You won’t want to leave

It is branded as Singapore’s largest play space designed and built for kids in a hotel. ELISA CHIA explains why you should plan to spend the day there.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It is branded as Singapore’s largest play space designed and built for kids in a hotel. ELISA CHIA explains why you should plan to spend the day there.

My Reading Room

Did you know that Shangri-La Hotel near Orchard Road has launched a huge indoor and outdoor playground for kids? It isn’t just for hotel guests; it welcomes the public, too.

During a recent visit with our kids aged five and 10, we had planned to spend the afternoon there, but ended up leaving only at 9pm when it closed. That’s how engaging it was!


Before the fun starts, everyone is assigned a radio-frequency identification wristband. The adults get the yellow ones, which allow them to tap in and out of the entrance.

Kids wear the blue and pink ones, which don’t have the same access level. If they want to leave the playground, they’ll have to inform the staff if their parents or guardians are not around. The staff can help to call them. 


Adults and kids must wear anti-slip socks before entering. 

Remind your children to bring their water bottles into the play area – with all that running around, they should drink regularly to stay hydrated. The bottles can be left on a trolley just after the entrance. 


Explorer Zone, its indoor play space for kids aged four and up, has specially curated installations to suit five themed areas: Fire Mountain, Waterfall, Underwater, Space and Mesh Cave (pictured above). 


Children can slide into a giant ball pit at Fire Mountain zone, as well as play with the ball blasters (pictured right). Parents can join in, too, and have a friendly match with the little ones. 

My Reading Room


On the second level of the play structure, which is strictly for kids, young ones enter the mysterious Space zone (pictured top left). While navigating the rope course, they can pick up fascinating facts about the planets, too. 

Our 10-year-old came back and shared proudly: Venus is the only planet in the solar system to spin backwards! 


Encourage your kids to pick up the toy spades and role-play as gardeners at this cassia seeds-filled play pit at the Waterfall zone (pictured above). Look how pretty the wall decor is! 


Little ones below four years old aren’t left out. Toddler zone, a dedicated play space for them (pictured centre left), has jumpers that let them bounce up and down, gentle slides and kiddy rides. 


For an additional fee, children can sign up for special activities, such as a hands-on cookie baking class. A hotel chef will take them through the full process, from whipping cream in a Kitchenaid stand mixer to kneading the dough and icing the cookies. This one-and-a-half-hour class is recommended for kids from age six. Fees start from $58. 


If your children aspire to be superstars, they will love the song-and-dance workshop at Stage. My kids learnt to sing from their diaphragm and picked up two musical numbers from The Sound of Music. The fee for this one- hour session starts from $25. 

My Reading Room


We love the Muddy room as well (pictured top), where kids can channel their inner Picassos. After a storytelling session, they can learn to make crafts and even doodle on the wall. This lovely room has a low sink for young ones to wash their hands in after painting – with Mustela cleansing gel, no less. 

The fee for this one-hour session also starts from $25. Hotel guests enjoy one free activity at Muddy or Stage. 


Celebrating your kid’s birthday soon? Book its cool party room with balloon- shaped colour-changing lights. 

The basic package costs $988 nett for 12 kids and 12 adults. It includes a choice of three food items and one drink, as well as three hours of indoor playtime at Buds. 

The premium package is at $1,388 nett for 12 kids and 12 adults. It includes a choice of five food items and one drink, as well as four hours of playtime. It also comes with a themed activity for your little guests. 

Choose from three themes: Superstar (a music themed party where little guests get to record a music video), Wild Wonder (an animal-themed art party) and A Royal Fiesta (a knight and princess themed art party). 


While your kids run loose at the playground, you can enjoy coffee and snacks at the Recharge cafe beside the entrance. A cup of latte and a slice of salted toffee brownie cost $6 each. 

You can ask the staff to refill your water bottles here, for free. 

At the cafe, you’ll find electric sockets and USB power ports. Bring along your laptop to watch Netflix, if you like. 


Pack your kids’ towels and swimwear or extra outfits because there’s an outdoor water play area, as well. 

Walk past the hotel’s main pool and you’ll see signs leading to this wet wonderland that is exclusive to Buds’ guests. There are toilets with changing rooms nearby. These are air-conditioned, though, so your little ones might find it a bit chilly. 


If you’ll rather have them stay dry, steer them towards the pirate ship structure, which has slides and a shaky bridge. That’s lots of fun, too! 

Buds by Shangri-La is open daily from 9am to 9pm. The public rate is at $48 for three hours for kids aged four to 12, $28 for tots aged one to three, and includes one adult entry per child. Babies below 12 months enter free. Hotel guests can enjoy preferential rate. 


when the family is famished 

Located at the hotel’s Tower Wing, Level 1, Buds by Shangri-La is right next to The Line buffet restaurant. Bring an empty stomach and feast on Western, Chinese, Indian and Japanese cuisines. Lunch is priced from $65 per adult and $32 for kid from age six to 11; dinner is from $80 per adult and $40 per kid. 

But if you prefer ala carte food items or are not that hungry, head to the pool- facing Waterfall Ristorante Italiano, whose mainstay is classic southern Italian food. The restaurant’s woody interior provides an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. 

A must-try is the Linguine Allo Scoglio ($32), where the fresh pasta is simmered with a variety of seafood and cherry tomatoes. Our kids also couldn’t get enough of the Tagliata Di Manzo Rucolae Grana ($45), a dish of grilled sliced beef tenderloin with rocket leaves and parmesan cheese, as well as Pizza Margherita ($23). End on a sweet note with Profi teroles – a chocolate sphere that you melt with hot chocolate sauce to reveal a lemon cream core. Perfectto!