Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rejuvenate and Staycate at Grand Park City Hall

The best thing about a staycation has got to be the fact that there are no trains to rush for, no sea-sick pills to pack, and no long waiting times to waste at airports. We were out of our house and at our destination in 10 minutes flat.  

Image courtesy of Park Hotel Group
When it comes to location for a family staycation, you can't beat that of Grand Park City Hall. Nestled in the heart of the Civic District, the 5-star hotel is within walking distance to many interesting things to do with kids: Explore Fort Canning Hill, the Peranakan Museum, the Philatelic Museum all in a day if you like. The Central Fire Station is just opposite the hotel, and it holds Open Houses every Saturday morning.

If you want to venture out of the hotel on an unguided walking tour, Come Singapore has a nice one to follow at your own pace.

But we did none of that. Because here's the other great thing about a staycation: There's no pressure to rush around and take in the sights of the city because guess what? You can do that any other time if you so wish. So we chose to stay within hotel grounds.

We were ushered to our lovely rooms - that's right, rooms - and oh, the joy on our kids' faces when they saw theirs! Did they like it? I didn't ask, but I'd have to say yes :)



Bright kiddy bedspreads, stuffed animals to hug, little table and chairs, fun bath towels.... oh these kids really lived it up!

I'm sure they would have been happy to jump on their king sized bed all night long had the old farts next door not stopped them. Yeah it was us next door in the adjoining room. They were fascinated by the 'special door' that connected us, but after a while the novelty wore off and we were concerned about the possibility of little feet (and perhaps big ones too) getting caught under the doors. 

Our room

Nothing says "5-star" like good ole marble counters.

As always, Hide and Seek remains a favourite game

We enjoyed the Family Moments package (more details at end of post) which thoughtfully includes tailored in-room family ameninties like gentle baby toileteries, baby bath tubs, baby cots with bedding and baby towels at no additional charge. There are also food/bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers, baby cots/play pens, strollers and high chairs available upon request to make holidaying with baby effortless and enjoyable. All you have to do is ask. The Family Moments package includes a complimentary upgrade from Superior to Deluxe rooms, subject to availability.

But perhaps the most thoughtful thing  that we really appreciated was the late check-out time. How late? Like 3pm late. Oh yes, 3pm! That meant that instead of having to rush through breakfast and morning swim for a 10am or 12noon check-out, we could even squeeze in a regular nap for the baby. Checking out with happy well rested baby versus tired and cranky baby: Score! Again, subject to availability, but I do hope you'll be able to get it because oh my, 3pm!

There are 333 rooms in this historic hotel, and at first glance, it may not look very big but still we did not manage to explore and try everything out within our stay. I did however, sign myself up for an indulgent 90-minute spa treatment at Spa Park Asia. Their signature Gold Lava Shell treatment was probably the most interesting massage I'd ever had in my life. I was told it's similar to a hot stone massage (which I've never had), but less painful. It wasn't painful at all, in fact, it was really pleasant.

Those shells, yes I was massaged with them. It was nice yet weird

I only wish I was paying more attention when my therapist was introducing the massage essential oils to me - I would have asked her to omit the one that would keep me warm for hours after the massage. It would have been nice for an evening massage perhaps or a rainy day, but certainly not for a hot and humid morning!

And while I was drifting in and out of blissful slumber, this is what the rest of my family was up to.

The pool was tiny, but then again, kids aren't so big themselves. So they had a good time splashing around. The jacuzzi is slightly hidden, and in comparison, rather big for a jacuzzi. The water though was hot, like kinda-makes-you-feel-like-a-lobster-in-a-pot kind of hot. But everyone got used to it after a while. 

There are plenty of wine and dine options within the hotel: Indulge at Park was where we had all our meals, and Park Palace is famed for its Cantonese delights such as the Park Palace imperial suckling pig, deep-fried king prawn with crispy rice and tomato-mayo and thousand layered tofu (here, you can share my bib). The Deli offers a delicious array of freshly baked breads, savouries, cakes and gourmet sandwiches and the alfresco Beer Tavern is the place to be to unwind after a long day out. You can tag team with your spouse to nip out for a quick beer (over 30 varieties of beer around the world to choose from) when the kids are asleep.

Oh kiss me, you yummy thing, kiss me

Oh this girl. I wonder where she gets her sweet tooth from

Eye candy

The Bar, with its live entertainment, entertained Calla quite a bit during dinner. She'd stroll over, dance a little, then run back to us for a further installment of her meal

The lobby must be one of my favourite parts of any hotel. The lobby sets the tone of any hotel - shabby lobby, shabby hotel. Classy lobby, classy hotel. Many years ago, I worked in one myself. A rather classy one too. I learnt to recognise the faces of regular guests so I could greet them by name, and ask how their flights were. I loved my job as a Guest Relations Agent but one of the things I loved best was the lobby at night, when it was quiet and calm. Just like this.

