I’m not a fan of fancy hotels. My traveling style can be summed up as sensibly budget – I don’t mind splurging on certain things like experiences or food, but hotels rarely fall into my can-splurge category.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have never done any staycation in Singapore – where hotels are notoriously expensive. While many Singapore residents seem to enjoy this activity even before the pandemic, I was never sold on the idea of paying S$400-700 a night just to stay in one of the fancy hotels in the city, when I can jet-set to Bali or Phuket instead for the same budget.
But when our borders closed up in March 2020 and remained closed even over a year later, I wavered. Then, I finally pulled the trigger: I booked a 3 days 2 nights stay at the Shang, aka Shangri-la Orchard. I picked this hotel because I had heard countless times from my friends, gushing about how family friendly they are, and how it’s the perfect hotel to bring kids along.
Without further ado, here is the full low-down on how our stay at Shangri-la Orchard went:
Booking a room at Shangri-la Orchard
You can book straight from the Shangri-la website but… who does that? Like any good frugal person, I searched for a good deal within our desired time range. Almost always, hotels are cheaper when you book through a third-party booking system.
I recommend going through booking.com as they provide option for free cancellation, which gives you some peace of mind should the situation change and you no longer want to go. Click here to book Shangri-la Orchard.
You could also check if Klook has any packages with Shangri-la Orchard, which also might give you a good rate! Click here for their Shangri-la Staycation promo page.
Which room type at Shangri-la Orchard should you book?
We booked a room at the Garden Wing with a balcony that faces the swimming pool (keep reading for review of the room itself). But, it’s worth nothing that the rooms at Garden wing can be a little dated, although it’s definitely still clean and comfortable. I mean… it WAS renovated in 2012 so it’s not exactly old.
But if you are a fan of a newer hotel rooms, you could book the Tower Wing instead, which has rooms done up in 2018. Tower wing also has themed family rooms if you want something more special for your little ones.
If you want something truly luxurious, you could go for the Valley Wing, meant for VIP and luxury travelers, complete with a private check in counter and drop off point separate from the rest of the guests. And if you remember, Shangri-la Orchard also hosted former US President Donald Trump when he visited Singapore for the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018. I suspect the valley wing is where he and his staff must have stayed.
The Service at Shangri-la Orchard
Only one word to describe the service: Impeccable. Anything we ask, they give.
Upon check in, they noticed we had arrived with a toddler and we were given goodie bags containing children shampoo and soap, toys and coloring pencils. If you are travelling with an infant, you can also request for bottle warmers and bottle sanitizer. Though during my stay they did run out of bottle warmer, but it wasn’t a big deal for us since the room came with an electric kettle.
Another good example of their hospitality is my check in experience. Upon checking in, I was informed the room was not ready despite us arriving after 3PM. To compensate for that, the staff immediately gave us a free play at Buds – which would have costed us S$18.00. I was pretty happy about that since Buds is in our itinerary and we would have paid the admission price regardless. In the end it wasn’t necessary, because as soon as I walked away from the receptionist I got the SMS saying our room was ready! So we got a free play at Buds AND we didn’t have to wait for our room.
They also kindly sent us a surprise birthday cake to the room despite me not mentioning we were actually there to celebrate a birthday. I guess they must have noticed the date of birth on our ID when we checked in.
The Room at Garden Wing of Shangri-la Orchard
As I said before, we booked a pool view deluxe room at the Garden Wing.
The room was on the 3rd floor, but because of the way the hotel is built on a hill, the room was on the same level as the lobby. To get to our room, we passed by the lush green atrium that makes the name of this wing very apt.
PS: You can also go down to Waterfall Ristorante, the pool, Splash Zone, and The Line through this garden atrium rather than going back to the lobby! There is a staircase that leads down next to the Koi pond. You can also spot the resident terrapins in the pond while you’re at it.
Deluxe room came with a king bed and a large balcony with a pool view. There were also some furnitures like a two-seater sofa and some tables, that I thought was a little awkwardly placed though it did not take away from our experience at all.
There was also a mini bar, which was empty in pandemic times, so we used it to store milk for the toddler instead. On top of the mini bar there was also a Nespresso machine with some pods and tea bags. And next to it, wardrobe with safe and ironing board.
The balcony, with its distinct scallop semi-circle shape, was the perfect place for us parents to wind down with some wine after the toddler had gone to bed. We ordered a bottle of wine from Wine Connection and got it delivered to the hotel with no issue. We just requested two wine glasses from the room service.
The deluxe room also came with a good sized bathroom, with a his and hers sink and a rain shower + bath tub, complete with an anti-slip mat which I appreciate for the toddler. We definitely used the bath tub to our heart’s content during our stay.
Overall, I’m quite happy with our deluxe room! It wasn’t the most amazing room or anything, but it was also the lowest tier room at the Shang, so I didn’t expect much.
The Food at Shangri-la Orchard
During our stay, we mostly had our meals at the hotel: breakfast at The Line, room service, and Waterfall Ristorante. You could get food delivered to the hotel if you don’t feel like having food from the hotel. It would be cheaper getting food delivered, but it’s also just so much easier ordering from the hotel.
Anyway, here are my reviews of the meals I had at Shangri-la Orchard:
Breakfast at The Line
The Line is Shangri-la’s main restaurant. If you had booked your room with breakfast, it would be served at The Line.
Located between the pool and the lobby, The Line gets a lot of foot traffic. My stay was during the pandemic, so we had to book a time slot for our breakfast. And it was kinda hard to book a good time slot – any time slots 7-10AM were quickly booked. Although when we rocked up late to our booking, they still seated us anyway without much fuss.
