Reviews

Review: Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Overall Rating

By James Fordham, May 30 2019
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Country

Singapore

City

Singapore

Hotel

Marina Bay Sands

Rating

5-Star

Room

Club Room

Notes
The Good
  • Sprawling resort facilities
  • Plenty of entertainment on-site
The Bad
  • Can feel crowded and impersonal
The Unexpected
  • Las Vegas style resort in Singapore
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel brings Las Vegas-style glamour and scale to the Lion City – but is it a good choice for those working on the road? Join Australian Business Traveller as we explore this sprawling resort hotel.

Location & Impressions

Located across the bay from Singapore’s downtown business hub, the Marina Bay Sands is a behemoth, tri-towered complex with the world’s largest rooftop Skypark that adjoins the three buildings.

Owned by the Las Vegas Sands, the Marina Bay Sands is both spectacular and over-the-top in everything that it offers. There’s the famous 146 meter wide infinity pool located 191 meters above ground level, Venetian gondolas in an integrated luxury shopping mall, countless restaurants, nightclubs and bars, and a casino with over 15,000 square metres of gaming space.

With over 2,500 rooms, the Marina Bay Sands is not the place to go if you’re after boutique hotel service. However if you’re looking for something that will provide you every facility and amenity available for entertaining yourself, then it might just be the ticket.   

From Changi Airport, the Marina Bay Sands hotel is a 20-minute drive along the East Coast Parkway (ECP). There are multiple entrances, parking lots and drop off / pick-up areas – thankfully most taxi drivers know their way around the complex, so you can usually ask them to take you to a specific part of the hotel without any hassle.

The Marina Bay Sands is linked directly to Bayfront Station on the Circle Line and Downtown Line of Singapore's MRT system, with quick and easy access to most places you’d need to head to.

Because we were staying in a Club Room, we had access to the ‘Express Check-In’ service – however there was nothing really express about the experience (it certainly was however more personalised and less chaotic than the standard check-in queue). With over 2,500 rooms, check-in can potentially be lengthy and frustrating so make sure you allow time for this. As for checking out, we opted for their express check-out service. We filled in a simple form and placed it in a drop box, it was easy and certainly lived up to its express name.

Room

Once we navigate the check-in and receive our room key, we head up to our Club Room. Inside, the décor is modern and clean, but fairly unremarkable.

Sweeping views from the floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the other-worldly Gardens by the Bay (a 101 hectare nature park next to the hotel) as well as the Marina Barrage and the plethora of commercial vessels waiting outside the harbour. Whether you’re facing the city or the gardens, the views are spectacular, and one of the room’s biggest assets.

Even better is the large balcony, where you can get some fresh air and fully take in the beautiful views.

The room itself is spacious, with a large king-size bed and bench…

…and an armchair plus ottoman.

A large desk/console underneath the television saves on space...

...and houses the minibar, telephone, coffee machine and connectivity ports.

A small closet keeps the safe, hairdryer and other ancillary items tucked away when not in use.

The large bathroom features stone finishes, and has his-and-hers sinks…

…as well as an impressive freestanding soaking tub.

The separate walk-in shower is well-sized, with soft bathrobes and plenty of towels and amenities on hand.

The bathrobes are light, which may be good for Singapore’s climate, but they didn’t feel like they were the best quality.

The bathroom amenities were fantastic - there was even a bespoke fragrance made for the hotel that was particularly exceptional.

Work

All rooms feature complimentary high-speed WiFi as standard. We clocked download speeds at around 25Mbps – not exactly blistering fast, but not bad for hotel internet speeds and we didn’t have any issues working from the room.

The working desk in the room is adequately-sized but a little too high for my liking, although the task chair provided is a decent compromise between style and comfort.

As we’re booked into a Club Room, we have access to Club55, the club lounge located on the 55th floor of the Marina Bay Sands. As we’ve mentioned in other hotel reviews, a good club lounge can be worth its weight in gold when you need to stay at the hotel and work for long periods of time – in the case of the Marina Bay Sands it’s unfortunately rather hit and miss. While the club lounge is large with fantastic views...

...it can get very busy during the weekends with families and kids, so it’s not a great work environment.

During weekdays, the club lounge is more accessible. Staff are on hand to assist with minor tasks and basic business requirements, and there’s a larger business centre on site for anything more involved than basic copying / printing / faxing.

