The city resort hearkens back to a pastime we call ‘travel’
Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore couldn’t have opened at a better time than this. And I’m not merely echoing the sentiments of the team. In 2018, the construction site generated quite some buzz; it was even one of our most-read stories for the month. It was announced that Laguna National, in addition to its two golf courses, would welcome a luxury hotel to cope with the growing arrival of international golfers from around the region.
But as things rarely ever go according to plan, and Dusit Thani Laguna was no exception. And just as well, because the Thai hospitality brand was able to open its doors to guests in December, when Singaporeans started making plans for their year-end staycations.
Are good things worth the wait? In the case of Dusit Thani Laguna, the answer’s a yes. And it starts right as my car cruises past Laguna’s driveway into the hotel’s lobby.
Perhaps this is due to my underlying desire to travel, but what a joy it is to be welcomed by a team that looks truly glad to be there. And in a sea of chaos – construction has taken over the vicinity – Dusit Thani Laguna holds its own.
The six-level property reminds me of an airplane, complete with curves in the right places. The front of the fuselage is where the rooms and suites are, while the rear is where you’ll find golfing facilities and ballrooms. It doesn’t take much imagination to see a slim wing of a plane either; the cleverly designed shelter leads you from the hotel lobby to the carpark.
It’s just past noon when I arrive. The dangling ferns in the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling-windows frame a pretty picture of greens. Golfers are making their way around in their buggies just outside. The sun’s streaming in, while the cool blast of air conditioning counters the heat. Welcome to paradise.
The low-lying property (198 rooms and suites are spread across six floors) offers views of either the city or the pool. But skip the city view: it faces the carpark, and further back, the construction of what would be an MRT depot in the next couple of years.
The pool view though, is something else altogether. You’ll enjoy the view of all three pools (they’re side by side), and then the turf. The only thing that stands between you and an unobstructed view of the greens is the row of corporate pavilions – these duplexes come with private pools, but are unfortunately not available for overnight stays – but if you ask me, they only add to the resort-like vibe.
The rooms are pleasant, equally inviting, with a neutral palette of grey veneers and textured wooden panels. They do err slightly on the smaller side; given that 36sqm is what you’d get in a city hotel, and may not be ideal for those who appreciate a reading nook, or love the idea of lounging in the room all day long. It is, after all, a city resort.
Rooms on the ground floor do gain an eight-sqm patio though, with pool-view rooms offering direct access to the water. But I’d recommend booking the Prestige Verandah Suite – these corner units come with an outdoor bathtub and dining table – with hedges for additional privacy. Also, request for a room on the higher floor. You’ll enjoy a better view of the golf course.
Miss watching planes take off? So do I. The resort’s proximity to the airport means that your room can double as a private viewing gallery, with close-up views of planes touching down every couple of minutes. And don’t you worry about the noise pollution – there will only be the low hum of the engines as the planes go by.
A visit to its signature restaurant, Greenhouse, is a must, and for plenty of reasons. The all-day restaurant flies you around the globe with its five stations – Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese and of course, Thai. I had a couple of bites from each station and here’s my verdict: gather seven of your other friends with voracious appetites and knock yourselves out. Nam Tok Nuea, a Thai grilled beef salad, sits at the top of my list. The spiciness of the chilli-crusted beef whets my appetite and sets the bar for the rest of the meal, and the dishes that follow do not disappoint.
While a bulk of the menu stays pretty much the same for lunch and dinner, you’ll notice that the sashimi and makis are replaced with binchotan skewers, and burgers making way for lava-stone steaks and seafood platters.
It would also be impossible not to notice just how well designed the place is. Vaguely reminding me of the Esplanade and Cloud Forest and Flower Dome at Gardens By The Bay, you’ll be stepping into a futuristic-esque garden restaurant, where lush greenery and metal lattice structures collide. The potted plants don’t just liven up the place either; they do double duty to make each table at the open-concept restaurant feel that bit more private. It’s also worth mentioning that service is also top-notch; promptness and intuition aside, the wait staff are more than happy to indulge you in a conversation.
What’s a resort stay without a day at the spa? Ease the knots away at Devarana Spa (it’s a Thai-Sanskrit word that means ‘garden in heaven’). Being a first-timer at Devarana, I opt for the 90-minute Devarana Signature Massage. Aromatherapy massage oils are drizzled on my body, with the therapist using a mix of Shiatsu, Ayurveda and Thai techniques, the last of which sees me doing some light stretches throughout. This isn’t the massage to go for if you’d like to be lulled into a slumber, but this hit all the right spots. My therapist goes really deep into my muscle tissues, expertly kneading the tension away. Given that I’m ticklish and sensitive to touch, she mirrors my body movements and adjusts the pressure and movements accordingly.
Golfers should zero in on the Golf Performance Massage, a deep tissue sports massage that reduces tension in the muscles to promote muscle recovery and reduce the risk of injuries. While each body will respond differently, try booking a session two days before your game, and another one after it has concluded. Your body will certainly thank you for it, and hey, you may just get that hole-in-one at Laguna National’s Master’s course.
Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore
11 Laguna Golf Green
Tel: +65 6841 8888