A phone-free staycation: Yay or nay?

Lock your devices in the hotel safe and spend real time with your loved ones. That’s what Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy wants you to do with its “Make Time” staycation. Our writer, Celine Tan tries to survive a phone-free weekend. 

Can you survive a phone-free staycation?
Can you survive a phone-free staycation?
12 May 2015

Can you survive a phone-free staycation?

“Will we be, like, forced to leave our phones in the safe?” That was the first question I asked the marketing manager when he called to ask if I wanted to try out this staycation. “Haha, no lah,” he said. “But you are strongly encouraged to, ’cos we want our guests to spend time with their loved ones.” Phew. Okay then, challenged accepted.

We checked into our room, and found two envelopes on the table. “Too small for iPad!” said the husband triumphantly, holding his tablet aloft. “Whatever…” I muttered as I grudgingly slipped my phone into the envelope. “Aren’t you putting in your phone?” I asked him. “Of course not,” he said. “I’m not the one writing the story, what!” At this point, I have to confess that I ‘forgot’ to lock the envelope bearing my phone in the safe, and left it on the table, in case of, you know, emergencies.

Can you survive a phone-free staycation?
Can you survive a phone-free staycation?
12 May 2015

Can you survive a phone-free staycation?

We spent the next hour testing the beds and having a pillow fight with our three-year-old daughter, eating free chocolates, and not using our phones. With ‘Beepy’ out of sight and out of mind, I was somehow freed from that horrible compulsion of having to check what was going in the virtual world every time my screen lit up. “I’m doing so well,” I thought. Then it occurred to me that I should take some photos, you know, for memories’ sake, and also to maaaaybe later post on my social media accounts, ’cos, like, I need to tell the world that I was doing a staycation where I was banned from using my phone, right? (Irony? What irony?) I broke my phone out of its A5-sized prison and snapped a few cute shots of the kiddo doing cute things, then checked my Instagram (for only two minutes, I swear) and quickly threw the phone back into the envelope. I didn’t actually use the phone to post anything or call anyone, so it’s not quite cheating, okay.

To keep your mind off your device, Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy has a list of places to visit and things to do around the hotel, such as visit famed bakery Chin Mee Chin, go shopping at Parkway Parade or I12 Katong, explore Katong Antique House, or go to East Coast Park. If you don’t come to Singapore’s East side often, these are fantastic options that will make your staycation feel almost like a vacation. However, being Easties and doing these things on a regular basis, I decided to deal with not being able to use my phone by… taking a nap. Okay lah, I’m not that addicted to my phone; I just had a late night the night before. When I woke up, I realised the husband and kid had disappeared, so I had to break out the phone again to call them. (They were at the pool.)

At this point, I decided to give up on the experiment, though I did try my best to use my phone as little as possible over the next few hours, devoting my time and energy to the people I was supposed to be spending time with. It’s been thought-provoking, though. I get it: It’s sad to be the couple who can’t get through a dinner without checking their phones every five minutes, because making conversation is just so hard. It’s not fun to be the family that sits together at breakfast without talking ’cos the kids are watching iPads and mum and dad are playing on their phones. As long as you realise this, there’s no need to lock your poor device in a rectangular paper prison. This staycation has been a nice reminder of the importance of looking away from our electronic devices so we can see real life and real people. I urge you all to try it.
 

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy
Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy
12 May 2015

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy

The SG50 “Make Time” staycation at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy starts from $210 for Superior rooms and $230 for Deluxe rooms, and comes with a free bottle of wine and a 30 per cent F&B discount. For more info and to book, go to www.grandmercureroxy.com.sg.

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