The months-old urban resort offers travel-starved Lion City residents a calming green escape near Changi.
If you’re based in Singapore, where are you planning to go for your next weekend break while borders are still closed? Perhaps you’ve already ticked all the boxes: a staycation in an upscale urban hotel, beach getaways on Sentosa island, and even a cruise to nowhere. Now, how about a luxury holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Located within the grounds of Laguna National Golf & Resort Club, the recently opened Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore is a mere 15-minute drive from downtown or 10 minutes from Changi Airport. This ultramodern hotel has been designed as a low-rise building with a curvilinear roof, blending seamlessly into the landscape of the two championship golf courses that surround it.
Curious about this new 198-room property, I decided to book a short stay with the children in tow. As we drove uphill to the hotel, my kids in the backseat excitedly remarked that it felt like going on a drive in Australia. The scene before us was a surprise: below a clear blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, we were greeted with an inviting expanse of greenery — the perfectly manicured golf course — that seemed to stretch on for miles. “It’s surreal. Look at the massive construction on our right and this picture-perfect view on our left,” said my son. The sight of the East Coast Integrated Depot being built was quickly forgotten upon our arrival at the beautiful resort.
As we pulled up to the lobby, a doorman dressed in Thai costume welcomed us with a bow and clasped his hands together in a wai, uttering the familiar phrase “sawadee kap.” I almost did not hear him, as I was distracted by the sight of a soaring ceiling and sunlight streaming in through the windows of the reception area. After a swift check in, we proceeded to our room. Every staff member we encountered on the way acknowledged us with a smile and the same spoken greeting. Thai tradition and hospitality are never far away at Dusit International’s first property in Singapore.
Our 36-square-meter Deluxe Laguna Pool View room was comfortable and spacious enough to fit both a king bed and an extra bed on our request. And oh, the view! Despite being situated on Level 2, we were pleasantly surprised by the mesmerizing sight of swaying palm trees and the main pool glistening in the sun as we drew back the curtains. In a way, it felt as though we were no longer in Singapore. We took full advantage of the complimentary Dusit Balance minibar (expect to see coconut water and healthy snacks like mixed nuts and a roasted almond granola bar), while the bathroom was stocked with botanical amenities by Thai aromatherapy brand Nature Touch.
The welcome drinks of young coconuts and a Dusit Care Kit consisting of face masks, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes were promptly delivered to the room. Even though we had no use for the care kit, small gestures such as this are what make a hospitality experience special. I was also grateful for being able to make reservations for facilities and send service requests with a few clicks on StayPlease, an e-service function guests can easily access on their mobiles via scanning the in-room QR code.
There are a total of five dining spots: Greenhouse, The Nest, and Tee Deck, along with Legends Bar and Dusit Gourmet Café, which are set to open in the next few months. The Nest, a casual dining concept, is unfortunately only accessible to Laguna National members and those attending corporate events. That leaves us with Greenhouse and Tee Deck, both of which stay close to Dusit’s Thai roots.
It is not difficult to see how Greenhouse got its name. Stepping into the cool air-conditioned restaurant, I was instantly immersed in a lush, forest-like environment; the curved floor-to-ceiling windows here offer a magnificent view of the masters golf course and let in plenty of natural light. This all-day dining venue features five different live kitchens, which serve up a diverse range of Thai delicacies, Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) fare, traditional Indian delights baked in a tandoor oven, Mediterranean dishes, and Cantonese specialties. Whatever you are in the mood for, you will be sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
My personal favorite from the range of Lanna and Pak Tai dishes — the latter describing the food of southern Thailand — was the charcoal-grilled blue river prawns served with a tangy dipping sauce. I also sampled some spicy green coconut curry chicken. Due to its unadulterated flavor, this curry is recommended for those who can handle the heat! Skipping over the children’s items on the menu, my not-so-young kids decided to opt for adult-size California maki along with burrata applewood-fired pizza, which, by the way, was delicious. Breakfast options here also consist of an extensive selection of Western and Asian dishes — think mee siam, eggs Benedict, and dim sum — that will keep even the pickiest eater happy and well-fed. I was particularly impressed with the bread basket, which pairs perfectly with French butter, jams, honey, and Brie. Another highlight? Organic eggs cooked any way you like, complete with a choice of mouth-watering sides like turkey bacon and grilled veal sausages.
If you prefer to dine alfresco, the poolside Tee Deck is just the place to unwind over popular Thai street food. Healthy dishes like whole wheat blueberry pancakes are served during the day, while the menu changes to grilled meats and seafood in the evening. Sipping on a glass of rosé as I watched the children frolicking in the pool while the cool breeze and warm sun caressed my face, I wished I could do this every day.
Guests at Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore have three swimming pools to choose from: a main lap pool, a children’s pool, and a relaxation pool with Jacuzzis. Remember to book in advance as capacity is limited. Grab yourself a sun lounger or cabana by the pool and watch airplanes fly overhead while basking in the sun. Because the hotel is nestled within the grounds of Laguna National Golf & Resort Club, it is surrounded by nothing but the greenery of the golf courses, allowing cool breezes to pass through the area unhindered.
Golfers will rejoice in knowing there are two 18-hole championship golf courses (either the classic or masters) to tee off in, with guests driven around in GPS-equipped buggies. The renovated club facilities, which include luxurious changing rooms and locker areas, are a dream for the avid golfer. Those who prefer not to splurge on a membership (a hefty price tag for some), can now book a Stay and Play package and enjoy a staycation with the ultimate golfing experience.
If you prefer staying indoors, recreational activities range from dance classes and yoga sessions to seasonal workshops on healthy living; you can even loan board games from the concierge. Guests are also welcome to take a swing at the all-weather driving range or keep up with their fitness routines through a workout at DFit, an impressive 369-square-meter fitness center that’s open around the clock.
Being a wellness-focused urban resort, Dusit Thani Laguna has the newly opened Devarana Wellness facility as one of its main drawcards. Here, guests can enjoy body scrubs, facials, and a selection of Thai and locally inspired treatments in the contemporary treatment rooms. Holistic wellness programs up to three hours in length are aimed at combating issues such as sleep deprivation, while guided meditation and yoga round out the offerings. My 90-minute Devarana Signature Massage combined the strong pressure of Thai, Ayurveda, and shiatsu techniques with Swedish massage and aromatherapy. Feeling the tension and knots in my body dissipating because of the therapist’s skillful strokes, I fell into a peaceful slumber in a few short minutes.
In my siesta, I dreamed of a post-Covid world where I had the privilege of getting on a plane and flying to an isolated resort in the hills for a luxury holiday — a place where one could spend days lounging by the pool, sipping cocktails and barely lifting a finger. Midway through my massage, I awoke momentarily to find myself in the spa relishing the experience, before dozing off again with a contented sigh.
65/6542-6888; dusitthanilagunasingapore.com; doubles from S$266.