With our travel plans derailed for the past year, a lot of us are sorely missing that thrill of jetsetting away from our daily grind for a well-deserved break. Even if it means just to neighbouring Malaysia!
Truth to be told, I’m still slightly bitter about it — because we were planning an epic trip to the US that is nearly impossible now. Alas, living on a tiny red dot also means there’s also a lack of places to go for a quick break. For us Singaporeans, travelling has become one of our biggest respites from the workaholic culture we’re used to.
As exciting as overseas trips can be, I’d admit that sometimes we return more tired than well-rested. Shopping the entire Chatuchak, exploring the streets of Tokyo the whole day before collapsing wearily back at the hotel… Sound familiar?
Rather than whine about how we still can’t travel, we have a better idea: plan a wellness weekend to recharge your soul. Right here in Singapore.
Imagine an entire weekend of complete unplugging, play and relaxation — dedicated to your well-being. Turn off your phones and leave your digital devices behind. If you can, take the entire week off even — very much like a sabbatical.
Here’s our version of our tropical island wellness weekend itinerary, but feel free to go crazy and do YOU.
Day 0: Book your Wellness Weekend staycay.
We know by now that we’ve all got $100 of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers to use, valid till June 30, 2021. Singapore Tourism Board has specified five authorized booking partners — Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Klook, Traveloka and Trip.com — so make sure you click on these for bookings!
Our pick: The Barracks Hotel Sentosa
Housed in a beautiful colonial building, The Barracks Hotel is a heritage hideaway from the hustle and bustle of life. The serene location, fitted exclusively with just 40 suite and premier rooms, is the perfect idyllic spot for a pampering wellness weekend. Footfall will be much lower as compared to the larger hotel chains, so it’d almost be like a quiet personal oasis.
The grounds of the boutique luxury hotel are designed for quiet contemplation — and it’s just what we need. Stretch out on one of those lounge chairs with a good book or go for a dip in the pool. Whatever strikes your fancy.
SingapoRediscover (SRV) vouchers are available for use for the Premier Room stay, which includes breakfast for two at The Living Room, lounge access with all-day refreshments and evening cocktails and canapes and $50 dining credit per room. Prices start from $740 nett. Book here.
Day 1: Saturday — Reset; recalibrate.
6:30 A.M. | Sunrise hike at Labrador Nature Reserve
Forget everything you know and begin again. This Wellness Weekend, it’s not about falling back into old patterns but breaking out of them for tremendous feel-good effects. You’d return from it feeling fresh, energized and focused.
Start Day One super early — before sunrise. Before you start protesting intensely that you’re not a morning person, hold up! The idea here is to try and break out of our usual routines and patterns.
It’s not that routines are bad, but doing things by habit in itself, can cut us off from being in tune with our feelings. In fact, some research shows that people responded agree strongly to “In general, I like to do the same things each day” were more likely to report anxiety and depression. Going through the motions can be secure, organized and efficient, but it could also close us off to feelings of awe, curiosity, excitement and creativity.
Watching the sunrise as the world wakes can be quite something, too. And one of the best places to catch the yolk rising is at Labrador Nature Reserve, known as one of the city’s most scenic seaside walks.
Here, you can soak in views of Singapore’s coastlines, cliff sides and perhaps even spot wildlife like the Oriental Magpie Robin and Black-naped Oriole.
If you are driving, drive all the way in to Carpark C. When we were there, it was just shy of 7am and the drive in was eerily quiet. Don’t worry, once we reached the carpark, it was all good as there was light from the port.
We took the path that led us to Dragon’s Teeth gate, basked in the sunrise and meandered along the coastline to the Bukit Chermin boardwalk. It was a beautiful experience and we would highly recommend it!
Just make sure you sleep early the night before. Especially if you are not a morning person.
Labrador Nature Reserve — Coastal Walk
Labrador Villa Road, Singapore 119187
7am to 7pm daily
9:30 A.M. | Breakfast at Prive @ Keppel Bay
By now, we’ve worked up a hearty appetite and it’s time to reward ourselves. Head to Prive @ Keppel Bay for breakfast by the marina.
