Wedding Planning Part 4: Amara Sanctuary Resort Review

I mentioned that the wedding date and venue are the first things that you have to confirm before you can even think about other bits of the wedding.

I reckon for many Chinese families, someone (your parent, relative, one of the elders) will insist on consulting a geomancer for an auspicious date. M and I are not fussed, but to respect the elders, we left the date-hunting to my mother-in-law. We gave her the time period within which we would like to get married. It was pretty easy, though restrictive, for us. M and I could only return to Singapore during the summer holidays, so July and August were the best times to say ‘I do’. My mother-in-law went in search of an auspicious date in each of these two months, and we picked the one in August for our tea ceremony and solemnisation. This gets a little complicated and I have to digress to explain this. We wanted a two-day wedding. Unlike many couples, we were yet to be solemnised before the day of traditional celebrations (termed the actual day), and we wanted to fully enjoy and relax at our wedding without rushing through everything. So having set the auspicious date for the traditional and legal parts of it, we decided to have our banquet on the next day. I highly recommend having it over two days because everything is a lot more relaxed.

Once we had the two dates, we searched for a venue that was available. I emailed a couple of hotels that suited our criteria (affordable, willing to take 250 guests since we wanted a small and intimate wedding, classy ambience), asking for availability and packages, and hoped for the best. I even emailed the folks in Bali; Bali being one of our favourite places in the world was our dream wedding destination. Unfortunately for us, some venues were too expensive and some were unavailable. We were left with a few options and I made appointments to see their event planners in April 2009.

We were very partial to one venue, Amara Sanctuary Resort, because it has The Glass Pavilion on its grounds that is perfect for exchanging our vows. It was just like Bali. There were other hotels that fitted our criteria as well, such as Fullerton and Shangri-La. These venues are nice, classy, centrally located and well-known upscale hotels but we felt that they didn’t offer anything special that would make us seal the deal. We had our eyes secretly set on Amara Sanctuary Resort. The only downside was its location on Sentosa Island.

We were sold when we did a site visit to the resort. It wasn’t far off from the bridge that links Sentosa to the main island and signs are well-posted, so people are unlikely to get lost.

Glass Pavilion in background

When we saw the Glass Pavilion, we knew it was going to be a beautiful outdoor ceremony with greenery around us and Philippe Starck-designed Ghost Chairs. The pavilion is air-conditioned, so we didn’t have to worry about rain, humidity and heat. The pavilion can sit up to 40 guests, which was perfect for our wish to have an intimate solemnisation ceremony!

Inside Glass Pavilion

The Shutters restaurant, adjacent to the Glass Pavilion, is modern, quaint and serves as a dining area for solemnisation receptions. The food (contemporary Asian and Western cuisine) was pretty good for a buffet dinner. Lucky for us, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves even though we had only 40 guests.

The Grand Ballroom is housed in a  building of its own and hence offered a huge ballroom (maximum capacity of 500 people) and reception space which belonged entirely to us during our banquet (no sharing with other functions, no confusion as to where to go when guests arrive). The ballroom has an intelligent lighting system that can match your wedding theme. There is also a meeting room with an en-suite washroom across the ballroom that can be used for your changing needs during the banquet. Most of all, the food was the best wedding banquet fare we’ve ever had. We received many compliments on the quality of the food, which is rather unusual considering that it was a wedding dinner! The menu we had consisted of Chinese and modern Japanese dishes, which were all very well-executed.

Grand Ballroom at Amara Sanctuary Resort

The service at the resort was excellent; we felt like we were in Bali, being served tropical drinks in a lemongrass-perfumed lobby. The staff we encountered were mostly polite and efficient, very Balinese! As with most hotels, there were some shortfalls and annoying issues that we encountered when it comes to making requests with certain staff members that were allocated to us, but dogged and feisty perseverance can sort them out (just remember that there is no such thing as making too many requests, you are paying the bill!).

We went for the Verandah for our bridal suite; Verandah has a large bedroom, a spacious living area, a beautiful bathroom, and a private balcony and it was perfect. There is an option of going for the Courtyard Suite, which comes with an outdoor jacuzzi, but we didn’t want to have that as there is a lack of privacy that comes with people peeping from upstairs…(after reading some brides’ warnings on forums, I tested this out and managed to peek into the Courtyard Suite).

Verandah Suite

If you’re afraid to troop around the resort in a big bulky dress and high heels on your wedding day, don’t be, because buggies are ready to take you around the resort whenever you please. The buggy that takes you will also be decorated on your wedding day.

The nice thing about staying at the resort was the surroundings lent a certain sense of calm during our wedding. I felt like I was on a holiday and when we had time, we took a nice walk to a secluded part of the beach (found a shortcut during our expedition) and had the entire area to the both of us.

As I love resort holidays in Bali, I feel that Amara Sanctuary Resort offers that extra something that city hotels could never replicate. If you’re anything like me, you have to check the resort out. You might just fall in love with it.

