A New Reason To Explore Downtown East
Driving into Downtown East, I had a nostalgic flashback of the staycation my family and I had at the chalets about 10 years ago, when I still needed the help of floaties to swim. Back then the chalets weren’t as stylish and modern, but they hold fond memories from a time when Escape Theme Park was the highlight of every year-end holiday. Today, we’ve found a new reason to revisit Downtown East.
D’Resort stands on the former popular hangout of yesteryears, Escape Theme Park, as Singapore’s first nature-inspired resort with an integrated waterpark experience, that opened in July 2015. The resort is a hybrid of two rather distinct lodging types, giving you the opportunity to be one with nature while enjoying the comforts of modern facilities.
Nestled in lush greenery, the whole place looked like the kind of resort you’d find in places like Bali or Krabi, with its tranquil and relaxing vibes. Upon check-in, we were pleasantly surprised with an envelope of discount coupons for dining, retail and even a free game of bowling. Now that’s a warm welcome. Expect the same treatment when you check-in too!
- Room Types -
D’Resort has 9 different room types, including the Park View, Beach Cove, Beach Cove Duplex, Mangrove Walk and the Rainforest room range - perfect for families and couples. The Park View rooms are specially for NTUC members only!
We had the opportunity to see the Rainforest Premier Suite, the Rainforest Family Room and the Beach Cove room.
Rainforest Premier Suite (from $378)
The first thing you realise once you step into the Rainforest Premier Suite is how cosy and relaxing the room feels - it was like entering an architectural representation of a rainforest. From the looks of the spacious lounge area, it’s unmistakably the biggest room in the resort. With a massage chair at your disposal, you can be a pampered couch potato while you channel surf.
This is my favorite part of the room - hands down. Overlooking Pasir Ris Park, this is where you can kick back with your friends over a game of Cards Against Humanity on the green carpeted floors, or while the afternoon away with a good read on the couch-swing. Even the Hulk would feel at ease here.
The intimate dining area is next to a kitchenette equipped with a Nespresso machine and a microwave to whip something up if you’re feeling peckish in the midst of a midnight movie marathon.
No premier suite is complete without a fancy toilet, and this one even comes with a Jacuzzi bath tub! With the snuggle-worthy king-sized bed and an additional daybed for when you’ve an extra guest, it’s hard to believe you’re at Downtown East when this is practically a hotel suite.
Rainforest Family Room (from $188)
If you’ve never stayed in the themed hotels one would find at Disneyland, here’s a real treat for the little ones, or those who’re really young at heart. The Rainforest Family rooms are suitable for families, furnished with bunk beds and adorably themed after the Amazonian Jungle, Underwater and M&Ms.
Each room comes with a treasure box of surprises that can only be unlocked with a secret code that can be deciphered with hints hidden around the room. With complimentary activities at eXplorerkid, you’ll have no problem keeping your excited kids entertained all day.
This M&M room is the only one of its kind in the entire resort - available on a first come first serve basis. All of the furnishings and decorations are sourced directly from M&M itself - completely original.
Note: Only chalet units have the option of a BBQ pit reservation, the above Rainforest Room options are meant for those who crave a quiet getaway.
Beach Cove (from $166)
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting you the room we stayed in - the Beach Cove. We were treated to a pretty spacious room with 2 cosy queen-sized beds.
Across the different rooms in D’Resort, artworks are hung above the headboards. Fun fact: these are photographs taken at the surrounding Pasir Ris Park, beaches and mangrove areas by the photography groups under NTUC Club’s nEbO and U Live community. Together with the warm, earthy tones, it felt like home the moment we stepped in.
The room has a microwave and a full-size fridge to store your groceries and snacks for the entire stay. For a room for 4, there’s more than enough shelves and drawers to stash your belongings and mark your territory.
It’s advisable to reserve a BBQ pit when you’re booking your room in case they all get snatched up. If you’re lucky, you’ll have direct access to the BBQ pits right outside your balcony on the first floor like we did. That made it super convenient for us to dash in and out to grab necessities. On the other hand, guests on the higher floors are treated to a view of the beach from their own private balcony.
Upon request, age-friendly rooms are also available to accommodate elderly guests, so you could even bring grandpa and grandma along for some staycation fun too!
- Resort Facilities -
BBQ pits are an available option when booking your accommodation for $35. Throwing a BBQ party is a chalet staple, and definitely a highlight of our staycation, but so was the sight of 4 complete noobs trying to start a charcoal fire for the first time. We sure paid a hefty price for our lack of BBQ expertise - dinner started much later than planned!
After only 20 times of being flustered and making sure our fire didn’t go out, we had a great loot of glorious barbequed food! It was a milestone achievement and a ton of fun.
Considering we had to make 3 trips to grab all the BBQ essentials we needed, having a 24-hour Cheers just 5 minutes away was like having a fairy godmother that granted all our food wishes. Best of all, you can purchase marinated frozen food just waiting to be cooked and devoured.
Honey Pork Chops, Black Pepper Beef Striploin, Sambal Prawns and Honey Chicken Wings are some of the BBQ treats you can get for less than $10/kg. Word of advice: don’t overbuy like we did while preparing our 8-course dinner. If you ever run out of food, Cheers is just a stone’s throw away.
