After a good night sleep, we pondered where to go for breakfast. We were not very interested in the hotel’s buffet breakfast as we didn’t feel like eating too much. Another option was Chinatown nearby to feast on our favourite local food. Finally, we decided to head down to McDonalds for breakfast. It was so convenient.
When the children were much younger, having breakfast at the McDonalds was almost a weekly affair during the weekend. So it was quite a few years since we had breakfast together at McDonalds again. We ordered our usual breakfast sets and indulged in some nostalgia feasting on our favourite meals. The restaurant wasn’t crowded early Sunday morning. Those who hung out late the previous night were still in bed.
Shops in Liang Court Shopping Centre were not opened yet. So the mall was rather quiet. Clarke Quay of course was quiet as well but with occasional joggers running along the Singapore River. It was a peaceful and pleasant morning outdoor.
Across the road over at Fort Canning Hill, the park was welcoming morning joggers as well. Some liked to stroll along the hill to enjoy the sight of the downtown area. When I was much younger, I preferred to jog up Mount Faber and I enjoyed the surrounding views, especially to watch sunrise. I could look across the sea over to Sentosa Island. The view from Fort Canning Park was no less inspiring too.
The swimming pool was not crowded this morning. It was rather peaceful with hotel guests enjoying their breakfast at The Square Restaurant overlooking the swimming pool. It was partly cloudy this morning and was still as windy as the day before.
Staycation is the best option when arranging for the whole family to go for a vacation becomes close to impossible due to differing work schedules. So in June we took a weekend break downtown at one of our favourite hotels, the Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel. Of course being Accor Plus members, we used one of our complimentary nights stay. We also booked another room during one of the Great Accor Sales with a room rate of slightly over $100.
It was partly cloudy at Clark Quay around noon time when we arrived. Clark Quay was relatively quiet at this time. We went up to the hotel but our rooms were not ready. So we went over to The Square Restaurant for lunch. We didn’t want to stuff ourselves with a full buffet lunch so we ordered different dishes from the a la carte menu.
We were very familiar with many of the wait staff having dined here over the years. It was very comfortable dining at the restaurant with familiar faces serving us. Bread and dip sauce were served first. Our food came shortly. The food was tasty and the lunch was good.
There was nothing planned that required us to get up early so it was a joy to take our time to sleep as much as we wanted and wake up only when we felt like it. By the time we got up, it was close to 9 am. While nothing in particular was planned in the morning, we had invited our parents to have lunch with us at The Square Restaurant. So breakfast was a quick one at the McDonalds.
Since the swimming pool water was rather cold under the afternoon sun the day before and the pool was blocked from the morning sun, we decided not to swim. Thus it was just an easy morning to read the newspapers and to watch some TV programs before meeting my parents for lunch.
The espresso coffee maker was put to good use again. This was our first indulgence for the morning. The coffee kicked start our day and got us ready to begin a brand new day of leisure.
While waiting for my parents, we left the hotel to look around the vicinity. It was a stark contrast to the nice and colourful ambience at night in Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay was very quiet during the day. While the place was clean, there wasn’t much to offer during the weekend. It might probably be busier during weekdays where lunch crowd might be present around noon.
So with some occasional joggers running along the river, there wasn’t much to see notwithstanding the river taxis were still in operation during the day. It is much better and more enjoyable to take a ride on the water taxis at night than during the day, not only because the area would be brightly lighted but also much cooler.
So back to Liang Court for some window shopping before meeting my parents, we went to the supermarket for another round of visit. The promotion booth for cheesecakes was still there but we didn’t help ourselves with another sample as we would rather reserve our stomach for lunch. We didn’t make any purchase because we would be collecting a member’s cake to bring home from The Square restaurant after lunch.
It was more or less the same as the day before but the crowd was noticeably absent before noon which was still too early for shoppers to begin their shopping activities. Then we went up to the nice shop where we were thinking of buying a hanging clock the day before for a look. We still didn’t change our mind and we moved on to other shops.
