When I first visited Singapore around seven years ago, The Marina Bays Sands Hotel complex didn’t exist. Fast forward to now and the triptych of towers dominates the Singapore skyline…looming high above the water with it’s futuristic facade and innovative design. Though not the tallest towers in Singapore, it is certainly the most conspicuous and imposing structure that you see as you enter the city centre 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!
We’d stayed at the gorgeous The Fullerton Bay Hotel when we arrived in Singapore before heading off for eleven nights in Bali and on the way back to the UK we had another two day stopover. For the final stint we decided that The Marina Bay Sands would be where we’d stay – it was that famous pool…I couldn’t come to Singapore without trying it!
Now I must say that though the Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a five-star hotel, it also has 2,561 rooms and you just don’t get the high levels of personal service that we experienced at The Fullerton Bay Hotel or the more boutique properties that we visited in Bali.
For example, this was the check-in desk which reminded me more of checking into an airport, than a luxury hotel. As I’d booked us into a Club room we could avoid these long queues as there was a separate and smaller line to handle VIP check-in for Club room guests.
Our Club room on the 42nd floor of Tower 3 was huge, just check out all that floor space! It would have been plenty of room for me to do an exercise DVD, were I so inclined. Actually despite my good intentions my gym gear and trainers remained firmly in my suitcase the whole holiday….but I digress…Though the size of the room was decent, I think you’ll agree the colour palette was a little drab and though everything was new I couldn’t help but be a little put off by the old fashioned design of the carpet and curtains. Having said that the bed was super comfortable…though there was no pillow menu 😉
I loved the huge floor to ceiling windows which looked out on to Singapore’s stunning skyline and the lotus flower-like shape of the city’s ArtScience Museum which is one of the attractions at the Marina Bay Sands.
The bathroom was sizeable with a cool free standing bath tub and there was also a separate vanity area.
This won the room serious brownie points for me as my pet hate is hotel rooms where the mirror has no decent lighting and convenient plug socket. I had to tell Mr S off several times as he insists on walking around the room while I’m trying to take photos for my blog…I know, how dare he!!
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 metres…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! I am a little sad that the pictures came out a bit dull owing to the very grey weather despite my efforts to edit them!
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 we both had 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 and so was the area around the pool making it was difficult to get a sun lounger despite the bad weather. Also while we were there, loud construction work was going on around the pool as they were building a new restaurant concept area for the hotel – I suppose there’s not much that can be done about that but it certainly wasn’t relaxing.
Now of course, there was lots of selfie taking and people risking expensive cameras and phones by wading into the pool with them…of course we had to get our selfies too!
Here I am feeling on top of the world and not all nervous to be in the world’s highest infinity pool or that Mr S had waded into the pool with my iPhone…
It has to be said that despite crowds, humidity and rain there really is something very cool about swimming on top of the world! Once again I do apologise for the photo quality as well as the grey skies our lenses kept on steaming up owing to the intense humidity.
At the end of the pool is the fabulous Cé La Vi Bar which had amazing panoramic view across the city and all the huge skyscrapers housing international banks and hotels as well as views out on to the bay. There is currently just one restaurant on the SkyPark, though we didn’t get to try Sky on 57 which features Asian fusion food from Justin Quek. As I mentioned, a new restaurant concept is being constructed and it’s set to feature restaurants from celebrity chefs such as Wolfgang Puck of Spago and CUT fame.
You don’t have to be hotel guest to visit the bars and restaurants and there is also an Observation Deck which gives a fabulous panoramic view of Singapore including a view over the Gardens at the Bay and the futuristic Supertree Grove
Next stop on our hotel snooping tour and we headed to The Club at Marina Bay Sands, the hotel’s premier lounge located on the 55th Floor. Having booked into a Club Room we had special privileges in the lounge including complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, and from 5pm – 7pm they served drinks and canapés. We made it down there for the latter service which featured a fab buffet of treats…
There was a really delicious selection of fresh food though we had to hold back as we had dinner booked for that night, we did however indulge in a few complimentary beverages…The general public can also pay to use the Club Room and enjoy a cheese and chocolate buffet – how awesome does that sound? We didn’t visit though as both nights in Singapore we went to restaurants with tasting menus and after that neither cheese nor chocolate was on my mind!
As with most rooms in the hotel there was incredible view out to Singapore’s iconic landmarks including the Singapore Flyer, the world’s largest observation wheel.
I have to say that once again I found the decor rather uninspiring and to use the same analogy, it reminded me a little of an airport lounge. However, The Marina Bay Sands is so much more than just a hotel: the complex was developed by the Las Vegas Sands Corps, who also own The Venetian and The Palazzo in the Las Vegas, sister properties that make up the world’s largest hotel. As such, the Singapore property really reminds of the epic resorts that I experienced in Sin City; the hotel’s entertainment complex also encompasses The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, a museum, two theatres, lots of restaurants including seven by celebrity chefs, an ice skating rink and a vast three level casino. Here’s a pic of the casino that we took the next day so you can see what I mean.
Before dinner there was just time to investigate the shops and the great technology which aided my quest to find the Jimmy Choo shop.
There’s around 300 shops in the complex which are mainly luxury designer stores but there are also high street offerings such as Zara and Banana Republic.
Like the Venetian in Las Vegas, a canal runs through the shopping centre and you can take gondola rides through the precinct, romantic eh? Most of the celebrity chefs restaurants are located on the upper floors and include Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, Wolfgang Puck’s CUT and a Bistro by Daniel Boulud among others. The only celebrity restaurant that we tried was Long Chim by David Thompson, famous for his Thai restaurant Nahm, but we weren’t overly impressed with it. However, I’m assured by my Singapore food guru, Honey who writes the blog The Girl Next Shore, 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 we didn’t have the time to try either.
You can come out through the shops to take a walk through the bayside and we went to take a quick peek outside and spotted the Fullerton Bay Hotel. It’s the little diamond shaped one opposite, it really put into perspective how large the Marina Bay Sands was compared to our first hotel. Also out of the main shopping mall are the two Crystal Pavilions which are like floating islands, one includes two nightclubs and the other a flagship Louis Vuitton store. Behind the pavilion is the ArtScience museum which houses both permanent exhibitions and pop up ones, while we were there the DreamWorks Animation Exhibition was the star of the show; actually it really struck me how child-friendly the Marina Bay Sands was. Children would definitely not be bored here, in fact no one would be bored here
After our little tour we headed back up to the room to get ready for our dinner at Tippling Club, which was an epic experience that I’ll blog about later. Of course we had to return to Cé La Vi afterwards to see what it was like at night and to admire the glittering city lights from on high…
Even on a Monday night the bar was full of people, also there to admire the shimmering lights of the Singapore skyline sparkling off the sea.
The next morning we headed back to the Club for our complimentary breakfast which once again I thought was excellent and then headed to The Gardens by the Bay to check out the Supertrees…but I’ll tell you more about that in another post.
In conclusion, I’m aware some people might be surprised that this review was a little mixed but would I recommend the hotel to my best friend? Well actually I would, if you want a hotel that’s good fun with loads to do, with fantastic shopping and plenty of choice for places to eat and an epic swimming pool, then stay at The Marina Bay Sands. However, if you want to stay somewhere luxurious with beautiful accommodation and excellent service, stay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel.
Marina Bay Sands,
10 Bay Front Avenue