SINGAPORE – The InterContinental Singapore hotel lets me try its Heritage Suite, which, honestly, is too nice a place to ruin with work.
My suite, with its Peranakan influenced touches, is designed for making happy memories of Singapore, so visitors get to bask in luxury after a day of looking at nice things around town and, as they sink into cool sheets, to smile as they remember the satay at Lau Pa Sat and the rides at Universal Studios.
Instead, here I am, a grubby local with a laptop.
After a morning spent doing interviews and firing e-mails from my home office (a desk sinking under an alarming amount of detritus), I check in late – at around 4pm – and crack on with being super productive in an environment made for indulgence.
I mean, the shower stall and full-length bathtub are two separate areas. That sort of indulgence, and the large-screen televisions – one in the living area, the other facing the bed – need to be tested for the purpose of this review. In the interest of thoroughness, after channel-surfing for a couple of hours, I note that the televisions and movie channels work as intended.
Back to work. Five minutes is spent setting up my laptop and logging into the Wi-Fi (strength: good, speed: scorching) and – goodness me, time flies doesn’t it? – it is dinner time.
Checkout time for the InterContinental’s work-from-hotel package is 7pm. This review includes its $100 overnight add-on ($150 with a partner), so I have to test the suite further and, with a soft sigh, I let myself sink further into the sofa.
What would be the point of working in a hotel if I do not avail myself of its amenities, such as room service? One quick phone call later, a spicy lamb pizza is sent up. It leaves me in a food coma. The cure – a hot soak.
I used to travel for work, mainly in the region, but since the closure of routes, I have forgotten how much I missed a nice hotel, a place where staff speak in hushed voices, where the lift doors close with a hiss and there is a tray of sweets awaiting you in the room, which you scarf down while catching up on what everyone is saying on Twitter.
In spite of how the InterContinental is 25 minutes by MRT from home, coming back to the hotel life is a religious experience. Such thoughts float through my mind as my body marinates in soapy water. That done, I get back to the work desk, but as my MacBook wakes up, my brain is shutting down. Time for bed.
The next morning, after breakfast at Ash & Elm restaurant, included in the overnight package, I have an excuse to keep my laptop closed because I have to be away watching a film I need to review.
Movie over, it is back to the same restaurant for lunch.
To ensure that sustenance comes to hand easily for hard-charging executives like me, the $200 work-from-hotel package includes a two-course set lunch or $30 in lunch credit. Again, I have a pizza I will think about for weeks – hickory BBQ chicken this time – then it is time to check out.
In the 22 hours I am there, I should have cranked out a chapter of the Great Singapore Novel, or one not-so-great feature article. But I become a kid in a candy store and do everything but work.
This is maybe why, according to the hotel, many buying the 7am-to-7pm work package opt for two days.
That just makes sense. A workation is two words – work and vacation – and on day one, you are as likely as me to ignore the first and embrace the second.
WHERE: 80 Middle Road
INFO: Intercontinental Singapore’s website
RATES: The Executive Package costs $200++ for a single guest. It includes use of the Heritage Suite from 7am to 7pm, Wi-Fi, parking, access to fitness centre and pool (by reservation upon check-in), an in-room Nespresso machine with five pods a day and TWG Tea sachets, and a two-course set lunch at Ash & Elm or $30 dining credit. Add $100 for a night’s stay.
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