The courtyard was one of my favourite places as well. I kept getting drawn toward it. It's the charm of the restored century-old shop houses, I tell you. I'm a sucker for those things. And nestled within them, a lovely little fountain. Of course we made wishes.

It's amazing how much of this hotel is accessible to public. This is one of them.

It's funny how the hotel is situated right along a busy road, but the noise doesn't reach the hotel's compounds. With all the greenery, it's hard to believe we're right at the road.

She's at the "I don't want to smile for photos" stage, but made all these funny shots when she programmed the camera on the self-timer function. Ah, 5 year olds.
This was our first time making a conscious effort to stay within the hotel for a holiday, and I'm so glad we did. It was a refreshing change, and refreshed we sure are. Thank you, Grand Park City Hall, for hosting us over the weekend. We were truly spoilt and had such a good time!

* Disclaimer: My family and I received a 2D1N stay at the Grand Park City Hall with all meals and a spa treatment for me included. I received no monetary compensation for this post; all photos and opinions (and blissfully un-knotted shoulder muscles) are mine. 

Oh, true that!

The Family Moments Package (also available at Grand Park Orchard and Park Hotel Clarke Quay) includes is valid till 31 December 2014:

* Accomodation for two adults and up to two children per room
* Complimentary buffet breakfast for two adults and two children below the age of 12 years
* Complimentary internet access
* Complimentary upgrade on weekends
* 50% discount off second room when booked under the same package
* Complimentary lunch and dinner for up to two children, below the age of 12, from kids' menu when accompanied by paying adults

Prices start from S$350++


Good news!
All Gingerbreadmum readers can enjoy a special 25% off their total bill for dining in for "A Carnivore Carnival" (Sunday lunch) at Indulge at Park from now until 30 April 2014. All you have to do is call 6432 5888 or email to make your booking, and quote "Gingerbreadmum" to enjoy the privilege

Better news!
Specially for Gingerbreadmum readers! Get your bibs ready everyone, because the good folks at Grand Park City Hall are very kind to offer 2 sets to "A Carnivore Carnival" (Sunday lunch) for 2 adults and 2 children (valued at $180nett per set)!

Here's what you have to do:
1) Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you think makes a good buffet
2) Leave your name AND email address in your comment

Contest will close at 23.59 of 25 March 2014. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. Winners will be announced on the Gingerbreadmum Facebook page on 26 March 2014 and have 48 hours to respond to my email (which will be sent to the email address they've provided) or else I'll have to pick another winner. Open only to residens of Singapore.

Link up with Park Hotel Group on Facebook to be the first to receive news of special deals and promos! And here's me on Facebook if you haven't, ya know, liked me yet.

Edited : The good folks have Grand Park City Hall have chosen two lucky winners to feast away at A Carnivore Carnival. And they are...... J 'Shamelessly-Greedy' Tupaz and Pei Ling! Congratulations guys! Please check your email - I've sent you a mail requesting for your details; do acknowledge my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be picked! And you sure as heck wouldn't want to miss this buffet!!


  1. Oh lucky you! And don't the girls look so happy jumping on the bed! What is that thing kissing you - a lobster? Prawn?

  2. Good buffet means lots of fresh, very very fresh seafood in its appetiser and mains.

  3. A wide and fresh spread of raw and cooked food for the young, adventurous and the old so that the whole family can enjoy the buffet spread


  4. A good buffet means a wide range of desserts & seafood! =D

    Thank you!!!

  5. good buffet means cozy environment and tasty foos for adults and kids!

  6. good buffet means cozy environment and tasty food for adults and kids too!

  7. A good buffet to me means tons of eating and catching up with the family. But the best part about buffet is that everything is out for everyone to self-service - don't need to wait to be served! Just grab what you want, when you want! I love it!


  8. A good buffet means having fresh vegetables (one of the woes of parents whose child doesn't poop often), a wide range of food including things we don't usually get to eat! Oh, and can who can forget those tantalizing desserts ~ yum~

  9. A good buffet should have a spread of variety of food that can make our tummy belly happy :)
    Amie Chen

  10. A good buffet is having a wide variety of foods that can satisfy one's appitite and have things suitable for the kids too..

  11. A good buffet means having a variety of yummy food that caters to the needs of everyone at the table!
    Comfortable chairs to keep the active ones at the table for as long as possible.
    Enticing food that will interest those picker eaters to eat as much as possible.
    Affordable prices to make us parents feel less painful when our young ones don't eat as much as we want them to.
    Or maybe, yummy food is all that matters!

