Architectural wunderkind Marina Bay Sands is one of those places where expectations are so high and the hype game is so strong, you’re convinced it won’t live up to it. Yet this stunning complex with its groundbreaking design is one of those rare breeds that delivers what you hope it will.
Visually captivating, it’s simply impossible to look away. Crowned ‘the most Instagrammed hotel in the world in 2017’, can you actually say you’ve been to Singapore if you haven’t had your photo taken in front of this iconic landmark?
Sprawling over 845,000 square metres, the integrated resort showcases an extensive list of attractions including the Sands Theatre, Marquee Nightclub, casino and more than 170 boutique shops in The Shoppes luxury shopping precinct, complete with venetian-styled gondola (or sampan) rides on an internal canal (yes, really). Celebrity chefs showcase their talent at more than 50 restaurants with the opportunity to stroll away your indulgences along the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, an extensive walking and recreation area.
The resort’s ArtScience Museum dramatically resides in a spectacular lotus-flower-inspired building, forming yet another icon on the city’s skyline. Spectra, the free nightly light and water show entertains crowds around the waterfront, showcasing Marina Bay Sands in (literally) a different light while also cementing its connection with the city.
Although eating and shopping battle for top spot in my holiday priorities, this time – even with all on offer in the resort – it’s the hotel itself I can’t wait to experience. As one of the world’s largest and most recognised hotels, the Marina Bay Sands hotel features three 55-level hotel towers, home to over 2,500 rooms and suites. The hotel is famously capped with the 57th floor 1.2-hectare cantilevered Sands SkyPark and that iconic infinity pool stretching over 150 metres. Although a dip in the pool and poolside selfies are available to guests only, the public are welcome to purchase tickets to the Sands SkyPark public observation deck and see what the (warranted) fuss is about from there.
After the buzz and bustle of the hotel’s busy lobby, we were lucky enough to be checked into a 44-square-metre Club Room. As we entered, any excited chatter was quickly silenced as we stood in front of an elegant and expansive space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a mesmerising city view.
With a contemporary design aesthetic, spacious living area and huge marble bathroom, complete with oversized wet room, our room was simply breathtaking.
While the resort offers an integrated experience with oodles of options to cruise through the day, like moths to lights, we were drawn to the 57th floor and the pool. Finding ourselves loungers on the pool deck, we alternated between people watching, swimming and, yes, taking selfies. Somehow the pool turns everyone into a selfie expert, although it’s a sight (and a lesson) to watch the true Insta-pros in action – chin up, chest out, hair slicked and flicked. Yes, it’s a busy space, but it’s manageable and it’s completely understandable – poolside is where it’s at.
As a Club Room guest, we were invited to use Club55, Marina Bay Sands’ exclusive lounge with panoramic views on the 55th floor of tower two of the hotel. With complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and an evening cocktail session, the world-class hospitality in this world-class venue is one of the few things to drag most away from the pool. With a wide selection of local and international food and drinks, plentiful seating and excellent service, Club55 offers one of the most outstanding club lounge experiences in a city that excels at this. Once again, although busy, it’s seamless, there are plentiful staff, seating and food choices – everything balances.
But it’s not only about chillaxing at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. The award-winning Sands Expo and Convention Centre stretches over 120,000 square metres of exhibition and convention space. Spread over five floors with 250 meeting rooms and the region’s largest ballroom, it has capacity to host 45,000 delegates at any one time. This venue was proudly the first ISO 20121 certified property in South-East Asia and is committed to its sustainable practices.
The Marina Bay Sands hotel redefines luxury with 156 suites, 132 Club rooms and 59 Grand Club rooms taking luxe to the next level. Live like royalty (or at least Hollywood royalty) in any of the oversized suites complete with baby grand pianos, personal gyms and massage rooms and, in some, even a pool table. Or for the ultimate in indulgence, the 600-square-metre Chairman Suite is a tasteful masterpiece in exquisite extravagance.
However, a range of accommodation options and budgets are available at the hotel, as is the choice of view. Look out over the city skyline and Marina Bay or towards the Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Strait with its queues of container ships patiently waiting – every direction is captivating.
And it’s just going to keep getting bigger and better with the announcement of a new fourth tower to be constructed. This will sit adjacent to the existing complex and feature 1,000 luxury suites, a state-of-the-art 15,000 seat arena, SkyPark, rooftop pool and restaurants.
Architect Moshe Safdie’s design inspiration for Marina Bay Sands was to create a building which is “extrovert, connected to the city and speaks to you”. The number of guests, visitors and Singapore public that get ‘spoken’ to daily, means he has smashed his quest. And with almost 100 per cent occupancy year-around, the word is out that, yes, Marina Bay Sands does live up to the hype.