Our stay at the Four Seasons Singapore was a breath of fresh air. It was understated luxury at its best and located right in the hub of Orchard Road, the main shopping district. After a tedious flight in from Phuket on Silk Air and 4 extremely tired children, our pick up at the airport was on time, and the ease of checking in with the hotel manager who arrived personally to take us, her ‘Quintessentially’ booked guests to our rooms on the highest floor to check into our adjoining suites. It is a relief not to be waiting in the lobby with hungry and tired children. For any mother, a luxury.
The hotel’s buffet breakfast is more like a professional feast with freshly baked breads, fresh sliced smoked salmon as well as a spattering of local breakfast dishes to try and there is such a large variety to cater to the fussiest child guest. The restaurant is looked after by an Italian head chef so that made the Italian side of our family extremely happy. The breakfast is popular and busy with business meetings and families but the staff always appear to have everything under control and are extremely helpful and accommodating with young children. The service could not be faulted in anyway. No staff is too snooty to serve you, from waiters to senior managers passing by who will still stop to assist. It is really Five Star service attention to detail at its best. The room service menu is large to satisfy all international pallets and the quality of service amazing – try their wonton noodles, satay and pizza. Also, do try their special martini bar if you can’t face going out after putting the children to bed as their bartenders are extremely specialised in the fine art of making martinis, and they have a selection of Japanese whiskeys with knowledgeable bar staff to assist.
Rooms & Facilities
The rooms are immaculate and practical for families with adjoining rooms and their beds are extremely comfortable. We also had to desperately wash some major items after 10 days in Phuket for the children, and you will be delighted to know that clothes could be sent and returned the same day.
There are two swimming pools, one for adults only and one for children, which are quite small but sufficient to please the children. They also have a business conference centre to hold meetings as well as a well-equipped gym which I did try out – a morning run to help ease the holiday eating.
Booking as members of Quintessentially made a huge difference to the service we received on arrival, with special surprises for the children, upgrades and discounts. An efficient concierge service and worth the sign up especially for those who travel a lot with families. For more information on Quintessentially Dubai Click Here.
Location of Four Seasons Singapore
The hotel is located on the back of Orchard Road but you are able to walk through the connecting shopping mall into the Hilton and come straight out onto Orchard Road (8 minute walk). For mums who need baby items, you can head down to Tanglin Mall (15 minute walk with children, 10 on your own) nearby to pick up anything that the children might need. Also, head to Wheellock Place and Ion – Wheellock Mall has Marks & Spencer if you have forgotten to pack anything and Ion has all designer brands, but if you like stationary there is a beautiful stationary shop right next to the art galleries on the top floor, and there are great shops in the underground sections of Ion Mall including Kikki_K stationary. There are also many food retails areas. For more to do in Singapore check out my other feature. Click here.
Will we go back? Most definitely. Our new favourite hotel in Singapore.
Good for children? Amazing.
Top tip: Book with Quintessentially Dubai and get yourself on the 19th floor for the view.
Singapore is located in South East Asia close to Malaysia and Indonesia, and is 6 – 7 hours by air. Emirates and Singapore Airlines fly directly to the city, and upon arrival you will be hit with the all year round humity but you will very much enjoy the luscious green City.
Food: Singapore has become a blend of many nationalities. Some top favourite national dishes include chicken rice, laksa, pepper or chilli crab, mee siam, char siu noodles, and DURIAN (if you dare eat the King of the Fruits)
Visa: No visa is required for Philippines Passport if you are travelling with your nanny.
Currency: Singapore Dollars
Temperature: 25 – 35 degree celsius
Weather: Humid all year round with monsoon rains.
Tips: Bring cardigans for the children especially for the air conditioned malls that are especially chilly during the monsoon rains
My husband and I have been thinking about our holiday plans over the next couple of years, and we love the idea of a safari trip for our soon-to-be 4 children. We are considering a possible trip next year or the year after, and after much research we really liked the idea of The Safari Collection that has 4 beautiful properties: Giraffe Manor, Solio Lodge, Sasaab and Sala’s Camp. We talk to Tanya Carr-Hartley, owner and mother of 3, about their family-owned safari business and about her life with her family in Kenya, her strong beliefs in organic food, and how her children are so blessed to grow up in Kenya.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family? The names and ages of your children?
My Husband Mikey and I are both fourth generation Kenyans, and have had the fortune to be brought up in East Africa. We both have strong history with wildlife and safari life. Sala is our eldest daughter and is 10 years old, and then we have twins one girl Tisa and one boy Kinna who are six years old.
What is the best time of the year to see the migration?
The best time for the migration is from end June to September. The migration does come earlier sometimes and stays longer towards end of October sometimes too.
Can you tell us about the amazing four properties that your family owns?
The properties we have in our collection are in four totally different regions of Kenya and boast a variety of wildlife, topography and culture. Three of the four have been built by us in locations we feel are a huge compliment to a safari circuit. The fourth is the iconic Giraffe Manor, which is situated in Nairobi.