    Pei Ling

  12. A good buffet consists of fresh and succulent seafood for me and my hubs (he loves the crabs and me loves the sushi/sashimi), fantastic variety of steaks & meats and loads of pasta & desserts which my daughter would love. Not forgetting yummy fruits to keep it a healthy and balance meal!

    Danessa Foo:

  13. With kids..a good buffet is a buffet where kids are entertained and with food that they will eat (and I do not mean sweets and desserts) jaime at

  14. I believe there are several factors that makes a buffet good and they include:

    - The presentation and quality of food

    - The variety of cuisine on offer including authentic local food (especially for my family who live overseas and try to return to Singapore every two years)

    - The layout of the restaurant that exudes spaciousness and embraces natural light

    - The provision of toddler chairs / high chairs for young children

    - The provision of toddler plates, cups and cutlery

    - More healthy options in the dessert bar so that parents like me are able to pick those for my young children {I don't ever want my twins to experience sugar high!)

    - Perhaps a play area for the kids in the restaurant which they can go to when they are "tired" of sitting at the table / A small activity kit for each child so that he/she can do quiet activities at the table while the parents eat!

    Magdalene St Clare

  15. A good buffet means lots of fresh sashimi (yummy!!) and a wide selection of teas for me to choose from!! :)
    My name is yeesan. Email:

  16. Good buffet has lots of live stations with chefs cooking up delish food on the spot, to order., Carol Lim

  17. Good buffet offers a wide variety, and with food catered for little children to adults to old people. It should be the type that makes u wanna go back again!


  18. I love to enjoy my buffet with good company(Hubby) and good food(Variety of food)


  19. Good buffet is when u had the first round, u still wanna got for the 2nd and the 3rd and felt like u had not eaten every dish available!

    brina boon

  20. A good buffet means a good selection of food for all ages.
    GC KOH

  21. What makes a good buffet?

    A good buffet is where crabs, lobsters, mussels and clams gather, with some spaghetti as a staple. Some dessert to sweeten the meal up too.
    But most importantly, a play area at the buffet (not near the food though) with keepers to mind the kids, just so that I can have a few minutes of peace to enjoy the yummy food.

    May Eng

  22. A good buffet is quality above quantity... Not forgetting desserts looking too good to eat! Kathryn kathrynng(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. What makes a good buffet? Meat, meat and more meat. And of course a wide selection of desserts.

    Tan Li Li

  24. Lobster, but of course!

  25. Other than the good buffet spread, I think ambience and service are equally important.

    To top it all, a great desserts spread is a sure-win!


  26. Balanced spread of all the various courses, quality above quantity, a play area would be divine!

    Nhuiling(at)gmail(dot)com, huiling

  27. Good buffet to me means there must be meat!!


  28. If I may be painfully honest... a good buffet is one where I can eat as much oysters, lobsters & prawns, then going back for seconds in that order, without exactly having to pay a bomb for it. Then tasting the yummy desserts all the while telling myself one more bite won't hurt.

    But the best part of any buffet really is the time in between the eating - the talking, gossip, laughter, food critiquing, and pure enjoyment of the company you have with you.


  29. If I may be honest, a good buffet is one where I can have oysters, lobsters, prawns, sushi and go back for seconds (yes in that order too) without having to pay a bomb. Then tasting all the yummy dessert all the while telling myself one more bite won't hurt.

    But what makes a good buffet awesome, is really the time in-between all the eating: the part where we just talk, laugh, gossip, critique the food, really catch up and simply enjoy the time with family (or friends).

    Sandra Keasberry

  30. Good buffet would have cuisines from all around the world - an international buffet!

    M Lim,

  31. A good buffet should have something for everyone in the family, both young and old. And not just any food, but fresh and well made food (no "fast food, please). Great starters to wet the appetite, hearty mains, succulent seafood, and delectable desserts to end off the meal on a high!

    Lindy Koh-Teo,

  32. I think a good buffet should have a good variety of quality food and service (eg. clearing of plates) is also very important. The food must also be addictive enough to make me wanna to go back for more. Desserts must be attractive and nice for a sweet tooth ME.


  33. A good buffet is nothing without a variety of Sashimi , seafood and desserts to satisfy the sweet tooth (That's for me )

    Kids friendly food without spice and chilli and of course to cater to the elderly who may need more effort to chew ! Something that would satisfy the whole family from young to old and makes you crave to go back another day !

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway ! Hope and wish to win ! Pick me pleeeease !

