While Covid-19 battered bottom lines and staff morale in many businesses, Martha Waslen saw an opportunity to combine underutilised hotel spaces, left barren because of the lack of travellers, with her desire to seek refuge “outside of the home to decompress and recharge away from the obligations of parenting two young children and work”.

Her solution: a centralised digital platform for people to book hotel experiences by the day. Aptly called DayAway, its beta website became so popular that Waslen had to add an invitation code, so she could have the time and space to sharpen the customer experience.

Since its official launch in May this year, DayAway has grown exponentially. From two hotels – Raffles Singapore and Fairmont Singapore – at the start, DayAway now offers experiences from over 20 hotels.

Its bookings have also grown in tandem and depth, with experiences that range from art classes and educational programmes to high tea with access to a suite.

(Related: What’s it like to go on a staycation at the newest luxury property, The Clan Hotel)

Both her customers and clients have benefited greatly. For the former, DayAway offers a seamless browsing and booking experience. As for hotels, the platform eliminates the busywork on their end while allowing them the opportunity to generate revenue during this time when global travel is impacted.

“From a business perspective, the highest revenue-generating experience has been the Sunrise Spa and Swim at the Raffles Singapore,” Waslen shares. The most popular, incidentally, is her favourite: the Sling and Swim.

“It’s my ideal day away,” Waslen laughs. “Three hours at the Raffles Singapore pool, just laying out in the sun, away from the commitments of everyday life.”

She certainly needs the break. Ever since she and her husband moved here in 2018, the two have launched four businesses, two of which are fintech companies that her husband runs. As for Waslen, besides DayAway, she also started a fashion label. It was informed by her previous life in the industry when Waslen started her career in New York in the noughties with Ralph Lauren before moving to this region to work on Luxola. Since then, the American fashion designer’s ethos has always stuck with Waslen.

“He’s very much my style icon and I love how his brand and runway collections always evoke a dreamy lifestyle,” shares Waslen, who enjoys sourcing her own fabrics and designing her clothes in every city she lives in.

In a strong sense, DayAway reflects her relationship with fashion: a platform on which to live a dream, even if only for a day.

(Related: 10 hotel staycations that will make you feel like you’re overseas)

Sartorial Selections

Silk charmeuse blouse and crepe de chine trousers, from Max Mara.
Silk charmeuse blouse and crepe de chine trousers, from Max Mara.

Martha Waslen has a fun relationship with style. While she usually prefers black or white, she chose this bright pink monochromatic number from Max Mara because “it was unexpected” and spoke to her. “Like Ralph Lauren, I believe in style, not fashion. The latter is fleeting and over quickly, but the former is forever.”