Try their award-winning vegan Plant Power Breakfast, it’s quite yummy. With avocado, tofu scramble, and even a vegan chorizo, this plate is so satisfying and suitable for non-vegans too.
Chill out with a second cuppa latte — non-caffeinated ones like the Beetroot Soy Latte, $6 and Turmeric-Ginger Latte, $6 are available. The Turmeric-Ginger Latte had that delicious kick of spice we were expecting, but the Beetroot Latte fell short of expectations so we wouldn’t recommend it.
The best part about Prive’s beverages is that you can opt for plant-based milk like soy or oat milk — completely free! That’s a steal, considering how you have to add $1 for plant-based options everywhere else.
Take a leisurely stroll along the marina all the way to Keppel Bridge after breakfast. Keppel Bay was one of the main passages for ships travelling from the Straits of Malacca to the South China Sea in the past. Today, it is home to hundreds of yachts and also feature renowned residential architecture, the iconic Reflections at Keppel Bay.
Prive @ Keppel Bay
2 Keppel Bay Vista Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore 098382
9am to 10:30pm daily
12 P.M. | CHI The Spa at Shangri-La
By now, the sun’s ablazing. Head to Shangri-La’s award-winning Chi, The Spa for a rejuvenating session that will revitalize your mind and body.
Try the Chi Jewel (90 min), $198++ that is a traditional Ayurvedic wellness treatment for deep relaxation and expelling toxins. It comprises Marma Point Back Massage (30 min), Warm Oil on Forehead and Scalp Massage (30 min) and a Hand and Foot Massage (30 min).
If you’re looking to pamper yourself, add on a Detoxifying Moor Mud Wrap (60min), $148++ to soothe dull skin and emerge fresh and zen. Book your treatment three days in advance to enjoy 15% off. Book here.
Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La Hotel
101 Siloso Road, Singapore 098970
10am to 9pm daily
3 P.M. | The Barracks Hotel Singapore: Check-in and enjoy a leisurely Champagne Afternoon Tea
Check in to your room, draw a bath and soak in pleasure with Atkinsons 1799 luxury toiletries.
… and get ready for an afternoon tea session with free-flow bubblies at The Living Room at the hotel!
The 3-tier afternoon tea set, $128 nett for two pax, consists of sweet and savoury treats are available for hotel guests only. Pick from a selection of unique tea blends — and even create your own.
The Barracks Hotel Sentosa
2 Gunner Lane, Sentosa Island
5 P.M. | Sunset cruise on Royal Albatross
At dusk, set sail on the Royal Albatross — a superyacht that combines modern technology with the romance of traditional sailing. Indulge in a romantic sunset dinner on the deck and watch the skyline awash with dazzling streaks as the sun sets beyond the horizon.
It’s a beautiful experience with your significant other, as you bask in the sea breeze and each other’s company, soaking in the mesmerizing skyline.
Start off with the mini baguette/brioche roll served with butter to whet your appetite. For the appetizer, pick either the escabeche of octopus and prawn appetizer or burrata salad. There are four options to pick from for your main course — Cajun Chicken, Pan Seared Barramundi, Oven-baked Portobello Mushroom or Oven-baked Lasagna. End off the meal on a sweet ending with Petit Fours, a medley of caramel tart, vanilla crème brulee and macaron. SRV vouchers are also available for use here.
The package costs $208.65 for one person. Book on Klook.
8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
5pm to 7:30pm; Sunset cruises only available on weekends.
8 P.M. | Dessert at table65
If you have room for more dessert yet, head to the adventurous table 65 to sample their award-winning, most-Instagrammable dessert Apple. What appears to be an apple core sits in a transparent dome that’s made of blown sugar, atop a bed of puff pastry.
The brainchild of Dutch chef Richard van Oostenbruggae of Michelin-starred restaurant 212 in Amsterdam and Thomas Groot, table 65 prides themselves as a no-pretense fine-casual dining restaurant.
26 Sentosa Gateway, Hotel Michael #01-104/105
6pm to 9:30pm; Tuesdays to Saturdays
Day 2: Sunday — Reflect; recharge.
6 A.M. | Morning swim
Let your early riser vibes live on: wake at 6am for a leisurely morning stroll around the beautiful hotel grounds — or go for a morning swim. Some research found that morning exercise had an increased metabolic response in skeletal muscle as compared to evening exercises.