    Serene Seah

  34. A good buffet must have fresh seafood, meat, pastry, fruits and greens too. There must be some things sweet and some things savoury, many of which would make you want to dine at the same place again the very next day. I would like a teppanyaki station where you can pick out stuff and get them cooked just the way you want on the spot. It would be even more awesome if after the kids get to eat a well balanced diet, then hop off to an awesome play area with toys to suit different ages so that daddy and mummy can have desserts and wine in peace. =)

    Awesome getaway you had, Adora! Thumbs up for the post!


  35. A good buffet must have fresh seafood, meat, pastry, fruits and greens too. There must be some things sweet and some things savoury, many of which would make you want to dine at the same place again the very next day. I would like a teppanyaki station where you can pick out stuff and get them cooked just the way you want on the spot. It would be even more awesome if after the kids get to eat a well balanced diet, then hop off to an awesome play area with toys to suit different ages so that daddy and mummy can have desserts and wine in peace. =)

    Awesome getaway you had, Adora! Thumbs up for the post!


  36. A good buffet must have fresh seafood, meat, pastry, fruits and greens too. There must be some things sweet and some things savoury, many of which would make you want to dine at the very same place the next day. I would like a teppanyaki station where you can pick out stuff and have them cooked the way you want on the spot. It would be even more awesome if the kids, after having a well-balanced meal, could hop off to an awesome play area with toys to suit all ages so that daddy and mummy can have desserts and wine in peace. =)

    Fantastic getaway you had, Adora! Thumbs up for the post!


  37. My husband is vegetarian (like yours?) and I'd love a buffet that caters to meat lovers like me and the kids, and also offer a decent spread of greens!


  38. Oh my, I have recently retired from my title of buffet queen but for this, I will resume my role and responsibility! A good buffet must have a bit of everything especially.... a chocolate fountain!

  39. A good buffet = a good/wide selection of quality food to choose from, best if its prep freshly on the spot!

  40. A great buffet is one with a huge spread of yummy seafood and international fare, best with a stunning view or 'live' music performance as accompaniment!! Most importantly, enjoyed with my loved ones! Haha!!

    Mei S

  41. A good buffet has quality food - I'd take quality over quantity any time of day.

  42. Child friendly food please. No nuggest and chips! That's just cheap.

  43. Hi Adora n all other gingerians!
    My 2 cents worth on the great buffet mould-
    Start it off w minimum of a choice of clear consommé (a solid Tom yum or fart-worthy French onion is welcomed) and a cream of mushroom or classic like chicken or decent tomato basil would do nicely - WITH good FRESH bread.
    Appetizers simple salads like nicely done coleslaw and or a potato salad done right with bacon bits, fresh lettuce and good EVOO w a pepper mill on standby. Mains are a common ground for the majority here - meAt us halfway or ALL the way & you cannot go wrong. A nice carving station of roast beef for this guy and gang, quality sausages, chicken steaks and pork/veal medallions would turn my frown upside down. Pizzas, wraps, tacos bring them on! Desserts must lend a strong supporting role with surprises thrown in like a chocolate bar - ala the Fullertons' (be on the same frequency with me I IMPLORE you Adora!) while classic favorites like bread pudding WITH vanilla sauce, red velvet or Devils food chocolate cake and QUALITY ice cream do cameos.
    All I ask for then is - a good cup (or three) of coffee at the end.
    Grant me these whims and charge 35 bucks tops NETT and I will do your bidding!!
    J ' Shamelessly-Greedy' Tupaz

  44. A good buffet got to be one that welcomes any age group from toddler to senior citizens through its spread of food from simple to indulgence, covering nutrition value from A to Z as well.
    Ker Min

  45. A good buffet is one with good variety of desserts, better still if the chocolate fondue is included!

  46. Good buffet should have a variety of food to cater to the different needs of the eaters. Beside quality spread, non spicy and yummy kids food should be avaliable. The ambience of the buffet area needs to be cosy and relaxing where family bonding and chit chat make it enjoyable. Well Lastly not forgetting the lovely dessert spread to end of the buffet gathering :)

  47. The food must be of good standard i.e. yummy for most of the spread. The refill must be quick for the popular ones! A mouth-watering, eye-pleasing section of dessert, pastries could certainly enhance my mood :)
    Chor Ee

  48. A good buffet to me is :-
    1. Fresh - all ingredients are fresh and natural
    2. Variety - colourful & healthy spread will increase our appetite
    3. Spacious - especially with young children, the table arrangement will be family oriented. This allow kids to have room to walk in and out.
    4. Atmosphere - soothing, cozy and relax

    Last but not least is hope to bring my family to celebrate my boy birthday. We never try any buffet before.

    Thanks for lovely giveaway.

    May my wish come true here.



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