Why Marina Bay Sands is my favourite hotel

Marina Bay Sands is an iconic hotel situated on reclaimed land just south of Singapore’s Downtown Core. The whole area is now termed Marina Bay, and from this the hotel gets its name. The hotel is owned and operated by the Sands Group, which also has luxurious properties over in the US and in Macao.

The three 200 meter towers of Marina Bay Sands hotel each rise to 55 stories, with the famous infinity-edge swimming pool floating on top across the towers being for hotel guests only. The hotel was built for around $6b and opened late in 2010. As well as the 2561 hotel rooms and suites – including some “secret” suites that are not available to the general public – Marina Bay Sands is also home to a popular convention centre, an art-science museum, one of only two casinos in the whole of Singapore, and 800,000 sq ft of retail space in the luxurious ‘Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands’.

I have had the good fortune to stay at Marina Bay Sands on many occasions, the first of which was in 2011. On that occasion, I spent 3 nights in a Premier Room with City View. On further stays at MBS, I have been in the Deluxe Rooms facing the Bay, which are the cheapest rooms available, and most of the photos below are from that room.

Underneath the imposing towers of MBS
Underneath the imposing towers of MBS
Looking back through the hotel lobby. Lower atrium rooms can be noisy.
Looking back through the hotel lobby. Lower atrium rooms can be noisy.
Looking down on Rise Lobby Bar and the Check-in area behind it. It can get very busy.
Looking down on Rise Lobby Bar and the Check-in area behind it. It can get very busy.

There’s no doubt MBS is a big place, but you must remember that the hotel is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also the Shoppes, which I recently ranked as the 4th best shopping mall in Singapore, and the 24/7/365 casino, which is almost an attraction in itself. The Gardens by the Bay are also accessible from Marina Bay Sands, via the bridge from where the above photos were shot. Many tourists who are not hotel guests can walk across the bridge and get a good spy on the hotel guests who are eating at the Rise Restaurant and lobby bar.

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Marina Bay Sands has come under a little scrutiny for being a big hotel. There are over 2500 rooms in the hotel and the lobby downstairs is something of a tourist attraction, with guests walking around with their video cameras. However, my feeling is that guests do not spend time in the lobby, we are too busy enjoying our rooms, the celebrity restaurants, and of course the amazing SkyPark and infinity pool on the roof, 57 floors up, which is only available to hotel guests. I always check in at Tower 1, even if my room has been allocated in advance in Tower 3, but you would do well to remember that there are check in counters at both ends of the hotel.

The bed is very soft and has ample pillows
The bed is very soft and has ample pillows
The bathroom has nice vanity areas and separate shower and toilet cubicles
The bathroom has nice vanity areas and separate shower and toilet cubicles

For most people, a simple bed (and TV, of course) and a walk-in rain shower are more than enough when staying for a few days at Marina Bay Sands. The Deluxe Rooms give you all that and more! The Housekeeping Team arrive every morning to clean and tidy your room, and in my experience they have always done an immaculate job. If you don’t want your room tidied while you are away, then remember to put on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign near your door. Now, as this is a luxury hotel, you will not find paper signs that hang from the door handle! Instead, it is all done electronically at the touch of a button!

Free-standing bath tub in Premier Rooms
Free-standing bath tub in Premier Rooms
Sofa and glass table in the Premier Rooms
Sofa and glass table in the Premier Rooms
The City View (I didn't take a better pic)
The City View (I didn’t take a better pic)
Looking back at the sheer size of the Premier Room (and the bathroom is behind that wall!)
Looking back at the sheer size of the Premier Room (and the bathroom is behind that wall ahead!)

Apart from the slightly larger size, the only other real difference between a Deluxe room or a Premier room is the addition of a bathtub and sofa in the more-expensive Premier rooms, which you can see in the photos above, and as you can see the rooms are well-stocked with toiletries and towels, so no need to bring them with you! There is an iron and ironing board in the wardrobe if you fancy doing some housework on your staycation!

WIFI is extremely fast and reliable, and can be used even in the Shoppes and SkyPark
WIFI is extremely fast and reliable, and can be used even in the Shoppes and SkyPark
Free wifi and LAN in every room, and international power adaptors
Free wifi and LAN in every room, and international power adaptors
Waking up at dawn to watch the tropical sunrise from the balcony
Waking up at dawn to watch the tropical sunrise from the balcony

At Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the more expensive views from the rooms are considered to be facing the Marina and the CBD. The slightly cheaper rooms are facing the Bay with the Gardens by the Bay below you and the Malacca Strait ahead of you. With the Bay view rooms you get a nice small balcony, whereas the city view rooms have floor to ceiling windows. So the choice is yours.

The SkyPark in all its glory

Great views from up here! Don't forget your shades!
Great views from up here! Don’t forget your shades!

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Towels and distributed for free on the SkyPark, although in busy times in the afternoon and evening, it may be difficult to find a spare sun-lounger beside the pool or at the back on the sunbathing platforms. This is why I do most of my swimming and pool-lounging in the mornings, before the crowds wake up. Food is served up here on the SkyPark from 10am onwards, and you do not need to have cash, as you can just charge the snacks and drinks to your room bill. Free water is available from the Towel Concierge desk, as well as international newspapers such as the Straits Times (first come, first serve).

