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Playing detective isn’t something we’d usually think of doing on a staycation. But when the invite to go on Raffles Hotel’s Treasures of Raffles Stay & Play package floated into our inbox, we were intrigued. What's touted as a first-of-its-kind staycation experience includes a game where guests have to solve a crime mystery by way of a virtual play and an onsite treasure hunt on charming hotel grounds. A clever staycay perk that incorporates the Grand Dame of Singapore’s rich history and heritage without it being too gimmicky, as we found out. Plus, you still get to luxuriate at your own pace and enjoy the full Raffles experience.

01 lobby and hossan
The Curious Case of the Missing Peranakan Treasure is a virtual interactive play starring Hossan Leong. It’s set and shot entirely in the hotel with 360-view VR cameras.
 
What’s included in the Treasures of Raffles Stay & Play package
Guests who book this package will get to experience The Curious Case of the Missing Peranakan Treasure, a detective whodunnit story and virtual interactive play. The second part of the mission sees guests putting on their Sherlock cap on a treasure hunt around the hotel.
02 parlour and booklet
Kinda feels like you’re on the Amazing Race, but in swankier surrounds.
 
Prices for the Treasures of Raffles package start at $950++ per night (a staycation at Raffles Hotel is a veritable indulgence after all), valid for stays until June 30. Besides the gameplay, you still get to enjoy the luxuries that come with a Raffles stay, like the superb suite life and a personal Raffles butler at your service 24/7.
02a tiffin room  restaurant interior
Tiffin Room
 
The package also includes:
-    Breakfast for two at the charming Tiffin Room (above) 
-    Heritage Evening dinner at the luxe Grand Lobby
-    During the game, you’re also treated to Singapore Slings and a satay platter at Raffles Courtyard and gift from Raffles Boutique
-    15 per cent off at all Raffles-operated restaurants and bars, Raffles Spa and Raffles Boutique
-    Successful mystery solvers will also snag a Raffles Boutique e-voucher and an Afternoon Tea Experience for two at The Grand Lobby redeemable either during the stay or later on. 

What it’s like to crack The Curious Case of the Missing Peranakan Treasure

Think of this as Cluedo in real life — and a cool 360-degree virtual experience. You first have to watch a virtual interactive play from the comfort of your own suite. The play, filmed entirely in the hotel and boasts a 360-degree view function, centers on the mystery of a priceless jewel that’s gone missing in the hotel. Viewers pick up clues by watching snippets of the fateful night and exploring the hotel virtually. The latter part of gameplay takes place IRL around the hotel’s lush surrounds, as guests solve puzzles and scour the grounds for clues in order to crack the case.

When our butler shows us to our Palm Court Suite upon check-in, there are instructions, maps, and clues sealed in mysterious brown envelopes arranged neatly on the table in the parlour.

04 envelopes
Clues and maps to help you along your adventure.

But because we’re on staycation and the Raffles butlers are tech-savvy, the latter takes care of the TV and iPad set-up for our viewing of the virtual play in just a few minutes.

And because even novice crime-busters like us need sustenance to solve mysteries, the hotel has prepared an array of macarons, madeleines and other sweet treats to sweeten the experience.

05 treats
No need to worry about going hungry during your mission.

During the one-and-a-half hours it takes us to watch the virtual play and navigate through the fun, fancy schmancy 360-degree virtual and augmented reality videos, we found that jotting down notes on good ol’ pen and paper (or quaint hotel stationery) helped. Without giving too much away, let’s just say the experience not only is entertaining, it gets you psyched up about exploring the hotel grounds for yourself.

After the virtual play, we’re still deep in Sherlock mode and continue the second part of the mission. Armed with the map and sealed clues provided, we head out of the suite to gather more clues on hotel grounds. This jaunt, which takes us around several checkpoints around the hotel, feels like a mini Amazing Race. Except that in this version, there’s a pit-stop midway for you to refuel on Singapore Slings and a delish satay platter at the quaint Raffles Courtyard. 

06 satay platter data
Singapore Slings and the satay platter are included in the staycay promo.
 
All in all, the hotel hunt takes us another one-and-a-half hours; but it may take longer if you’re leisurely enjoying your drink and snack. Don’t worry, no one’s judging — it’s a staycation after all, you’re not actually on the Amazing Race.

Prior to our stay, we'd imagined the virtual play and treasure hunt to be just another fun perk. By the time we’d ripped open our final envelope and solved the mystery, we realise that we were dead wrong. After all, part of the allure of a Raffles Hotel Singapore staycation is soaking in the history and colourful stories of the Grand Dame of Singapore, and this crime-busting mission remarkably and seamlessly combines adventure and history to into one elevated staycation experience.

The suite life
After a hard day of solving crimes, feasting on macarons and sipping on Singapore Slings, we’re happy that we get to recharge in our swish Palm Court Suite. The 70sqm suite, perched on the second storey, overlooks the tranquil and perfectly-manicured courtyard of palm trees. 

03 palm court suite bedroom
Our digs for the night: The Palm Court Suite

07 palm court suite bathroom
What a sight for sore eyes. The bathroom, larger than a bedroom in a BTO flat, comes with a freestanding tub and luxurious finishes.

Inside, the grand four-poster bed is a welcome sight. Everything can be controlled via the room’s iPad — from the air-conditioning and room blinds to the TV and even a pillow menu that boasts Tempur and buckwheat pillows. We feel a little ridiculous requesting for three different variations of Tempur pillows, but our Raffles butler promptly delivers it within minutes with nary a hint of judgement.
08 tempur menu data
Pillow menu

After a short break in the suite, we peel ourselves off the bed for the next thing on our to-do list this staycay: to enjoy the Heritage Evening Dinner at the Grand Lobby that’s included in the package.
09 heritage evening spread
No crimes to solve here, just a delectable array of local favourites such as laksa and chicken rice. 

10 swimming pool
Detectives need downtime too. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to hang out at the pool during your 2D1N staycay. Pre-booking required.

The experience from start to end cocoons you in another universe. Feeling like you’re in another time and place and channelling your inner Sherlock? Just the sort of escape we’re craving during these times. 
11 palm court suite

TL;DR: Went on a Raffles Hotel staycation to solve a crime mystery in a unique virtual interactive play and onsite treasure hunt. Did not feel gimmicky. In fact, it was good fun (as one would expect) and gameplay was cleverly entwined with the Raffles experience that even seasoned staycationers would appreciate.

Treasures of Raffles Stay & Play package is valid for stays until June 30, 2021. More info here.

Photos: Raffles Hotel Singapore, Double Confirm Productions, Sight Lines Entertainment, Jasmine Teo

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