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5 Alternatives to a 5-Star Hotel Staycation in Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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Singaporeans have this curious habit of going on staycations—in other words, paying hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel that’s at most an hour’s drive from where they live.

Sounds illogical, but hey, staring at the four walls of your flat or having your parents spy on you every minute can give you a real urge to get away from it all, preferably somewhere where you’ll be waited on hand and foot by attentive staff.

Still, hotel stays are freaking expensive in Singapore. We did the math previously, and found that you’re looking at close to $1,000 for a weekend staycation in a five star hotel. With that kind of money, you could do a lot more than gaze out the window at Orchard Road/Marina Bay. Here are  five alternatives to luxury hotel staycations.

 

Luxury cruise

If you are going to pay more than $500 a night for a hotel stay, you might as well go on a cruise. Not only are some of these cruises incredibly luxurious, they also give you the opportunity to use all sorts of facilities, from gigantic swimming pools, ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls.

Those who are particularly loaded can even cruise all the way to exotic Mediterranean destinations, but for those whose main objective is to just escape from home for a while, a cruise to nowhere will suffice.

Cruises on the Seven Seas Voyager which begins its voyages next year will start from 750 SGD per person, but there are also cheaper cruises that offer packages for under 1,000 SGD per person.

 

Rent a place on Airbnb

Why turn to expensive five star hotels when rich people in Singapore live in apartments and houses that are even more luxurious? Apparently, many Singaporeans already spend the night in Airbnb accommodation to escape their parents, so you won’t be the first.

This cluster of two private bedrooms and private living room in a Bukit Timah townhouse costs $180 per night (+ $44 cleaning and service fee), while this one bedroom condo at Robertson Walk costs $169 per night (+ $50 cleaning fee). This studio apartment at Tiong Bahru looks like an actual hotel room and costs $136 per night (+ $17 service fee), while this apartment in the same area looks like a museum and is going for $249 a night (+ $30 service fee).

 

Spend the day on a yacht

Want to ply the seven seas but don’t want to have to share your vessel with other people? Consider renting out an entire yacht, then.

In case you haven’t already noticed, yacht parties are becoming increasingly popular in Singapore, and despite the fact that they look ultra glam, they cost way less per person than a hotel staycation.

For instance, chartering a yacht from White Sails for four hours costs $1,199, or $1,399 on Fridays and public holidays. While that might sound expensive, the yacht can contain up to 18 people, so if you split the cost with a party it’s much less.

 

Seek out alternative hotels and resorts in Singapore

There’s more to Singapore accommodation than Marina Bay Sands.

If paying $500+ a night for a bed doesn’t sound appealing to you, you’ll be pleased to know there are actually quite a few interesting accommodation choices that cost less than $300 a night and don’t involve shooing cockroaches out from under the bed.

The most obvious alternatives are boutique hotels like Hotel 1929 and klapsons the Boutique Hotel. Agoda tends to have the best deals and the deepest discounts, so always check prices there instead of calling up the hotel directly.

Then there are rustic options like D’Kranji Farm Resort, Celestial Resort Pulau Ubin and the East Coast Park chalets which, while obviously far less glamorous than five star hotels, get help you achieve your twin objectives of escaping your residential estate and de-stressing.

Check out our posts here and here for some other staycation alternatives.

 

Head over to Johor Bahru for your staycation

So you don’t want to have to go through the laborious process of travelling to Changi Airport to fly to another country. No, you want your staycation to be within easy reach of your home, so you can just take a bus, train or cab down.

Johor Bahru satisfies this requirement. If you’re really lazy, you can just cab to the Causeway and then catch a Malaysian cab to your destination.

The main advantage of going to JB is that accommodation is so much cheaper there. Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour is much cheaper than any of the hotels of the same brand in Singapore. Best of all, they have an infinity pool offering a view of the sea. A deluxe room on Agoda now costs 140 SGD (down from 226 SGD).

Another good ideal is Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru. A stay in their King Guest Room is a steal at 138 SGD per night.

Villa Warisan offers rooms in traditional Malay-style villas with a resort feel. A stay in a suite costs 84 SGD.

And if the only hotels good enough for you are those with infinity pools, there’s also Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre, at which a Superior Room costs only 101 SGD per night on Agoda (down from 153 SGD).

Have you tried any of the above staycation alternatives? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.