Travel writer: Melissa Foo
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Sentosa Island? For someone who has never set foot on Singapore’s most popular island resort, I can gladly say that my first experience is definitely one where expectations and reality were aligned (in a good way). We hopped on the earliest AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and managed to get to our hotel in Resorts World Sentosa by 9.30 a.m. For those who prefer to start exploring immediately without worrying about checking into the hotel early, there are plenty of activities to choose from; key attractions include the Universal Studios Singapore theme park, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and S.E.A. Aquarium – all housed within Resorts World Singapore itself. Here is a breakdown and main highlights from our short 2-day getaway in Resorts World Sentosa:
Day 1 – Hotel Michael, S.E.A. Aquarium, ESPA st Resorts World Sentosa and OSIA Steak and Seafood Grill
Hotel Michael is one of Resorts World Sentosa’s nine hotels, each catering to a unique theme for various types of visitors. I would say that Hotel Michael is reasonably comfortable for both business and leisure travellers alike. All of the hotels are inter-connected within the main resort itself, making it extremely convenient to sample the wide range of dining options and key attractions available.
We grabbed an early lunch at Sessions Restaurant in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore. Even after converting SGD to MYR, the Chilli Crab we ordered turned out to be slightly cheaper than its equivalent in KL with even juicier and meatier flesh to boot. Although we would have preferred the ‘gravy’ to spicier with more ‘oomph’, the overall freshness of the seafood made up for it. After lunch, we made our way to S.E.A. Aquarium where we spent most of the afternoon being in awe and fascination with the marine life contained in one of the world’s largest aquarium (by total water volume), categorised into 10 zones with 49 habitats.
Station yourself in front of the aquarium’s centrepiece, the ‘Open Ocean tank’ and you will find this to be a suitable alternative to people watching with an added effect of being suspended on the ocean floor. There are over 50,000 animals including the world’s largest collection of manta rays and an impressive selection of dolphins, sharks and unusual marine species like the guitarfish. Our favourite exhibit had to be the jellyfish and sea dragon habitats.
In the evening, we took a shuttle to ESPA in Equarius Hotel where we enjoyed a one-hour 60 minute personalised massage (S$200), which is on the pricier side comparatively. Any 60-minute treatment at ESPA will grant you access to the spa’s facilities which includes Singapore’s first Turkish Hammam, Vitality Pools, Forest Onsen-style Pools, Rock Saunas, Crystal Steam Rooms, and gym.
We had dinner at Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, a one-Michelin star restaurant, and shared a 300gm dry aged Black Angus beef tenderloin with herb butter and red wine sauce, grilled tiger prawns, flat bread with macadamia ricotta, and for desserts – hot chocolate soup with black peppered ice cream and macadamia soufflé with sour cream ice cream. The highlight for me was definitely the tenderloin as it was grilled to perfection, whilst retaining the juices of the meat and it paired really well with the red wine sauce.
Day 2 – Universal Studios Singapore & TrollsTopia (9th March – 29th April 2018)
The Universal Studios Singapore Theme Park opens at 10 am every day and it is a common sight to see crowds of people queuing up outside the gates, especially on weekends and public holidays. Do get the Universal Express ticket as it allows you to skip the queues for majority of the rides. Once you enter the park, do get a copy of the park’s map/layout and daily timetable (updated every day) for performances, character meet and greet, and live shows.
The Universal Express pass can be obtained at the Guest Services counter at the park’s entrance where the minimum rate is S$30 for the Regular Pass (one express ride at each attraction) and S$50 Unlimited Pass (unlimited rides in the express lane). Parents, kids, ‘kidults’ and fans of Trolls the movie will rejoice to know that the park is currently featuring TrollsTopia between 9th March to 29th April 2018 with the following Event Highlights:
• Glitterpalooza – dive into this glitter-filled dance party box and get your best pose and dance moves ready while you catch confetti. You’ll also stand a chance to win exciting prizes!
• TrollsTopia show – Find your happy place with the citizens of TrollsTopia as they celebrate the coronation of their new Trolls Queen Poppy. If you loved the Trolls soundtrack, don’t miss this live performance at the park’s main stage at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. daily.
• Trollify yourself – Brighten up your appearance and experience the ultimate ‘Trollification’ i.e makeover with face paint, glitter and make-up complete with colourful Trolls wigs before snapping your Trolls-selfie.
• VR Troll Art – Immerse yourself in the Trolls-inspired virtual world with the help of state-of-the-art VR goggles. Create customised 3D virtual art and bring home your very own unique souvenir from Universal Studios.
• VR Beat Feat – Dance to the rhythm and bop to the beats of Trolls tunes and harmonies in this spectacular Virtual Reality world.
Universal Studios Singapore consists of seven zones; Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, and Madagascar. We went for quite a number of rides within each zone with our top picks being the Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon, followed by Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Human vs Cylon is the world’s highest duelling roller coaster ride standing tall at 42.5m where Cylon, an inverted roller coaster (imagine dangling feet and flying flip flops) travelling at a maximum of 82 km/h and Human, a traditional seated roller coaster with a top speed of 90km/h will leave you with a light head, wobbly knees and the sensation of your heart pumping out of your chest for at least 5 minutes.
For additional thrill factor, sit in the front row for the best ‘view’ this ride has to offer! We even enjoyed the junior rollercoasters – Enchanted Airways and Puss in Boots’ Giant Journey, both located in the Far Far Away section. As for the live performances, Waterworld is worth allocating 30 minutes of your day for. If you grew up in the 90’s, you will appreciate this show with a tinge of nostalgia as you witness a Kevin Costner lookalike riding a Jet Ski and jumping out of exploding props in a post-apocalyptic set mimicking scenes of the original movie. If you are particularly about water remnants, grab a seat at the back of the audience or risk the chance of being splashed if you prefer being closer to where the actions is.
Alternatively, schedule to watch this show before or after the Jurassic Rapids Adventure as there is a 95% chance of you getting 50% soaked on this fun ride as well. Other notable mentions include Lights, Camera, Action! Hosted by Steven Spielberg – a sound stage equipped with special effects simulating a major hurricane in New York City and do stay around for some up-beat tunes and choreography performed by Mel’s Dinettes at Mel’s Drive-in.
We made one more pit stop at Rock Bar, Hard Rock Hotel for three of their WIP cocktails (targeted to launch next month); my favourite being the Open Sesame, a classic cosmopolitan with a twist and a hint of roasted sesame syrup – what a great way to wrap up a short and fun getaway!
Melissa Foo is a glorified Quality Assurance Manager with a not-so-enviable 9-5 job, who still dreams of being an urbanite once in a while. She kills her time experimenting in the kitchen, inconsistently practicing yoga, and discovering obscure movies. Occasionally, she and her husband travel for leisure to make up for lost time in the future (when life gets more serious and you wish you had travelled more).
P/S: She is also a walking Shazam.
Find her on Instagram @mellymellyfoo