Another perk of waking up so early is that you’d probably have the whole pool to yourself. Clock in a morning swim just as the world starts to stir, and have that precious, quiet time all to yourself.
7 A.M. | Morning journalling
Turn inwards, focus on how you are feeling. Have you been overworking yourself at the expense of your health? Reflect on the things that make you happy.
If you’d like to reflect on 2020 and plan for 2021, here’s our New Year Journalling Worksheet you can download. Inside, there are 50 intentional journaling prompts that can help you set intentions for the year if you haven’t done so.
8 A.M. | Hotel breakfast
It’s time to put some food in the belly! Scrumptious breakfast food at that. Head down to The Living Room for a breakfast you deserve and some much needed coffee.
10 A.M. | Treetop Trek at Fort Siloso Skywalk
After breakfast, head to the nearby Fort Siloso Skywalk for a scenic treetop trek that’s just a short 5-min drive away. Towering 11-storeys high and stretching 181-metres long, take a leisurely walk at the Skywalk trail surrounded by greenery to digest your meal.
It’s also a heritage site rich in WWII history. Explore the Surrender Chambers and check out fortified military tunnels and structures.
Siloso Point, Siloso Road, Singapore 099981
9am to 6pm daily
12 P.M. | The Barracks Hotel: Check out + Ola Beach Club
Good things must come to an end. Soak in one last sweeping view of The Barracks Hotel and head to Ola Beach Club for a light lunch by the beach.
Sandy beaches and palm trees. Serious Hawaiian vibes going on here, and we all but revel in the true spirit of wanderlust. Try the Ahi Poke, $20 and knock back a few of their Tiki-themed cocktails in one of their beachfront cabanas. Beach bumming heaven.
If you’re up for some adrenaline-pumping water sports, Ola Beach Club offers a multitude of them — kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, donut rides, jetpacking, and more. Just remember to slap on sunblock. SingapoRediscover vouchers available for use too. Book here.
Ola Beach Club
46 Siloso Beach Walk, Singapore 099005
9am to 9pm daily
3 P.M. | Muse over art at Gillman Barracks
It’s time to bid goodbye to the state of fun and head to Gillman Barracks — Singapore’s visual arts precinct. Set in a historic former military barracks that dates back to 1936, it’s a place for the curious-minded.
Sciascia’s exhibition explores material and motific forms of light and features works made from volcanic sand, quartz and fossiled amber, taking us through a historic journey of evolution.
9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
Check the timings of individual exhibitions here.
5 P.M. | Ice-cream at Creamier
For a lovely tea break, head on to Creamier Handcrafted Ice-cream and Coffee. Indulge in freshly baked waffles and deliciously creamy scoops of artisanal ice-cream that’s produced by hand in small batches.
Creamier Handcrafted Ice-cream and Coffee
Gillman Barracks, 5A Lock Road, Singapore 108927
12 to 10pm; Tuesdays to Sundays
7 P.M. | Dinner at Hopscotch
The Hopscotch Bar is known for their local spin on tipples, paired with a delicious food menu focused on food to perfection.
They also have refreshing, velvety cocktails that pay a quirky tribute to Singapore’s nostalgic food culture, like The Ice Man and Black & White (served with muah chee!).
Gillman Barracks, 45 Malan Road, Singapore 109455
5 to 10:30pm daily
9 P.M. | Gratitude Journalling at home
It’s time to head back to home sweet home. At home, change into your comfiest PJs, put on a small pot of that sleepy tea and start winding down your wellness weekend with gratitude journaling.
Studies have found that this simple practice of counting your blessings can go a long way to help you live a happier, healthier life. The benefits are powerful and can be immediate — it can even help you sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety.
Thank yourself for the wellness weekend you’ve made time for and ground yourself in the things and people you feel blessed with — and you’d enter the new week with renewed, unstoppable vigour.
The ach editorial team is based in Singapore and we’re here to give you real tips and resources on how to lead a life that is #BusybutWell. Holistic well-being for the mind, body and spirit is the name of the game. Join our exclusive ach club for a dose of well-being straight to your inbox weekly.