The club lounge is exclusively for use by hotel guests from 6:30am to 7pm, but after 8pm all bets are off as the lounge opens up to the public. Still, the Marina Bay Sands does provide afternoon tea, evening beverages and canapes, and electronic devices for you to use so there is some value there if you'll be there during the day. 

The Marina Bay Sands also houses a large world class conference and expo facility, so there are meeting rooms and larger event spaces available for this. Given the location and facilities catering for both business and pleasure, the Marina Bay Sands is still a very popular location for events and conferences.

Eat

Dining has never been an issue in Singapore, with a huge range of cuisines and price points catered to at almost every corner.

While your typical hotel might have a few restaurants and a couple of bars on-site, the Marina Bay Sands’ status as an entertainment resort means that you’ve literally got dozens of options for dining and drinking.  You’ll find celebrity restaurants from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton and our very own Tetsuya Waduka, as well as casual eateries and everything in between.

During our stay we tried two restaurants - DB Bistro & Oyster Bar (plenty of seafood and Parisian bistro favourites) and Adrift by David Myers, the latter of which was a standout meal.

Relax

With so many entertainment options within the Marina Bay Sands, you’re spoilt for choice on how to spend your downtime. An on-site theatre offers Broadway hits and musical performances, or you can visit The Shoppes (complete with canals and gondolas) for all your luxury shopping needs.

The world’s largest rooftop infinity pool is a must see attraction at the Marina Bay Sands, but beware that it can get quite busy.

If you’re after something a bit more cultural, the ArtScience museum is worth a visit, with new exhibitions regularly on display.

For those who like to have a punt, the Marina Bay Sands Casino offers up a range of gaming activities - or skip all of that and just head down to the spa for a relaxing massage.

The fitness centre is also well equipped if you need to squeeze in a workout during your stay.

Overall

Whatever your preferred method of entertainment is, you won’t have much trouble satisfying it at the Marina Bay Sands. But part of what makes this hotel so appealing for tourists and travellers alike also makes it unsuitable for certain types of business travellers. With thousands of guests on the property at any one time, it’s impossible for service to be personal, and often times it can get crowded to the point of frustration.

That being said, there’s plenty of hotels in Singapore geared towards business travellers seeking a boutique experience – but if you’re looking for plenty of activities to do during your downtime, or just want to experience a Las Vegas style spectacle, the Marina Bay Sands is a great choice.

james_fordham
james_fordham

James Fordham

James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.

Carrots

Carrots

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Oct 2017

Total posts 28

That WiFi speed is dismal for Singapore!

Well summed up in your last paragraph Sid.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 96

I booked for 4 nights with my family and left after 2 nights, it was stiflingly expensive.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 513

It's a bit of a bucket-list experience to float around in the pool but one night is enough. It is expensive and very impersonal. We stayed for a couple of nights with friends and we were in different towers which we called terminals because the whole place feels more like an airport than a hotel.

Interesting to see they are allowing non-guests into the pool area. When we stayed there, they were very firm in only allowing guests into the pool area with card access required to enter and exit the area. It can get busy so adding more people screams of money-grabbing by management.

There are plenty of places to eat in the wider shopping area but surprisingly few places to get a western breakfast. The hotel breakfast was ridiculously expensive and the other options in the shopping area were limited to a few very ordinary cafes and a foodcourt that didn't really have any western breakfast options.

henrus

henrus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Regarding the pool... James is probably confusing it with the observation deck which is free for hotel guests but around $20 for the public. The pool still remains for hotel guests only.

 

They keep getting stricter and stricter about it as well. Originally when it opened I think they sold pool passes (first few months), then it was just hotel guests (just flash a room key), then it was each person had to show a seperate key, then each person had to swipe a key card on a gate (similar to a train station) and now everyone gets a wrist band (with the colour changing each day).
 

Morgan27

Morgan27

27 May 2017

Total posts 17

Yeah the pool is only for hotel guests.

turbojezz

turbojezz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 125

This hotel was the worst part of our Singapore holiday a few years ago. The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a million times better!

Neon

Neon

31 Jul 2018

Total posts 7

The pool has been guests only for ages. If that has changed it would make an already busy pool even busier with selfie takers 😂I like to stay for a couple of nights every now and then. I love the city view. The Grand Club room is my favourite as it is very spacious.

Metoo

Metoo

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 62

I found it very Vegas like. Rooftop crowded especially drinks time. The observation deck swimmers could easily eat of the plates of the outside diners. Connects to the mall with many shops, restaurants and the casino. Okay but not my style.

