Holiday Goddess rookie, Holly O’Sullivan based herself at the Hotel Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen recently, and road tested the handyphone while she was there.
The rather stylish new Ibis on Bencoolen is great place to base yourself in Singapore – for more reasons than it’s central location.
Located just down the road from the Bugis Junction Shopping Centre and within easy walking distance to Orchard Road, Little India and the famous Mustafa Centre, the Ibis makes good sense in more ways than one.
Guests who stay in a Room With Extra Benefits are each provided a handyphone for the duration of their stay, which you can use to phone home, check your email, post to Facebook and (most importantly) find your way around Singapore.
The phone includes a complete city guide to Singapore making it useful both inside and outside the hotel, unlimited 3G internet, unlimited local calls, and unlimited international calls to 26 countries on both fixed and mobile lines – including Australia and New Zealand.
With the smartphone I was able to use Google maps whenever I felt a little off track, and could arrange meet-ups with people I knew that were holidaying in Singapore.
Another great feature of the Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen is free use of its fleet of bamboo bikes – just one of a few “green” initiatives the hotel has introduced. Guests are also provided with drink bottles so you can avoid using single-use plastic bottled water (the water is safe to drink in Singapore).
Which brings me to my room, filled with so many friendly features for international travellers, including USB chargers and international adaptors. My favourite part of my room was the little office space that sat right in front of the window so I could work with a view.
Unlimited WiFi is available throughout the hotel, whether you are sitting at the bar for happy hour or enjoying the breakfast buffet in the restaurant.
So what did I manage to find with my handyphone? Here are my top 7 picks for a short break in Singapore.
1. Breakfast with orang-utans at Singapore Zoo.
This is a fantastic experience, worth getting up early for! You’re served breakfast the same time the neighbouring orangutans are given theirs. Having filled up on breakfast you can then spend the day stolling around the zoo.
2. The views from the cable car to Sentosa Island
There is so much to do on Sentosa Island, from ziplining and rock climbing to electric bikes and Madame Tussauds. The Cable Car is the best way to get there so you can enjoy the city views on the way.
3. Orchids at the Botanical Gardens.
The Botanic Gardens are like an oasis in the middle of hot bustling Singapore. It’s definitely worth paying an extra couple of dollars to visit the orchid gardens within.
4. Pinocchio at Universal Studios.
There are some great rides at Universal Studios, including the 3D Transformers experience and Jurassic Park roller coaster, and while you’re waiting in line, there are plenty of photo opps with the characters from Shrek.
5. Music and light show at the Gardens by the Bay.
This futuristic garden has to be seen to be believed – it looks even more amazing in real life as it does in the brochures, and the evening music and light show really is magical.
6. Curry in Little India
Who doesn’t love curry? There are no shortages of places in Little India (conveniently around the corner from Ibis on Bencoolen). We chose the Banana Leaf Apollo. Fast service with food ordered via iPad – so if you’re still hungry you can order more.
7. A cocktail at KuDeTa, Marina Bay Sands
If (like me) you can’t afford to stay at Marina Bay Sands, here’s a sneaky way to enjoy the view and grab a selfie by that awesome looking infinity pool. Grab the KuDeTa elevator up to the bar and sip on a cocktail while the sun sets over Singapore.
Budget airline Scoot has been promoting some pretty amazing deals lately, making it rather too tempting to book a short getaway.
First impressions? Pretty good. The queue at check-in moved quickly and boarding my first Scoot flight was one the easiest boarding experiences I’ve ever had.
As for the inflight entertainment, ScooTV has an impressive menu of movies and TV shows to view on your own device.
You can pre-order inflight meals, and there’s a pretty decent choice – from wraps and salads to hot meals, with a choice of Western, Asian and International dishes, and even a reasonable choice for vegetarians like me.
Between Economy and Business Class (or ScootBiz) there’s a reasonable choice of cheap options to help you get some sleep.
I flew Economy to Singapore, opting for ‘ScootinSilence’, a section of seating just behind ScootBiz, which has slightly more legroom (about 90cm), greater pitch when reclining than Standard Economy, and no children nearby under the age of 12.
‘MaxYourSpace’ is another cute little initiative that allows you to book (on a first-come-first-serve basis) the two seats next to yours and sprawl across all three. If the seats are available 12 hours prior to check-in, they’re yours.