Ah, the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. Yep, this is THE hotel in Singapore – the one that has that famous infinity pool overlooking the city. Yes, THIS infinity pool:
I have been wanting to visit this pool since it opened in 2012, and when we flew through Singapore on our honeymoon, I made it happen! We booked our room at Marina Bay Sands well in advance through Booking.com and ended up with a lovely room overlooking the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Straits.
In addition to being home to the worlds most famous infinity pool, Marina Bay Sands is a huge resort owned by the US-based Sands casino group. As such, there is a casino in the basement and lots and lots of shops, restaurants, and bars (kind of like you would find in Las Vegas or, to a lesser extent, Atlantic City) in the resort.
Planning a visit to Marina Bay Sands, whether you are staying there or not, can be rather daunting due to the sheer size of the property! Marina Bay Sands is made up of three towers, with Tower 3 and Towers 1 & 2 having separate entrances and check-in desks. While the complex is huge and looks confusing from the outside, it’s actually quite easy to traverse between the 3 towers, and they are all connected by the first and top floors. No matter which tower you stay in, all guests have access to the entire property during their stay.
Guest rooms are located in each of the towers, while the ground floor is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars, all of which are open to the general public. Most of the restaurants and shops are international brands, much like what you would find in a large casino in the US. The casino is located in the basement, as are many more shops and restaurants, which are all also open to the general public. Side note if you are just visiting for the day – no large bags or cameras are permitted in the casino and this is strictly enforced.
The pool and a couple restaurants, as well as a viewing platform that costs a whopping 23 Singaporean dollars to access, are on the rooftop, also referred to as the Skypark. The public can only access the restaurants and the viewing platform.
The Marina Bay Sands is notorious for sticking to its stringent check-in and out times, so we were very pleasantly surprised when we were able to check into our room a bit earlier than the published 3 pm check-in. We were also upgraded at check-in because it was our honeymoon (I had emailed before we visited that it was our honeymoon and we reminded them on check-in = ))!
With the upgrade, we stayed in a Deluxe Room on the 19th Floor of Tower 3, with views of Gardens by the Bay. The room was nothing short of totally amazing. For example, when we opened the door and turned on the lights, the curtains automatically opened to our own private balcony overlooking the Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Straits! Welcome to our honeymoon!
Aside from the gorgeous views, the room consisted of a comfortable, American King sized bed, a desk, a lounge chair, a flat screen TV, a closet with robes and slippers, an ironing board, hair dryer, and shoe mit. The bathroom was split into a shower room, a sink area, and a toilet area, and also featured nice, but unbranded, bath products. In addition, there the room had a minibar, but the snacks were EXPENSIVE and you cannot take Marina Bay Sands’ treats out of the mini-fridge and replace with your own snacks or drinks. You can, however, have an empty mini-fridge delivered to your room for $10… Notwithstanding the expensive snacks, in addition to upgrading our room, Marina Bay Sands delivered a complimentary plate of honeymoon chocolates to our room! Spoiler alert for honeymooners in Singapore and Malaysia,
THE POOL AND THE SKYPARK
As you probably know, the Marina Bay Sands’ infinity pool is that stunningly beautiful infinity pool on the top of the towers overlooking Singapore. The only way to access the infinity pool is by staying overnight at the Marina Bay Sands, and quite a few people were staying at the Marina Bay Sands just to use the pool. While I am not a huge pool/beach person, the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool is absolutely fabulous and definitely worth a night at the expensive Marina Bay Sands.
The pool is locating on the roof top of the towers and you absolutely need an active key card (one per person, seriously no sneaking friends up) to access the pool area. The pool is split into two sections – one for everyone and one for adults only – and there are many chairs and loungers in and around the infinity pool. Opposite from the pool are three hot tubs that over look Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Straits.
Marina Bay Sands provides towels to pool and hot tub guests, and also serves breakfast, lunch, and drinks at the pool for a fee. In my opinion, the best time to visit the pool is at sunrise, which was actually feasible for Dan and me, as we were super jet lagged from our flight from New York. We basically saw the sunrise every morning, when the pool was practically empty (it opens at 6 AM).
We then went to change and came back up around 9 AM. We easily found seats every morning around 9 AM, and the pool was only crowded during lunch hours. If you are hoping for a particular seat or a photoshoot with an empty pool, be sure to come early! The earlier you arrive, the less empty the pool will be!
