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I like Village Hotels by Far East Hospitality. Why? Because they package in family bonding activities with each family stay. Last year, we stayed in Village Hotel Changi and had a blast of a family bonding time cycling around Changi Village, Bowling, checking out 3 playgrounds, Swimming at the beach and walked back to our hotel room for a shower and then more swimming in the hotel’s 2 swimming pools. The Play and Stay was the package for Village Hotel Changi. So, what do they have this time at Village Hotel Katong staycation? We took up the Cultural Tour and Stay package. Beside the Peranakan theme you can spot everywhere in the hotel, they invite families who book with them to an interesting cultural experience in Kim Choo Kueh Chang to learn how to wrap Bak Chang (rice dumpling). You must read on to find out what is so interesting about this Peranakan shop!

I realize that the Village Hotels are located in places with great food choices! The entire stretch of East Coast Road has an uncountable number of restaurants and shops! Yes, “uncountable” is the right word for it. The shops lined both sides of the road and you will definitely not go hungry staying in this hotel. Just beside it, is the 112 Katong Shopping Mall and connecting to Village Hotel Katong is the Katong V Mall with Fairprice Finest supermarket. With supermarkets and 2 malls within the vicinity, there is no need to worry if you forget to bring a thing or two.

It was a little confusing to find the entrance of this hotel. We took some time to realize that the hotel entrance is right behind the Katong V Mall.

VHK Lobby

The check-in was a breeze and I love the Peranakan themed decorations everywhere we go.

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We had a family room which could accomodate the 5 of us, but the kids were a little disappointed that there was no bath tub. I will certainly keep that in mind the next time I book a staycation. Bath tubs are the kids’ favourite and serve as an alternative when the swimming pool is icy cold on rainy days. There was some slight rain and it stopped when we arrived. The kids did not hesitate to jump into the swimming pool even though it was a very cool weather. Swimming Pools are a MUST-HAVE when you are bringing kids to a staycation, for this, I will not forget!

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If we were to compare Village Hotel Katong (VHK) and Village Hotel Changi (VHC), I would say that VHK needs a bit of refurbishment. We can tell from the exterior and interior of the hotel that the hotel had seen better days and it would be good to do some renovations just like the VHC did a few years back.

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Rooms
The family room was supposed to have 1 king bed + 1 queen bed. However, we requested for a baby cot and due to space constraint, they changed to 2 queen beds instead to accommodate the cot. My 4yo toddler can still fit into the baby cot. So, Missy 11 shared the bed with me and Master 9 with the hub. The room has a balcony attached overlooking the pool.

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Jumping onto the bed is a customary thing to do!

Amenities
Village Hotel Katong has a gymnasium, outdoor swimming pool, and a Peranakan Club Lounge for Club members. The in-room amenities include:
Hair Dryer
In-room safe box
Iron and Ironing board
Electric Kettle
46″ LED TV
Cable TV Channels
Wireless Broadband Access
Handy Phone
Bar Fridge
Mineral water
Tea and coffee bags
Bath, Shampoo and Conditioner and Lotion
Standing Rain Shower

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room

These antique treasure boxes are part of the Peranakan deco. One is actually a side table in between the beds and the other, I believe, serves as a stool!

This is the first time I see a handy phone in a hotel room. It has 4G service and allows guests to bring it out when they go sight-seeing in Singapore to check out google maps, food, places to go, make international and local internet calls, enjoy discounts, etc just like your own handphone but totally Free-of-charge! Isn’t this so thoughtful and cool?

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The Peranakan Lounge (for club members)

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The Peranakan Lounge, located on Level 6, is only accessible for guests staying in the Club Room, Peranakan Club Room, Junior Suite and Suite. We were given complimentary access to the Club Lounge too but it was limited to adults and my kids were not allowed in. Since we could not leave the kids behind to enjoy the complimentary cocktail and light snacks, we only took some complimentary can drinks from the lounge bar to fill up our bar fridge as suggested by the reception lady.

Swimming Pool

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View from Balcony

POOL is a MUST-HAVE for Staycation!

POOL is a MUST-HAVE for Staycation!

The Swimming Pool is located on Level 4 and we need to pass by the Katong Kitchen, the restaurant for breakfast and meals, to reach the pool. The pool has one side of 1m depth and the other side of 1.8m depth. Even though there was nothing too fanciful about the pool, my kids had a great time as usual. They hardly needed any other features and they could frolic in the pool all day just with their goggles and water guns. Nevermind that the pool was cold, they moved about a great deal enough to keep themselves warm.

Kim Choo Kueh Chang

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20161217_164346After checking out the amenities, and had an hour of swim, we head out to Kim Choo Kueh Chang which is just opposite the Katong V Mall (at the back of the hotel).