Ourmanin

Ourmanin

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 61

Good review Sid, I would concur with most comments above, for me it's initially impressive but the novelty soon wears off. The prices are outrageous (even by Singapore standards). Stayed four days a few years back, but wouldn't bother again, Singapore is not short of good hotels! Theres just something about MBS that is, well, a bit tacky!

ChrisB

ChrisB

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2018

Total posts 13

Having stayed here a few times on my travels, it is one of my least favourite hotels in Asia.

It completely lacks any soul or personality, and has the feeling of an airport hotel at best.

It’s only saving grace is the walkway to the convention centre next door.

There are much better options in Singapore.

aggie57

aggie57

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 148

We were there in April and I have to say it was disappointing. Just too big, too many people, and frankly not that special. Club 55 was good for breakfast but Toast Box in the mall was our preference. Our daughter tried the pool once but we didn’t bother, it was crowded all day long.

But one thing we did like was being able to watch the nightly light and music show at Gardens by the Bay from our room. Overall though, nope somewhere else next time.

stmaus

stmaus

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 103

Sounds like a truly awful experience.

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 323

Can’t say I would stay there on holiday, let alone business. Give me the Conrad any day👍

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 107

I was going to stay here for 4 nights. Looked at the rates and thought it was way too much, during Chinese New Year 2020. They are charging rates more akin to Maui or Mykonos, but at the end of the day, it's humid Singapore with an average city view. Opted to stay on Orchard rd at a place that has direct access to the MRT.


I guess everyone values things differently.

Nick Sydney 64

Nick Sydney 64

Etihad - Etihad Guest

14 Mar 2019

Total posts 11

Just impersonal. Great views from the pool deck but personally it's the Fullerton if on a corporate ticket or the Park in Robertson Quay for something comfortable and close to the eating places in town

Garthie 5

Garthie 5

Virgin America - eleVAte

27 Mar 2018

Total posts 5

My wife and I have stayed at Marina Bay Sands 4 times to date.Great hotel although huge , the views are exceptional from the rooms especially the Pool deck etc.Prices are over the top for restaurants and for even standard rooms much less suites but still very enjoyable and we will continue to stay there . Pity the casino security makes getting into and out of the casino so difficult even though it's the law !!Overall great stay normally..

BOF

BOF

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 15

Paid big $ for a suite, and as others have indicated service is impersonal or non-existent. Room was great but otherwise could have been at a Holiday Inn. Express check-in an absolute joke, goodness knows what normal check-in is like.

Can say I've been, had a swim in that pool, but won't be back.

Notso Swift

Notso Swift

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 100

Exactly my sentiment, can say I've been...

Made the mistake of staying during the Grand Prix - It was mental, it is good to know from others it wasn't just that event - seems normal

Bill n DC

Bill n DC

American Airlines - AAdvantage

16 May 2019

Total posts 1

Other than giving money to the evil owner, & the zoo that is the club lounge, I loved my recent two nights on RTW19 2.0 earlier this month. I stayed because of the proximity of the Gardens by the Bay! My 1st trip was 6 years ago during my 1st RTW and the Super Trees has just opened. Fun to see their ‘growth’ plus the Cloud Forest Dome is amazing

I splurged on an Garden view Orchid Suite on Floor 51, with separate checkin and delightful checkout lady. Ordered ice several times plus included laundry and quick personal service

The suite was very well designed and high end furnishings and decor - coffered ceilings, pocket doors, huge bathroom with separate toilet room as well as dressing/closet area and small balcony

The Club 55 for cocktails was super busy but I found quick beverage service. While not my gin for G&Ts, I found the tequila and fresh Mango juice refreshing. I can’t imagine the scrum for breakfast. Fortunately with a Suite I could have a tremendous breakfast buffet/ala cart at W Puck’s open air space on the pool deck - the former Club Lounge space 6 years ago. Delightfully not crowded with lovely views.

It was expensive but oh so nice.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 578

I went up to the observation deck 3 years ago and just seeing the ridiculously crowded pool area and seeing images of the mediocre rooms for the money, that was enough to put me off ever staying there.

For the infinity pool experience I choose the Hotel Jen Orchard gateway and for the personalised service and good club lounge I use the Regent (they say it's hors d’oeuvres but the actually serve a buffet dinner).


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