Located at the heart of Dunearn Road, KAI Singapore stands as a sanctuary for mothers and babies, offering a unique blend of hospitality and wellness.
KAI was founded in November 2020 by Kevin Kwee, who stems from a diverse background in hospitality, retail, wholesale, and F&B. Recognising the multifaceted demands of the business, Kevin brings a wealth of experience in both hospitality and food manufacturing, essential for the intricate operations of KAI.
In particular, Kevin points out that the culinary experience at KAI distinguishes itself from traditional hotels. Operating on a unique rhythm, its kitchen orchestrates six meals a day, from breakfast to supper. Kevin also emphasises the importance of synchronised food delivery, aligning with the demanding operations required to cater to the needs of new mothers and their infants.
He adds that the inspiration behind KAI emerged from Kevin’s personal experience as a father of four. He believes in the crucial importance of the postpartum period for both the mother and the baby, and this conviction led to the creation of the first licensed premium confinement hotel in Singapore.
Guiding first-time parents through the daunting journey
According to Kevin, KAI differentiates itself from similar facilities in Asia, particularly in Korea, Taiwan, and China.
While acknowledging the common thread of pampering, Kevin emphasises KAI’s commitment to empowerment. He speaks of accommodating the diverse preferences and beliefs brought in by each customer — from when to introduce solids to sleep training methods — to ensure individualised care.
The inclusivity of KAI is highlighted by its clientele, having served 27 nationalities and counting. Separately, 55 per cent of its customers are Singaporeans.
The core of KAI’s empowerment lies in what Kevin terms the “50-25-25” approach. This structured program aims to motivate and encourage mothers through various stages of their postpartum journey. The initial 50 per cent focuses on breastfeeding encouragement and rest, emphasising the importance of intervals and alternative feeding techniques such as syringe and cup feeding.
The subsequent 25 per cent involves settling-in programs, tailored to both day and night routines. KAI acknowledges the challenges faced by first-time parents and provides a supportive environment, allowing mothers to simply press a call button for assistance should they be unable to handle fussy babies, eliminating any feelings of helplessness.
KAI also places a significant emphasis on breastfeeding, considering it a cornerstone of their approach to postpartum care.
Kevin delves into the science behind breastfeeding, outlining three crucial factors. Firstly, breastfeeding enhances the baby’s immune system. Secondly, it aids in postpartum weight loss for mothers.
Thirdly, Kevin highlights the lesser-known yet vital role of two hormones, oxytocin and prolactin, produced during breastfeeding. These hormones not only provide the energy for the demanding schedule of breastfeeding every three hours, but also contribute to the shrinking of the uterus to its original size within six weeks.
There’s a lot of science behind what we do, but basically, you only need two things: confidence and technique. The whole process can be quite daunting, especially for first-time parents, so we are helping to ease you in so you are not jumping into the deep end of the pool head-on.– Kevin Kwee, founder of KAI Singapore
Through KAI, he aims to demystify the journey, providing mothers with the support and knowledge needed to navigate this crucial period.
A holistic approach to postpartum care
KAI elevates the postpartum experience with a range of spa and wellness services curated to aid mothers in their journey of rebalancing, restoring, and regaining strength and confidence.
From bengkong and postpartum wraps to lactation massages, the spa services at KAI are crafted to provide benefits such as improved blood circulation, reduced water retention, enhanced lactation support, and assistance in regaining pre-pregnancy figures.
Post-natal mothers find solace in advanced wellness solutions addressing concerns such as muscle toning, collagen production, and pelvic health. Specialised treatments target stubborn fat and excess skin, providing solutions for issues like incontinence due to aging or post-childbirth. KAI also integrates a scalp cleansing machine to tackle postpartum hair loss.
Kevin emphasises that these services are not exclusive to KAI’s guests — anyone can make an appointment to enjoy the facility’s comprehensive wellness program.
At the heart of KAI’s commitment is its expert care team, knowledgeable in various aspects of motherhood and newborn care. From addressing common issues like burping, diaper changes, and growth spurts to providing guidance on breastfeeding and postnatal recovery, the team’s expertise covers a wide spectrum of needs.
