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The Low Down
Can it get any more central than the Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre? Nope. Without being thrown smack bang in the middle of the Orchard Road hustle and bustle and walking into crowds as soon as you exit the lobby - this is exactly what you need if you want to be close, but not in your face close.
Tucked in the quiet back streets of Orchard Road, behind Centrepoint Mall, the hotel is a short walk away from MRT (subway) stations - Somerset and Dhoby Gaut.
Singapore's famed attractions, like Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay are only a brisk 25-minute train ride away.
Is Gardens by the Bay on your Singapore itinerary? Save the hassle, grab your tickets in advance and save.
An ideal base for leisure and business travellers alike, the hotel caters for solos, couples, as well as families. For us, it ticked all the most important boxes when it comes down to travelling with kids.
Pool? Yas. Buffet breakfast? Mmhm. Kid-friendly? Thumbs up. Location? Just, perf.
Spacious Rooms for Kids to Run Amuck
Okay, other than our Premier King Room being pure luxury - I'm going to jump into the highlight of our stay at Holiday Inn since we're a family of tech heads and this literally defined our stay.
Say G'day to the Handy Mobile. Seriously, why don't all hotels offer this? Freakin' genius.
Take it with you as you explore the array of malls, gardens, and zoos that Singapore has to offer. What makes Handy even, well, more 'handy'? You'll receive discounted entry to attractions, such as, the Singapore Zoo which we used to save a bangin' $5 per adult on entry at the time.
Want to book in advance? Skip the queue and pre-purchase your discounted Singapore Zoo tickets.
But, I'm not even done talking about this room feature yet. While it comes with every room at the Holiday Inn Orchard City Centre, it's complimentary and also offers unlimited web browsing and calls in 10 countries. I mean, for real - this completely saves the hassle of you trying to hop around phone service providers in a foreign country attempting to find a prepaid sim card for the duration of your stay.
The only thing you have to worry about is, well, don't lose it. 'Cause you kind of have to pay for it.
Let's get back to the rooms, well, let's just say that we were completely rapt at the size of the rooms right after arriving from the compact-sized hotel rooms we were squeezed into in Japan. Being able to traverse around the hotel room and have the kids sprawl their toys on the ground felt like absolute liberation.
The hotel also offers cable TV with kids' channels (a saviour for when we needed to get some work done), free WiFi in rooms and public areas, wake up calls (not that you need one if you have kids), and microwave rental for late night snacks (for all my hangry folk out there) or when you need to heat up baby food.
What got me was the bathroom. I mean, do you ever come across this much bench space around the sink? No. You really don't. This is a rare sight, and behold - for you need to savour all the space that you can litter your toiletries and make-up onto, for you probably won't come across this much bathroom surface space again. Like, ever.
It's the Little Things That Count
Because, sometimes in life, it's the small thoughts that leave a mark on our hearts. Wow. That was deep. I don't usually go all Socrates, but the Holiday Inn's efforts in putting the kids first really did touch my heart.
I mean, we've stayed at our fair share of hotels which claimed to be family friendly. Not that they aren't, but none were so thoughtful as to give us colouring packs and pencils to keep restless kids occupied. It was just what we needed, considering we forgot to bring drawing materials of any kind for the kiddos. Life saver.
Upon entering our room, we stumbled upon a baby care pack that consisted of shampoo, lotion, talcum powder, toothpaste, and more. I was literally standing in front of it holding my hands to my heart 'cause, you know, so touching they thought of that.
But, the thing that sold me (other than the Handy smartphone) was the fact that kids get to stay and eat for free (see terms and conditions), which means that there's no extra charge for your little ones staying in the same room, and, if you eat at one of the hotel's restaurants - they won't be charged either! Like every other tightass human in the world, they totally had me at "free".
Scrumptious Buffet Breakfast & Indian Cuisine
What's a hotel stay without a buffet breakfast? An incomplete one. It's like a half empty glass. A Ying without a Yang. A lion without a mane. Tea without a cup. Okay, you get my drift.
Not gonna lie - buffet breakfasts fill my soul with joy and fuel my body with the energy required for a long day of sightseeing adventures. Even more so now travelling with kids, it makes the morning process so much more seamless when you don't have to worry about small children wailing at you in desperate hunger.
The buffet breakfast served at Window on the Park on the second floor offers specialties from all corners of the world - Continental, English, Indian and Asian - rest assured, you'll know that all bases will be covered when it comes to finding food that the whole family is inclined to eat.
Whatever you do, don't forego a hearty lunch or dinner at Singapore's most awarded Indian restaurant - Tandoor, conveniently located on the lower ground floor of the hotel.
I know. I know. You don't immediately think to get your tastebuds in on some Indian food when you're in Singapore, considering the abundance of amazing hawker food that's readily available. But, if you do happen to crave something a little more exotic and packed with spice, then Tandoor is not-to-be-missed.
We were super lucky to be introduced to some of restaurant's specialties, like the Mango Curry from India's Mangalore region (a dish so rare that it'll be considered a miracle if you stumble upon it anywhere else in the country), Zaituni Naan topped with olives, and the Chicken Tikka that is a downright flavour bomb.
Unwind at the Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi & Gym
Singapore's weather is Mother Nature PMSing at her finest. There's no other way to describe it.
It was late May when we visited, although technically not wet season (some locals have told us there is no designated rain season), it certainly felt like we landed in the middle of a torrential downpour.
HOT TIP: The weather is pretty hard to predict in Singapore - do bring an umbrella with you to avoid getting drenched like we did. Or, you could always get this family pack of emergency ponchos for your travels.
The sun did decide to make a guest appearance on our last day (literally 3 hours before our flight), that's when we thought it wise to pay the pool upstairs a friendly visit.
Man, did we miss out.
Not that I care much for the gym because I much prefer the exercise of putting food into my mouth, but I did feel an overwhelming sensation of fomo over the fact that we did not get to bask in the bubbly waters of the jacuzzi.
Alongside the jacuzzi, there's also a lap pool and kids' pool, making it perfectly catered for, pretty much, everyone.
HOT TIP: Take advantage of the weather in the morning (usually sunnier than later in the day) to dip in the pool or soak in some sunshine, as the storm clouds usually tend to surface in the afternoon.
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre: The Wrap Up
Alright, look, I hyperventilate at the word 'free'.. so, when I hear that kids get to stay and eat for free - that's a clear winner in my eyes.
But, if the Handy smartphone and Mango Curry didn't win you over, then there's probably little in life that will. I mean, delectable food and a free phone packed with discounts to some of the best sights in Singapore - could you possibly ask for more in life? No. I don't think so.
If you're travelling with little minions in tow, then this is potentially one of the best hotels in Singapore for families. With plenty of leisure activities for the kids, you can be assured that after a long day of chowing down street food, sights, and shopping, they'll be sufficiently entertained back at the hotel.
But most importantly, you don't need to be a family to enjoy all the facilities it has to offer. With 11 fully equipped meeting rooms and a business centre, it's also the perfect place to seal business deals or hold events.
Solos, couples, families and business travellers alike, your stay at this hotel will definitely leave a mark that will have you returning on your next trip back to Singapore.
Travelling with wild little ones? Here are some of my best tips.
If you're afflicted by the travel bug and always planning your next adventure - I've got a lil somethin' for ya:
- Get $15 USD off your hotel reservation on Booking.com
- $29 USD Airbnb travel credit when you sign up and book your first stay
To stalk the #SquatFam (aka Hangry Squad) more closely, you can find us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. We promise to deliver fun with value because, really, I'm just a 5-year old trapped in an adult body.