Although Singapore is literally surrounded by beaches, I’ve never personally enjoyed beach days. While I do like the idea of playing by the sand, reading a book on the beach and spending quality time with the family, the thought of packing food, finding picnic mats, and using dirty public toilets, just seems more hassle than it’s worth. Plus, many public beaches have some amount of litter on them and aren’t as clean or pristine as they ideally should be.
I was introduced to the concept of beach clubs at Sentosa by a friend who practically lived at the beach. Given my distaste of the actual execution of a beach day, I was intrigued by the idea. Would it make organizing a beach daycation less stressful?
There are several beach clubs in Sentosa – Tanjong Beach Club, Rumours Beach Club, Ola Beach Club and FOC Sentosa, which is a restaurant, but functions in a similar manner. The idea is simple – There is a minimum spend on food and drinks, which are quite affordable on weekdays (typically $100/daybed) and higher on weekends ($200/daybed). For those of you who club often (pre-pandemic), the idea is similar to how we need to achieve a minimum spend to get a table.
The beach club provides comfortable facilities, fancy toilets, and a semi-private stretch of beach. I only had to bring my own sunscreen, swimsuit, towels and the like.
Shade, hydration, and food – all easily accessible at the beach clubs. At FOC Restaurant.
I booked the daybeds, which are right on the sand, for the most authentic beach experience. Some other types of seating available are outdoor restaurant tables, picnic tables and poolside lounge chairs. For sunning and relaxing, a lounge chair or daybed would do the trick, but for a fancy family ‘picnic’, the picnic tables looked very quaint too.
The daybeds are large, accommodating 4 or 5 sitting easily, and definitely more comfortable than a picnic mat. Daybeds and picnic tables come with large beach umbrellas that provide shade from the sun.
The daybed at Tanjong Beach Club easily accommodates several friends
The seats are also well spaced, especially given current social restrictions, so even if all the news were occupied, the area never felt crowded.
All beach clubs had a decent sized pool, which was great if you wanted to chill by the water without getting all salty. It was also a great spot for children to play, for those with families. My daughter entertained herself playing in the pool, building in the sand, and playing with some kids who were present.
The private pool at FOC Restaurant
The beach clubs differed in food selection as well. Tanjong Beach Club’s menu offers more generic western cafe, while FOC was firmly Spanish and Mediterranean, and Rumours Beach Club had western and Indonesian fare. If you had a particular food preference, that may weigh into your choice of venue as well.
I expected the food to be just passable – after all, the venue was probably the key highlight, and the food and drinks just to make up the minimum spend. I was pleasantly surprised by both places. Tanjong Beach Club food was good quality and definitely insta-worthy in its presentation, if a little more basic, while FOC’s paella, a signature dish, blew us out of the water. While I’m not totally sure that eggs benedict and paella rice belong on the beach, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The drinks were also very pretty and looked right at home by the sand. Another huge boon is the free flow of iced drinking water. No more parched mouths or warm water bottles baking in the sun!
In total, we spent about $120 at FOC (including service charges), ordering the Catalan Pork Pate ($20), Iberico Pork Paella for 2 ($44), Basque Cheesecake ($14), 2 Flat Whites ($12) and Lychee Cooler ($10).
Brunch fare from Tanjong Beach Club
The beach clubs also provided sturdy trays and small tables to place food on, so I didn’t need to balance plates precariously on my lap, which meant I didn’t drop any part of my lunch into the sand.
Tropical drinks, nibbles and impeccable presentation
Plus, service is excellent at both places with such attentive and friendly staff that it is easy to imagine being at an exotic, faraway beach resort.
Of course, some other elements of the beach day are inevitable – sand getting into every crevice of your body, weather uncertainties and insect bites, to name a few. The good news though is that at least, there is shelter right at your fingertips and there are pleasant (and less crowded, and much cleaner) shower facilities to clean off the sand.
Great for families and hanging out with friends alike
Overall, the beach experience sacrifices a little bit of the bootstrapping authenticity of a family beach day, for a lot less stress. If you miss beach holidays in exotic locales like Bali or Maldives, local beach clubs can capture some of their spirit. I was so enamoured the first time that I went back the following week. When everything I might conceivably need at a beach was at my fingertips, I could finally really chill at the beach.
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