When we booked our one-way tickets to Singapore, I hadn’t researched about what to see, do, and eat. I had, however, seen a photo of the most impressive hotel in the world – and that’s where I wanted to go.
The Marina Bay Sands is not just a hotel. It’s a work of architectural art and ingenuity. Someone had posted a photo of it on Instagram a few months back, but I was convinced that the image was computer generated. The architecture was just too radical to exist in reality. I was wrong.
Visiting this hotel was my number one (and only) must-see tourist attraction during our five day stop-over in Singapore. Of course, with its unique form, the Sands is not just a hotel. It’s an attraction and has all the features needed to fulfill this function:
- Its futuristic design alone is mesmerizing.
- If you’re hungry, you’ve got over 40 restaurants to choose from.
- The towers reach to a height of 57 floors up.
- The elevator, although fast, takes 40 seconds to take guests from ground to top.
- The roof terrace connecting the three towers has the ability to move almost 20 inches to counteract high winds.
- The 150-meter infinity pool up top gives the illusion that you will swim off the edge.
As fascinated as I am? The Marina Bay Sands website has more fun facts to get lost in.
Four Ways to Be On Top
It’s pretty amazing to look at the Sands from below, but looking out over Singapore from the 360-degree viewing decks up top are equally stunning.
Tourists can experience the rooftop views in a number of ways:
- Check into one of the 2,561 hotel rooms and for guest-only access to the infinity pool. Rooms start around $590 / €550, so why not split one with some friends?
- Dine or drink at the rooftop restaurant CÉ LA VI. Each guest is required to spend at least S$20, which they enforce by making you first buy a voucher in that amount that you can then spend at the restaurant. Note: a smart casual dress code is enforced – no shorts for guys and no flip-flops. If you can’t be bothered, then go on Sunday when the dress code is relaxed.
- Dine at Chef Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant. You’ll get a view of the infinity pool and the city. This spot also enforces a dress code.
- Visit the observation deck. This’ll set you back S$23. You won’t get a good view of the pool, although you’ll get a glimpse of it from a distance, but you’ll see more than if you choose CÉ LA VI. This is what we did and is my recommendation for photographers.
Experiencing the Observation Deck
I’ve been to the top of a number of tall buildings so I wasn’t expecting to be wow’d by the views from atop the Marina Bay Sands. To my surprise, though, the first views upon stepping outside were fantastic and didn’t disappoint during our entire 75 minutes of ooh’ing and ahh’ing.
The view of the bay gave an idea of the amount of shipping traffic that comes in and out of Singapore. I imagined that’s what many of the key maritime places during WWII looked like, just a sea of ships.
The hotel is situated at one end of Singapore. Looking inward over the rest of the island was like looking up at the night sky. The more I squinted and allowed my eyes to adjust, the more buildings I could see in the distance.
Visitor’s Tip for Avoiding the Crowds
Weekends will bring more people, so go on a weekday. If you want to catch the sunset, go right around 5:00PM but not much later or you could end up behind a bunch of tour groups with the same goal.
Gardens by the Bay
While you’re already at the hotel, go find the elevator just outside of the middle tower which takes you to the seventh floor. Here, you can walk out along the Lion Bridge to take in impressive views of the Gardens by the Bay in the distance (a separate tourist attraction that I now wish we’d checked out).
Visiting when it’s dark out is even more entertaining as the Gardens and their superflowers are constantly displayed in an ever-changing, colorful light show.
So now I’ve spoiled the experience, right? No way! Photos don’t do the experience of seeing this place with your own eyes justice.