Soon my parents came and we met them outside the McDonalds. We then made our way to level 7 and went back to The Square Restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was packed just after noon probably due to Father’s Day celebration.
We were ushered to our table and we discussed what to order. Buffet lunch would be out of the question as we would not be able to eat very much so we poured over the a la carte menu again. Since the laksa our girls had the night before was very good, my wife and mom ordered laksa. I ordered Wagyu beef burger while my dad had seafood hor fun.
With our food ordering out of the way, bread and butter and dipping sauce arrived quite soon. While we were busy spreading butter on our bread, a restaurant staff came over to invite us to join in a crispy crepe making event during this Father’s Day celebration at the restaurant. With wife egging me on, I obliged.
So I was invited to a table with all the ingredients and equipment prepared near the exit to the swimming pool. A restaurant staff Jeremy introduced himself as the chef for this event and Mohamed who invited me, helped me put on an apron and hat to get this event rolling. I happened to be the first to try out crispy crepe making. Jeremy demonstrated once and it seemed so easy for him to get the crispy crepe done with some nuts, chocolate chips and other mouth watering ingredients added.
Then it was my turn to try out as Jeremy explained the process again. The first time was a flop. The batter seemed to stick to the wooden stick after turning more than one round. So I tried again. It was still the same tragic outcome. I had a go for one last time. This time it was still not successful but much better than the first two tries. With a hole in the middle of the crepe, I still couldn’t add any sweet ingredients to complete the crepe making process.
It was three consecutive failures, albeit, it was good fun. I thanked Jeremy for his time and patience and I was given the first crepe he made for our desserts later.
Back to our table our food were already there. Again, the portion was huge and we shared some portions with each other to sample different dishes. Because the restaurant was packed, we only had a square table for the four of us so there wasn’t much space to maneuver our plates around. So we got rid of the bread basket and dipping sauce and other unnecessary items on our table to make space so we could enjoy our lunch properly. While having lunch, the restaurant manager presented my dad and I a small Father’s Day gift. It was a nice gesture indeed.
Eventually, we survived our lunch and with belly filled up we left the restaurant. We also collected our Accor member’s cake where we were entitled to every year. So our children back home would have afternoon tea when we reached home. Back to our room, we used the toilet and brushed up, collected our bags and descended back to the hotel lobby on the seventh floor again to check out.
Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel has been one of our favorite hotels for a staycation. It is located at Clarke Quay where food and shopping are in the vicinity. Liang Court Shopping Mall is also just next door. Taking an MRT train to the Clarke Quay Station walking across the bridge will bring us to the hotel. There is also a bus stop right outside the shopping Mall connecting to the hotel. The hotel also has a self-service laundry facility.
Crossing the main road from Liang Court Shopping Mall is the Fort Canning Park. From the top of Fort Canning Hill, you may enjoy a splendid view of the city centre. Catching the sunset or watching the city gradually lights up is a good option if you don’t wish to travel far away from Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel in order to continue with the night life at Clarke Quay later in the evening.
Along Singapore River, the ambience at night is just right for an evening outing for a walk or dining along the river. A water taxi station is just across a street from the hotel. Hop onto a water taxi, you could enjoy the lighted city skylines at night along the river all the way to the Marina Bay financial district.
Having settled our outstanding bills, my parents and us went separate ways. They continued with their shopping while we took a cab home.
Though it was a very short stay and spent only a day with our children, we were nevertheless very satisfied. After our North Vietnam trip last December, we never thought we could get together again for a break so soon.
Going overseas together would be close to impossible with everyone’s conflicting schedules but staycation is still within reach. Perhaps next year we might try to have a staycation over at the Sentosa Island, if everyone is keen.
So our next trip would be in September for a weekend break in Medan just for leisure and shopping.
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 Hotelcould 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 lawscame 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.