Kim Choo Kueh Chang shop was easy to find. It occupies 2 shop units and is accessible to their hidden gems on the second storey. They sell assorted Peranakan kuehs and bak changs at the front of the shop. We walked further in and behind a glass partition was Mr Edmond waiting for us to start a food cultural introduction on everything Peranakan.

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All of us were served a tray of goodies: Otah, Nyonya Dumpling, Nine-layered Kueh and a pot of Butterfly Pea Flower tea or Blue Tea.

kueh-chang

The friendly Mr Edmond gave us a brief introduction on each of the goodies on the tray. It was interesting to know that eating Nine-layer Kueh by peeling one layer by layer signifies living life as it is. He went on to explain how there are salty and sweet version of the dumpling and where Otah came from.

After we savored the delicious goodies, we were taught the correct way of wrapping bak chang. My Missy 11 was taught previously by her grandma and hence was pretty good in picking up the tips of wrapping a dumpling. My toddler helped but made a mess of the green beans which were used instead of the real meat and rice. Thank goodness it was only spilling of green beans.

wrap-bak-chang

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Once we were done with it, we were invited to the second storey and it revealed a Peranakan Museum! Mr Edmond went on with his very interesting talk on the Peranakan culture on Kebayas and language. We were very impressed that the shop created a Peranakan inspired shawl for Michelle Obama! Mr Edmond shared that the Peranakan culture reached as far as to The Queen of England who had a Peranakan brooch designed in Singapore too, although it was not made in their shop! Now, we are really proud to be Singaporeans and happy that we have so many talents in this tiny island.

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Antique sewing machine. My mum and MIL still have this in their houses!

Antique sewing machine. My mum and MIL still have this in their houses!

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Soya Bean Drink mould

Soya Bean Drink mould

Isn't this the antique love letters clamp?

Isn’t this the antique love letters clamp?

This was the storage cabinet in the earlier days when there was no fridge.

This was the storage cabinet in the earlier days when there was no fridge.

The next side of the second storey is where the customers can walk in for a tailor-made Kebaya. It probably has the widest selection of kebayas you can find. They are so pretty! It has been my wish from young to wear a Kebaya set.  I told Missy 11 that I would custom-made a set of Kebaya to wear on her wedding day 🙂

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After the Kim Choo Peranakan Experience, we walked along the long stretch of East Coast Road to eat Hokkien Mee for dinner and strolled back to the hotel. It was a rest and relax evening. Instead of heading out for shopping or squeezing through Orchard Road for lights viewing, we decided to have a game of cards and snuggle on the bed for movies and tidbits. After all, we were here to enjoy the hotel!

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Buffet Breakfast at Katong Kitchen

The next morning, we had breakfast at Katong Kitchen at Level 4. The buffet breakfast is included in the staycation package. The breakfast is on Asian and Western cuisine. I would say the spread is decent and good for us. They have the usual buffet fanfare like Otah, Ham, waffle, hashbrown, Mee Tai Mak and Chinese dishes, Dim Sum, Salad, Cereals, Drinks, Fruits, Yogurt, Bread and Pastries, Cooking station for mee soup and scramble eggs and more. But if you are looking for a wide range of buffet spread, then it may not be for you.

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Char Siew Bao and Glutinous Rice The kids love the glutinous rice!

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My favourite egg station

My favourite egg station

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They provide children’s cutlery set

After breakfast, we hop into the swimming pool again! We simply could not check out till we had spent another 2 hours in the pool playing with water guns and kicking the water.

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The Cultural Tour and Stay Experience Package consists of:

Peranakan Couple Experience
For just S$195, enjoy:
• One night’s accommodation in Deluxe Room
• Unlimited WiFi access
• Buffet breakfast for two at Katong Kitchen
• FREE 2-hour Peranakan experience at Kim Choo
• Late check-out at 3pm (subject to availability)

Peranakan Family Experience
For just S$285, enjoy:
• One night’s accommodation in Family Room
• Unlimited WiFi access
• Buffet breakfast for 2 adults, 2 children at Katong Kitchen
• FREE 2-hour Peranakan experience at Kim Choo 
• Late check-out at 3pm (subject to availability)

Book period : Now till 31 December 2017
Stay period: Now till 31 December 2017

Rates are exclusive of 10% Service Charge & 7% GST

Check here for more information and current promotions!!

Disclaimer: We were invited for a staycation during the December holidays. This is the 2nd time we stay in Far East Hospitality’s hotels and we really find both the ‘Play and Stay’ and ‘Cultural Tour and Stay’ packages very suitable for families 🙂 Do check out their website for more options!