Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Visiting Singapore: Marina Bay Sands

Before we ever made it to Singapore, I had been keeping a list of landmarks I want to visit when the moment arrives. And at the top of that list, just below The Merlion, is the triple-towered skyscraper that forever reshaped the Singapore skyline. The majestic structure, called the Marina Bay Sands, opened in June of 2010 and is one of the most opulent hotels in the world. It's also touted as the most expensive casino ever built.

The nightly laser light show at the Marina Bay Sands.

Upon arrival at the Singapore Changi Airport, we immediately approached the Marina Bay Sands concierge service to inquire about our airport transfer. We were directed to the coach pick-up bay where the Marina Bay Sands' complimentary shuttle picks up hotel guests every 30 minutes.

The spacious bus has comfortable seats and large windows that offer tourists a wonderful view of the city.

It's definitely hard to miss the imposing towers of Marina Bay Sands with its reflective glass facades glimmering in the sunlight. The iconic structure is situated across the Singapore river, beside a giant observation wheel called the Singapore Flyer.

Within 20 minutes, we were dropped off at the basement of the Marina Bay Sands. Only a few hotel staff were on hand to assist arriving guests with their luggage. I had to pull one of ours behind me while carrying my son up the escalator to the hotel lobby.

The lobby of the hotel exhibits the same ingenuity that the towers' revolutionary structural design vividly projects.

The enormous lobby is adorned with an impressive geometrical piece that is suspended in the atrium. The unusual art form, which looked alien to me at first until I did a little research, is a "Drift" sculpture. This three dimensional drawing in space is a real eye-catcher that totally evokes curiosity and wonder.

There are several check-in counters but we still had to wait in line for a few minutes due to the immense number of guests. Sterling wine is offered for free on check in while, finally, a hotel porter tagged and took our luggage.

We arrived at our room on the 43rd Floor of the Marina Bay Sands Tower 3. We didn't even notice the luxurious space and the flashing welcome note on the flat screen TV before we dropped everything to go straight to our huge hotel room windows showcasing the panoramic view of Singapore's skyline.

A night's stay in a Deluxe Room with City View (rooms on the 19th floor and above of Tower 3) starts at 529 SGD (plus tax). Around Php 21000/night.

The jaw-dropping view from our room.

Even my son was in awe.

This spacious 47-square meter room comes with complimentary airport transfers, access to Sands SkyPark and Banyan Tree Fitness Club and free high-speed internet access.

Paiza bathroom amenities.

I love how the soap was designed not to slip from your grip. Innovation in small things!

Automatic Private Mini-Bar. Caution! You lift a single item, you automatically get charged.:) 

After our mini photo-op, we finally gave in to our hunger pangs and went straight to The Shoppes for lunch.

On our way to The Shoppes, we passed by the plush casino which is billed as the most expensive  in the world.

The Shoppes is a premiere retail center, with over 300 stores, conveniently located inside the Marina Bay Sands. 

After our hearty lunch at the Rasapura Masters food court, we took our time exploring the spectacular mall. Exclusive luxury brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, the Ferrari Store and Juicy Couture among others make this world-class shopping destination an essential stop for tourists.

The Digital Mall Directory system.

My shopping motto: Only the Devil wears Prada. Angels like me should be perfectly content to just window shop.:) 

The Ferrari Store. It's a little disappointing that we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the store.

The Ferrari fans didn't go home without a souvenir.:)

There's also an abundance of French pastry shops that sell my all-time favorite dessert, French Macaroons.  It took me three stores and several macaroons, however, to find the perfect level of chewiness and texture that I am looking for.

Sweetspot at the Marina Bay Sands.

TWG Tea Company sells their macaroons with a hint of tea flavor. (The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands).

Darcis (The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands).

Finally, the best Macaron de Paris from Darcis.

The mall is also brimming with attractions. Aside from the skating rink beside the food court, guests can take a relaxing Sampan ride which is reminiscent of our Italian gondola ride at The Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas.

Our gondola ride at the Grand Canal Shoppes of The Venetian Las Vegas,  December 2008.

Just above the canal where the sampan boats glide is another iconic feature, the glass and acrylic "Rain Oculus". This strikingly unconventional work of art and engineering empties rainwater and channels it into a spiral pattern down the canal.


The waterfront promenade, where one can observe the whirlpool motion of the Oculus, also offers an unobstructed view of the city's financial district.

Back at the hotel, we decided to check out the famous SkyPark Observation Deck where one can enjoy a  mesmerizing 360-degree view of Singapore. Perched atop the 55-storey Marina Bay Sands hotel towers, this platform also houses the world's longest elevated swimming pool.

The infinity pool stretches out for 150 meters and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding city skyline, including Singapore's world-famous landmarks.

A view of downtown Singapore from the vanishing edge pool of the SkyPark .

Several Jacuzzi pools, long benches and deck chairs for sunbathing dot the poolside.

After our 3-day escapade to this leisure destination, I could only stare at our shopping loots, small mementos that will always give me a nostalgic feeling for the modern city with colossal skyscrapers and the cleanest surroundings I have ever seen. I will surely be saving for a second take on Singapore, a whole new adventure to explore another side of the Lion City that I have yet to see.

The Great Singapore Sale. It truly is!
Beside the Merlion, Singapore's famous icon.

A view of the Marina Bay Sands from the Merlion Park.


Tina Elaine Resuello said...

Marvelous. I wanna go there someday, too. Maybe in a year or two. :)

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