If you are spending the day at the pool, know that is can get quite windy on top of the towers, making the pool water almost always feel a bit cold. Also, wear lots of sunscreen; we got wayyyyy too much sun.
In terms of food and drinks, servers come around the pool chairs with menus to take your order during breakfast and lunch hours. The food tasted fine (not the worst, not the best) but it was quite expensive, as were the pool drinks. Of everything I had (and I had a lot), I recommend the rice breakfast dish, the french fries, and the breakfast hash browns. All of those were excellent, but probably not at all healthy. In other news, if you are order drinks, stick to beer or wine. The mixed drinks are very light on alcohol.
Aside from the pool, the rooftop is also home to two restaurants, one of which doubles as a somewhat swanky club at night, and a viewing platform. Tickets and restaurant reservations can be made on the hotel’s website (see below). That being said, neither of the restaurants nor the viewing platform wowed me, but a lot of tourists did seem to be enjoying them!
If you didn’t catch on, Marina Bay Sands is the same Sands company that owns casinos in Las Vegas (and several other destinations). As such, there is a casino in the basement of Marina Bay Sands. We stopped by for a quick visit – no cameras allowed inside the casino.
Marina Bay Sands also has a pretty nice gym with views of the city skyline and the bottom of the rooftop – kind of an architectureal wonder. The gym is particularly good for a hotel gym and offers a (free) water fountain to fill up water bottles.
Just next to the gym is a small spa with a steam room, sauna, and hot pool, in addition to the standard showers, hair dryers, and spa amenities. I used the spa one afternoon and it is nice, although not something that I would prioritize.
HOW LONG TO SPEND AT MARINA BAY SANDS
If you are in Singapore and set on enjoying the infinity pool, I recommend staying 1 or 2 nights. This will give you time to enjoy the pool in the late afternoon and evening, as well as the next day. If you are not set on using the pool, there is really no great reason to stay at the Marina Bay Sands, as everything else is open to the public. If you are just visiting for the day, an hour should do, and try to pair your visit with a visit to Gardens by the Bay, located just behind Marina Bay Sands.
HOW TO VISIT MARINA BAY SANDS IF YOU ARE NOT STAYING THERE
If you are not staying at the Marina Bay Sands, you can utilize the casino and the shops and restaurants free of charge. If you want to get to the top of Marina Bay Sands (i.e. the “Skypark”), you can make a reservation at one of the restaurants on the roof top, visit the club in the evening, or pay to access the viewing platform (23 Singaporean dollars/person!). Note that none of these options will permit access to the pool area. Given the cost of access to the rooftop, if I were visiting and not staying at Marina Bay Sands, I would probably opt for a drink or lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants. That way, you do not have to pay the cost to access the viewing platform, but you still get the view! Reservations for the restaurants can be made online, but you can probably walk up for lunch on weekdays. You can also buy tickets to the viewing platform online (link below).
STEAL OUR TRIP
Marina Bay Sands Singapore: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956. Reservations should be made online in advance, but upgrades may be available upon arrival if you ask. We reached out to the hotel in advance of our arrival and advised that it was our honeymoon. As a gift, the hotel upgraded us and sent us some honeymoon chocolates!
ON A BUDGET
In actuality, Marina Bay Sands has nothing to do with Singaporean culture and I would definitely recommend exploring more of real Singapore, but then again, that pool. Dan & I stayed at Marina Bay Sands solely because of the pool. If you are spending a few days in Singapore, I recommend spending one or two nights at Marina Bay Sands and then transferring to another property for the rest of your stay. When we visited, we spent our first night (well half night, we arrived at 2:00 AM), at a Holiday Inn property at a much lower price. Also, if you have status with any of the Sands casinos worldwide, you may be able to get some comps.
I would not recommend eating or drinking at Marina Bay Sands unless you are pairing same with the roof top views. There are plenty of cheaper places to eat elsewhere in Singapore. I also recommend buying bottled water outside of Marina Bay Sands. It was ridiculously expensive in the hotel.
For budget eats, try the food court in the mall under Marina Bay Sands (near the casino). There is also a McDonald’s in the Gardens by the Bay.
Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong: 88 East Coast Road, Singapore. This is an IHG property and we used points to stay here for one night before staying at Marina Bay Sands. The hotel came with an excellent complimentary breakfast: