In June of 2010 a new icon was opened to the world in Singapore. The Marina Bay Sands is a hotel, casino and entertainment complex consisting of 3 unique towers topped by a 1.2 hectare “SkyPark”. Designed by Moshe Safdie Archetects and costing a whopping US$5.7 billion it was built at a rate of 1 hotel floor every 4 days! It’s truly an iconic image in Singapore with a unique design and with a whole host of eye watering stats to impress the guests.
On a recent trip to Singapore we were given the opportunity to tour this giant complex and see exactly what makes the Marina Bay Sands the biggest and best Singapore has to offer.
The Marina Bay Sands is easily the biggest hotel in Singapore with 2,561 rooms including 230 luxury suites. The first stop on our tour was one of these luxury suites with uninterrupted views of central Singapore. Every suite has a 24 hour butler service and access to exclusive VIP areas of the hotel. Aside from the enormity of each suite the view is by far the feature that consumes every room. Floor to ceiling windows offer not just an abundance of light but a captivating view that only improves as the day turns to night.
Every luxury suite features 2 bedrooms, a massage room, a small private gym, an office (if the views don’t distract you from your work) and best of all, a grand piano! No doubt some talented individuals could play this beautifully hand built musical instrument but I imagine for most it’s merely ornamental. Each bedroom of course has it’s own bathroom and there’s a small kitchen for simple food preparation. One extra feature is a well hidden butler entrance to the kitchen to quietly prepare your pre-cooked meal should you decide to order-in.
Worth noting there are of course 2 sides to this hotel and depending on what kind of view you like you may want the city facing view or the South China Sea facing view! Personally I’d go for the city view every time and at just SGD $50 extra it’s actually very reasonable.
The 3 towers of the hotel are joined together in one enormous atrium of gigantic proportions. There’s some fantastic artwork in this area too, some of which hangs above the open restaurants and bars.
My favourite art is the 83 giant vases that really accentuate the scale of the buildings and add a bit more of a garden like feel to the indoor environment.
Marina Bay SkyPark
One feature of this hotel that is impossible to miss from the outside is the 200 metre high SkyPark which spans the rooftop of all 3 hotel buildings and resembles a boat perched on top of 3 skyscrapers, quite a sight. It’s what really makes this hotel unique and is one of the largest public cantilevers in the world. It also has what must be one of the world’s largest infinity pools at 150 metres long, certainly the highest in the world to boast such a length. The almost vertigo inducing views from the water’s edge are quite stunning and the pool is open only to hotel guests with enough room for families and and adults to have their own private sections. There’s ample space up here for more than just a pool. Landscaped gardens and Jacuzzis offer a different view of Singapore out towards the south China sea and there’s plenty of places to eat and drink including a celebrity chef restaurant and the Ku Dé Ta lounge & restaurant.
One area of the SkyPark that is open the public is the observation deck which reaches far over the end of tower 3 and is probably the best view in all of Singapore. You can see right from the city centre to the north, the east coast condos and parks, right round to the south where hundreds of cargo ships sit waiting for their next mission. It’s quite a sight and well worth the $20 fee.
Of course one of the main attractions of the the Marina Bay Sands hotel is it’s Casino, buried deep in the heart of the complex of shops and convention centres in front of the hotel. Unlike many casinos with low imposing ceilings, this one is surprisingly bright and while it covers 4 levels it’s grand casino floor is the centre piece with high ceilings and a rather sparkly Swarovski crystal chandelier weighing 7 tonnes. There’s 600 gaming tables and 1500 slot machines so there’s no shortage of ways to part with your hard earned cash. The casino is free for tourists (so remember to bring our passport) but there’s a $100 entry fee for local residents.
Some of the levels of the casino are exclusive to Paiza members. Paiza is an invitation only club for premium players who have access to exclusive dining on the casinos upper 2 levels which include 30 private gaming rooms. There’s an impressive array of dining options for gamblers and on the main floor there is of course a complimentary drinks service to keep players gambling!
Shops and Convention Centre
One of the largest areas of the entire Marina Bay Sands complex is the shopping mall. It stretches from one end of the complex to the other. It’s rather more than just another shopping mall though (and singapore has a lot of those!). Aside from the 800,000 square feet of retail space there’s also 2 theatres and even a Venice style canal that you can take a short gondola ride on. A novel way to travel from one part of a shopping mall to another!
We had the pleasure watching the very impressive production of The Lion King at the Marina Sands Theatre. The theatre itself is a very modern style venue with ample room for 2000 people and the quality of the shows makes this a popular part of the complex. Ticket prices are comparable to the West End in London or Broadway in New York. “Wicked” is the next large show to come to Singapore in December, something I’d definitely be keen to see.
If the size of the shopping mall and theatres isn’t impressive then maybe the 1.3 million square feet of exhibition and conference space may be! The Marina Bay Sands convention centre can host up to 45,000 delegates at any one time and most of the rooms in tower 3 of the hotel are designed with short stay delegates in mind. It’s a huge amount of space for conferences, even the lobby area enormous.
One rather unusual looking building will n doubt catch your attention whether you’re at the hotel, in the mall or anywhere else around Marina bay for that matter. The lotus shaped ArtScience museum is just outside the mall next to the bay and seems to hang obve a 4,000 sq. metre lily pond. It’s strange shape is somewhat confusing as to how you could fit any kind of usable space inside but once you enter the museum the space opens up and creates an ingenious circular flow to the exhibits. When we visited an exhibition of Salavdor Dali’s work was on display and what an impression collection it was too! A surreal collection of paintings and sculptures is perfect for such a surreal looking building. The next major exhibit is the Titanic collection which is sure to be popular.
One clever design of the ArtScience museum is the collection of rainwater from it’s Lotus flower shape. The water falls in to the pool beneath the building while some is collected and used in the museum’s bathrooms.
Thank you to the staff at the Marina Bay Sands for the tour of this impressive resort. Check out these links for more information.