On our recent trip to Singapore for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, I’d opted for an Airbnb for our 8 night stay. This got us more space in a central location for less money. However, on our first day I’d planned a walk to see the sites of Singapore and it ended at the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
The hotel’s iconic three towers topped with cantilever roof can be seen from all over the city and are a tourist attraction in themselves. Walking through the air conditioned and glitzy lobby, we immediately decided that we wanted to experience the hotel in all its glory. After some deliberation (and research) we decided to book a night’s stay for later in the week… we weren’t disappointed! This post is to share my experience of the hotel and advise how you can maximise your stay at the Marina Bay Sands hotel.
Marina Bay Sands: To stay or not to stay….
The answer: only if you do it right! There are ways to vastly improve your value for money when staying at this iconic hotel. My recommendation is to book a Club Room. Here’s why…
The Marina Bay Sands is not just a hotel. It’s actually a huge resort complete with conference centre, casino, mall, sky park and 25 restaurants. Many of the resort attractions can be visited even if you aren’t staying there, so Marina Bay Sands is always worth a visit. The main exception is access to the 57th floor infinity pool, which is reserved for hotel residents only. Also, access to the ‘sky park’, the 57th floor observation deck, comes at a cost if you’re not staying in the hotel (currently SGD23 for adults).
After walking through the hotel lobby and debating paying for sky park access we decided to splash out and book a room for a night.
Standard, Club or Suite?
None of the 2,561 guest rooms in the hotel come cheap. The lower floor rooms are also priced the lowest and room only options can be found for around £200/SGD360 a night. This would of course give you access to the infinity pool on floor 57 and the gym on floor 55. But once you’ve factored in dinner, drinks and breakfast the price could easily double. Thats why we decided to book a Grand Club room, which for around £390/SGD695 per night gives you a whole lot more.
For me the main highlights of booking the Club Room were:
- Priority check-in at the Sands Lounge (for our allocated room in Tower 1)
- Complimentary afternoon tea in ‘Club 55’ between 2-4pm
- Complimentary evening drinks and canapés between 5-7pm. These are also served in ‘Club 55’, and include Piper Heidsieck champagne (and other alcohol, but why would you want that when there is champagne?!)
- A bigger room, on a higher floor, with extras like a Nespresso machine
- A load of other stuff that we didn’t even use but which you can read about on the hotel website.
Overall we found the club room option well worth it. Here’s a run down of our experience along with my tips for making the most of your Marina Bay Sands Experience.
Our Grand Club room was on the 11th floor. We’d opted for a Garden view, but a City view can be purchased for around SGD50. When we walked in I couldn’t believe how big it was! There was a king bed, living room area, two massive patio doors leading to a big balcony. Not to mention the giagantic bathroom with his and hers sinks, walk in shower room and tub bath. Marina Bay Sands is true luxury.
One quirky thing I liked is the curtains were automatic. So when you left the room, the curtains would automatically close. Then, when you entered the room it would be in darkness and a few seconds later the curtains would draw back on their own. It was as if you had made some kind of grand entrance! A bit silly, but it’s a little touch that made the room all the more special.
Maximise your time
Singapore has SO MUCH to see and do, as detailed in my Best of Singapore and Nature in the City blog posts. But if you’re only staying at the Marina Bay Sands for a night or two, I recommend staying in the resort as much as possible. In order to maximise your time, request an early check-in. The hotel has over 2,500 rooms, so chances are you’ll be able to check-in early. But even if not, you may be given access to the infinity pool and Sky Park whilst you wait for your room to be ready.
The hotel is located right next to Gardens by the Bay, so we spent the morning there. We left our luggage with the concierge, and then checked in around 1.30pm. The main check-in queue was pretty long, but thanks to our Club room we were able to check in separately. Club room check-in usually takes place in a separate lounge, tucked behind the main reception desk. However, as we were checking in before the official 3pm time slot, the Sands Lounge wasn’t open. Thankfully we were ushered straight to the concierge desk when I asked a staff member in the lobby about Club Room check-in. This probably saved 20-30mins of queuing time.
The ‘complimentary’ food and drink
Lets face it, nothing is complimentary when you’ve paid the best part of £400 for one night! But the food offerings of afternoon tea 2-4pm followed by 5-7pm canapés meant that we didn’t need anything else for dinner. Both were served in Club 55, a buffet restaurant exclusively for those staying in club rooms and suites. It’s situated on the 55th floor of Tower 2 with fantastic views of the city from one side and the Gardens by the Bay & ocean on the other.
Afternoon tea had a range of hot finger food, desserts and fresh fruit, as well as hot and cold drinks. At this time alcohol could be purchased for an additional cost.
But later, between 5-7pm, alcohol became all inclusive. There was a range of wines and spirits on offer and even Piper Heidsieck champagne. The staff keep topping your glass up so it’s definitely one way to get your moneys worth! Throughout this time there was more food on offer. Billed as ‘canapés’ it was actually more than that – including hot and cold finger food and a great cheese platter with optional truffle relish on the side.
We went back in Club 55 for breakfast, though you could choose one of the three restaurants in the lobby. All seemed to have a similar offering of American/English, continental breakfast and Asian offerings.
Tip: sit on different sides for each meal so you can appreciate all the views from the 55th floor.
Marina Bay Sands Sky Park and infinity pool
The SkyPark is an attraction in itself when visiting Singapore. It is situated on the very top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, on its cantilever rooftop 57 floors up. Theres great views of the city skyscape on one side and the Gardens by the Bay backed by the ocean on the other. Theres also a handful of restaurants on this level which are open to the public too. However, the infinity pool is reserved exclusively for hotel guests. Its possibly the most famous infinity pool in the world, so we were pretty excited to have a dip!
The pool is 146 metres long (thats almost 3 olympic swimming pools long) and has sun loungers all down one side. But despite this we struggled to find a sun lounger initially! Thankfully, given it was mid-afternoon people were constantly leaving, so we were soon able to get a sun lounger. Views are fantastic. I was a intrigued to look over the edge, but quickly realised it isn’t actually a sheer drop from the edge of the pool! Theres actually a ledge making being at the edge of the pool not scary at all.
We didn’t use any restaurant in the Sky Park due to the ‘complimentary’ food included in our Grand Club room, but they certainly looked inviting with a range of European and Asian restaurants.
The Marina Bay Sands has plenty going on in the evening. After watching the sunset from Club 55, we went down to Event Plaza to watch ‘Spectra‘, one of the light shows. It’s the show put on by the hotel which runs at 8pm and 9pm every night, plus an additional 10pm showing on Friday and Saturdays. It’s a light and fountain show set to orchestral music, much like others you can see in Dubai and Tenerife. This one has the spectacular Singapore skyline as its backdrop and was a nice relaxed way to spend 15 minutes of the evening. Tip: Get there 15-25mins early to get the best spots.
At 7.45 and 8.45pm each night, theres also a light show in the Gardens by the Bay, which is worth a visit too. We were able to see the lights of this one from our balcony, but couldn’t hear the music.
Plus of course there are a range of bars, restaurants and the casino to spend your time in!
Is it worth it?
Overall, we made the stay worthwhile by maximising our time in the resort. Our stay in such an iconic hotel will certainly be a memory we’ll cherish for a long time. If you’re considering making similar memories I highly recommend it. Want to book? Take a look at the latest prices here.