It’s hard to picture Singapore without thinking about the iconic infinity pool perched on the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Located in the heart of Singapore, its unparalleled views of the city is an architectural marvel, and unsurprisingly, it’s also one of the most famous hotels in the world. In fact according to Forbes, it was 2017’s most instagrammed hotel in the world.
For those wanting to soak in the city from pool, the infinity pool is for hotel guests only, so naturally, we quickly booked a room because this is Singapore and it’s totally ok to be extra (at least according to Crazy Rich Asians right?).
With that said, what’s it like staying at the Marina Bay Sands? Is it worth it for the infinity pool? Read on to find out!
Side note: as part of my blog rebrand, I want to expand my posts to cover both luxury and budget travel. When I started my blog (almost ten years ago, believe it or not!), I was an avid backpacker, and loved the thrill of anything off the beaten path, and would jump on the opportunity to couch surf, sleep in airports or train stations…anything that allowed me to stretch my budget further and to travel longer.
These days, I love to mix luxury travel with backpacking. I’ll stay at 5-star hotels on one trip, and then go on a solo backpacking trip on another staying mostly at hostels. Both types of travels are vastly different from the other, but I honestly love both equally. If you guys prefer content about one type of travel over the over, let me know in the comments below!
Anyway, back to Singapore!
Singapore has been a country I’ve wanted to visit for years and when the Crazy Rich Asians movie came out, it just fueled my desires to go even more (I’ve actually been a fan of the Crazy Rich Asians books back when I was living in Germany. If you haven’t read the books, I highly recommend all three. They’re even better than the movie because of all the crazy side stories and the satirical nature of the characters that unfortunately didn’t translate into the movie).
Whilst birthday planning earlier this year with Yann, I decided this will be the year I finally check Singapore from my travel bucket list. I’ll be posting a full travel guide to Singapore soon but I thought I’d start with a tour of the Marina Bay Sands, since it’s such an iconic attraction to the city-state.
About the Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands is a huge hotel consisting of 2561 rooms. The entire Marina Bay Sands complex is huge, consisting of three towers that are 58 stories tall, connected by a large Skypark at the top. For perspective, the length of the Skypark is longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower!
There’s a mall and casino attached, offering everything that you could possibly want. Basically, it’s like an adult Disneyworld. If you’re looking for something totally extra and extravagant, you’ve come to the right place.
As you can expect from a 5 star hotel, the service was exceptional. I’ve heard the lines can be quite lengthy for check-in but we were there in the early afternoon and only had to wait a few minutes.
Our receptionist (who bore a slight resemblance to Henry Golding) was super friendly and got us an early check-in and a sweet room upgrade, from our original lower level Deluxe King room to one on the 47th floor, with an amazing view of the Gardens by the Bay.
The room itself is nice in a classic, understated sort of way. It has an old school glamour with its gold accents and smooth wood furnishings. If you’re looking for a trendy hotel, this hotel sadly is not, but I actually loved the vibe of this place — it transports you back in time, and I could picture myself sipping martinis on the balcony all day.
This view is pretty remarkable! Although I love a good city view, I was happy we got the garden view since you get the city view from other parts of the hotel, such as at the pool, bar and gym.
The infinity pool has one of the most breathtaking city skyline views I’ve ever seen (and I say this as an ardent fan of NYC rooftop bars). The panoramic views of the city is well worth the price of the hotel and what attracts people to stay at the hotel to begin with.
The pool opens from 6am to 11pm and I definitely recommend getting there early. We went to the pool at sunset on our first night which was lovely but pretty crowded.
When we decided to check out the pool at 6am the next morning, that’s when we really hit the jackpot…there was hardly anyone there and we were able to get a whole “section” of the pool to ourselves before the crowds started showing up after 7am.
The vibe is pretty chill in the morning, and turns into more of a party vibe at night. As the most instagrammed hotel in the world, you can totally expect people all around you snapping away on their phones (and they did).
And understandably so! What a view!
This was actually my first time at an infinity pool and it definitely did not disappoint. At the edge of the pool with the city glistening around you, you really feel like you’re on top of the world.
The water temperature is perfect and the pool isn’t actually very deep. It’s perfect for hanging out and taking in the views, but I wouldn’t recommend actually swimming around.
Luckily the wether was perfect the entire time we were there. I’ve heard that they close the pool sometimes due to storms.
When I research hotels, one thing I always check is the quality of the gym. Since I tend to eat more when I’m travelling (aka shoving my face with food 24/7), a good gym in a hotel is must-have for me so I don’t stray from my workouts.
Luckily, as expected, the Marina Bay Sands gym is top-notch. Workouts aren’t so bad with views like this right?
The service at the hotel was wonderful and everyone was so pleasant and welcoming. Since we were at there for my birthday, they even surprised us with a cake!
The club and bar at the hotel is called Ce La Vi and it’s open to non-hotel guests as well. The views are equally as impressive as at the pool, the cocktails are tasty and the atmosphere was fun and lively. It’s undoubtedly a great place to end the night!
Attached to the hotel, The Shoppes is a large mall reminiscent to those Vegas style malls, with tons of shops and food options ranging from fine dining to a “hawker center” style food court. Naturally, there’s also an ice rink and even a mini canal with gondola rides.
The shops consisted mostly of luxury designer brands such as Saint Laurent, Valentino and Chanel. They were fun to browse through, but since I save my designer purchases for when I’m (or Yann is) in Europe, we were most excited with checking out the awesome selection of food.
When we spotted the Din Tai Fung, we knew that was a must considering how much we loved the one in Hong Kong.
The hawker food court also had a ton of awesome finds!
Fun facts about MBS
Lastly, a hotel this iconic must have some fun facts right? Here we go!
- Although the hotel is such an iconic part of the Singaporean skyline, it was actually only built in 2010.
- MBS is the 6th largest hotel in Asia and 34th in the world.
- At 200 meters above ground, the pool is the world’s longest elevated swimming pool.
- The pool holds 1,423,314.83 litres of water.
- According to CNBC, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa brings in 1.5-2% of Singapore’s GDP.
- According to Moshe Safdie, the designer of the resort, the design of the hotel was inspired by a deck of cards.
- The casino is the world’s most expensive standalone casino, costing a cool $8 billion to build.
- There is a fourth tower in the works!
The verdict is in…
If the infinity pool is on your Singapore bucket list, the hotel is well worth it for that alone. It sounds cheesy to say, but being up there, especially in the early morning, truly felt magical. It may not be an authentically cultural experience, but there’s nothing else in the world quite like it.
With that said, the average nightly costs for the hotel is around 400 USD so it might not be within everyone’s budgets. For those travelling on a budget in Singapore, I would highly recommend checking out the Ce La Vi Bar. While it doesn’t give you access to the pool, the insane views are just as good.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend staying at the MBS. While the rooms themselves might feel a bit “generic” compared to other 5-star hotels, I loved the vibe and all the amenities. The service was great and of course – that infinity pool is what dreams are made of.