It was a long time ago since we had a staycation with all the children in Singapore. As June is a school holiday month, we took advantage of a weekend where all of us could just get away to have some fun at a hotel downtown. Being Accor members, we booked a night stay over at the Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel using our complimentary night stay as well as to take advantage of dining discounts.
Since it was Father’s Day weekend, we deliberately arrived at the hotel early before noon. We had already contacted the hotel to request for high floor non-smoking room and if possible a free upgrade to a next room category. So when we approached front desk during check in, our request for room upgrade was surprisingly approved due to low occupancy that weekend. We were given a corner room on the 23rd floor on the Premier Floor level.
Our room had a nice view of the Singapore River where Riverview Hotel and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel could be seen not far away. Our request for late check out for the following day was also granted where we could check out at 2 pm instead of the standard 12 noon check out time. This would allow us to have another meal at the restaurant before leaving the hotel. As Accor members, we were also given welcome drinks. Our request for four drinks were also granted. Novotel Hotel was being very kind to us and it really made our day.
The room was typical Novotel standard, clean and comfortable king bed, plenty of channels on TV and wifi worked very well. An espresso coffee maker was also available with three coffee capsules of different flavour. Toilet came with standard Novotel toiletries and shower stall with rain shower fittings were neat and clean. With nothing found wanting, we left for lunch as we had reserved a table for five.
Over at The Square Restaurant, it was not too busy when we arrived at noon. We went to have a look at the buffet spread before deciding whether to have the buffet lunch or order from the a la carte menu. My dear wife and younger boy chose to have the buffet spread where the desserts were very tempting while the rest of us ordered from the a la carte menu. Coincidentally, our two girls and I all chose to have pasta while my wife and our boy went to help themselves to the buffet spread while we waited for our food to arrive.
We were served bread with butter and other dipping sauce. Not long after, our pasta arrived so we enjoyed ourselves as our table began to pile up with plates of food where me wife and our boy were obviously having a great time with their buffet lunch.
An hour soon passed and it was time to call for a break. We would still be coming back for dinner later in the evening with our elder son joining us after meeting up some friends over lunch.
With our belly now working overtime after the lunch, we also went to do some light work out by doing some shopping at the connecting Liang Court Shopping Mall. Liang Court Shopping Mall has a Japanese supermarket at the basement level and thus attracts a lot of Japanese shoppers. The famous Japanese retail chain Uniqlo also opened a sizeable outlet here not long ago.
Besides the Japanese supermarket and Uniqlo, there are also a number of Japanese restaurants and eateries in the Mall which makes this Mall unique. There was a Japanese event called Kodomo Fiesta held at the Mall while we were there so the whole place was rather noisy and lively.
We started from the basement supermarket and worked our way up. The supermarket was very busy during the weekend. We didn’t buy anything and didn’t have to as we were well stocked with water before we came.
We sampled some cheesecakes at a promotion booth and they were very good. We were also beckoned by another Japanese promoter to sample the sausages on offer and we obliged. They were good as well but we can’t buy such stuff as we were staying overnight at the hotel.
Next we went up to ground floor where the fiesta event was taking place. We looked around some shops and spent quite a while at one specialty shop where our elder daughter bought a nice blouse for herself. We were also tempted to purchase one of those very nice European style hanging clocks. On second thought, we decided not to because these clocks looked good on the high ceiling in the shop but may not have the same effect at our humble home.
After that we moved up the next level for a quick look around and then moved up again to the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya. Our younger daughter and son were already there for quite some time while we were shopping at the nice shop on the ground floor. After a quick inspection and with nothing on our mind to make any purchase, we left and went back to our hotel room to rest and chill out.
The king bed was of good size for us to stretch out and watch TV. Soon our elder son arrived. He saw some T-shirts that were on sale at Uniqlo while walking through the mall to the hotel and he told us he would like to take a look after dinner.
Our elder daughter tried out the espresso coffee maker and made herself a nice cup of coffee and the aroma of that coffee wafted and lingered in the room keeping us mentally perked for quite some time. It was very strong and we wondered whether she could sleep that night.
The TV programs kept us company during that afternoon. We were laughing and chatting away having a great time as at other times we would all be busy at work and hardly able to sit around to have some good time together.
