Hands up if you have a stay at the iconic Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, on your bucket list? You are not alone! I think half the world wants to swim in that famous rooftop infinity pool. Have you gone as far as to look up the price to stay there for a night? It’s usually a little out of most people’s budget, but if you really want to swim in that pool, the only option is to pay up. The big question is then – is Marina Bay Sands worth it?
Why did we choose to stay at Marina Bay Sands?
I had been to Singapore a handful of times and always admired Marina Bay Sands from a distance. I thought it would be cool to stay there at some point to swim in that Marina Bay Sands pool, but I just couldn’t see how to stretch the budget. Right before our gap year I was lucky enough to win a $1000AUD travel voucher from one of those travel expo’s they have occasionally. Yes, apparently someone does win those prizes!
I could have been sensible and used this to pay for something essential, but instead I decided to splash out and spend two nights at Marina Bay Sands on our first stop outside of Australia.
As you can imagine, I was excited, but this was not my first stay at a five star hotel. While I am mostly a budget traveller, hubby and I do like to splurge once in a while and stay somewhere really nice. We were expecting something really special though while we were staying Marina Bay Sands.
Our Arrival and First Impressions
We caught the MRT to get to Marina Bay Sands. The Bayfront stop on the blue and yellow lines is located right below the buildings. It’s a little bit of a walk to get to the lobby, but it is well signed, so easy enough.
As we came into the lobby we caught our breath a little. This hotel is huge! The base of all three buildings are joined to make one huge open space. There are at least three different check in areas – not including the private check in room for VIP guests. To be expected perhaps since there are 2561 rooms here, but it’s still an impressive site on arrival.
We were about two hours before our check in time and thought we would try our luck. Our room was ready and we were able to check in. We were also – without asking – offered an extended check out time of 12pm. While we were checking in we were given some nice cold drinks to welcome us to the hotel.
Our Marina Bay Sands Room
We had booked the most basic room, a Deluxe King Room. Now the room was nice, don’t get me wrong, but it was just like any other five star hotel. It had all the amenities you would expect, including free wifi, a mini bar, toiletries and bathrobes, and a safe.
The bathroom was a good size with a large shower. The shampoos and soaps provided smelled lovely and did a good job on my skin and hair.
One thing that was new to me was not only did putting the room key in the holder turn on the electricity, it also opened the curtains to reveal the view. I might be biased, but I think our view from the 47th floor of tower three was pretty good. We overlooked the Gardens by the Bay, giving us the perfect view of the nightly light and sound show that happens amongst the super trees.
The Marina Bay Sands Pool
The famous infinity pool is located on the 57th floor giving panoramic views over the Singapore city skyline. The pool is open from 6am until 11pm, and it pays to get there early for a couple of reasons. You will be able to get a great sunrise view from here, and you will beat the crowds.
By the time we got to the pool at about 8:30am, almost all of the lounges had been “reserved” with towels or other belongings. We did find some lounges available, but they were in the full sun area, and already at this time of the morning it was hot. We enjoyed a couple of hours of pool time before we retreated back to our room.
We came back to the pool mid-afternoon to find it closed. This was due to the stormy monsoon weather. It was not raining at the time, but there was a little thunder and wind. It felt quite a distance off, but it seems like as soon as it gets a little stormy they shut the pool for safety reasons. This could be an issue if you are travelling during the monsoon season and only plan to spend one night at Marina Bay Sands. We travelled in April.
Tip: There is an adults only section of the pool deck to use if you would prefer not to be near families.
Our third visit to the pool during our stay was at night time. The pool still had many people around it, but now it was more of a party atmosphere. It’s possible to order drinks and food from the many Marina Bay Sands staff who are always on hand, so this could be the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail as you wind down for the day.
If your room doesn’t offer views over the Gardens of the Bay, the pool deck could be a great place to watch the nightly light show.
The Restaurants and Bars at Marina Bay Sands
There are dozens of restaurants at Marina Bay Sands. In the hotel itself they are mainly fine dining, but it’s also possible to find cafes and casual food places in the lobby and there is the nightclub and bar at the SkyPark.
