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The facade of Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore (photo credit: yoursingapore.com)
Marina Bay Sands is an iconic hotel located at Singapore’s downtown core. Though not the tallest towers in Singapore, it is certainly the most conspicuous and imposing structure that you can see as you enter the city center from the airport. Not only that, the entire complex is reported to be the most expensive hotel and casino resort in the world, costing 5.7 billion dollars to build! The MBS (as the locals call it) features 2,561 rooms, a convention-exhibition Center, mall named The Shoppes, museum, two large theaters, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, an ice skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino. While the hotel has a million different attractions, what I most excited about was the 57 story SkyPark observation platform which looks like a giant ship resting precariously atop the three towers of the complex, and of course the stunning infinity pool is known to me from so many pictures.
The huge lobby of Towers 1, 2 and 3
The lobby is something of a tourist attraction, it is captivating and impressive! No wonder the complex is always packed with not only the hotel guests but also masses of local, overseas visitors and tourists.
Since we came a bit early we decided to wander around the complex first. The hotel is really huge. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes if you plan to explore the premises as you’ll be mesmerized with all the retail therapy you can get at “The Shoppes”. There’s around 300 shops in the complex which are mainly luxury designer stores though there are also high street offerings such as Zara and Banana Republic. Be sure not to be tempted of impulse buying or you’ll end up broke the next day 😉 hehehe.
Sampan Ride inside the complex
Like the Venetian, a canal runs through the shopping center, romantic eh? Though to reflect the local culture, they have little boats called Sampan Ride instead of gondolas. Historically speaking, sampan is the mode of transportation way back in the 1800s and it was used for fishing and transporting goods. Now, these boats were replicated so people of today can still experience riding it for SGD 10 per person. The sampan ride is suitable for children above 2 years old and it operates daily from 11:30 am until 8:30 pm. You’ll have an opportunity to make a wish once you circle the Rain Oculus which gushes 22,000 liters of water per minute from 2 storeys above.
Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen restaurant.
Food galore at one of the buffet restaurants inside the complex.
Most of the celebrity chef’s restaurants are located on the upper floors and include Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen which I was able to try but I wasn’t overly impressed with it. Later I was told that Osteria Mozza and Waku Chin (both are featured in the 50 Best restaurants in Asia list) are the best restaurants in the complex though sadly I didn’t have the time to try.
Gardens by the bay
Art Science Museum
The hotel room assigned to us was on the 46th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Tower 3 overlooking the Gardens by the Bay. There’s even a bridge linking the hotel to the garden which provides easy access to the guests staying there. I loved the huge floor to ceiling windows which allows you to see the Singapore’s stunning skyline and the lotus flower-like shape of the city’s Art Science Museum which is one of the attractions at the Marina Bay Sands. What a view to wake up to every morning!
The hotel room is more than just a room it’s a place with everything you could think of and even more! A huge living room filled with Nespresso coffee, tea, newspapers, a huge TV, and a small bathroom on the side. From the living room, you can walk out onto the terrace which had an outdoor table and lounge chairs. Behind some sliding doors, there’s a bedroom with another TV, a work area with every possible adapter for electronics, and a lot of water.
The bathroom (yes, another one!) was amazing and I wouldn’t mind having one like it at home one day. It came with two sinks, a cosmetic table, a shower room, and a huge bath tub. But every luxury has its price, and MBS is no exception. Being a five star hotel, the prices for a room here are north of $500 per night. But occasionally you might get lucky and find some promo, so always look for that first before you do that booking.
Air view if Marina Bay Sands Hotel (photo credit : Reuters)
I literally couldn’t contain myself any longer, I had to get a glimpse of that famous pool! If you don’t already know, located in the hotel’s Sands SkyPark on the 57th Floor of the hotel is the world’s largest infinity pool… It is also set on the world’s largest public cantilevered platform which overhangs the north tower by 67 meters…pretty cool isn’t? It’s easy to see why the pool has become absolutely iconic and frequently features in lists of the world’s best pools!
Just a few things to note, you can only use the pool or come into the pool area if you’re staying at the hotel and you have to present a room card. The pool was split into sections for adults only, mixed and then a small children’s section; despite this, it was very crowded. The pool isn’t actually very good for swimming as it’s quite shallow, but I didn’t see anyone complaining about it, all taking photos with the amazing view of the city in the background.
Behind the concept of the infinity pool is the distinct optical illusion of “vanishing edge” making the water appear without a solid boundary. It’s only natural that swimming the apparently non-existing edge may feel very risky. In reality, the water actually spills on a catchment area from which it is pumped back into the pool. The pools have two circulation systems. The first functions like that of a regular pool, filtering and heating the water in the main pool. The second filters the water in the catchment basin before it is pumped back to the upper pool.
The view from the infinity pools in the morning.
The view from the infinity pools at night. Singapore really is lovely when seen from high up.
The pool is open until 10PM and in Twilight hours, the infinity pool takes on a whole new ambience. Once the sun has gone down, the colors change once more. I have heard many travelers rave about the views at sunset from the nearby Singapore Flyer, but having been fortunate enough to have experienced both, I can attest that the atmosphere up here at Marina Bay Sands is even better!
View of Singapore skyline from the SkyPark Observatory.
Colorful and enchanting fireworks display
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to see all these. Just head to the SkyPark Observation Deck and purchase a ticket at SGD20. You can hang there for as long as you want 🙂There’s even a bar and restaurant where you can chill and have a fabulous panoramic view of Singapore skyline and admire the glittering city lights from up high…there’s more you can enjoy the fireworks too! How awesome does that sound? I suggest you visit the SkyPark from 4PM and stay until dark so you can have both the day view and night view. The view is lovelier at night when all the city lights are on.
Summing it up, I had an enjoyable stay. I love this hotel not only because of the grandeur, but the service is equally charming. It’s pricey, yes, but its worth every cent! It gets crowded in the lobby at times but as soon as I stepped on the elevator, I felt the exclusivity in an instant. The room is crisp and clean, and they also offer free airport shuttle and also a free city shuttle service to key points of Singapore! What’s more, it’s only minutes away from Sentosa Island where Universal Studios Singapore is located!
So what do you think? Have you been to Singapore? Did you make it to the top of Marina Bay Sands? I would love to hear from you, write down your thoughts as comment below 🙂
- Marina Bay Sands is linked directly to: a) Bayfront MRT station (CE1, Exit B, C, D, E) along the Circle Line Extension. Alternatively, there are numerous bus routes serving Marina Bay Sands that reach many major MRT stations.
- There’s a free shuttle service to and from the airport , the coaches run every half an hour.
- Do catch the laser and fireworks show.
- Try the disc KU DE TA, no cover charge on week days.
- For more information about Marina Bay Sands click here.