If there was an award for the unluckiest hospitality company in the region, Thailand-based Dusit International would be a frontrunner. Not only is its latest resort – Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore – opening in the middle of a pandemic, but it also has to contend with the massive MRT train infrastructure building project happening right on its doorstep. The expected completion date is 2025. That is a long time away.
The Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore team, however, is unperturbed. I could sense quiet confidence among the staff that its facilities, service and amenities will soon become a magnet for those looking to venture out of the city centre and into the eastern corner of the island.
The resort is already attracting a well-heeled crowd of golfers. Being able to play a round or two at The Grand Old Lady and The Beast of the Laguna National Golf & Resort Club before returning to the comfortable confines of one’s suite is an appealing proposition. Also, with travel restrictions having grounded many golfers used to waking up at 4am to either cross the Causeway or take the ferry to the neighbouring islands, a golf vacation at Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore has all the makings of a welcome panacea.
Its 50-bay practice range is also a must-visit, if only for the Toptracer technology it utilises. “It’s the only one in South-east Asia,” Sam Dovey, assistant driving range manager, proudly announces. It’s a data-driven golfer’s dream and calculates everything from ball speed to launch angle and flight path the moment your club contacts the ball. It then relays this information to you via the 40-inch screen just behind you. The Toptracer software also comes with golf-related games and lets you play on virtual renditions of famous courses around the world. Naturally, I chose the oldest golf course in the world, The Old Course at St Andrews Links, Scotland.
While it was nothing like the real thing, traipsing around in the virtual rough in the “home of golf” was an interesting experience.
The resort is also doubling down on its spa facilities and food and beverage options. For the latter, the star is the forest-themed Greenhouse restaurant. I suggest sitting near the window to enjoy the lush, scenic view of The Grand Old Lady Masters Course.
There are five open-concept kitchens within Greenhouse, each specialising in one cuisine.
The chefs at the Japanese section create great seafood handrolls and nigiri sushi while the Chinese kitchen whips up the typical local delights. At the other end of the restaurant, there are two ovens; one for tandoori dishes and the other for pizzas.
But the piece de resistance has to be the Thai kitchen. Every dish, from the simple yet sumptuous green curry chicken to the deliciously spicy and savoury sea bass, is perfection. Leave some space for the stunning mango sticky rice. I never knew freshly sliced sweet mango cubes sitting on a bed of fluffy, colourful glutinous rice and drenched in coconut milk could be a complex life-changing culinary affair.
Hoping to walk off some of that sticky rice, I opted to see what the spa was about. In the Dusit Thani universe, there are two spa offerings, Namm and the more luxurious Devarana. The resort here houses the latter and offers the signature Devarana massage that has strong Thai and shiatsu influences, with liberal use of elbows and scents to calm and invigorate you, as well as wellness programmes created in house. This is a stark difference to many other luxury resorts that contract the conceptualisation and running of the spa to third-party providers.
Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore is still in the soft launch phase with the official opening “sometime in summer”, according to Sue Gan, director of sales and marketing. So, if you’re looking to get away from the hubbub of Singapore’s town area or just want to enjoy arguably some of the best Thai food on the island, pay a visit to the resort before it gets too popular.