How did it come about that your family collected these four properties?
After starting our business selling luxury mobile camps, we discovered that we needed lodges/properties to compliment the circuit. We slowly negotiated agreements for land leases in carefully chosen areas in Kenya from the arid wilderness of Kenya’s northern frontier, where we now have Sasaab. And the lush plains and acacia forests of Solio (kenya’s first private conservancy and where we now have Solio Lodge), which is sandwiched between the Aberdare Mountains and Mount Kenya. When you get to the top of the Aberdares it is like being in Scotland with heather and waterfalls. To one of the last untouched corners of Kenya’s most famous National Reserve – The Masai Mara. As both our families have history in wildlife, its capture and care, we have been able to work hand in hand with the land owners to create attractive lodges in these prime locations. With Giraffe Manor it was about timing, bravery and sheer determination. The original owners were family friends and we were lucky enough to be able to buy the property in 2009.
Can you tell us more about how your own children can relish growing up in Kenya?
Our children are so privileged to be able to grow up in this country. Their life is full of adventure, wildlife, culture and a freedom that you only really get in Africa. It also offers them such an incredibly diverse pallet of education – amazing life experiences that give a knowledge and understanding that can’t be taught in a classroom. Sala was only six weeks old when we opened Sala’s Camp, she has grown up much of her life in the bush and has learnt to love guiding, wildlife and has developed an incredibly artistic eye. The younger two, have spent their life on the move and amongst a variety of ages of guests, and so have incredible social skills and of course the flare to love the outside world too.
How would one travel to Kenya to reach the properties from London or Dubai?
Travelling from London to Nairobi is fairly easy leaving either in the morning on a daylight flight or on an overnight flight to Nairobi direct, on Kenya Airways or BA. The flight takes eight to nine hours and there is very little time difference.
Travelling from Dubai is best on Emirates and is only a four hour flight, extremely easy and there are a variety of options daily. Qatar Airways also has different options daily.
You also believe in organic farming – can you tell us about how you have entwined your organic farming into the food served at the properties?
Much of my childhood was on a farm where my grandparents lived, and allowed me to enjoy the benefits of farm life. My grandmother had the most remarkable home garden, growing all her own tea/coffee/fruit/ veg/ lamb/pigs and of course making her own butter and such from fresh farm milk. The taste of fresh produce enriches food so much that I have encouraged all our properties to try and develop an organic garden for our guests to enjoy. We also farm our own honey from bee hives we have had installed in all our lodges.
I have children who are 5 years, 3 years, 20 months and a newborn on the way, what would you personally recommend if we did this next year?
Wow four children, what fun. I think to be honest that you can certainly take a trip next year, and all our properties are so child friendly that your elder children would have a huge amount of fun. The smaller children are really too young to “understand” all elements of a safari, but we would happily be able to offer a “ayah/Nanny” service at a very reasonable rate so that you have time to enjoy relax. Sasaab has a lovely slopping beach style swimming pool… which all of your kids would hugely enjoy and meeting the local Samburu people has all children completely gripped by their colourful clothes and presence. At Solio the game is so intense and easily available that game drives don’t have to be early in the morning, nor do they need to be too long.
Trying to mobilise a family of six for an early game drive could be challenging I imagine!
So Solio is perfect for this. You don’t really need to leave the lodge until 0830 to 0900 and even then you can have a 30 minute drive and see lots. We also have horses at Solio and the children love getting involved in the kitchen.
What can my children expect?
The world’s best play ground!
How many days do you recommend for children under 7 years of age?
I would suggest a 7 day itinerary if you can afford the time?
For families that have children 7 years or older, what kind of itinerary would you put together for them including the number of days?
I would put together an itinerary with less travel, more time on the ground, and a variety of wildlife and culture. Again I think a 7/8 day trip would be fabulous or even more if you have time and means. Depending on the time of year The Safari Collection will provide a detailed itinerary best suited.
Are there concerns about malaria in the area?
None of our properties are high malaria zones. Infact Solio is too high for Malaria all together. You will be recommended to take malaria medication due to the Samburu region and the Mara region, but those who live there do not take it and have not had malaria there either.
How do you balance your time as a mother running the properties whilst managing 3 beautiful children?
This is a difficult and challenging balance. My children spend 95% of their school term in school, and 100% of their holidays in the bush. The days are full….and luckily I love the early mornings and busy days. I think sometimes I should have a bit more time for my family, but my mother was a worker bee and I feel she was a great role model.
If your family had to go to another destination for a holiday where would be your ideal trip?
Of course with young kids a beach destination is always fun, or the ski slopes. East Africa has the most amazing beaches and we often enjoy those. As a family to escape all work related elements we find the ski slopes to be the best “family time” and allows us to turn off cell phones and relax.
For more information, please visit www.thesafaricollection.com or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org where Tanya or one of her team would be delighted to help you with travel arrangements.