The trail to Sentosa

Singapore is arguably the leading corporate events destination in Asia for groups that have an agenda packed with serious business matters – but the Lion City has an equally robust drawcard: fun and relaxation.

Great effort has been made by Singapore to maintain its parks and rural areas, and the island of Sentosa has emerged as a destination that offers tranquility – all within a short drive away
from locations suitable for vibrant teambuilding and get togethers.

Heritage hotels on the island, which is connected to “downtown” Singapore by bridge, are hidden from the major attractions of Resorts World Sentosa, but close to beaches. Set amid lush greenery, they fit the bill for relaxing corporate retreats or executive meetings in hushed surroundings broken only by the flutter of wildlife.

Conference and incentive groups seeking a different side to Singapore are increasingly opting for Sentosa. Properties such as W Singapore Sentosa Cove are striking the ideal balance between corporate groups during the week and leisure guests at weekends. 

Amara Sanctuary Resort
Planners are being encouraged to incorporate spa treatments and wellness therapy into their programmes at the 144-guest room Amara Sanctuary. A two-storey glass-clad building surrounded by lush greenery is the property’s dedicated meetings and events facility and includes a Grand Ballroom, which can hold conferences for up to 500 at banquet, or 1,600 for cocktails, an adjoining luxury foyer and seven function rooms. 

The Amara can also provide back and shoulder massages between meetings along with the “meeting energiser”, which is complimentary for groups of 20 or more. Another option is a spa treatment to conclude the conference day.

Kim Quek, marketing communications manager at the property, says the emphasis is on letting delegates relax and putting them in a positive frame of mind to ensure productive meetings. 

“Expect lots of teambuilding, fun and laughter before commencing your meeting,” says Quek of the atmosphere that is encouraged. 

The 30-minute “Meeting Energiser” is conducted by Aileron Wellness and also doubles up as a team bonding exercise. “This has a proven track record to break the ice and encourage meeting efficiency,” says Quek. “Meetings no longer need to be stressful because spa treatments can be part of your meeting agenda. You can de-stress and rejuvenate with a back and shoulder massage during meeting breaks. Delegates find it surprising how relaxing meetings can be.”

Capella Singapore
Conference facilities amid natural greenery are also a mainstay at Capella Singapore, which boasts Singapore’s first circular ballroom. A glass-dome skylight enables natural light to fill the pillarless, 779 sqm venue, which can accommodate 400 for meetings.

The Gallery is a boutique venue for up to 100 guests and suitable for receptions and intimate product launches with floor-to-ceiling windows giving views of the Capella’s greenery. Views are also an attraction at the three Sentosa Rooms, which can be used for breakouts and look out to the South China Sea. The three rooms can be combined to hold up to 180 delegates.

Outdoor options include poolside dining, garden parties and direct beach access. Wellness services come from Auriga Spa whose services include a poolside spa menu and a detox day with treatments topped off with a meal at Capella’s The Knoll restaurant.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa
Sunglasses at meetings are encouraged at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa, which is fitting considering the property has a private beach. Though the hotel has a resort feel, the meeting rooms have soundproof walls to ensure privacy and that the agenda at hand is worked through. Then the fun begins with an events team to organise themed activities including a Hawaiian night complete with barbecue and live music.Teambuilding can also be organised on the beach in addition to community outreach programmes with environmental and social elements.

Resorts World Sentosa 
When mega groups – particularly from sales companies – come to Singapore, the choice for a memorable gathering has been Resorts World Sentosa. RWS has not only won the approval of incentive specialists, but also draws corporate groups thanks to the range of facilities at the resort. These include the SEA Aquarium, which is home to more than 100,000 marine animals from over 800 species, and where dinners and receptions can be arranged at the aquarium viewing area.

Universal Studios
For those seeking a break from Sentosa’s more tranquil environs, the Singapore operation of the Universal Studios’ theme park has been described as the jewel in the crown of Resorts World Sentosa and an entertaining itinerary stop for incentive groups. 

Venues at the park can be hired for groups and arrangements can be made for buyouts of specific zones or even the entire park with menus and entertainment customised for the event. l

Incentive island
A line-up of mega event groups heading to Sentosa includes the Forever Living Global Rally. Around 3,000 delegates will have unlimited access to attractions such as Universal Studios and the SEA Aquarium. The one-day event will be rounded off with a beach party. 

The event is one of five flagship incentive events being hosted in Singapore in 2015, which will attract more than 30,000 delegates, says the city’s tourism board. 

New attractions bound for Sentosa include Madame Tussauds Singapore and the Royal Albatross – billed as Asia’s only luxury corporate and private tall ship for charter. 

City hotel updates 
The South Beach is due to open in autumn and will have about 650 to 700 guest rooms and suites. As part of a mixed-use development, it will be linked by bridge walkway to Suntec, the downtown convention and exhibition centre. The Philippe Starck-designed property is one of the most anticipated openings in Singapore where the talk has been about the need for more upscale hotels suitable for conference delegates. The South Beach will feature a ballroom, 19 meeting rooms and two sky gardens with infinity pools.  

The hotel is being designed to blend with four historic buildings along Beach Road with two new towers of offices, luxury residences and retail outlets. 

Oasia Downtown (above) is a 27-storey hotel and office tower set to become an urban landmark with greenery-clad external walls and sky gardens inside. The 314-guest room hotel will target business clientele and will be the second such property under the Oasia brand.  

Singapore’s Jurong Lake district – to the west of the city – is set to become a hub for regional travellers, at least those using rail. The area’s country club has been acquired to make way for the Kuala Lumpur to Singapore high-speed rail terminus with the land being handed over in November 2016. The first hotel in the district came when the Genting Hotel Jurong Lake opened in April with a 426 sqm pillarless ballroom that can hold up to 300 guests.

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