Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)
Simply put, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is one of the best hotel facilities in the world. There are two primary reasons for this. One is the exorbitant amount of resources put into constructing and maintaining the site. On top of that, it was recently built in perhaps the most-technologically advanced region of the world, thus making it state-of-the-art. And secondly is the plethora of entertainment and retail experiences it offers outside of the realm of conventional hospitality.
What to Expect
One of the first things that should be noted is that this facility is not called the “Sands” due to be being situated on a beach, despite patrons still being able to enjoy a beautiful waterfront in the Marina Bay. Rather it is part of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the largest casino company in the world. As such, the Marina Bay Sands may have a special appeal to those who like to roll the dice.
But in general, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation owns some of the most-respected hotel/casinos on earth. That means that even if you aren’t into gambling, you’re still going to enjoy the peak of modern hospitality at the facility. In fact being opened as recently as 2010, the Marina Bay Sands is actually one of the most recent locations built by the aforementioned corporation. In fact you can say that the Sands, as it stands now, is the top tourist attraction in Singapore. Thus residents and visitors alike are likely to visit the site. And if you are headed down to the Sands, below are some of the top attractions the facility has to offer.
Marina Bay Sands Casino
So by default let’s dive into the Marina Bay Sands Casino first. We don’t want to spend too much time on this section because we know most visitors to the Sands aren’t actually there to gamble. But as you’ve probably figured, the Casino is freakin’ huge, consisting of 4 storeys, at least a thousand tables and over a thousand slot machines. And for the serious gamblers out there, they even have loyalty programs (some for free) which are made available.
The ground-level exterior of the Marina Bay Sands features a few extravagant attractions besides the casino that will greet visitors upon arrival. One is the facility’s theater. And when we say theater, we mean of the live-performance, musical-type variety. If this is something that may intrigue you, then it is a good idea to visit the Bay Sands’ website prior to your visit to see if any of such forthcoming shows are actually something you would like to attend.
Sands Expo & Convention Center
Another attraction which shares adjacent space with the Casino and theater is the Sands Expo & Convention Center. For the sake of not being too redundant, we’re not going to harp on the modernity of the structure (we’re saving that for the next attraction). What we will say is that the Convention Center boasts the capacity to accommodate over 40,000 visitors! And including its ballroom, which is touted as the largest in Asia, there are also over 200 individual meeting rooms and enough space to accommodate about 2,000 booths. That’s an extravagant way of saying it can host virtually any show or conference you can think of. In fact while there you run the potential of hobnobbing with a few bigwigs in general, considering that the Sands Expo & Convention Center is perhaps the premiere facility of its type in Southeast Asia.
We love high tech, such as beautiful displays of the modern advances of man. And right now we’re just talking about the exterior of the ArtScience Museum, which is also located in the same external area of the Marina Bay Sands. The structure itself is shaped like a giant lotus flower, and at night you may be fortunate enough to even catch a laser show. Also, while inside you’re going to be treated to beautiful electronic exhibits. But being that this is a museum, there is a mix of the old with the new. Thus there are also antique artifacts and historical art exhibits from around the world, some of which have been lent to the Museum by top historical, cultural and educational institutions.
While we’re briefly on the subject of laser-light shows, we wanted to point out that the Marina Bay Sands actually conducts a couple nightly shows called Wonder Full. You may have also heard of this extravaganza being referred to by other names, such as Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show or Spectra. It is conducted at least two times every night. And despite being a sucker for modern marvels, the true reason we wanted to highlight Wonder Full isn’t due to its colorful splendor. Rather it illustrates one of the ways in which the Marina Bay Sands has benefited the entire community, as in featuring a free attraction that can be enjoyed by all.
If you’ve ever admired the Marina Bay Sands from afar, you have undoubtedly noticed its eye-catching architecture, with a boat-looking structure at the top that connects the three main towers. That, my friend, is what we call the SkyPark. The best way to describe it is as a spacious, open-air observatory, i.e. park. It is almost 60 storeys off the ground and is considered to offer the best panoramic view of the Lion City (alongside the Singapore Strait to the south). And this isn’t the old school we’re talking about here, where you pop quarters into telescopes. The SkyPark is 340 meters (1120 feet) long and can accommodate almost 4,000 people simultaneously. Furthermore, it possesses the world’s largest elevated (infinity) swimming pool, jogging trails, restaurants, a nightclub, etc.
Although you probably wouldn’t know it based on what we’ve already discussed, the bulk of the Marina Bay Sands is actually dedicated to hotel rooms and suites. In fact in essence the site is actually three 55-story buildings which collectively hold in excess of 2500 hotel rooms.
As of 2017, the Marina Bay Sands has been the ranked third most-expensive building in the world. And whereas that is largely due to its bevy of state-of-the-art attractions, most of that money would have logically gone into the hotels which dominate the structure. So even though staying at the Marina Bay Sands may set you back a bit, at least all things considered it is worth the price.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
For instance, if you’re the type of person who likes to shop, then the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is arguably the premiere mall in a country full of malls. This is not only due to the fact that it features hundreds of shops, eateries, etc. but also because it houses some of the top brands in fashion and what have you. In other words, someone can visit the Marina Bay Sands for retail purposes that have nothing to do with the casino, hotel or other draws to the site yet still walk away a satisfied customer.
How Much Does It Cost?
As highlighted above, there are a number of attractions and draws one can enjoy at the Marina Bay Sands. And what activities you engage in determine how much you will spend. For instance, let’s say generally speaking, for a single adult to visit the SkyPark would cost roughly $20, the ArtScience Museum $30 and a theater show around $60. Meanwhile the Casino itself costs $150 to enter (for a 24-hour period). And the least-priciest hotel rooms cost a few hundred dollars, though sometimes better deals can be found via travel agencies.
In either case your best source of information may be contacting the Marina Bay Sands itself via their website (marinabaysands.com) or respective hotel (+65 6688 8888) or entertainment (+65 6688 8826) telephone numbers. This is especially true in terms of the entertainment venues, as there are a number of variables (i.e. age, group size, etc.) that determine exactly what a person will pay to enter a specific attraction.
NOTE: The prices mentioned above are subject to change.
- If you are interested in viewing a live show at the theater, it is advisable to purchase tickets in advance.
- The SkyPark has a limited capacity. Thus generally speaking the earlier you get there the better.
- The SkyPark may also be closed to visitors due to outside weather conditions.
- Only patrons of the hotel will be allowed access to the SkyPark.
- The Marina Bay Sands logically advises that you book hotel rooms from them directly. However, considering that their fees may be outside of the price range of many travelers, consulting a proficient travel agent can prove to be more cost-effective.
- As of 2019, the Marina Bay Sands is currently undergoing expansion. This expansion will see a forth (luxury) hotel tower being added to the site, in addition to an arena with a seating capacity of 15,000.
- Another of Singapore’s modern-tourist attractions, the Gardens by the Bay, shares the same inlet as the Marina Bay Sands. So it may be wise to kill two birds with one stones by scheduling time to visit both places while in the vicinity.
How to Get There
Being located in one of the southernmost, urbanized parts of Singapore, the Marina Bay Sands is relatively-easy to get to. But that being said, if you are traveling by road and are not familiar with the streets of the Lion City (i.e. a foreigner), then we would still recommend you use a taxi. Moreover parking charges, although not killer, will run you in the range of $10 going.
You can also opt to get a more-intimate look at Singapore by conveniently taking Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to the site. This can be accomplished by train or bus. If by train, you are to alight at the Bayfront Station on the Circle and Downtown Lines. And if by bus, there are quite a number of stops where you can drop for easy access to the Sands.
There are also ferries which can be taken to the facility. The downside is that you already have to be on the waterfront (i.e. the Singapore River) to access such services. However, the upside is that they’ll give you a gorgeous view of the environs from the water itself.
Or if you’re feeling really-adventurous, you can walk from the Marina Center across the water and to the Marina Bay Sands using the Helix Bridge. The Helix Bridge is a transparent, illuminated footpath beautifully designed to resemble a DNA sequence. That’s right, even getting to the Sands is an attraction in and of itself!
Due to logical limitations, this article just barely scratches the surface of what the Marina Bay Sands has to offer. Don’t even get us started on some of the other attractions, such as the Crystal Pavilions, Digital Light Canvas, Art Path or innumerable, even high-class, eateries. Indeed the best way to describe the Marina Bay Sands, taking nothing away from the rest of the urban splendor which surrounds it, is as a luxury city onto itself. Or put it this way – you can find all manners of entertainment, merchandise and food without ever stepping foot outside of the site. Yes, you might spend a few dollars while there. But at least there’s the high potential of getting maximum bang for your buck. So while at the Marina Bay Sands, we suggest you mix things up and get the most out of your visit.
Don’t spend the entire time playing slots or on the SkyPark or entranced in the museum or staring at the gorgeous Singaporean skyline from your hotel room. But by all means, there’s still going to be one attraction which captivates more than the others. So when you do visit, feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you too liked about the Marina Bay Sands.
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