Staycations have become the de facto holiday plans for my family since the start of 2020.
While I’ve checked into several hotels in Singapore in the last two years, I must say that my experiences have been somewhat similar: a stay in a hotel in the city and visiting attractions in the Marina Bay or CBD area. That’s until I checked into Coliwoo Hotel Amber last month and planned an itinerary that allowed me to explore Katong – an area that I don’t frequent because I live in the Western region of Singapore.
For the uninitiated, Coliwoo is a well-known co-living brand and Coliwoo Hotel Amber Katong and Coliwoo Hotel Amber are its new hotel concept.
Supplementary to the brand’s co-living residences, the new hotel concept focuses on premium flexible stays.
Coliwoo Hotel Amber Katong and Coliwoo Hotel Amber are refurbished from the old Amber Hotel and what’s interesting for me was that they kept many of the details of the decor and furnishings so that its original character is preserved.
My experience at Coliwoo Hotel Amber
I checked into the Premier Queen Suite, which is a corner unit that comes with a queen bed, bathroom, kitchen, and wardrobe. The space is tastefully furnished and would be perfect for two persons. However, for a family of four like ours, after a cot was placed in there for my 10-month-old, I found that there was just enough space for walking around.
In other words, it’s extremely functional and is a little too tiny for a family of four, but what this means was that it forced us to explore the neighbourhood instead of staying in the room, which was something we were looking forward to.
Day 1 itinerary
The first day, we took things easy. After unpacking and freshening up, we went to i12 Katong, which is just a five-minute drive away. There were many family-friendly restaurants available, and we eventually settled down for a dinner at Ippudo, which offered high chairs for children and a kids’ menu. Then, we visited the supermarket at the mall to pick up some groceries for a picnic we had planned for the next day.
One problem that I’m sure many families with young children face is different sleep times. For us, my 10-month-old sleeps at 7.30pm, while my 3.5-year-old sleeps at 9.30pm, so I had to be with my baby in the room by 7pm while my preschooler was still energetic and had to be engaged with activities.
Thankfully, Coliwoo Hotel Amber has a communal area at Level 1 that looks like a huge living room with sofas, a dining area – they even provided board games.
My husband and my elder boy could spend the next two hours reading and playing at the communal area until bedtime. My boy also had a lot of fun taking his pick from the vending machine at the communal area and my husband could fuel up with some hot drinks.
Day 2 itinerary
The next day, we woke up early and made a beeline for Chin Mee Chin, a popular Hainanese coffeeshop that sells traditional kaya toast and other pastries.
We’ve always wanted to bring the children but we stay in the West, it was almost impossible to get the children out of the house in time to avoid the queue and have breakfast early. Thankfully, Chin Mee Chin is just a six-minute drive from Coliwoo Hotel Amber so we finally got to visit it with the children this time.
In fact, we got there before 8.30am and only had to wait a short while to get a table.
After breakfast, we explored the Katong area a little more, then headed back to the hotel for a nap. While the children napped, I got busy at the kitchen, preparing snacks for the picnic later.
Having a simple en-suite kitchen was definitely one of the things I find most convenient on a staycation with my children. I was able to cook my baby’s meals instead of resorting to instant food, which helped me ensure he was able to have nutritious and allergy-free meals while we’re on holiday. I also whipped up some kueh pie tee for the picnic.
Once the children were up from their naps, we went to East Coast Park, which is actually a short walk away. We decided against walking and drove (two-minute drive!) instead because we had to bring along too many things (families with kids would know what I mean!). We found a shady spot and had a picnic, which both boys enjoyed.
At night, during my baby’s bedtime, my husband took my elder boy to the Changi Airport (10-minute drive) to look at planes and have dinner. I really liked that we could plan excursions we weren’t able to do in the past because of the proximity we now have when we stay at the hotel.
Day 3 itinerary
Once again, we wanted to take things easy on the last day. We heat up breakfast of pastries we bought the previous day and had them as a family at the communal area. This gave us more time to spend with each other before heading back to the room to pack (while the elder boy gets 30 minutes of screen time and the baby napped).
After checking out, we drove around Katong to have final mini tour with the children, looking at churches and shophouses.
Who would I recommended Coliwoo Amber Hotel to?
As a staycation spot, it’s perfect for those who are looking to explore the charming Katong area or places of interest in the East. For instance, if you’re planning to attend the Singapore Grand Prix this year, the hotel is a 10-minute drive (or 20-minute bus ride) from the circuit.
For those who are planning a staycation with children, bear in mind that space is really tight, so depending on your children’s needs, you may want to consider getting two rooms instead of just one. However, it is an affordable way to do a stay in the East, if you intend to explore the area.
If you’re intending to do a staycation at Coliwoo Amber Hotel with your family like me, here are my personal tips:
- Take full advantage of the kitchen to prepare simple meals. Freshly prepared food for your baby or a hot soup in the evening before bed are always enjoyable during a staycation.
- Don’t forget to use the communal area. Considering that the rooms are a little small, the communal area is perfect for dining or just play or reading time.
- There are lots of photo opportunities around the hotel (such as beautiful murals and cosy corners!); explore them with your children to take cute photos!
- While there’s limited parking space within the hotel, we never had trouble finding a spot. Parking is free too so it definitely makes it more convenient to drive.
Coliwoo Amber Hotel is located at 40 Amber Rd, Singapore 439878. Staycation packages start from S$130/day. Visit its website for more information. You can also reach Coliwoo via email at [email protected] or via WhatsApp at +65 9790 8585.