My review of W Singapore- Sentosa Cove
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Whilst the pandemic has brought travel plans to a standstill, Singaporeans can still take a much-needed break from working life with a relaxing staycation.
To get as far away from the concrete jungle as possible, I chose W Singapore − situated all the way inside the residential enclave of Sentosa Cove.
To be honest, I did have reservations about doing a staycation when I went during Phase 2. For one, I was afraid that social distancing rules might ‘take the fun’ out of my hotel stay.
Having booked my stay during the September school holidays last year, I was also worried that capacity limits might prevent us from using the hotel’s facilities. I’ve heard stories of other staycationers being turned away from other hotel pools as they failed to book slots in advance.
Thankfully, my W Singapore stay didn’t disappoint. Aside from some minor hiccups at the start, it far exceeded my expectations.
Booking and pre-check in
As my spouse works with Singapore’s Ministry of Education, we were able to enjoy a discounted rate on our W stay.
Standard rooms are usually priced at $450 to $500 a night. But with the offer available to Ministry of Education Sports & Recreation Club (MESRC) members, we booked a two-night stay for $290++ a night in a ‘Wonderful’ category room.
Other perks included daily breakfast for two, complimentary wireless internet and complimentary access to AWAY Spa.
The booking process was fairly straight-forward. We stayed with another couple, who also enjoyed the discounted rate.
To reserve rooms, we had to email the hotel’s reservation team directly with an MOE email address. The team responded quickly to all our enquiries, and we settled the booking online smoothly.
I also sent a few enquiries on hotel facilities and taking W’s shuttle bus. Their responses were timely as well (all within a day), but it was slightly confusing to get responses on the same subject from different members of staff.
I enquired about booking slots for the pool and AWAY spa, and got replies from different staff each time I followed up on my enquiry. This isn’t a major ‘minus point’. But it would be nice for one staff to respond to a guest’s enquiry throughout, for a more personal touch.
Also, we were given misinformation regarding the hotel’s shuttle bus services from Vivocity. Over email, we were told to refer to the hotel’s website for its shuttle bus service schedule.
However, when my friends reached the hotel in the morning (via Grab) to store their luggage, they were told that the shuttle bus was not in operation during Phase 2.
Fortunately, we had already planned to take a Grab into Sentosa. But for guests who might have waited in vain for a shuttle bus at Vivocity, we could see how they might be upset at receiving wrong information.
Locating W Sentosa
Fortunately, the rest of our stay was smooth-sailing. If you have a lot of luggage (or kids) on hand, take a Grab, taxi or drive directly to the hotel. Island admission is free until December 2020.
If travelling light, consider taking the Sentosa Express monorail from Vivocity, or walk in via the Sentosa Boardwalk. The Sentosa Express is free until the end of the year as well.
Once you get to Beach Station, head to the bus interchange and hop on Sentosa Bus B (East Line). After a 15-minute ride into the heart of Sentosa Cove, you’ll see the hotel and its glittering “W” logo.
As mentioned, W’s shuttle service was not in operation when we came, so do check in with the hotel for updates on its resumption.
Lobby & Check-In
As expected, we underwent the obligatory temperature checks and SafeEntry registration upon arrival. The process was quick though, and we headed upstairs to the lobby afterward.
W’s upscale, glitzy branding is clearly aimed at millennials. Decor is characterised by marble walls and floors, muted colours and unique lighting elements. A red, carpeted staircase led us all the way to the check-in area, where a line of about 5 families were queuing up.
We were slightly daunted by the long queue at first. But the staff did their best to make our wait as comfortable as possible.
W’s social distancing ambassador encouraged only one of us to stand in the queue, and directed the rest to wait at the sofas. To further enforce social distancing, “do not sit” placards are placed along the sofas.
Surprisingly, the queue was cleared in less than 15 minutes. We were each given paper health declaration forms to fill out, and staff proceeded to check us in thereafter. To cut down on time and paperwork, I’m hoping they’ll eventually switch to e-declarations like other hotels and establishments.
Nevertheless, I was happy to observe that check-in desks were sanitised after each guest left. Staff were friendly and accommodating as well, and even arranged for side-by-side rooms for my friends and I. In addition to physical keycards, masks and bottled sanitizers were given as well.
We also got to book slots for the WET pool, AWAY Spa and FIT gym in advance. Even though the hotel had quite a number of guests, we had no problems booking facility slots for our stay.