I won’t spend too much time here talking about the SkyPark, as I have blogged about it in a separate post. You can read all about my experience swimming in the sky in the MBS Infinity Pool (with many unique photos).

I could sit up here all day long!
I could sit up here all day long!
Palm trees surround the pool
Palm trees surround the pool

In all my time at Marina Bay Sands I have never encountered a problem: check-in has always been efficient in my experience, and bottled water distributed by staff as we wait; all staff within the hotel are courteous and polite; the housekeeping team are immaculate in what they do; taxis are readily waiting for you outside the hotel; the in-room complimentary wifi is high-speed and ultra-reliable; in-room dining is delivered to your room very promptly in a professional manner; and I haven’t even mentioned the benefits of the glorious Sands SkyPark, which is arguably the main reason you will want to stay at Marina Bay Sands, anyway!

The world's most photographed hotel?

It is always with a heavy heart that I check-out of Marina Bay Sands. I have spent a grand total of 21 nights there so far, and I plan to return later this year. I just cannot get enough of the place! I will report back when I have more stories to tell, but in the mean time, check out this additional blog on MBS from Peonies and Pancakes and this amazing gallery of pictures from a family experience at the hotel from Fun Family Feats!

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21 thoughts on “Why Marina Bay Sands is my favourite hotel

  1. Three qestions for you: 1st, I am flying in from South Dakota on a MR and will spend a grand total of 30 hours in Singapore for my Birthday. My flight lands at 2:00am on Nov. 9th. I presume I’ll get to the Conrad Singapore around 2:00am. I’ll crash for a few hours then have breakfast and attempt to check in around 11:00am or so at MBS. In your mind do they EVER check in early? Second question, are there any travel wide discounts accepted at MBS? AAA doesn’t seem to be taken and Thirdly, what room do I want to buy to get the highest floor and see the sunset as I won’t see the sunrise?

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    1. First off, congrats on your birthday trip to Singapore! Hope you have a great time! 🙂 I think MBS rarely allow you to check in early, but it does depend on the time the previous occupants of the room checked-out. Only then can housekeeping do their good work. In my experience, only once did I have to wait until 3pm to get my room, and on my most recent occasion I checked in at 8.45am, obviously the room wasn’t room ready that early, so I left my luggage there and went out to Sentosa. I came back at around midday and asked about my room, and they said it was ready! So on that occasion I was in my room for lunchtime! 😀

      I don’t actually know about the discounts. I have never been lucky enough to use a discount here. 😦

      Regarding the room, well my most recent stay was in Room 4818 (48th floor), and I got to see an amazing slow tropical sunrise from my balcony. This was a deluxe room with garden view. The city view rooms overlook the city and you could see sunset from that direction. You can ask MBS via email an request as high a floor as possible, and they will do their best to honour your request (but not guaranteed obviously).

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      1. Thank you for the reply. This will be my first ever Mr anywhere.

        I do have a few more questions to ask. When I fly in at 12:30am on Nov 9th what time would I expect to be at the Conrad, Singapore by? Is the only way to get to the hotel by taxi at that late hour? Any idea what a fare should be from the airport to the Conrad? What is a fair tip to a taxi driver in Singapore?

        I have been told that Singapore is also a very clean and beautiful city and people take dressing up very seriously. When go to both hotels is it in my best interest of be dressed up to a certain extent?

        I presume Singapore, like other major international cities is safe for Americans to walk around at night?

        Last question, should I have a few hundred Singapore dollars before I fly in or will I be able to exchange money at the airport?

        Thank you for answering my first set of questions. You have a amazing blog. You showed very proud of the hard work that you gave put into this site.

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        1. Taxi to airport only option at that time of night, fare would be around S$20, and you don’t ever need to tip drivers in SG.

          No need to dress up in SG hotels, I always wear shorts and flip flops and never had a problem 😉

          You can exchange money at Changi airport, no problem. You will need to pay the taxi driver in SIN DOLLA and also it would be good to have a little extra.

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  2. Lucky, lucky you to have good fortune staying in this beautiful hotel. Been thinking to splurge on our next visit to S’pore. I have never stayed in Marina Bay area so it will be an opportunity to try MBS but on the other hand, wouldn’t be nice to stay in a hotel with MBS as window view? Just wondering 😉

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    1. You could stay at the amazing Fullerton Bay Hotel on the other side of the Marina. It has bay-facing rooms with great views of MBS. Also, the newly-opened Hotel Jen which has great views of MBS from its swimming pool and is competitively priced!

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  3. I enjoyed reading your lovely review! My partner and I are thinking of booking a night with MBS despite it being pretty dear. Hope you emjoy your future stays at MBS!

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  4. Hello, I am going to Singapore in december and I would like to staying in Marina Bay Sands, but I did not understand what type of room has a balcony. Deluxe with city view has a balcony? or just premier with view has a balcony? Thanks in advance, Vanessa

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    1. Hi Vanessa. 🙂

      AT MBS, the “cheaper” side is the view to the Gardens by the Bay. These rooms have a small balcony (not big enough to put a chair on). All room categories have a choice of Garden View or City View, I usually stay in the Deluxe Room with Garden View, and it suits my needs perfectly. Premier Rooms are just slightly larger than Deluxe Rooms and have a sofa. You can still choose a garden view or a city view though.

      I hope you have fun in MBS – and don’t forget to swim yourself silly in the skypark pool! 😀

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