Because of the pandemic, the breakfast buffet was also served per order – you scan a QR code on the table, which brings up a web app where you can order freely from and then once you’ve sent your order, the dishes will be brought straight to your table. I wonder if real buffet will ever be a thing again?
We also had to sit separately since at that time only 2 people are allowed to dine in, but the restaurant was good about putting us at a table next to each other so we were still able to kind of eat breakfast together. I also noted that there is a toddler during my slot booking, and when I arrived, there was already a high chair and a kids plate + utensil on our table.
I think the food at The Line was pretty standard for a hotel buffet. You have the usual local and western breakfast options. Some of the dishes doesn’t seem very fresh – like the bacon was not hot or crispy, but overall still edible. We ordered the western breakfast (eggs, hash brown, etc), all of which was customizable to your liking) as well as some local options like macaroni soup. My toddler mostly ate boiled eggs and yogurt so it was pretty easy for us.
Service was super fast – I did not have to wait more than 5 minutes on any of the dishes I ordered. I also loved that because I had indicated we have a baby, they already had baby chair and utensils waiting in our assigned table.
Room Service at Shangri-la Orchard
We tried room service for our first dinner after we checked in. For 2 adults + 1 toddler and no drinks, the bill was a staggering $96 (after tax and service) so it was not exactly cheap, but I also think that’s to be expected from a room service? I ordered the fish and chips, while my husband ordered the wagyu burger. I also ordered macaroni bolognese from the kids meal for my toddler.
My toddler unfortunately did not approve of the kids meal – he spat out the macaroni right away, so he ended up eating my fish and chips (I just gave him the meaty fish part without batter) and I ended up finishing HIS meal, which I thought was actually really good! I have to note that I do have a picky eater so it wasn’t surprising that he rejected the meal, but I ordered chicken fried rice from the kids menu for him for another meal, and thankfully he did approve of that one.
Room Service was super fast – I don’t think we waited more than 30 minutes for our meals.
My sister came to baby sit one of the nights (bless her), so we ducked out to check out Waterfall Ristorante, the other restaurant by the pool opposite from The Line. And I’m so glad we did! We got the 4-course dinner, which we thought was a steal at $58++ per person.
I thought the main of the 4-course dinner was pretty average but everything else was very delicious. My favorite part of the meal? I LOVED the Pana Cotta! Super creamy and tasty. I’m glad I picked that over the gelato.
Other restaurants at Shangri-la Orchard
- The Rose Veranda
- Shang Palace
- Origin Grill
- NAMI Restaurant & Bar
- The Lobby Lounge
The Amenities at Shangri-la Orchard
Here is one huge tip: As soon as you get to your hotel during pandemic, IMMEDIATELY book a slot for amenities and breakfast. I found the amenities were really difficult to book despite us staying on a weekday – Our stay was Sunday to Tuesday.
My toddler still does one nap in the afternoon, so I had to work around his nap time in addition to the limited time slots and possibility of rain (July is south-west monsoon season in Singapore). In the end, I did manage to book all of the amenities I wanted to try, because I’m super kiasu and booked the second we got into our room. But I think if I had waited to book, then we might not be able to enjoy all the amenities.
By the way, on the first sign of a thunder, they WILL close down the outdoor activities – meaning: the swimming pool and splash zone will be closed, even if it’s not actually raining. So do your best to avoid booking time slots with higher chance of rain to avoid disappointment.
The Swimming Pool
Out of all the amenities, the pool was the most difficult to book during our stay. All of the day time slots were pretty much booked. We managed to get a random slot right before sunset and a slot the next day at 8am. Those slots ended up being really good as it was the few time slots without rain!
On a first glance, the swimming pool seems basic. It just has the main pool and a small kiddie pool with fountain, surrounded by pool-side lounge seats. You can order some food and drinks by the pool. They will give you (warm) towels as you are entering the pool so you don’t need to worry about bringing the room towel.
To my surprise, my toddler LOVED the swimming pool the best, specifically the fountain area… yes, even more than Splash Zone. He entertained himself for a full hour during our allotted pool time and I had to literally drag him out kicking and screaming by the end of it.
Splash is located at the back of the hotel, and it is extremely popular with kids. I think this area is best for kids 4-10 years old, because the attractions are more for older kids. But, there is a calmer area for smaller children too. Similar to the pool, they will also give you towels!
Buds by Shangri-la
Buds is the in-house indoor play area in Shangri-la Orchard, and it includes things like ball pit, slides, a gym area where they can climb around, a music room, a painting room and a soft play area for smaller kids.
I thought Buds was a great way to spend time with your toddler while you’re here, but I didn’t think it’s anything special given that there are so many similar indoor playground all around Singapore. In fact, Buds is on the smaller side if you compare it to other playgrounds in Singapore. However, admission to Buds costs only S$18 for 90 minutes, which is way cheaper than other indoor playgrounds.
- The Gym
- Chi the Spa
- Tennis Court
- Squash Court
It was a nice get away for sure. While Shangri-la Orchard is located in the middle of the city and only a mere 10-15 minutes drive from my actual place of residence, it still felt distinctly away from home.
And, Shangri-la Orchard definitely lived up to their fine reputation of being a super family-friendly hotel! Everything was super easy and Shangri-la definitely understand that one of their strength is the fact that they are kids friendly. So if you’re looking for a nice staycation experience with your little ones, you really can’t go wrong with Shangri-la Orchard.
As for me, I’m not sure if I’d do another staycation again since it’s really just not my jam. We stayed for 3D2N and I got bored of the hotel on the second day. But if the border stays closed… I might just have to do it again.
If you are keen to go, recommend booking through booking.com as they provide option for free cancellation, which gives you some peace of mind should the situation change and you no longer want to go. Click here to book Shangri-la Orchard.