People say I have the dream job, others don’t understand what I do and others just think I am one of those lucky people that flies all over the world staying at luxurious hotels all in the aid of work. The truth is I do have a dream job and get to fly all over the world, working for one of the world’s leading award winning luxury boutique hotel brands, COMO Hotels & Resorts. You might think I am just showing off but I know I’m lucky, it didn’t happen overnight though it has taken me years to find my perfect job. I have had some amazing experiences and been to some amazing places however there is always work to be done and I don’t always get to enjoy the destination as much as I would like.
I wake to the sound of my alarm at 5.20am, jump out of bed all sleepy thinking it’s time to get ready the car will be here soon to collect me, I need to get to the airport for my 7.45am Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. I am not a morning person and rarely take an early flight if at all possible, some people might think this is not early but for me it is. As we drive through the Eastern Distributor the sun is just rising, like a blood red orange, it looks stunning and at that point I feel excited about my trip.
I am off to hang out with my brother (who lives in London) and just so happens to be passing through Singapore at the same time, so we decide to hang out at the ‘W Singapore, Sentosa Cove’ for the weekend, prior to me jetting off to the Maldives for my second time.
The first time I went to the Maldives was just over 4 years ago (July 2011), it was a very quick visit only 4 days, to visit our only property at the time Cocoa Island by COMO and then inspect 8 other resort’s to give me a much better understanding of the destination & help me sell it to clients. It was amazing to experience Cocoa Island, scuba diving, sunset cruising, snorkeling, spa treatments (which was one of the most memorable treatments I have ever had) and get to see so many other resorts, it truly helped me understand why we are so unique compared to the others. Don’t get me wrong, as there are some beautiful resorts in the Maldives that have some amazing features, facilities and designs, I just feel that Cocoa Island offers that true Maldivian Robinson Crusoe experience, no gimmicks, nothing too opulent, great facilities and fabulous service.
So back to this trip, we depart on time out of Sydney Airport, a seamless experience at that time of the morning with no queuing to get through check in, passport control a breeze then off to the Air New Zealand Lounge as the Singapore Airlines Lounge is closed for renovation. Air New Zealand what are you doing? You really need to up your game, it’s not user friendly, hard to move around comfortably, the breakfast food was shocking, coffee from a machine that was terrible and the service needs some serious work. They could learn a few things from Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges, if you ask me who have done a fantastic job with the design, user friendly, plenty of staff, great service, good food selection & 2 baristas to make you the perfect morning coffee.
The flight was a nice & easy 7 hours 45 min, a couple of movies, a meal and a nap perfect day flight. I arrive into Singapore’s Changi Airport at 1pm (voted the best airport in the world too many times to remember) and you can see why. Straight of the plane, collect bag, through passport control and into a taxi (no queue) in under 20 min, that is what I call seamless.
It is a 30 minute taxi ride to ‘W Singapore Sentosa Cove’ approx. S$25, unfortunately I was greeted with a storm but amazing lightning so not all bad. The hotel arrival was also seamless, door opened for me, bag whisked out by the doorman and before I could blink I was checked (normally 3pm but my room was ready for 2pm) and into my ‘Wonderful Room’. Mood lighting on, red glowing light under my bed and within 5 minutes of entering a knock on the door and my bag was ready to be unpacked, changed and off to explore Sentosa Cove, no I am not going to check out Singapore’s Universal, well not on this trip anyway!
I spend the afternoon working and then a short workout session in the well-equipped gym, lovely natural daylight on one whole said of the room looking out towards the palm tree fringed garden and the huge pool. Returned to do some more work (check in to FB tell the world where I am), then have a shower and get myself ready for tonight’s festivities with my bro. The rain shower was the perfect remedy as was the lemon zesty shower gel, lovely soft towels as you would expect from a hotel only a few years old, and one of my all-time favourite items in a hotel room an iPod dock with fairly good sound (apologies to my next door neighbour if my uplifting house music was too loud).
Time to head down to the WooBar for some drinks, very friendly service on arrival, what I thought was lovely was that the server introduced herself by name then asked what she should call me, which caught me by surprise but was a nice touch, you can call me Elliott, nice to meet you! They have happy hour from 6-9pm which is 2 for 1 on most drinks what a great deal, so we sat there for a few drinks then off to dinner.
I had been recommended a few places but we decided on a local Singaporean restaurant called ‘Blue Lantern’ which was famous for its chili crab and Wagyu beef, it is just next to the hotel where there are about 20 various styles of restaurants, great if you do not want to go very far. With the specialties in mind I had the prawn wonton for started then the wagyu beef and it didn’t disappoint at all, my bro had a fish dish and was very nice also & a few very cold tiger beers and we were done.
Day 2 in the W, after a very nice sleep in a bed that I could lay horizontal or vertically and not touch the end, with 5 pillows and very soft sheets I was ready for breakfast. Breakfast was served in the main Restaurant and it did not disappoint, there was a choice of everything, there was not one thing I could think of that was not available. We were seated by the window overlooking the marina and so many staff it wasn’t possible to count, very attentive and happy to help with anything.
After at least 4 courses we then decided to head out to walk off breakfast ‘Tanjun Beach’, we were told it is a little too far to walk far so we jumped in a taxi and headed down for a morning walk on the beach. I am not going to spend long on this one, but in a nutshell not the greatest beach looking over the bay facing all the container ships, the water was warm but we spent a little over 30 minutes walking along the beach then thought we would head back to the cool surrounds of the W Pool.
The pool area was lovely very large, enough sun beds to chill out on and stay clear of the children that were in the pool. They have lots of floating water beds, inflatable balls if you fancy playing water volleyball and even a swim up bar.
After a few hours by the pool we decided to have a light lunch in the Woobar, it was lovely the W take on fish & chips which was 3 different types of sashimi and crisps . With a cold tiger beer it worked a treat. My Bro left soon after our late lunch as he had a 6.30pm flight to Hong Kong to catch, great to hang out but now time to say goodbye.
That evening I met up with a colleague and we went to our favourite dumpling restaurant ‘Din Tai Fung’ which is actually a Michelin star restaurant, as usual it did not disappoint, just as good as the one we ate in Shanghai in June. Then a few drinks at the Luke Mangan restaurant opposite the famous Raffles hotel, we decided to not go and have a Singapore Sling as it is probably the most touristy bar you could go to when In town and as one person said to me ‘it is the most expensive punch out of a jug they have ever had’.
My alarm goes off at 7.20am on Sunday morning time to get ready and get my car to the airport as next stop the Maldives’ visiting the newest COMO property ‘Maalifushi by COMO’, and then Cocoa Island by COMO (number one resort in the Maldives on Trip Advisor)….to be continued.
P.S did I mention the free Wi-Fi throughout the whole hotel, although annoyingly limited with the amount of download allowed, by the time I downloaded emails, documents, had a brief chat on Skype with a friend in London my allowance was used up. As an hotelier I fully understand there should be a limit but it does give me something to complain about!