From our window, we could see the swimming pool. It was too hot earlier and not many people were using the pool. When it was after half past four, we decided it was time to go for a swim. We took the lift to level 6 to head to the swimming pool instead of level 7 having to walk past part of the hotel lobby and the restaurant.
Quite a number of guests were already in the pool and we found only two deck chairs at a corner still vacant and so we took this spot and left our belongings there. Without wasting much time, after a quick shower, we went into the pool. It was still very sunny but the water was quite cold. It was also very windy and so after swimming for a while, it was warmer in the pool than out of it.
One end of the pool is very deep at a depth of 3.3 m. Soon it was getting even more crowded in the pool and while doing our laps, we found swimmers left and right of us and even swimming below us at the deeper end. So we took it easy and spent most of the time at the shallow end to enjoy our dip.
When more kids started jumping in splashing around, we decided to leave. This pool is also shared with guests from the Somerset Residence, a block next to Novotel Hotel on the same complex so it can get crowded here at the pool.
Back in our room, we rested for a short while after shower and watching TV was another pastime. When everyone was ready and getting hungry, we went back to The Square restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was busier than it was during lunch. We had a table for six this time as our elder son was now with us.
We were not interested in the buffet spread this time. Everyone chose to order from the a la carte menu. Our girls ordered the local dish laksa, our boys asked for Wagyu beef burger and risotto, while my wife and I had nasi goreng and fried beef hor fun.
Bread and butter with dipping sauce came first and soon our table was full of food of different varieties. The portion of food was quite huge and we could hardly consume all. So we also shared some dishes and tasted other food as well.
While having dinner, we heard fighter jets screaming past as the National Day Parade Rehearsal was taking place in the city. So me wife and I rushed out to the swimming pool area and looked up the sky with many others hoping to catch another round of fighter jets roaring past. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, we only saw some jets returning at quite a great height cruising slowly unlike the previous flypast.
So we returned to the restaurant and continued our dinner. We enjoyed our dinner thoroughly and it was a great meal indeed. It was another opportunity for us to enjoy one another’s presence chatting happily over another wonderful meal.
After dinner, we went back to Liang Court Shopping Mall for a quick round of shopping as our elder son was interested in some T-shirts on sale at Uniqlo. Our children went into Uniqlo while we looked at other shops. Soon they returned empty handed as our boy decided not to go ahead with the purchase because he didn’t like the collar of the T-shirts.
So we went back to level 7 and had our welcome drinks at the lobby lounge. We ordered different fruit juices and chilled out for a while before returning to our room to watch TV.
It was getting late and our children decided that it was time for them to go home to continue with their entertainment back home and sleep. So we walked with them to Clark Quay MRT Station.
It was a very nice walk crossing the bridge at the Singapore River. A busker was performing on the bridge. The whole area was lively and nicely lighted up at night. When the children reached the entrance to the station, we went our own way to check out some shops at Central Mall while they left for home.
As it was after 9 pm and some shops were already closing so we didn’t find anything interesting and we left. It was a different situation outside Central and along the river. A busker was performing at the entrance of Central Mall and tourists and locals alike were enjoying their night out in that area.
Walking back crossing over the bridge again, we went into Clark Quay Complex for a quick look. It was pretty noisy with different cafes, restaurants and pubs playing different music while happy diners were enjoying themselves over the food and the sound and ambience of that area. Some dined by the river watching brightly lighted water taxis plying along the river while others chose indoor and alfresco dining in the inner section of the complex.
We haven’t been to Clarke Quay for quite a while now. It used to be a place for party goers partying till early next morning where the place became filthy and rowdy. Fights often broke out as well. The local papers also reported that Clarke Quay has become cleaner and quieter after alcohol laws came into force.
It is certainly a change in the right direction. Clarke Quay has now become a nice place to hangout without trouble makers disturbing the peace in that area. This transformation does provide a better environment for all users whether young people or families to have a night out and have a nice dinner along the river to enjoy the beauty of Clarke Quay.
After getting through the complex, we went back to our room. It was a full day and a great day spent with the children. Now my wonderful wife and I could just tuck into bed and watch TV before we called it a night. But it wasn’t long though as we were worn out with the activities during the day and soon we drifted happily into blissful dreams.
Continue to Day 2…