Dads are also encouraged to be an active part of the process, with KAI offering one-on-one lessons to teach them essential skills such as diaper changing, feeding, and bathing the baby. The team’s dedication extends beyond the typical 9-to-5, providing 24/7 expert care for both mothers and newborns.
With about 40 staff, KAI operates at a unique ratio of two staff per suite, far surpassing the hotel industry norm. Kevin stresses the complexity of caring for both mothers and babies, a task that requires a dedicated team working in unison.
It definitely takes a village to care for a baby and a recovering mother.– Kevin Kwee, founder of KAI Singapore
The comprehensive care extends to an on-site central kitchen serving six meals daily, provision of baby essentials, spouse accommodation, daily herbal baths, light housekeeping, limousine service, postpartum exercises, in-house mummies workshops, and lactation consultations.
The average duration and pricing for a stay
At KAI, the journey begins even before birth with a unique offering – the prenatal retreat. As Kevin explains, this session delves into the intricacies of the upcoming birth journey.
Recognising the information overload in the digital age, KAI aims to provide expert insights, countering the contradictions often found online. It’s a personalised approach to equip mothers with the knowledge they need as they step into the transformative experience of childbirth.
Nestled within KAI are 18 suites, each a cocoon of comfort designed to cater to the needs of new mothers. These suites boast luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, a full-sized Bosch refrigerator, and modern bathrooms equipped with a Japanese-style wooden bucket for the daily warm herbal bath.
With four types of suites – Comfort, Deluxe, Premium, and 2-bedroom Connecting Premium Suites – prices for a seven-day stay range from S$7,800 to S$20,000. Meanwhile, a 28-day stay ranges from S$26,800 to S$68,000.
Kevin asserts that the KAI experience is not constrained by fixed durations, allowing mothers the flexibility to choose their stay. However, the norm tends to be around 28 days, a period deemed crucial for the recovery journey.
In China, they call it ‘small confinement’ and ‘big confinement’. Small confinement is 28 days and below, while big confinement is 42 days and above. For them, the longer the confinement, the better.
But when you go to Korea, the confinement period is typically two weeks. So why is there a difference in the recovery period? It’s bad business for us if we say you can recover in two weeks, but we have to be honest about it. We do believe it’s at least four weeks – first stage is rest, second stage is purge, third stage is adjust, and the fourth stage is to nourish.– Kevin Kwee, founder of KAI Singapore
Championing nourishing food for wellness
KAI recognises the significance of proper nourishment, especially for breastfeeding mothers. Their six daily meals are meticulously curated by an in-house team of chefs, nutritionists, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts, designed to facilitate healing.
These meals will be promptly delivered to their suites. Alternatively, if guests prefer, they can choose to enjoy them at KAI’s in-house cafe, which also serves as a lounge area.
However, for those who opt for shorter stays, KAI offers the option to have their confinement meals delivered to their doorstep even after checking out.
In the food arena, KAI has also made its foray into producing its own line of baby food and castor sugar-free lactation cookies.
According to Kevin, he wants to shape a diverse taste profile for infants, fostering an adventurous palate that transcends the often-picky eating habits of children. The challenge, as Kevin identifies, lies in the blandness of many commercial baby foods, restrained by regulations that limit the use of salt and other seasoning.
KAI’s solution to this is a fusion of culinary techniques. By employing low-heat cooking, freezing, thawing, and re-cooking, KAI aims to maximise the extraction of the natural flavours of each ingredient and preserve its nutritional integrity.
As KAI continues to evolve its services, it redefines the narrative of postpartum care, standing as a testament to the transformative power of dedicated support during the delicate transition to motherhood. Each challenge, each innovation, and each nurturing gesture at KAI is a step toward reshaping the postpartum journey into a cherished, supported, and empowered experience.
Embark on your startup journey with MAS-regulated ANEXT Bank, one of Singapore’s first digital banks for SMEs.
Featured Image Credit: KAI Singapore