Staycations still on in Singapore but with restrictions

Hotels in Singapore are still maintaining their staycation offers even as the city state prepares to enter a stricter enforcement of movement restrictions from this Sunday till June 13 to contain a growing number of local infections

Announced in the afternoon of May 14, the latest restrictions include a ban on dining in at eateries and no more than two people in a group when heading out.

Hotels, such as Parkroyal Collection Pickering, Singapore (pictured), will continue to welcome staycation guests but with restrictions on facility usage

According to Kwee Wei-Lin, president of Singapore Hotels Association (SHA), while staycations are still permitted under latest conditions, some hotels have received cancellation requests. She expects the heightened Covid-19 containment measures to impact hotels, especially those with restaurant and banquet operations.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG), which operates five hotels and three serviced suites in Singapore, will continue to welcome staycation guests. However, only two people will be allowed in each guestroom, and guests will only be able to enjoy in-room dining and guestroom comforts – with no access to facilities such as the gym and spa – as a result of latest restrictions, according to Cinn Tan, the company’s chief sales & marketing officer.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts is also keeping the doors open at all its properties here – Orchard Hotel, M Social Singapore, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Copthorne King’s Hotel, M Hotel and Studio M. However, the company is tweaking its business focus for now towards the more resilient couple staycations and longstay corporate business. A spokesperson told TTG Asia that couples are going ahead with their staycation bookings while most family bookings have been postponed to later in the year. Those with bookings for mid-June are adopting a wait-and-see approach and will decide on their plans closer to date.

Phone calls to the reservations desk of several staycation-approved hotels in Singapore found that their advertised staycation packages remain valid for booking during the May 16 to June 13 period.

Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel and The Warehouse Hotel, for instance, are maintaining their staycation deals at press time, which include configurations that offer complimentary breakfast and dining credits. To abide by latest restrictions, complimentary breakfast will be served in-room while dining credits may be claimed against in-room dining.

Reservation officers at other properties, however, are uncertain how package inclusions could change as a result of the new restrictions, and have advised against booking for the time being.

While staycations are still permitted under latest conditions, SHA said some hotels have received cancellation requests

Recognising that the hotel experience will be altered under current conditions, Millennium properties are pushing out themed room ideas, such as movie nights, to ensure guests are entertained.

At M Social, guests can receive an in-room Art Jamming box as part of the Art Jamming Staycation package or have an in-room cocktail station with cocktail recipes to follow as part of the Mixologist Staycation package. Guests taking up suite rooms can be entertained with virtual reality games during their staycation.

The group is also ramping up its F&B online order and takeaway operations in anticipation of a spike in takeaway business. Its chefs are now developing customised executive lunch and dinner bento sets for takeaways, and expanding in-room dining options for hotel guests.

The Millennium spokesperson also shared that Orchard Hotel is rolling out the ‘Orchard Cafe at your home’ service, where a mini set-buffet can be delivered to guestrooms or customers’ home. “Apart from increased takeaway orders, our hotels are also preparing for increased bookings (for) Work-From-Hotel (packages),” she said.

PPHG’s Tan acknowledged that these are “challenging times” and the group will support guests who wish to adjust their existing reservations to another time when the full range of activities and facilities at their properties are accessible once more. Guests can also take advantage of flexible cancellation policies, which allow existing bookings to be changed or cancelled for stays up to July 31, 2021 without penalty.

Kwee added too that SHA member hotels are working with affected guests independently for deferment of dining, staycation and wedding bookings. She added that the industry recognises the adverse long-term implications if a decisive move is not taken immediately to control the local community transmission.

“SHA represents the collective voice of 160 member hotels in Singapore. It is our top priority to safeguard the interests and well-being of our members, hotel workforce and our guests. Together with our members, SHA is committed to complying with the public health protocols as recommended by the authorities so that we can keep our community safe,” she said.

Editor’s note: Content has been updated on May 14, 21:46 to take in more trade reactions.

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