On our first year anniversary, we went to Sentosa for a little getaway.

Photo taken from Mister Ko's Flickr set.

We had actually wanted to go overseas, but due to his "obligation" to our country, we were not able to do so. Plus, I guess we also didn't want to spend too much money as our home will be coming soon.

So, we booked a 2-night stay at the Costa Sands Resort in Sentosa. No hotel stay 'cause that would be so exorbitant.

Photo courtesy of Mister Ko.
Anyway, we used to have short chalet getaways at Downtown East and had good experiences with the service and room's cleanliness, so we thought why not try the Sentosa one.

Using his NTUC membership, we got a cheaper rate and booked our room online in advance. Their online system is quite good and hasn't failed us so far. I've also tried booking at the AXS machine before and it's ok too!

Screen capture of the Costa Sands Resort's website: http://www.costasands.com.sg/
After booking, you'll receive an email confirmation. And when it's nearer to the date, you'll also receive an SMS reminder. Not bad at all.

Our check-in time was 2.30pm. We took some time to get ready and to make sure everything in the house was ok before we went out as my in-laws were away too.

So we took a cab down to Harbourfront and took the Sentosa Express train in. You can use your EZ-link card, NETS flashplay card or just purchase a ticket at one of the machines outside the gantries. You only pay to go in (S$4), when you're coming out, there's no need to pay again.

Anyway, we got down at the wrong station (Imbiah station), and had to walk really far to the resort. Should have gotten down at Beach station instead. :(

Photo courtesy of Mister Ko.
When we got there, we looked around for the reception and had to ask a maintenance staff for direction as there was no sign. We went in through the "back gate" actually as that was more accessible than the main entrance. They actually provide free shuttle service from Vivocity to the resort's main entrance, but the timings were very limited so we didn't take it as we didn't want to be too early or too late for the check-in.

The male receptionist was not very "receptive" or welcoming. We signed in, filled in some particulars and received our key and room card. He did do what he had to do -- gave us our breakfast vouchers and pointed out the cafe to us, and gave us the directions to our room. Nothing more, nothing less with a deadpan face.

Our room was located at a corner on the first level. It was kinda eerie when we got there as it was just next to a staircase landing and was really dark even in the afternoon. But when we got to the door, a light switched on automatically. There was a sensor above the door and a CCTV camera too. That made me feel better.

The doors at the resort are still using the old key system, but the electricity "switch" in the room is using the card slot system. That is quite different from their resort at Downtown East, which is using the card system for their doors and electricity. The key and card together on a keyring isn't that convenient especially when you're carrying small bags when you're out for the day.

Being the paranoid and OCD freaks that we are, we checked the room for hidden cameras and cleanliness. I also checked for bed bugs as I recently read stories about it (not about this resort, but at some other hotels). No cameras that we can spot, but cleanliness leaves much to be desired.

This is because, there is a bench in the room under the TV console, and we pulled it out and placed our bags on it.

The TV table/console area, in front of the window that's facing the pool. 
But when I shifted my bag, I realised there was water on it. I cleaned my bag and wiped the water off the bench. Wouldn't want to imagine what kinda water was that.

Also, there were lots of spider webs in between the gaps of the "bench" at the open wardrobe; the door of the cabinet containing the mini fridge was unhinged and imbalanced and that made the opening and closing rather difficult; surface of TV console wasn't very clean; bathroom's glass door didn't look clean; curtains looked dirty and unwashed; pillows were extremely yellow when you look in the cases, and only one roll of toilet paper was provided (of course we could ask for more, and we did [more of that later]... but if Downtown East could place two for our two-night stays, I don't understand why it can't be the same here).

The unhinged door of the cabinet. The mini fridge is inside. The open-concept "wardrobe". 
Toilet's glass door.
It was really disappointing for us as we had seen better conditions at the Downtown East chalet. The pillows were definitely not that yellow and were actually fuller and harder; extra blankets and pillows were provided; two rolls of toilet paper provided every time we stayed there, and the rooms were just generally more well-maintained and clean. We had the chance to bump into the housekeeping ladies at Downtown East in the past, and they were always very nice and friendly, who seemed to take pride in their work. The reception personnel were also more professional and friendlier.

I expected more from a chalet in Sentosa.

Anyhow, once we settled in, we closed all the curtains in the room as the windows were either facing the pool or the forest behind the resort. We really didn't want people to be looking in or us to be looking out at the trees at night. :/ Too eerie.

The windows surrounding the bed are all facing the forest area behind the resort. Should have been rather nice, but it seemed so eerie to us. 
View from one of the windows in our room. Photo courtesy of Mister Ko.

Once done, we decided to go out for the day and just relax at the beach.

Walked along Siloso Beach...

And we decided on Bikini Bar.

The menu and ash "tray".
The waitresses all wore bikini tops at this bar. ;)

We got overly ambitious and too relaxed, we order a jug of Heineken and a "half-size" plate of nachos. You don't wanna see the full-size plate. Gosh.

The second day, we actually went to the reception desk to ask for an additional toilet roll. When we got there, it was another male receptionist. He had just served a group of customers who had just checked in. So the files and paperworks were still on the desk. We waited for a few seconds before we approached him.

Before Mister Ko could finish his sentence, the man waved him off and told him to wait. So we waited. He took something and ran after the previous group of people, leaving the file and paperworks opened and on the desk. I checked to see if there was any CCTV camera around to prevent anyone from taking things from the reception, nope. Didn't spot any. They have one in their office though. Don't know how does that help.

We were aghast at how he just left the file of personal particulars at the desk with two people he didn't even look at. If we were some other people with bad intentions or bad personalities, we could have taken the personal particulars and done something with them.

When he came back, he looked irritated with all the papers at hand, and continued to ignore us. He looked lost, but managed to file whatever he had and finally looked at us.

Mister Ko told him we needed toilet paper and he went into the office and got it for us.

Just like the guy on the first day, no smiles, bad attitude.

On the second day, we spent most of our time outside the chalet, walking around Sentosa, and visiting the S.E.A Aquarium (Mister Ko will be writing about it).

Both of us were in awe at how breath-taking the aquarium was. 
On the final day, we got up early to checkout before 10.30am (official checkout time) and before 10.15am as that was the timing the free shuttle bus would arrive.

Finally, another new guy at the reception and he smiled at us! He thanked us too! We were glad to have at least gotten good attitude and service from someone before we left.

Shuttle bus was actually a small van. We got in with a bunch of tourists and soon we were at Vivocity eating brunch at McDonald's. :)

I don't think we will ever go back to Costa Sands Sentosa. The few good points just couldn't cover the really bad ones.

If we ever want to book a chalet again, we will most probably stick to Downtown East. Or we will just spend more money to have better conditions and service at a hotel.

There is actually another resort just next to Costa Sands that looked really good to us -- Siloso Beach Resort. It will definitely be more expensive, but to have a more relaxing and better getaway, I think it will be worth it.

Maybe if we ever want to stay at Sentosa again, we might consider that instead.  ;)

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We are a married couple who love sharing our different experiences with family and friends. So we thought perhaps our insights can be shared with people around the world. So read on and chat with us.
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