One of the most impressive structures I've seen and visited in Singapore is the Marina Bay Sands, a luxurious hotel and casino recently built on this Island City.
It has become one of those recognizable icons to have graced the city's already-impressive skyline: three hotel towers rise skyward and are topped by the grand Sands SkyPark, the crowning wonder that is a sky terrace said to be longer than than Eiffel Tower laid down. It's the place to be if you wanted to get the best view of Singapore from up high.
When I was first invited to visit the Marina Bay Sands, I was especially excited because I had watched a feature on Megastructures about it. My Singaporean friend told me that the most cost-effective way to "see Singapore like you've never seen it before" was to buy a drink at the bar on top of the SkyPark (KU DÉ TA) and at the same time, grab a scenic and most breathtaking view of the Singapore skyline from 200 meters high.
I'll have you know that it was one of the most memorable and surreal experiences I've ever had.
Billed as the most expensive standalone casino property (can you say 8 billion Singapore dollars?), the Marina Bay Sands hotel has 2561 rooms and is presently the largest hotel in Singapore. I didn't have the privilege (or the cash) to visit any of the rooms, but I hear they are exquisitely decorated from floor to ceiling. For as low as S$320, you'll get to experience the luxury that is a hotel room - for a night.
Hotel guests have privileges, like swimming in the largest (and highest) outdoor infinity pool perched on top of the Sands SkyPark, and couched amidst very lush gardens. It's a must-see, even though you might not have a chance to take a dip in the pool.
In the mood for some spa treatment? Try the Banyan Tree Spa and Fitness Club, where you not only get incredible views from 55 stories above, but a sauna, steam room and hot pool to relax those tired muscles after a day of shopping.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is another part of this integrated resort. Designer boutiques line the floors of this magnificent mall including Cartier, Burberry, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and other luxury brands that entice the tasteful shopper. If you are a fashionista, this would be the ultimate paradise for you.
I wandered out of the Shoppes to get a view of the Singapore skyline across the bay, and there was this odd-shaped structure with the sign LOUIS VUITTON on it. I realized later that it was what they called the Louis Vuitton Island Maison - built on the waterfront and houses a bookstore, a contemporary art gallery, and of course the luxury handbags that are the staple of the brand.
Local Delights in One Spot
I love eating - and discovering the local foods of Singapore is just one of the many delights I've had since I arrived in this city. The Marina Bay Sands is a food-lover's paradise. I stumbled upon Rasapura Masters, a smorgasbord of Singapore foods catering to every taste bud. Chinese, Indian, Malay, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian - all the culinary cultures in ONE spot.
Suffice to say, I visited this food paradise more than once. Prices were reasonable and portions were generous!
I want to list some of the amazing attractions that Marina Bay Sands Resorts has to offer. They are wonderful sightseeing ideas if you had a day to spend downtown, and if you wanted to experience both local and luxurious:
- The ArtScience Museum: 50,000 square feet of gallery space, featuring traveling exhibitions like that of Van Gogh, Dali and at the time of writing, authentic artifacts from the RMS Titanic
- The Skating Rink: 600-square meters of ice makes up the skating rink right smack in the middle of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. World renown figure skater Michelle Kwan was invited to christen the rink!
- The Art Path: one of my favorite finds while discovering Marina Bay Sands. Six internationally known artists built massive artwork in the form of sculptures and installations the visitor can "experience". My favorite was the Rain Oculus (by Ned Kahn) - an impressive vortex of swirling water. (Watch video below) Seen from above, it's like watching water go down the sink. Seen from two levels below, you'll be amazed by the column of water gushing to the center of the installation, around which are casual diners enjoying a meal or dessert.