W Singapore: Room
Our room in the ‘Wonderful’ category was located on level six. Even though we opted for the cheapest room type, it was extremely spacious, modern and well-furnished. It was also spotless and in pristine condition!
At around 42 sq m, I found it to be larger than many other hotel rooms I stayed at. To my pleasant surprise, the room had a panoramic view overlooking part of the marina (I assumed standard rooms only overlooked other Sentosa Cove residences).
I loved the look of the neat bedside table. Though small, it included all the necessities like a desk phone, pen, paper and a big digital clock. There is also a bedside charger for unfortunate peeps who always forget to bring their own chargers on overnight stays!
The room’s elongated work desk was sturdy, with ample space to put all your barang barang. It had plenty of drawers too, and a small “bench” beside it to store your luggage. Thumbs up for not having to leave your luggage on the floor and almost trip over it each time!
Above the desk was a screen-mounted TV encased with wooden panelling. There was a good selection of TV and local radio channels, including Fox, HBO, MTV Asia, Dreamworks, BBC World News and National Geographic. A decent variety of movies was available too, including Hollywood blockbusters and superhero flicks. Do note that each film costs $16.05 to access.
My staycation buddies and I were happy to find plenty of bottled water at the desk, smaller bedside table as well as in the bathroom. In fact, my friend commented that this was the first time she didn't have to boil her own water in a hotel room!
Of course, there were the other standard features like a well-appointed minibar and safe. But the highlight was really the comfortable bed. I’m an insomniac, but was able to sleep much better than usual and it really felt like I was lying on a cloud! A word of caution though: If you prefer firmer bedding, you might find W’s mattresses a little soft.
However, you won’t have to worry about your pillow sinking in. The hotel provides an extensive pillow menu, with 9 types of pillows to cater to various sleepers. You can also choose neck roll pillows, body pillows, memory pillows and even hypoallergenic pillows.
W also provides a nightly turndown service, which was promptly done every evening. My sleeping wear (which I admittedly like to dump on the floor) was neatly folded on the bed, and softer lighting was used in preparation for bedtime.
We did find the lighting system rather annoying though. I get that W is going for romantic mood lighting in line with their target demographic, but the lighting was a bit too dim throughout. We also couldn't turn on/off specific lights in the room, with options like “Runway or “Flirt” only serving to activate different colour schemes.
W Singapore: Bathroom
I was a huge fan of the clean, sizeable bathroom. Bathed in marble, it features both a tub and a standing shower.
I liked that the toilet and shower were separated by a glass partition, making it easy for you and your partner to use either at the same time. The shower area had more than enough room to move around, with Davines bath products and the option to switch between a rainshower or hand-held shower.
The vanity area mirror was heated as well, and didn’t fog up after a hot bath. Whilst the sink area was small, all the bathroom essentials were present.
This included extra toilet roll, tissue paper, cups, a comb, a sewing kit, a shaving kit, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairdryer as well as a shower cap. Items came neatly enclosed in silver packaging, with cheeky taglines such as “Bare All” and “Whether you’re kinky or straight.” To be honest, I did find the single-use toiletries a tad wasteful. But in an era where hygiene is paramount, I’m guessing they’ll be here to stay for the time being.
My spouse also loved the fact that there were speakers in the bathroom connected to the TV. While taking a long bath, you can listen to music on radio channels! Sound quality is excellent too, I might add.
There were a couple of nitty-gritty details I felt could be improved though. Unlike toilets in the lobby, the ones in the room didn’t have a built-in warmer or bidet. I’m honestly fine without a bidet. However, waking up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and having to endure a stone-cold toilet seat is rather uncomfortable.
There is also a sliding glass which divides the bathroom and sleeping area. You can opt to close it, but it's still see-through and doesn't offer much privacy. This is perfectly fine if you’re staying with a partner or young kids. But if rooming with your teenager or elderly parent, you might want to bear this in mind before booking this room category.
W Singapore: Breakfast at the Kitchen Table
We arose the next morning bright and early at 9:30am, and headed for W’s breakfast buffet at the Kitchen Table. Guests can choose from three time slots: 6:30am to 8:00am, 8:15 am to 9:45 am and 10:am to 11:30am.
We chose the latest slot at 10am to 11:30am. After all, what’s a staycation without a morning lie -in, right?
The breakfast menu was impressive, with cold items, eggs prepared several ways, yoghurt, pancakes, waffles, dim sum, toast and local delights such as seafood mee goreng and char kuay teow.