P/S: Send me an email or comment if you would like me to give you more specific details on the resort.

See all my Wedding Planning entries here.

25 thoughts on “Wedding Planning Part 4: Amara Sanctuary Resort Review

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      hi GroomToBe, we had 32 tables of guests and our bridal party alone had 5-6 cars, it was actually alright, my guests didn’t complain about the lack of carpark space. by the way there’s a sheltered carpark just in the basement of the ballroom building. hope this information helps!

      Reply
  1. Pingback: Wedding Planning Part 12: The Invites « The Pleasure Monger

  2. Pingback: Wedding Planning Part 14: Wedding Florals At The Glass Pavilion « The Pleasure Monger

  3. Pingback: Wedding Planning Part 13: Wedding Florals At Amara Sanctuary Resort Grand Ballroom « The Pleasure Monger

  4. Jess

    Hi,your wedding pics look so good.Can you share the contact of your photographer.By the way,your wedding looks so beautiful and the m&m idea is so unique!🙂

    Reply
  5. Ann

    Hey, Dear,

    I feel excited after seeing your blog~~~~
    I am from HK and quite in urgent to check wedding info in Singapore. It is because I have booked a wedding package in JP , but it has to be called off after the severe earthquake happened.

    Fortunatelly , I found Amara Sanctuary Resort that I stayed before providing venue for our wedding ceremony and there are venues for small banquets. However, I am not quite sure other other service they provided and the supporting facilities~~

    Also, there are only ten guests for me. They come to Singapore from HK with me~~is the venue and restaurant too big for us ?

    Can you give me some info about how to get a pastor or ppl like this to hold the wedding ceremony.

    Many Thx~!

    ann

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Ann: Hi! Thank you for stopping by. I think the venue might be a little too big for you. The glass pavilion can take 50 guests, and ballrooms are much bigger. The packages are also for a maximum of 50 guests at the glass pavilion and the restaurant, so I’m worried that they can’t cater for smaller groups. They might, but you’ll lose a lot of money doing that.

      I’m not sure about pastors, as I think you’ll need to attend a church here regularly to get one (I think….) but you will need a Justice of Peace to solemnise your marriage. You can have a look at the ROM website here. http://app.rom.gov.sg/internet/reg_info/rom_preparation.asp

      As you’re from HK, I think you’ll need to be resident in Singapore for at least 15 days prior to your solemnisation date. Do check out the FAQs here http://app.customerfeedback.mcys.gov.sg/rom_faqmain.asp?strFaqSysid=200410411627&strItemChoice=2004101144855&strSubItemChoice=2004121394837&action=SHOWTOPICS&m_strTopicSysID=2004121394951#200410411627

      Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Ashreal: Thank you for your comment and sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with the food. When we had our wedding there, we were very pleased with the standards, and our guests said it was the best wedding banquet they’ve had. I don’t know if it’s a change of hands in the kitchen or a drop in quality since 2009 or if we have different tastes, but this is what we thought.

      Reply
  6. pearllyyy

    Thank you so much for this blog post!🙂 I’m having my wedding there end of the year, but haven’t gone down to see it myself as I’m
    living overseas at the moment. I’m sending my wedding planner down and my fiance’s mum to take a look. We have a booking, but have not confirmed. Its assuring to see your good review about the place🙂 once again, thanks for this blogpost!

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      pearllyyy: Hi there and congrats on your nuptials! I hope your wedding planner likes the place. There were a few kinks in the customer service at Amara Sanctuary when I had my wedding, but we managed to iron them out with better communication, so I hope the presence of a wedding planner on your side will make that an even smoother process for you!

      Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Yandy: Hi there! I got married in 2009 and according to several brides that have contacted me for the costs, the package has changed quite a bit since then. I think it would be more useful for you if you email the planners at Amara Sanctuary Resort for the updated prices. Good luck for your wedding planning!

      Reply
  7. blurdolphin

    Hi,

    Can you recommend the sales manager I should look for? I’m interested in holding my wedding dinner there.

    Btw, I was convinced to have it @ amara after reading your blog🙂

    Tks!

    Reply
  8. sun

    Many thanks for your detailed post🙂
    I plan to have solemnization in the morning and I will be having 40-50 guests to fit in the Glass Pavilion, but I also only have slightly more guests (60-70 guests) for banquet dinner on the same day, do they have small function room to hold dinner banquet?

    Reply
  9. Jared Phau

    Hi, my fiancée also did a PhD, and will be stuck in London till a few months before our wedding next year, so coming across your blog has been a godsend! Can relate to your posts on the stress. Just wondering, did you do your solemnisation and dinner in Amara on the same day?

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hello Jared, congratulations on your engagement! We actually did it over two days, as we wanted a relaxed wedding schedule to enjoy our time as much as possible. No fun in rushing about! 😜

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s