Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore Review

It first sounds weird to know that someone living in Singapore stays in a Singapore hotel for holiday. But staycation in Singapore is quite popular especially in the recent few years. For this staycation episode I and my wife have decided to stay in Marina Bay Sands Hotel one of the newest luxury hotels in Singapore. The main reason for the hotel choice was the infamous Sands SkyPark and its infinity pool view of Singapore skyline.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel, or MBS in abbreviation loving Singapore, is the largest hotel in Singapore which occupies a prime land in the Singapore city center area. It is a casino hotel and part of Marina Bay Sands casino complex so called integrated resort,  an euphemism used because of opposition to casinos.

Our 2D1N staycation in Marina Bay Sands Hotel started at the reception which will make you feel how crowded the hotel is. The waiting time in the reception is quite long althogh the registration is quite short. The hotel has 2,500+ rooms (the second largest hotel in Singapore Swiss Hotel Stamford has half the number of rooms!) and it seems like it is 100% full all the time. Other than gamblers, business travelers and non-gambling leisure travelers also prefer the hotel. But despite being in the city center, the hotel is not a place to walk to main Singapore attractions on foot like the ones in Orchard Road.

We have stayed in a Deluxe Room on the 37th floor facing the sea rather than the city. It was our decision to stay this side. The rooms facing the Singapore skyline are popular but I found it tiring to see CBD from my room because I will not feel any “getaway” feeling if I watch my workplace from my hotel room :)

Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
Many luxury hotels in Singapore are old and their age is reflected in the room. The room in MBS looks brand new, very modern and very large even for a 5-Star hotel in Singapore. Other than this large Queen Size bed, there is a nice sofa, large flat screen LCD, very functional business desk and probably a fast WI-FI (I did not bring my laptop with me so never tried internet).

The bathroom is also very large. It is as large as many budget to mid-range hotel rooms in Singapore :) The rain shower, the tube and double sinks are all in 5-star hotel standards.

The mini-bar in the refrigerator was full of everything but be careful with it. It has an automated system which charges you the bottle if you remove it from its place. So that 300++ SGD bottle of wine may be interesting to take out and look at but then you may be charged for it.

For those who need budget drinks and eatery after spending a large sum to MBS (MBS is quite expensive even in expensive Singapore hotel standards). There is a Cold Storage Speciality and 7-Eleven shop in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and you can buy your drinks and snacks from these places for much cheaper prices. Also, there is a food court to eat on budget in The Shoppes. But the food in this foodcourt is expensive and it is not good. You can walk to La Pau Sat or Marina Square Shopping Mall for better and cheaper food.

You know the main attraction of all Marina Bay Sands casino complex is naturally its casino.  And the hotel is basically a gambler’s inn. But I won’t review this attraction because I have never been to its casino and had no intention to visit it this time also.

The main attraction of the hotel for me was the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark and the infinity pool on the sky park. SkyPark is built 200 meters above the ground, on the top of three 55-storey towers of the hotel.  It is quite large, it has 12,400 meter square space, almost 3 football fields.

SkyPark itself is very beautiful. It has one of the best rooftop views of Singapore (but definitely not the best as it is marketed by the hotel) and is a great leisure chill out place! The infinity pool is one of the best hotel rooftop pools in the world and is definitely one of the most unique. In theory, the pool is open only to hotel guests and their guests. But I have been to this pool before and until recent the entrance check was lousy and I am sure there were many people who were sneaking into the pool although they were not guests. But since November 2012, the pool entrance is very strict and is done through pool access card. As a result, the pool was much less crowded than I have seen before.

The infinity pool is 1.2 meters deep and I could find nothing to do there except watching Singapore from above the sky while immersed into pool water. The pool is quite an experience and although I found it tiring to watch a busy city during a holiday, it is a must do in the hotel. It worth to visit the pool in the early morning when it is empty, in the evening when sun is setting and in the night. Rest of the time it is super crowded with hotel guests who are eager to fill their Weibo, Facebook and Instagram accounts with their photos on the skypark.

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Infinity Pool
Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Infinity Pool
There are 2 fine dining restaurants on the SkyPark: KU DÉ TA Restaurant and Sky on 57. I cannot review this because as a guest who has spended all his budget for the room, I have headed to the food court. Marina Bay Sands hotel restaurants are expensive but if you want to save money there is a food court in the shopping mall (near ice skating). It is also expensive in Singapore standards and as for all tourist places the food is not that good. But a lot cheaper compared to the restaurants and the food is not that bad.

To sum up …

Marina Bay Sands Hotel is definitely a nice 5-star luxury hotel which is quite popular. But this popularity makes it very crowded. It seems like the hotel is 90% booked by wealthy tourists from China and the 10% by others. For this reason, SkyPark, its pool and all facilities are quite crowded. But rooms are quite large and they are liberal about who goes in and out as long as they are going in/out with you. I have been here to visit friends before and you can invite your friends to enjoy the room with you.

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