders once worked.

We also went to various preserved areas inside hotel {e.g. former billiards room used by the Singapore Club that's now a ballroom} and learnt more about the hotel's interesting architecture. I love going for heritage tours and encourage you to take this complimentary tour with the kids to appreciate the hotel and precinct's history more. It's mainly indoors and very doable even with the young ones!

Meeting point: The Fullerton Hotel's Concierge
Mon & Thu: 10am {hotel guests only}, 11.15am {open to public}
Sat: 3.45pm {open to public}, 5pm {hotel guests only}
Tel: +65 6877 8078 {advance registration is required}

2. Feast on local delights at Town Restaurant

Every Saturday & public holiday from 12 - 3.30pm, the vibrant Town Restaurant serves an impressive Singapore High Tea buffet spread of delicious western pastries and cakes, as well as Singaporean classics like satay, chendol, roti prata, dim sum etc. for their high-tea.

Such a thoughtful touch to use these old-school dishes to serve the food too! Adds to the local flavour (⌒∇⌒。)

It's a one-stop dining experience to eat all your favourite local dishes in a lux hotel setting and I suggest that you don't miss out on the scones with clotted cream and laksa where you get to choose the kind of noodles and ingredients in it.

If you need something more filling, Town Restaurant also fires up a BBQ in the evenings {Thu- Sat only} with even more tempting options and you can sit at the outside terrace overlooking the Singapore river.

From 30 July to 10 August, Town Restaurant will also present the much-anticipated Singapore Hawker Masters Dinner Buffet {daily} in partnership with The Straits Times for the third year. In conjunction with Singapore’s 50th National Day, the dinner buffet will feature 15 Hawker Masters – the largest number of hawkers since the first installment in 2013, in a befitting representation of Singapore’s multicultural food heritage.

Open daily 6.30am - 11.30pm
Tel: +65 6877 8128

3. Relax at the Infinity Pool

No holiday is complete without some splashing good fun at the pool. Well, for us at least!! (´∀`)ノ

Fullerton Hotel's pool is pretty small {only 25m long} compared to most hotels we've been to, but it is definitely no less inviting and maybe one of the most picturesque since it overlooks the Singapore River against a backdrop of majestic fluted columns.

The juxtaposition of modern skyscraper skyline and classic architecture makes it so beautiful and I could certainly stay there all day in the warm waters watching the sky change colour and the junk boats sail by.

4. Send a post-card to yourself

For those who love receiving snail mail like us, take some time to write a postcard to yourself or to someone you love and post it into the red colonial-era pillar post box in the Post Bar - one of the few places in the hotel with the original ceilings from 1928, or at the Fullerton Heritage Gallery {more on that below}. It will be mailed with a special "posted from the Fullerton Hotel" stamp!!

We usually mail a postcard to Lil Pumpkin whenever we travel and sent one to her on this staycation too. Come send us a snail mail, and we'll be happy to mail a postcard right back at ya ・( ̄∀ ̄)・:*:

5. Visit The Fullerton Heritage Gallery

The 800-square foot permanent gallery features displays that include photographs, maps, stamps and philatelic materials that date back to 1932. A must-see to teach kids more about the rich heritage of the area and history of the Fullerton building from a fort to post office to hotel.

Don't forget to take a photo with the giant Fullerton Postmaster Bear and red pillar post box that was specially flown in from Britain!

Open daily 9am - 10pm
Free admission
Tel: +65 6557 2590

6. Buy a Fullerton Bear home

Lil Pumpkin could NOT keep her hands off this uber-cute bear once she saw it! The Fullerton Postmaster Bear gives a nod back to the hotel's history as a former general post office, but you could also get a Fullerton Bear wearing a bellhop uniform, ship captain uniform or even a Peranakan kebaya. In celebration of Singapore's 50th birthday this year, there's even a special limited edition SG50 version!

It's a sweet way to bring back a bit of the hotel back with you and when purchasing the bear, you're also doing a bit of good as each sale goes towards supporting the Mainly I Love Kids {MILK} charity.

They cost S$22 each or S$9.90 for a mini key-chain version {The Fullerton Postmaster Bear only}.

Available from The Fullerton Shop
Open daily 8am - 9pm
Tel: +65 6877 8135

7. Experience the city skyline from The Lighthouse

The Fullerton Hotel building used to also serve as a lighthouse for ships coming into Singapore to unload or refuel. The lighthouse beacon is now at Harbour Front Tower but you can still go to the roof-top where it used to sit. Ever since I went for the Singapore Lighthouses Tour I've been very interested to visit this place since it was talked about, but not covered in that walk.

