You wouldn’t think that luxury and children go hand in hand, would you? But at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, younger guests get to live it up with special treats and enriching activities under the Ritz Kids programme. We find out how when the hotel invites us over for a staycation.
“This is the best check-in ever!” gush my boys when they see the treats laid out for them in the Family Rooms at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore. They make a beeline for the milk and cookies laid out in a tic-tac-toe manner, watched over by the Ritz-Carlton’s very own in-house rubber duckie.
These nibbles are part of the welcome in-room amenities for children, hand-crafted by the hotel chefs (you might get ‘agar agar’ jelly enhanced with Asian fruit or even mini edible books of ‘kueh lapis’). They’re a lovely way to welcome young guests between four and 12 years old.
On the coffee tables are arrival folders and activity books encouraging children to explore and discover the hotel and their environment. These are part of a new Ritz Kids children’s programme that started in December 2013 through a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.
Created by Ocean Futures Society exclusively for The Ritz-Carlton, these activities are crafted upon four key pillars that call to a child’s innate love of discovery and sense of curiosity:
Water – Emphasising the importance of sea life and health.
Land – Encouraging exploration and discovery.
Environmental Responsibility – Promoting the environmental health of our planet for the future.
Culture – Exposing young minds to a variety of art forms, including music, local customs and history, as well as cuisine.
The appeal is immediate. After the requisite oohing and aahing at the view of Marina Bay and the city skyline, the boys get busy. The sticker-pasting activity may be a tad simple for older children, but it is engaging enough to keep my five- and eight-year-olds occupied for a while.
ROOMS & AMENITIES
The Ritz-Carlton’s Family Rooms are two connecting Marina Deluxe rooms (from S$1,283 taxes excluded per room) for families who like the luxury of space while being in close proximity with access to each other. Each room can sleep two adults and three children under the age of 12 (with a roll-away bed). The Family Rooms are often in high demand, so do request for them in advance.
Do note that the rooms do not have inter-connecting doors per se. The two rooms have their own entrance foyer whose door can be locked. Hence the separate room doors can be left open with safe access from one room to the other.
Each 549 sqft room offers a splendid view of Marina Bay from its wall-to-wall picture window. Imagine waking up to such a gorgeous tableau! The boys perch happily on their bayfront seat, trying to recognise buildings and waterfront icons, watching water traffic, and looking out for planes and helicopters in the air.
Like adult guests, the younger ones are pampered when it comes to amenities. There are luxuriously thick and soft child-sized bathrobes from Frette for them, bath and grooming kits, and mini-me bath slippers. An Ikea step-stool is another thoughtful touch – little ones can easily reach the sink! Children under four years of age will also receive a mini Ritz Kids canvas tote bag with a baby bib, rubber duck, and bath amenities. For the tiniest ones, a baby crib can be set up in the room.
AROUND THE HOTEL
The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore’s location in the vibrant Marina Bay precinct means that there is a smorgasbord of activity for families to enjoy around the area, should they decide not to closet themselves indoors throughout their stay. (And with young children, you know you will need to get out and about at some point!)
The Gardens By The Bay and its new Children’s Garden are a short taxi ride away (about S$5-6). The kids get hot and sweaty climbing, bouncing, and hanging in the sensory playground (complete with a 7.5m-tall treehouse!) designed to enhance their physical and cognitive abilities, then cool off by running in and out of water tunnels at the spectacular water play area.
Urban adventurers may prefer to explore the Marina area. The Ritz-Carlton has its own Marina Bay Discovery Trail Guidebook that families can use as a guide for a day out on the Bay. Put together by the ladies and gentlemen of the concierge, this hour-long walking tour is a popular family activity which takes guests around the Marina Bay, highlighting iconic Singapore attractions in the area like the ArtScience Museum, the Singapore City Gallery, and Marina Bay Sands. Let the kids snap pictures of themselves with each attraction. Upon your return to the hotel, the concierge will help you to print the photos out to put into the guidebook’s photo slots, making it a perfect souvenir of your stay.
Did you know that the hotel, with 4,200 art pieces valued at S$5 million altogether, is also home to one of the finest corporate modern art collections in Southeast Asia? Older children may be more interested in the hotel’s complimentary self-guided art tour podcast but it’s a great way to introduce younger ones to art as well. The podcast, at 28 minutes, is short enough for little ones to focus on until the end as they are led through a veritable museum of modern masters like Frank Stella, Dale Chihuly, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, and Henry Moore.
FOOD AND MORE
The boys wake early the next morning, eager to enjoy their luxury home away from home. Breakfast at The Greenhouse is an exercise in restraint but holidays are meant for indulging, aren’t they? There’s a fabulous 25-metre pool and a well-equipped fitness centre to work it all out later, if you are so inclined.
We heed the pool’s siren call and escape Singapore’s heat and humidity for a while. The pool is blissfully cool. Lush landscaping around the hotel mutes the noises outside. For a couple of hours more, as the boys frolic blissfully in the water, it really seems as if we are far and away, on a real resort holiday.
BOOK-A-STAY THIS JUNE
This June, the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is launching Book-A-Stay, a staycation package in which guests are encouraged to donate their pre-loved children’s storybooks when they check in. In line with Community Footprints, the hotel’s social and environmental responsibility programme, the books collected will be donated to several children’s organisations in Singapore to inspire young children to cultivate good reading habits. Guests will receive a limited edition Ritz-Carlton bookmark with every book donated, and the hotel will match each book donation with another book.
This school holiday package includes a night’s stay in a deluxe room, buffet breakfast for two adults, SGD 50 hotel credit per stay (which can be used to offset the cost of your children’s breakfast), and one exclusive Ritz-Carlton Lion Beanie. Children from four to 12 years of age will also enjoy Ritz Kids privileges including a handcrafted in-room amenity, a personalised arrival activity folder, a complimentary “ice-cream pass” and more.
From $460 (subject to 10 percent service charge and prevailing government taxes) for Book-A-Stay, available from 1-30 June 2014. For reservations call 6434 5118 or email email@example.com Prices are accurate at press time. Some pictures courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.