Hey, there's a boat on top of those buildings! Few would argue that the unique architecture of Marina Bay Sands has made it one of Singapore's most iconic buildings. But it wasn't always so.
When we visited Singapore in the autumn of 2010 Marina Bay Sands Resort had just opened and Singaporeans were still complaining about how it overwhelmed the harbor and marina. Maybe that's because at first glance it appeared that it was just another one of Singapore's hotels.
Not so, though. Oh, no. It was developed by Las Vegas Sands, and we all know that Las Vegas has always done things over the top. At a cost of US$5.7 billion, greatly due to the price of the prime waterfront land, the hotel was called the world's most expensive building.
That's because it's not just a hotel, it's an experience.
What makes Marina Bay Sands unique
“Okay, it's a five-star hotel. So, big deal,” I hear you say, and it's true: Any expensive city like Singapore should be full of them. But how many other hotels have a five star rating plus
- a casino, (no surprise there…)
- 20 restaurants, many by celebrity chefs,
- a spa,
- a cinema,
- a theater for performances and plays,
- a museum of art, science, design, media, architecture and technology,
- an Expo and Convention Center, and
- The Shoppes, an 800,000-square-foot indoor shopping mall with many top brands and exclusive boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton and Prada.
Considering the developer, it figures.
Staying at Marina Bay Sands
We had heard so much hype about this new hotel that we almost stayed there. Almost. However, it would have been a major splurge and the reviews were mixed. To be fair, it has improved since then. At the time it was really new and as with any new project they hadn’t worked out the kinks yet.
They have now, though, and the reviews show it. However, potential guests soon find out that it's a challenge to select a room. You’ll have 2,560 luxury rooms and suites to choose from, and 18 different room types. Go ahead: Splurge on one of the 230 luxury suites at Marina Bay Sands and you’ll enjoy butler service, VIP privileged access and panoramic views of the South China Sea and the Singapore skyline.
A few years ago we had a unique opportunity to attend two international conventions in the hotel. Dan's meetings began earlier than my event so I was able to wander around the building. I found my way to the multi-level shopping mall and it was a good thing the shoppes hadn't opened for the day. I might have spent a lot of time learning about which luxury items appeal to Asians.
Take a quick video tour of Marina Bay Sands
I'm not one to go to movies while traveling so I can't comment on Marina Bay Sands' cinemas other than to say the same films were concurrently playing in the U.S. However, I can categorically state that we fancied a trip upstairs to experience the SkyPark (which we couldn't fit into our schedule).
High atop Marina Bay Sands, the 57-story-high “ship” that straddles the three towers, known as the Sands SkyPark, actually stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower would if it were laid down. The SkyPark’s public observation deck is the best place to go for a breathtaking view of the city.
Admission: S$23 for adults
Besides enjoying the skyline, SkyPark visitors can enjoy exclusive lush gardens, two fantastic restaurants (Sky on 57 and KU DÉ TA Restaurant and Bar), an alfresco café and a Cheese and Chocolate Bar! Go ahead: Buy your ticket and enjoy it all.
Okay, now that I've told you all the reasons Marina Bay Sands makes a great Singapore escape, you still might want to stay in the hotel. The Vegas-worthy resort’s spectacular 150-meter infinity-edged swimming pool is only open to guests.