The space is now converted as The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar and is an amazing venue to enjoy the sweeping panorama of the city skyline and Marina Bay waterfront while sipping on a selection of unique cocktails or dining on authentic Southern Italian cuisine.

I'd love to go back for a sweet romantic date with the boy!! ♥ 

Mon - Fri: Lunch 12 - 2pm
Mon - Sun: Dinner 6.30-10.30pm
Tel: +65 6877 8933

8. Enjoy the view from your balcony

The Lighthouse restaurant gives you a memorable view of Marina Bay, but if you don't like crowds or have babies with you, you can also make full use of your room and enjoy that same stunning view right from the comfort of your hotel room balcony.

We had the luxury of staying in the Quay side room facing Marina Bay {level 6} and loved every inch of it!!

From our firm king-sized bed to the spacious bathroom with separate bathtub {hellllloooooo bubble baths!} and shower stall to...

....the private balcony with an unblocked view of the picturesque bay, of course.

It was from here that we also managed to catch the dazzling fireworks National Day Rehearsal's dazzling fireworks display!!!

It looks much grander than previous years as we celebrate Singapore's Golden Jubilee and I'm so excited for our 50th National Day now! Watch part of the NDP2015 fireworks here if the video above isn't working.

The room is even big enough for an extra bed for Lil Pumpkin to sleep on haha and they also prepared a mini bath robe, bedroom slippers, colouring book and crayons just for her. As a child hotel guest, she also received a name-tag which allowed her the privilege of redeeming a free daily ice-cream from Town Restaurant. What a treat!  (´⌣`ʃƪ)

There's no huge kids club or fancy all-day kids activities, but these little touches still make a child feel special at the hotel too.

With Lil Pumpkin entering primary school next year, I guess we will have less time to travel overseas, and can look forward to even more of these short staycations to relax and bond as a family!

Check out the video of our Fullerton Hotel staycation, or watch it on my YouTube channel here if it isn't showing properly.

The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
1 Fullerton Square
Tel: +65 6733 8388

*Disclosure: This is a review for The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. All opinions are my own.



Kaz @ Melting Moments said...

Wow. That Hotel looks amazing. I love that it's unique and not a big chain. Your princess is growing up quickly!

Sweetday said...

Hi! Hi! My tour in Jane's Walk was also conducted by Ms Florence! It was the one of the best tours around in Singapore! It was a combination tour of the Fullerton Hotel and the Maritime Journey tour!

Love your idea of sending postcards to Lil Pumpkin! Did you buy the postcard from Fullerton or else where?

Theresa Mahoney said...

There seems to be a lot to explore in Singapore! It's always great to find fun things to do in your own back yard. I need to get out and explore my own city sometime. I am sure we'd find a lot of hidden gems we never knew existed if we just took the time to look.

mail4rosey said...

I love to hear about the history of my city too. And you're right, being a tourist in your own city can be fun!

Masshole Mommy said...

How cool that you got to see the fireworks from your hotel. It sounds like a lovely place to stay!

Lara at Charming Language said...

I've only been to Singapore once and I loved it, but I'd really like to go back again with my kids. We'll have to keep the Fullerton in mind!

Rina said...

Number 4, what a great idea :) Love it! J had dinner with his co-workers there and he said the food was superb!

Susan said...

Looks like a fantastic staycation you had there. And what a view of the fireworks right from your balcony.

Ai Sakura said...

Kaz: Yeah the uniqueness and rich history of the building makes it a very interesting place to stay :)

Sweetday: Oh I want to go back for the Maritime Journey tour too. Didn't know they have a combined one! The postcard was Fullerton but there are nearby souvenir shops too at the lobby, and opp at The Waterboathouse.

Theresa: Yup Singapore may be small, but there's still lots to discover ;)

Mail4Rosey: Enjoy being one in yours!

Masshole: It is a good time to stay there now with the fireworks!

Lara: Please come visit again!

Rina: Awesome! He must have loved the view too!

Susan: We were lucky to get the 6th floor with unblocked view :)

Grace said...

What an awesome staycation! Love that balcony view! How awesome is all that food. You sure know how to make the most of a staycation :)

An Apel a Day said...

WOW that hotel is super spacious! I love the photos you got of it. A great review!