In the shopping centre below the hotel, conveniently called The Shoppes, there are many more restaurants. Here you can find everything from celebrity chef offerings to high tea cafes to a food court with hawker foods.
We were conscious that this was just the start of twelve months of travel for us so we chose some meals from the food court, others we had when we were outside of the hotel. So while there are plenty of options, I am unable to recommend any particular restaurant. The noodles at the food court though were delicious, and great value for money.
The Other Areas of Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands hotel offers the usual facilities that would be expected at a five star hotel. They have a decent sized gym located on the 55th floor of tower two. There is nothing better than admiring the view over the city while puffing away on the treadmill.
The Banyan Tree Spa offers many different spa treatments in luxurious surroundings for both women and men. There are dozens of options from a simple haircut or manicure to full pampering sessions that go for half a day.
Marina Bay Sands is more of a complex rather than a stand alone hotel. As mentioned above, it connects to The Shoppes, a decent sized luxury shopping mall. It’s mostly filled with high-end brands, but also a lot of other international brands that are found all over the world, so it’s easy to shop until you drop.
The Shoppes include an ice rink and a mini canal with gondola rides. There is also a water feature that collects water when it rains, turning it into a waterfall gushing from the roof.
Right outside The Shoppes is the spectacular Art Science Museum. This is a futuristic museum that describes itself as about that place where art and science meet. We unfortunately did not get a chance to visit while were were staying at Marina Bay Sands, we have visited during other times we have been in Singapore and the futuristic exhibitions are well worth the time. There is a lot of interactive displays with 3D light projections – truely an instgrammers’ dream. The exhibitions change every few months so there is always something new to see every time you visit Singapore, even if you are not staying at Marina Bay Sands.
The Sands Theatre is home to all sorts of events. It may be possible to see a popular theatre show during your stay. Coming up in 2020 is the School of Rock musical, Rasputin ballet and Now You See Me magic show.
The complex also contains the huge Marina Bay Sands Casino. Operated by the Sands group, there are similar casinos in Macau and Las Vegas. While foreigners can enter for free, there is a fee of $100SGD for Singaporean nationals to go inside. It is possible that you will be asked for photo ID to prove you are a foreigner to it’s a good idea to carry your passport or drivers licence during your visit.
The Verdict – Is Marina Bay Sands Worth It?
So finally – is it worth staying at Marina Bay Sands? What you are paying for here is the pool. If you are just looking for a nice hotel, there are other Singapore hotels that offer better value. If swimming in the pool is on your bucket list, then it is worth every cent.
If you do not want to swim in the pool but would still like to enjoy sunset from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, you can either make a booking to eat at one of the restaurants or purchase entry into Cé La Vi Club Lounge. Entry is $20SGD and includes a drink.
Another option is to just purchase entry to the Skypark, which gives access to the observation deck. It includes skip the line access and an audio guide. Again, it’s $20SGD and is best purchased in advance to skip the line.
If you are going to stay at Marina Bay Sands, then my recommendation is to try to stay two nights if you can. With a 3pm check in time and an 11am check out time, there is not a huge amount of time to experience the pool and hotel in just one night. There is also so much more to see and do around the area, you may just find you would like to venture away from the pool for a while.
The Marina Bay Sands Details
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel can be found at 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956
When booking Marina Bay Sands, rooms start from around $500SGD, and there are lots of different rooms, options and packages. Keep your eyes out for special deals that have extra inclusions.
Looking for more travel tips? You may be interested in these other posts on Singapore
My Favourite Things About Singapore
Things to do in Singapore on a Budget
Haw Par Villa, Singapore’s First Theme Park
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Josie is a forty-something budget traveller. She only discovered travel in her late thirties, but since then has travelled extensively including taking an adult gap year. She is now based in Australia and loves sharing all she has learned about travelling on a budget but with the comforts a Gen Xer requires.