If you’re too lazy or if you’re not a fan of having the fragrance of BBQ chicken wings lingering in your tresses, order from the White Tangerine, a cafe beside Cheers which also happens to be the official caterer for D’Resort.
If you’re looking for a place to have some peace and quiet, check out the Sky Garden on level 4, where you can also enjoy the cheap thrill of bird watching.
Note:This is only accessible to guests of the Rainforest category rooms.
According to the D’Resort staff, dozens of Grey Herons nest in the trees surrounding the resort and can be spotted from almost all the rooms too. Keep a lookout and you might just see one fly past your window!
Guided nature tours to the mangroves around Pasir Ris Park are conducted by U Live members, a movement to engage those who are aged 55 and above, on the last Saturday of every month.
If you plan on staying at D’Resort later this year, keep a lookout for the Bird trail session planned for 7 November 2015, and a trivia edition planned for 28 November 2015.
If you’d like to burn the calories and the guilt from all the BBQ food, grab your friends for a 5-6km evening run at Pasir Ris Park organised by NTUC Club’s U Sports.
- Things to do around D'Resort -
With the ultimate entertainment hub packed with activities like laser tag, KTV and bowling, you’ll never run out of things to do during your staycation at D’Resort.
Wild Wild Wet
Another perk of having a staycation at D’Resort is that you have a whole waterpark in your backyard!
With 8 different rides of varying levels of thrill, Wild Wild Wet is fun for both adrenaline junkies and those who are a tad bit more timid, like me. If you’re not much of a thrill seeker, cruise down the 335m Shiok River on a float or soak in the Jacuzzi.
Note to self: never underestimate the scare factor of a ride when you’re looking at it from ground level. When I realised I could barely see my other colleagues below after multiple flights of stairs, I prepared myself for the worst.
The plunge at Slide Up was practically vertical. I felt that I was going to fly off the float any minute! The adrenaline rush was insane and what ensued was a non-stop screaming frenzy, but no doubt it was a fun experience. I’m proud to announce that I survived this 3 times!
The newest addition to Wild Wild Wet was an 18 metre swirly slide, also aptly named The Torpedo. Just the thought of free-falling from a height of 4 storeys high at 70km/h made our stomachs turn. To stand on a trapdoor and not knowing when it’d let us fall through? No thanks! Sadly we chickened out at the last minute after I had exhausted all my courage at Slide Up. This would be perfect for those who have a higher threshold for thrill.
The best has yet to come! As part of Phase 2 of the $200 million Refreshing Downtown East redevelopment project, Wild Wild Wet is set to DOUBLE in size by the end of 2017. A direct link between D'Resort, Wild Wild Wet and Downtown East is also one of the works underway.
Tag Team Laser Tag
Pasir Ris is often dismissed as an ulu town with nothing to do, but what most people don’t know is that you can play laser tag right here in the East of Singapore!
Tag Team at Downtown East offers both Laser Tag and Archery Tag. Laser Tag prices start at $12 per person for 15 minutes and $24 for 3 people, so form your alliances quick! Tag Team is also the first to let you experience the Laser Tag Sword which lets you “slice” your opponents while doubling up as a gun.
Here’s a picture of us working it and looking swag, but in reality, we spent more time checking if we were still alive than actually trying to kill each other with our sub-par aiming skills. Maybe we’re just really bad at it.
I’d recommend the original game with laser guns over the swords. There’s a lot more running around and the only thing you’d need to check is your surroundings to avoid being ambushed! But if you prefer a more static swordplay to re-enact an ancient Samurai duel, you can give the laser sword a try.
Nobody sleeps at 10pm at a staycation. If it’s getting late and the card games are getting old, E!hub’s got your back!
Now you can finally watch a midnight show at Cathay Cineplex without getting stranded in town with no transport home at 3am. Once the movie ends, you are free to take a stroll back to the room and crash immediately.
Orchid Bowl at E!hub closes as late as 3am, with Cosmic Bowling Nite being held on Fridays and Saturdays. You can use the discount coupons given at D’Resort to redeem a free game of bowling, so don’t let them go to waste!
Our 2 days of jam-packed activities left us feeling exhausted but thoroughly satisfied. There was never a dull moment and I’m so glad that I found a staycation destination that is both affordable and accessible to a galore of fun-filled activities.
Downtown East is in the process of going through some serious revamping, and the brand new D’Resort is an affirmation that this place is has amazing potential to be a popular hangout and staycation in the future.
The resort is incredibly versatile, with something to offer every clientele. Be it a romantic getaway for an anniversary, a post-exam celebratory party or a family gathering for the upcoming festive season, there’s a room that suits every occasion.
If you haven’t been to Downtown East in a while, you now have plenty of reasons to revisit soon. The earlier you book your room, the cheaper it is. Start planning for your getaway to the East and be the first among your friends to discover this hidden gem before it becomes too crowded!
If you’re an NTUC member, enjoy additional perks like having unlimited access to Wild Wild Wet and discounted rates for BBQ pits and parking! Check out the full list here.
This post was brought to you by D’Resort @ Downtown East.