During one of their early dates, Mr Benjamin Hong and Ms Jo Lee visited The Lobby Lounge at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore. It became a favourite hangout for the couple, who are public servants.
When it was time for Mr Hong, 29, to propose last December, he naturally gravitated towards the hotel and booked a staycation in a Stamford Suite. “It was particularly gorgeous because of its high ceilings and thoughtful layout,” he says.
“I was definitely surprised,” says Ms Lee, 28, who appreciated the fact that her fiance proposed in a private setting. “I remember seeing rose petals on the floor once Ben opened the door and thinking, ‘It’s happening’.”
With outbound travel off the cards for almost a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, special-occasion staycations have become popular, say hotels such as One Farrer Hotel and The Barracks Hotel Sentosa.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore experienced a surge of 30 per cent in such arrivals in the first two months of this year, says Mr Archie Natividad, director of its rooms division. Depending on the occasion and the guest’s preference, it may offer a cake or room upgrade.
Guests can choose from a menu of chargeable amenities to add to the festivities, such as helium balloons, string banners and craft beers or champagne.
W Singapore – Sentosa Cove reports that celebratory stays have “almost doubled” since it reopened in July last year, which it attributes to its brand positioning as an escape from routine. It arranges for proposal staycations “at least once a week on average”, says its spokesman.
The hotel offers an ongoing Escape For Two package, which includes breakfast, champagne and hotel credit to ease the stress of couples planning a special getaway.
“We occasionally also surprise guests with special set-ups in the rooms, in our efforts to make every celebration at W Singapore a memorable one to beat,” says the spokesman.
Capella Hotel, Singapore has also seen more guests booking romantic staycations, especially anniversaries, over the last few months, says its general manager, Mr Fernando Gibaja.
The trend prompted it to introduce a Moments To Remember package on its website, which offers limousine pickup and anniversary or birthday amenities, among other perks.
One particularly memorable event it helped to organise recently was for a couple who had held their proposal, wedding and first child’s birthday at the hotel previously. The three-night celebration involved recreating details of each milestone, down to the same room the husband proposed in, the exact flowers, as well as menus used on each of the occasions.
Some couples look for exciting new ways to mark their special occasions, like a guest who proposed to his girlfriend recently with a rooftop glamping staycation at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. It launched the glamping experience last month.
The hotel, together with its sister property, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, are among the innovators in the scene. They offer creative “Fullerton experiences for couples to enjoy”, says Mr Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, general manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts. These include a sidecar tour and private dining with a five-course vegan degustation menu.
Couples who splurge on a celebratory staycation say it is a time to make the most of the situation.
Ms Christabelle Peh, 31, a student at a local tertiary institution, had hoped to celebrate her second wedding anniversary in Norway or Finland, but settled for a stay at Capella in late January as it had the “vacation feel” she wanted.
She and husband Kelvin Ho, 33, who works in human capital and development, enjoyed a private dinner in their room and joined a Build Your Own Boba workshop at Bob’s Bar, which the bubble tea lover enjoyed. “If we were to get to travel, that would be the most ideal, but I think we’re happy with what we can have now,” she says.
Text: Stephanie Yeo/The Straits Times