Friday, 2 December 2011

Burness Corner: The Marina Bay Sands

The latest in the series of snippets from the blog of my travelling companion, Burness, as well as a short interview, on his views on a World Wonder. This time: the Marina Bay Sands.

Burness's Blog

[The reason] we were in Singapore was to visit the Marina Bay Sands.  Our visit was to include one night’s stay. As we’d been staying in 12 person dorms with shared bathrooms it was a welcome break and we were really looking forward to a bit of luxury.

The Marina Bay Sands is a luxury Hotel and casino resort overlooking the Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline.  It is a strange looking building consisting of three identical buildings which are connected with what looks like a giant boat sat on the very top.  It is a massive building, if you could imagine three Gherkins (famous London building) next to each other with an Eiffel Tower sat across them, that’s the kind of scale of the Hotel.  The boat like structure on top is the Skypark, and is by far the most prominent part of the building.  The Skypark is what makes the Marina Bay sands.  Up the top they have a bar, restaurant, infinity swimming pool, and a viewing platform for non-residents.  The view is something else.  The first day we say the Marina Bay Sands I wasn’t too impressed with the structure, the Hotel buildings are fairly nice to look at, they’re slick and ultra modern but on their own wouldn’t really stand out from the crowd.  Even during my stay I was definitely underwhelmed by the architecture, to me it was just another fancy Hotel and was surprised that Nev had included the building in his list. 

It was a grower though, unlike the Mega Hotels in Vegas it wasn’t at all tacky but rather elegant and it has a great position at Marina Bay as there are no other tall buildings around, although I think a few are in the post. As Singapore is a relatively small city the Marina Bay Sands did feature a fair amount during our visit.  It took me until the Grand Prix day before I really started to like.  The Skypark lights resembled the Grand Prix chequered flags and the end of Grand Prix fireworks display was next to the Hotel.   It was obvious that it was a main focal point in Singapore, and on this particular night it looked pretty damn cool.
Our stay lived up to our expectations.  After slumming it in Hostels for a month it was a fantastic treat.  We checked in and proceeded straight to the Skypark.  The view really is outstanding, and what’s more you can see it all while having a swim.  The infinity swimming pool, as the name so suggests, is a rooftop swimming pool with the illusion that the water is going over the side of the building.  We spent the whole afternoon there, swimming around taking photos and had a few drinks.  

Had you heard of the Marina Bay Sands before travelling?
First time I heard about it was when you suggested staying there and saw some photos and thought, yeah, I quite fancy that.

What were your expectations?
Low. I thought it was just going to a fancy hotel. Looks cool but, I don't know, just another fancy hotel really.

What was your first impression?
It didn't help the sky was grey, the day was gloomy, and up close it didn't look that nice, our approach wasn't the best either. The whole area was like a building site as well.

What did you like most about the Marina Bay Sands?
The Skypark, and the view. The infinity pool was pretty amazing.

What didn't you like about the Marina Bay Sands?
(thinks a while). The casino...? It wasn't a bad hotel, but it took me a while to think of it as an actual candidate for a World Wonder. It won me round in the end, mainly after the Grand Prix and the fireworks, and I noticed how much of a focal point it was for Singapore.

Would you regard the Marina Bay Sands as a World Wonder?
No. It looks nice, but it's not awe-inspiring. It's fairly original, but it's just a really fancy hotel. I don't think the Burj Al Arab [famously expensive "7-star" hotel also on my list] will be a Wonder either.

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