By Grace Ma
Oct 4, 2021
SPLASHING IN A POOL WITH STRANGERS in a bikini when you’re not exactly a spring chicken takes a lot of guts. But when you’re having so much fun that you forget all that and even rave for more adrenaline-pumping moves, you know a hotel’s wellness deep-dive has hit the jackpot in the important aspects. I had checked into Oasia Resort Sentosa on its September 1 opening and I was starting to think their brand of health could be a new way of life.
Owned by Singapore’s homegrown Far East Hospitality group, it comes fresh on the heels of the conglomerate’s CBD debut of The Clan Hotel Singapore in March. It also marks Far East’s first foray into the resort and spa category to capture the booming post-pandemic market of wellness and adrenaline junkies. On the island of Sentosa—pretty much the “overseas” destination for Singaporeans besides cruises to nowhere at this point—Oasia Resort completes a flush of four Far East properties within an enclave, each covering a distinct segment: Village Hotel for families, The Outpost Hotel for couples, and The Barracks Hotel for upscale heritage lovers.
The 191-key Oasia Resort occupies what was formerly a military barracks (fairly common on Sentosa), and has two wings. The Imbiah Wing, a three-story conserved heritage building, has been designated as the wellness wing consisting of the Premier rooms and Junior suites and with its own check-in counter. The Palawan Wing, opening soon, houses the lead-in 30-square-meter Deluxe rooms as well as spacious 170 square-meter Duplex suites with rooftop private pool and Spa suites with outdoor Jacuzzis.
Except for the Deluxe rooms, the rest are all classified as Wellness Rooms, where guests can choose up to five complimentary health snacks from local brands such as Pryce Tea’s infusions, Asmara prebiotic drinks, and freshly baked goodies from The Whole Kitchen. Items are curated according to your vacation (well, staycation) goal of “refresh,” “recharge” or “refuel.” Our “recharge” pick led to white peony, lemongrass and peppermint infusion—supposedly good for easing anxiety and aiding weight loss—being placed in our Junior Suite with a sparkling cold brew version served upon check-in.
In the rooms, the sustainability message is loud and clear. There is only one dustbin for general and recyclable waste in the entire suite, and it was placed at the study table. A sticker over the toilet roll holder reminds of the horrifying amounts of toilet paper flushed down the drain yearly. I could literally hear every activity happening at the first-floor pool and outdoor verandah (and I imagine guests from some rooms in the opposite Palawan wing would eventually as well, considering both wings flank the pool’s length) so the guilt at not working out as you settle down for a nap or chill on the suite’s couch is quite real.
Then again, you don’t come to a wellness hotel to stay in the room all the time. Since we were supposed to recharge, we powered through aqua Zumba, bootcamp and yoga classes. The first two were conducted by the funniest, coolest instructor Ahmad, who was equal parts military marshal in barking his instructions and Lady Gaga in his moves. My bestie, who never wakes up before noon on a holiday, determinedly traipsed off to the 8 a.m. yoga class. I became the snoozer instead, comfortably snuggled in the plush bed with the lemongrass scent of the house-made Oasia balm (another Wellness Room exclusive), before finally getting up to… soak in the long, wide and deep bathtub.
For Wellness Rooms guests who prefer a less vigorous routine, there are balm- and scrub-making workshops during the weekends, as well as “Learn Well” sessions on topics such as tea appreciation, food waste management, nutrition and hydroponics.
After mindfully thinking about all the ways we could treat the Earth better, a massage at the Oasia Spa spirits you away to a quieter mental and physical space where the knots are well kneaded out with treatments such as the signature Oasia massage using aromatherapy oils and onsen mist for hydration and a detox bamboo massage with Japanese brand Kotoshina tea seed oil. Then have a lie-down at the Meditation Lounge, which replicates the shinrin-yoku (forest-bathing) experience with a special PhytonAir device that diffuses forest essence—a new twist on the biophilic design trend, perhaps?
Just as well we burned the calories because we nearly ate through the menu of the hotel’s only restaurant, the steak and seafood-focused Bedrock Origin. TLDR on the breakfast hits: Barramundi Mixed Oat Congee (so smooth that you can hardly taste the oats so don’t worry if you hate them), Five Dim Sum “Warriors” (handmade by a small local supplier) and a Western “Vitality” plate of egg white frittata with mushroom, baby spinach and oven-dried tomatoes accompanied by a crisp, toasted sourdough.
Book in advance for lunch and dinner. Once the word is out on the delicious kingfish sashimi, dry-aged turbot and on-the-bone Australian grass-fed ribeye, I foresee folks from outside the resort flocking to Oasia Sentosa and it won’t be so easy to get a seat. And did I mention the tasty spicy brussels sprouts, addictive signature Bedrock Mac N’Cheese and boozy Bombe Alaska drizzled with a seven-year-aged Matusalem rum? Simply food from heaven, diet be damned. Keeping in their wellness theme and following the trend of hotels embracing plant-based options, they also have such goodies as a grilled mushroom “steak” in Diane sauce and a “beef” wellington. Key ingredients, like omega-3 eggs and barramundi, are sourced from local farms as much as possible, while salad greens include freshly harvested varieties from a hydroponic system in the hotel.
We stumbled back to the room each time, consoling ourselves that we had earned the right to indulge. And that’s what we mainly enjoyed about our getaway, that whether it’s HIIT, yoga, spa or even—gasp—a Bedrock bourbon highball nightcap, it’s really our own choices to make on what makes us not only healthy, but happy.
oasiahotels.com/en/singapore/hotels/Oasia-Resort-Sentosa; doubles from S$460 with breakfast for two.
Oasia Resort’s Imbiah Wing is open as of this writing, while the more modern six-story Palawan Wing will follow suit in November 2021. In case you’re wondering about the location, prior to being taken over by Far East Organization, the property had gone through a few rebrandings; it was most recently Le Meridien Singapore Sentosa.