Let me lay this out – I distrust surprises. I don’t appreciate having to scramble for appropriate reactions in the moment (which is why I fully embrace text messaging and email as opposed to real-time calls). I also feel that I don’t deserve awesome friends expending all these time and effort in my life because I’m a lazy bum and I can’t think of any time I’ve ever reciprocated? So it was a surprise to even myself that I planned a surprise staycation for Ottie’s upcoming birthday over this weekend. I say “planned”, but in fact I only placed a booking just a day prior on a Friday. I also say “for Ottie”, but really I just wanted to swim in cool pools.
I chose PARKROYAL on Pickering to spend a night at mainly because of their interesting pool, but also because of the champagne breakfast that they offered and I’m a sucker for alcohol. The original plan was for Ottie to come home from work so that he could change out of his work attire and into something more comfortable. However he changed my plans when he preferred for us to meet outside for a quick meal because he was tired and hungry. And I hadn’t even shaved my legs yet. A half hour later, I met him in front of the hotel and he finally realised after seeing the bags that I’d lugged with me that I’d planned a night there instead of a simple lunch. Somehow I still succeeded in surprising him, but remind me how stressful receiving and planning surprises are the next time I get the bright idea to try one in the future.
I managed to snag an Orchid Club Double Room on level 14 for SGD 350++ (which totalled about SGD 412 after GST). I’d normally balk at spending over a hundred dollars a night at any sort of lodgings, but the Orchid Club rooms offered quite a few perks and privileges that were too cool to pass up on considering how this could be considered a celebratory combination of Ottie’s birthday as well as an early Valentine’s day. I even wanted to stretch it to include our first quarter wedding anniversary, but Ottie put his foot down on having to share his birthday with more than one other event.
Ottie and I spent quite a while on the comfortable king-sized bed poring over the Orchid Club welcome letter highlighting all the privileges at our fingertips for booking this room. Non-alcoholic drinks from the minibar were complimentary and replenished every day! That was cool, in addition to the two glasses of water already provided in the room, proudly claimed by the hotel to be bottled using the eco-friendly Natura purification system.
I also brought along my new toy, a mini tripod with a mobile phone adaptor. Not bringing my dSLR felt quite liberating, but I also felt bad about all the dynamic range I was losing with just my phone camera. Oh well.
We missed the Orchid Club Lounge complimentary afternoon tea which ended at 4pm by the time we arrived at the hotel, and we didn’t want to leave the place in search of food, so in the continued spirit of splurging my year-end bonus on this occasion, we decided to order room service:
Beautiful light and shadows from our room at night, offering a view of the structural red flower vent atop CapitaGreen.
So we gained access to the Orchid Club Lounge on the rooftop, where complimentary buffet meals and drinks were offered on certain timings. Of course we took full advantage of this:
The fifth floor was a dedicated wellness area which included a small but pretty infinity pool littered with colourful cabanas (we called them birdcages) and a spa. I must say that the public restrooms there were also really well done, providing not just a cozy place to change, shower, and relax with the free toiletries, but also a steam room which I gladly used to give my body a good 40°C (104°F) boiling.
We also found a hairy caterpillar on the deck chair! Ottie enquired about it to one of the staff at the nearby spa and she came out and picked it off my chair. According to the staff, they’re harmless. But Ottie and I decided not to risk getting poisoned by those spikes. Embarrassing moment: I had a brain fart and thought that it was a very odd-looking snail at first.
I took another dip the next morning once more. But first, lounging in the only cabana that extended past the pools:
Ottie wound up not going into the unheated pool on both days, as the weather wasn’t ideal. Meanwhile I proved my mettle and actually quite enjoyed how chilly it was especially after a few laps. True story – I once stubbornly went ahead to take a shower in the middle of a Minnesotan winter even when the heater broke down because I’m unable to jump into bed without first taking a shower. So really, it wasn’t as if me and cold water were strangers.
Our time there was short, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time at PARKROYAL on Pickering. It was just the break we needed from work before heading back into the grind.
Till next time!