With four of us, we had the luxury of choosing numerous dishes and trying a little bit of everything. Though there wasn’t a buffet spread, ordering items ala-carte meant that each dish was cooked fresh.
Standouts included the Poke-Poke Bowl (with quinoa, salmon, tuna, wakame salad and sesame-soy dressing), a healthy option you normally wouldn’t find at breakfast buffets. We also enjoyed the Singapore char kuay teow. It boasted a smokey, flavourful taste and came with a generous serving of king prawns, scallops and fishcakes.
My personal favourite was the buttermilk & ricotta pancakes. The pancakes were extremely fluffy and not dry at all, pairing well with the delicious berry compote and maple syrup.
As for drinks, mango, cranberry, apple and orange juices are served in addition to coffee and TWG tea. You’ll have to request for them though, and cup sizes are a little small.
We ordered some of the same items the next day, and found the quality to be consistent too. Service was top-notch on both days as well, with attentive and friendly waitstaff. We got our food within 10 minutes of ordering, and requests for refills or new items were tended to efficiently.
I didn’t get a chance to dine at W’s other restaurants, with WOOBAR being temporarily closed and SKIRT steak being out of my price range (mains cost between $42 to $150 per person).
Still, I was impressed with my dining experience at the Kitchen Table, and would happily savour their breakfast buffet again. If booking a stay without free breakfast, do note that the buffet costs $48 ++ per adult and $24++ per child.
W Singapore: WET Pool
Now on to one of the highlights of my stay. There’s nothing I enjoy more than relaxing in a huge swimming pool, and W’s WET pool definitely delivered!
We booked a 5 to 7pm time slot for using the pool on both days. After 7pm, the pool is free for use without any restrictions (it’s open 24/7), and we had the option of staying on if we wanted to.
We were required to check-in with our keycard, and were given coloured wristbands indicating our time slot.
I did find it puzzling that W started charging for floats. From what I heard previously guests could borrow these floats for free. You now have to buy them at exorbitant prices − around $40 to $100 for a single float!
I’ve heard nightmare stories of the pool being noisy and packed to the brim during peak periods. As such, the restrictions were undeniably a blessing in disguise. Even though there were numerous families around, the 50-person limit meant that the pool never felt too crowded. The pool’s bar was closed, but I hardly noticed that at all!
We enjoyed swimming around freely and peacefully, without bumping into anyone or kicking them in the face. We also got to try the waterslide. Though not very tall, it was still good fun and shoots you down at a pretty fast speed! There’s no lifeguard monitoring the slide though, so make sure there’s no one at the bottom when it's your turn to slide.
W Singapore: AWAY Spa and FIT gym
Having been closed in the earlier months of Phase 2, the AWAY Spa has finally reopened. We had free access to the spa as part of our staycation package, but you can also access its facilities when you book a treatment.
We’re not going to lie − treatment packages are really expensive. A 60-minute massage will set you back $170, and facials cost an upwards of $180.
As such, we were content to enjoy the spa’s facilities, including its steam room, sauna, whirlpool and vitality pool. The spa is gender-segregated, with both male and female areas having the same features.
The changing area was clean and spacious, with plenty of large lockers to store your belongings. Spa toilets were spotless as well, with multiple sinks and mirrors.
The dressing table also had PuriWipes, anti-perspirant, hair spray, body lotion and a hairdryer. There was only one seat though, so you’ll have to wait in line to beautify yourself after your spa session.
We enjoyed using all the facilities, especially the vitality pool which was heated to a comfortable temperature. The whirlpool featured strong jet blasts too, and soaking it in was especially rejuvenating.
We were also appreciative of the excellent service from the spa attendants. One of the attendants even remembered us on the second night, and told us that we could use the spa even after checking out!
I didn’t actually visit the FIT gym, but the rest of the staycation party did, and found it elegant-designed and well-equipped. Due to social distancing measures, only two of the four treadmills could be used. Nevertheless, they were happy to use the other equipment, such as the free weights and elliptical machine.
My overall verdict
All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed my W Singapore stay and would recommend it in a heartbeat. Despite minor flaws during pre-check-in, the hotel delivered in all areas.
Even with phase two restrictions, I still had a wonderful time at the pool and a fabulous ala-carte breakfast buffet.
Service was exceptional too, with everyone at the hotel being welcoming and friendly. One of the staff even noticed that we were rushing for the bus, and walkied his colleague to hold it back for us!
If you’re still deciding where to spend your staycation, look no further than W Singapore!