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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, November 18, 2018

W Singapore Sentosa Cove

Every time I receive a wedding invitation from friends who are throwing a banquet at W Hotel, a part of me is reluctant due to the hefty angbao that I have to give, yet another part of me looks forward to the scrumptious food at the banquet. 

This time, thanks to my husband, we managed to get a one night free stay at W Singapore Sentosa Cove

1. Location

Honestly, unless you intend to hang out at Sentosa all the time, I wouldn't see why anyone would choose to stay at W Hotel, because it is far from the main attractions and even within Sentosa, it is rather far in. A taxi ride (without all the surcharge and all) to Vivo City costs around $7. 

2. Hotel 

The hotel exudes a hip and funky vibe, and this extends from the lobby to the rooms to the pool.

3. Room 

The room was spacious and trendy. At the bedside, there were several switches with different labels, one of which stated "Flirt"- if you switched that on, pinkish purple / purplish pink (whatever) lights would switch on.

We also enjoyed good views of the quay and the private yachts docked there- one can only imagine the lives of people who live at Sentosa Cove!

Very comfortable bed, such that my husband could not wake up the next morning and said that the bed simply sucked him in. The pillows were a little too soft for my liking- I had the option of choosing my pillow (there is a pillow menu) but I was too lazy to request for harder pillows.

4. Toilet 

There is a bathtub in the toilet. The panes could slide so that one could see the room from the toilet (and vice versa). Not sure why anyone slide the panes open though because you would almost certainly catch a cold.

There was a bottle of Evian in the toilet and it costs $5, so unless you really like Evian and don't mind splurging on it (in the toilet), by all means. Otherwise, you can drink the complimentary bottles of water in the room.

I loved these packaging which were simply shouting- "I'm too cool for you!" Even the colour of the toothbrush was neon, consistent with the vibe of the hotel.

Strong water pressure. The only issue I had was that I didn't want to use the rain shower, yet quite a bit of water continued to spray from the rain shower despite me using the handheld showerhead.

One could really fall in love with the citrusy bath products from Bliss. I love citrus bath products because they instantly make me feel fresher!

5. Breakfast 

I am glad I managed to wake my husband up, threatening him that if he didn't wake up, there will be no more food for him at breakfast. We ended up spending more than an hour at The Kitchen Table.

There were two sections- one offered Western food (think baked goods, cereal etc.) and the other side had Indian food, Chinese food, etc.

We started off with some baked goods and were mindful not to stuff ourselves with too much food in the beginning just in case we couldn't try the other food offered.

The pancakes were ridiculously cute- look at the smiley face, how can anyone resist those beautiful pancakes! That said, they weren't the most delicious pancakes around- a little too buttery for my liking. 

There was Christmas-coloured bread, a variety of jams and spreads, cereal etc. I liked the fact that there was soya milk offered as well, although it was a little salty.

At the other section, there was a small selection of smoked salmon, ham, cheese etc., and an egg station. Then, there are your usual suspects- mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, bacon etc. There was also Indian food, fruits and desserts. The desserts selection was quite small (and wasn't great) but I guess you shouldn't be eating too much dessert for breakfast anyway!

There was a Chinese food station, with porridge, dim sum, and assorted noodles cooked on the spot. One thing I didn't understand was why the dim sum wasn't available for all to take but had to be served by the chef.

We were so full after breakfast that we skipped lunch. 

The food at the buffet was more than sufficient and decent. The only issue was that it seemed like it was really crowded, and people had to wait to get their breakfast fix. Hint: The early bird gets the worm! 

6. Amenities 

To aid in the digestion of our heavy breakfast, we walked around the compound and visited the swimming pool. The swimming pool was rather big and lots of families were enjoying the pool facilities.  

We also visited the gym which was surprisingly empty. It was either because people who stay at W Hotel do not visit the gym (because they are at Sentosa) or because they are all stuck at breakfast!

It looked like a well-equipped gym.

7. Service

Service was pleasant and one felt like the hotel really wanted to go the extra mile. In the afternoon when we were just lazing around, a staff knocked on the door and offered us a box of chocolates- it was a nice mid-day surprise! Another staff came back later in the day and asked if we required any more water or shower products, which was a nice touch. I especially liked the fact that the room had 6 bottles of water- enough to keep you hydrated all day long.

8. Getting around 

Besides your usual suspects like taxi, one option getting around is to take the shuttle bus to and from Vivo City. Timings and routes available here. You would see that the frequency isn't great. For example, there is one shuttle bus at 5:30 pm and the next is 2 hours later. There is also the option of taking Sentosa Bus B.

