So, quick disclaimer: I’ve stayed at the Marina Bay Sands hotel probably more than 20 times now over the past two years. It’s not through any of my own personal wealth or achievement – mainly, it’s because I know people who have invited me over (no, not from Grindr!) and I’m very fortunate to have had the experience of staying multiple times at one of the best-known hotels in the world.
Recently, I came back from another stay at MBS and thought I’d pull some advice together if you’re looking to spend a few days there as well for your next staycation. Here we go.
Now, unless you’re loaded, you’ll probably end up either in a Deluxe or Premier room, which will set you back $400-$600 per night. The Premier room is the more expensive room, it is a little larger, and comes with a free-standing tub. Is it worth the extra money? I think it depends on the rates you can get – sometimes, the upgrade for me is only $30 a night, which I’m happy to pay for a little more leg room. If you like to have a balcony, ask for one.
If you prefer to be on the higher floors, ask for a room that faces the city. Most guests prefer a view of the Gardens by the Bay, so higher floors facing the Super Trees get snapped up more quickly. If you’re planning to use the gym, which is on Level 55 of Tower 2, opt for a room in Tower 2 so that you won’t have to do too many elevator detours from Towers 1 and 3 to get to the gym.
Personally, I love the beds at MBS, which for me are the right balance of sturdy support and pillowy softness. Since the pandemic, rooms now also provide free snacks, such as nuts, chips, and soft drinks, which they refill every day. Bathroom amenities I would say are basic, nothing special.
One of the biggest draws of the hotel, the infinity pool is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t been before. Unfortunately, due to social distancing regulations, the pool is now even harder to get to than before. Of course, this is for the safety of all guests and staff at the hotel, but it’s hard not to feel a little inconvenienced by the administrative hassle.
To use the pool, you have to register with the front desk (or call) and you’ll be alloted a time to visit. And it’s only one hour per room, per day.
If you’re planning to use the pool, call ahead to register your slot a few days before you check in. The last few times when I’ve tried to call after checking in, the slots were already full for days after. The same goes for the gym – you’ll only be allowed one hour per visit, and you’ll have to call to be put on a queue as well.
One of the reasons I love a staycation at MBS is the stuff you get to see and do in the surrounding area. The Shoppes, of course, are great for shopping if you have enviable numbers in your bank account – personally, I like to visit the ArtScience Museum and Gardens by the Bay.
Recent tech heads will of course be excited about the newly opened Apple store, which gets its own directional signage within The Shoppes which is pretty special. To visit the store, you’ll have to register for a slot and I advise you to do this online before you visit the entrance at B2.
On a weekday afternoon, we were lucky to have wandered to the entrance, registered with the help of Apple’s capable staff and waited only five minutes before a slot opened up. Whether you’re an Apple fan boy or not, the view is amazing and makes up for all paperwork you have to fill in to get inside, in my opinion.
Guests on a budget will probably wander to the food court in B2 of The Shoppes or go outside of the hotel to look for food elsewhere. But if you’re interested in trying out some of the more well-known eating establishments in the MBS family, you can’t really go wrong.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar is a favourite, especially if you love fried chicken. Oddly, my mom goes there to eat its Impossible Burger, which seems so wrong but it is delicious. Another favourite is Black Tap which is also burgers and overly indulgent Instagram-worthy milkshakes. A new entrant to the group of high-end restaurants is Mott 32, which serves up expensive, high-end Chinese dishes and dim sum which feels a little too cerebral for my homey tastebuds.
This past visit we ventured to the Marina Bay Financial Tower to Ola Cocina Del Mar, a nice 20-minute walk from the hotel across the lovely marina promenade, for some seafood paella and sangria. Delicious – though, the portions were a little small. We paid about $110 for two entrees and two drinks. For dessert, we had some creamy gelato at Venchi ($10 for two scoops) back at The Shoppes next to the food court, on B2.
If you haven’t been to MBS and can afford a couple of nights’ stay there for a staycation, you won’t be disappointed as long as you understand Covid-19 has made some amenities – like the infinity pool – a little more out of reach. But if the pool isn’t your thing anyway, you can have a great time there.
On this recent trip, I was with my mom and we had a nice time walking around The Shoppes and just catching up while looking at all the nice things in the polished windows that we couldn’t afford (including a set of 5 whiskey bottles retailing for $158,000). Dinner was lovely and the walk back to the hotel with the nightime breeze across the bay was a much-welcomed break from our over-air-conditioned nation.
Back in the room we kept the telly on but spent the rest of the night chatting and talking about our clients – her hair-dressing customers, and my yoga students. We went to bed at 11pm and woke up the next day at 9am, ready for some breakfast and then home.
Would I do it again? Absolutely – but you would’ve known that from the headline of this review. Enjoy!