Cover Image: Marina Bay Sands

Tatler checks into the iconic Singapore hotel to experience what it has to offer on its 10th year anniversary

The fact is we still don't know when we'll be able to travel again, and for this reason, booking staycations in Singapore has been our way of taking a break from work and getting that much-needed R&R. Options are aplenty but one name that often stands out for many reasons is Marina Bay Sands. First is its unique design dreamed up by legendary designer Moshe Safdie, which has become the landmark of Singapore's panoramic skyline (have you seen how many times it was shown in the Hollywood movie, Crazy Rich Asians?).

Apart from that, it's also home to the highest and longest infinity pool in Singapore as well as a number of celebrity chef restaurants serving up a bevy of delicious cuisines. These were reasons enough for my partner and I to embark on a three-day hotel stay at one of the island's most impressive hotels. Here's the lowdown.

(Related: Tatler Checks Into… The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore)

First Impressions

Marina Bay Sands has been a signature landmark since it opened 10 years ago, making it one of the busiest hotels on the island—even without tourists. Yet, the property has put measures in place that made checking in a hassle-free process. Upon arrival, my partner and I were welcomed by the friendly staff who led us to the VIP room for easy check-in. In my previous experiences at different hotels, this often meant a long and laborious process of waiting in line, checking documents among others. But here, we were done within 10 minutes and we were immediately ushered to our room to kickstart our much-awaited three-day staycation.

A note to guests: the VIP check-in is available for guests who stay at certain suites. And if you book directly with the hotel, you’ll even receive a welcome kit filled with staycation essentials—masks, sanitiser and surface cleaner included. 

Do Not Disturb

The massive hotel has 2,500 rooms—including 152 suites, 132 club and 59 grand club rooms—across all three towers. We stayed at the Premier King Harbour View room overlooking the panoramic views of Gardens by the Bay and the harbour. The room had a spacious balcony, too, and with weather permitting, we ordered room service and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries and coffee there.

Despite the room being a decade old, it was well maintained and furnished with a comfortable king-size bed, flatscreen TV and complimentary minibar. The ambience was also made for relaxation, with muted lighting and soothing colours of brown, bronze and white surrounding the space. 

The Extras

Marina Bay Sands is famous for its majestic Sands SkyPark infinity pool that stretches across all three towers. Pre-Covid, it attracted throngs of crowds who wanted to take in the breathtaking Singapore skyline. Needless to say, it was always packed to the brim, making it difficult to take a decent pic for the ‘gram.

That has changed with the strict safe distancing measures put in place, including the queue management system that limits guests’ visit to one hour per day. We booked our slot through SMS upon checking in and had no trouble getting the prime slot we wanted at dusk.

At the pool, the guest capacity was obviously reduced and it was easy to find a quiet corner where we could take a customary shot of the picturesque vista—without those pesky photo bombers. Even with other guests lounging around, we always felt safe as there were social ambassadors who enforced the one metre apart rule, cleaned pool deck chairs regularly and provided hand sanitisers when needed.

Food and Drink

It’s no secret that Marina Bay Sands is home to a number of celebrity chef restaurants—from Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Dining Room, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen to Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro & Oyster Bar. As we haven’t been able to travel for almost a year, dining at these places felt like a gastronomic journey through dining capitals in the world.

On our first night, we toggled between California and Japan with Spago Dining Room’s inspired four-course dinner menu—think zingy Hamachi tiradito showered with a spicy sesame vinaigrette and Kashmiri chilli; and honey miso broiled cod accented with Japanese pickles and wasabi. We “travelled” to France the next day with db Bistro’s deliciously comforting French fare (and luscious tipples such as Chartreuse) before “spending time” in Britain with Bread Street Kitchen’s signature fish & chips paired with innovative cocktails.

Tatler Tip

If you book the staycation package via Klook, you’ll be able to join the Sustainability and Art guided tour, which runs until June 30. We signed up for the 75-minute walking session which explored the art installations as well as intricate details within the property that actually have a positive impact on the planet.

For instance, the Rain Oculus (indoor waterfall) at The Shoppes we thought was just a tourist attraction—it collects rainwater that is used to fill the indoor canal. Notice the stainless steel net attached to the hotel’s façade? It may look like a decorative piece but it acts as a shield from the sunlight, so the temperatures don’t increase rapidly and less energy is needed to keep us cool inside the building.

Common spaces were put to good use, too. The vast space beside Rise Restaurant was transformed into an herb garden with over 100 plant varieties that are used in the hotel’s kitchens and restaurants. Thanks to these mindful initiatives, the hotel was able to reduce its carbon footprint by 33 per cent.

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