Singapore's Sentosa Island (sentosa.com.sg) is known as The State of Fun. It's full of hotels, luxury apartment complexes, sandy beaches with private beach clubs, golf courses and a deep water yachting marina. You could spend days here sipping cocktails by a pool and moving between attractions such as Madame Tussaud's and Megazip Adventure Park. No Sentosa trip is complete without theme park time at Resorts World Sentosa, which includes Universal Studios and Adventure Cove Waterpark among other attractions.
As theme parks go, Universal Studios Singapore (rwsentosa.com) is more compact than most, which makes it easy to explore in a (long) day. Its seven distinct zones include Hollywood, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away and Sci-Fi City. Although there are regular parades and shows featuring famous movie characters, the main attractions are thrilling rides such as Battlestar Galactica, the world's tallest duelling rollercoaster. The place gets packed especially on weekends so it pays to buy an Express Pass on top of your day pass to skip the queues.
There are eateries aplenty in the central zone of Resorts World Sentosa, for Eastern and Western fast food fixes, but for a sense of something more authentic head to Malaysian Food Street (rwsentosa.com). This covered space recreates the ambience of a hawker's market with brightly painted shophouse facades, floor tiles and typical dishes such as Claypot Chicken Rice, Penang Char Koay Teow and Kuala Lumpur-style Hokkien Mee.
The S.E.A Aquarium boasts more than 800 species of marine creatures, divided into environments from the south-east Asian region and further afield. Among the displays are lionfish with their venomous spines, seaweed-like sea dragons, manta rays and moray eels. A massive sea of sharks is one of the most popular exhibits. rwsentosa.com
Taking the cable car to Sentosa (faberpeaksingapore.com) is the most expensive way to arrive (and not practical with luggage). But it's definitely the most spectacular. Hop into your gondola at Mount Faber or Harbourfront and fly through the air for a bird's eye view of Singapore, the harbour and docks as well as Sentosa itself. You can also do a round trip starting and finishing at Sentosa. A second cable car on Sentosa has three stations – Merlion, Imbiah Lookout and Siloso Point – connecting all the island's attractions. Combined tickets are available for both cable cars.
The resort-style W hotel at Sentosa Cove (wsingaporesentosacove.com) has lush grounds and a huge pool with floating bean bags and a swim-up bar. Eye-catching design is a W signature which carries through from the funky lobby and bar to the guest rooms variously categorised as Wonderful, Spectacular and Fabulous. There are two restaurants: fine-diner steakhouse Skirt, and The Kitchen Table, which takes the multi-cultural breakfast buffet to new heights.
Consider splitting your Singapore sojourn into a Sentosa stay and a downtown component to enjoy the city's many other attractions. Do Sentosa last, as once you've settled there, you'll probably find you can't be bothered heading back into town and the kids probably won't let you.
Sally Webb travelled courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.