W Singapore Sentosa Cove 
21 Ocean Way
Sentosa Island
Singapore 098374 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Clifford Pier

More than a decade ago, whenever I took a bus to have lunch with my mother in the CBD, the bus used to stop near Clifford Pier. The Clifford Pier today, is a far cry from the Clifford Pier back then. 

Clifford Pier was built between 1927 and 1933 and was named after Sir Hugh Clifford, the former Governor of the Straits Settlements. It was a landing point for immigrants and other sea passengers. With the construction of the Marina Barrage, the Clifford Pier ceased operations on 1 April 2006. 

For my birthday celebration, we decided to try their Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea.  From Monday to Friday, the high tea is between 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, whereas on weekends and public holidays, the high tea is between 3 pm to 5 pm. 

Gorgeous setting, with high ceilings and colour tones alluding to the place's nautical origins. 

The Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea ($48++ per adult on weekdays and $55++ per adult on weekends and public holidays), consists of one tea tray of sweet items, a buffet of savoury items and free flow of coffee / tea. The tea was from TWG.

It was interesting to observe the demographic of the people having tea here. They were either a group of well-dressed women (with a couple of groups organising hen parties for the brides-to-be), or reluctant men being dragged here by their girlfriends / wives. Women's money is always easier to earn! It followed that, a lot of the sweet items were left untouched by the women who of course were concerned with their waistlines.

The afternoon tea is not your usual Western high tea, but instead seeks to represent Singapore's culinary past and present. For the sweet items, there were Pandan Swiss Roll, Bandung Macaron, Honey and Mango Financier, Soft Centered Coconut Chocolate Cake, Mini Kopi & Almond Butter Buns, Bika Ambon, and Plain Scone with Jam.

Having the Pandan Swiss Roll and the Bika Ambon was like making a trip to Bengawan Solo, and the Mini Kopi & Almond Butter Buns were like those from local bread shops- the thought that popped up in my head was, why am I paying so much for food that I could buy from Bengawan Solo? Honestly, I could not tell much difference in terms of the taste. While decent, nothing in particular stood out.

There were also Plain Scone and Tropical Fruit Scone, which came with Passion Fruit and Mango Jam and Homemade Kaya. I am a sucker for scones and these suited me well. I especially liked the passion fruit and mango jam which was tart and gave a nice lift to the scones. My husband, however, found these little darlings not buttery enough.

Onto the savouries, there was a pretty interesting selection- more interesting than the sweets. There was the Chilli Bak Kwa Jam on Savory Egg Tart. While this was an interesting pairing, I did not particularly fancy the savoury egg tart, which tasted somewhat like egg quiche.

Deep fried food are always crowd pleasers, and here they have Calamari Ring (with a wasabi mayo dip) and Jalapeno Cheese.

These were the Cruffin with Masala Potato and Curry Leaves as well as Prawn Fritter. The cruffin was essentially a mini curry puff.

Other food items to look out for include the Chilli Crab Bao, which were mini mantous accompanied with Chilli Crab sauce. The Carrot Cake with X.O. Chilli and Scrambled Egg was so fragrant and delicious, we repeatedly topped up our plates with these . We did not have enough space for the Kurobota Pork Kong Bak Bao, but I think this is something certainly worth trying.

There was also a small salad section, which was pretty decent- seafood salad and smoked duck salad.

For drinks, there was a choice of soya bean milk or bandung, with sago, chinchow etc on the side. I particularly liked the soya bean milk as it did not have an artificial taste and was not too sweet.

There were also live stations dishing out food on the spot. There was one serving Kueh Pie Tee and Popiah- definitely get the Kueh Pie Tee as it is topped with crab meat. There was another station serving Prata and Roti Jala Wrap, accompanied with Nonya Chicken Curry. While the prata was not the most inspiring, the chicken curry is worth trying. There is also a station for making your own rojak and there was a wide variety of ingredients (apple, starfruit, jambu, guava, pineapple etc.) you could choose from.

There is definitely enough food at this high tea to fill you up. In fact, I was so full, I skipped dinner. However, I felt like I was paying more for the ambience than for the food. The food was decent, but I felt as though I could get more bang for my buck at a hotel's buffet instead. That said, this is still a decent choice for an afternoon tea.

Tip: Make your reservations a few weeks in advance (especially if you want to come by on a weekend), because the seats here fill up very quickly. We had to book 3 weeks in advance. Also, do ask about the available credit card discounts- there was a 15% discount for certain credit cards.

The Clifford Pier
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
Tel No: 6333 8388