Borders worldwide have been reopening, and more people feel confident about travelling again. The idea of having croissants in front of the Eiffel Tower is tempting, as is soaking up the dazzling sunlight and vitamin sea in Bali, but if you’re looking for a quick city escape out of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is your best bet!
The award-winning integrated resort has a host of new and impressive experiences that will easily satiate that travel itch. Not only did Marina Bay Sands come out top at the Singapore Tourism Awards 2022, but the resort had also announced a significant reinvestment programme. Valued at US$1 billion, the reinvestment will go into extensive upgrades of the hotel’s rooms and suites as well as enhance its portfolio of experiences and dining offerings.
The transformation will be completed in 2023, but changes were already underway, and I had the opportunity for a 3D2N staycation at Marina Bay Sands for a refreshed holiday experience. Read on for a glimpse of my itinerary and its highlights.
I’m used to driving to my staycations, but flying there? That’s a next-level plan, but who’s complaining? Since check-in is typically only in the afternoon, I took a 9.55 am flight with my travel companions, arriving just in time to drop off the luggage at the concierge and proceeded to lunch.
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For authentic French home-style dining with heartwarming bistro classics, you can’t go wrong with celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. Go for the oysters, sure, but the other dishes on the menu are just as tantalising. I highly recommend the Beets & Burrata for your appetiser (who can say no to burrata?). It’s a refreshing salad option on a hot day and is a surprisingly good combination. The Grilled Tasmanian Sea Trout was crisp and savoury on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside. Since it’s a holiday, a cocktail to kickstart the festivities should be in order, and I was in awe of their Signature White Cosmo. Simplicity in a glass, it’s made of vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime and a charming orchid iceball as its centrepiece. Cheers to a holiday in Singapore!
The Deluxe Rooms at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel are humongous! There’s a king-size bed, an executive work desk, an interactive flatscreen TV with a countertop, an additional armchair with a side table, and still plenty of walking space. The bathroom is equally large, with a double vanity sink and a glass-closed shower. The only thing missing from my wishlist was a bathtub.
Enjoying the spacious room and its stunning Garden View (Gardens by the Bay) was nice, but it was time for some coffee. Right in front of the Tower 3 Lobby—where my room was located—is a quaint bakery cafe called Origin+Bloom. You can find Instagram-worthy desserts created by Executive Pastry Chef Antonio Benites, or you can ravage the bakery section like I did. My recommendation: The Bak Kwa Croissant. It’s crispy, fluffy, and houses a sizable piece of bak kwa that had a slight spicy tinge. Additionally, the gelato was good but a word of advice: share it between two people. And yes, the coffee was excellent.
One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2022 in Singapore, Wakuda comes as the brainchild of Michelin-starred Chef Tetsuya Wakuda and award-winning restaurateur John Kunkel of 50 Eggs (Yardbird). Consider it the more approachable sibling of famed Waku Ghin—the ambience resembles a luxe izakaya, giving off a cosy vibe complemented by a great playlist in the background. Both the drinks and food are playful, experimental and above all, absolutely delicious. You can read my full review of my Wakuda experience here.
STROLL: Spectra — A Light & Water Show
After a full meal, we decided to take a nightly stroll along the Event Plaza and catch this “outdoor extravaganza” of dancing fountain jets, colourful visual projections, lasers and mist effects, and orchestral music. The 15-minute show is free and attracts quite an audience of budding photographers since it’s against a glistening backdrop of the Singapore cityscape.
BREAKFAST: Rise Restaurant
I don’t know about you, but breakfast buffets at hotels excite me to the point where I suddenly develop a ravenous appetite I didn’t have before. Sitting in front of Hotel Tower 1’s Lobby is Rise Restaurant with a buffet spread that will spoil you silly. You can opt for your usual bacon and eggs of any style or the Asian options, ranging from rice to porridge to pau to classic mee hoon.
EXPERIENCE: ArtScience Museum
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There’s always something new at the ArtScience Museum, but if it’s been a while, teamLab’s ‘Future World: Where Art Meets Science’ remains a popular choice. If you’re a fan of Attack On Titan, you’ll be glad to know that the exhibition has been extended till Aug 9. You’ll be able to get up-close with over 150 artworks by creator Hajime Isayama, take photos, purchase merchandise and watch an exclusive short clip. We had the most fun with the new addition: ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’. A multi-sensory installation by London-based immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, visitors will have to hoist on a VR set to witness the otherwise invisible symbiotic connections between every living being. It’s slightly trippy, but it’s also very mesmerising. For the staff on-ground who will assist you, though, it’s a comedy.
LUNCH: Mott 32 Singapore
Arguably my second favourite dining experience after Wakuda, Mott 32 Singapore was unforgettable. The menu is extensive with imaginative, contemporary fine-dining Chinese dishes, ranging from dim sum selections to noodles, meats and more. What’s new here is the plant-based versions of Mott 32 Singapore’s signature dishes, such as the smoked “cod”—which I have been craving for more since—that was tender, fragrant and savoury with a dark soy sauce marinade. Another recommendation is the crispy “chicken” served with Szechuan red peppercorns, dried chilli and cashew nuts. It makes for a great snack and leaves that undeniable mala effect.
SHOPPING: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Since the start of the pandemic, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands has welcomed over 20 brand new stores, such as Thom Browne and the world’s first Apple store to sit on water. In addition, several designer boutiques like Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Bvlgari have also reopened with a fresh look, serving Instagram-worthy interiors and a wide selection of ready-to-wear pieces.
CATCH A SHOW: Sands Theatre
During our stay, we caught The Illusionists, presented by Base Entertainment Asia, where some of the world’s leading magicians, illusionists and mentalists delivered a live performance of tricks, death-defying stunts and sleight of hand. But, of course, there’s more where that came from, as plenty of entertaining shows are on the Sands Theatre’s upcoming roster. For example, GOT7’s Youngjae’s mini concert is on July 31, The Simon & Garfunkel Story will be happening in early August, while The Sound of Music will take the stage in late November.
DRINKS: Avenue Lounge
The night was still young, so off we went to Avenue Lounge, where delicious cocktails, bar bites and awesome music awaited. Replicating the interior of a lavish penthouse apartment, Avenue Lounge was all about having fun as they have a mini bowling alley, vintage arcade pinball and skee ball machines, as well as a pool table.
BREAKFAST: In-room dining
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After a late night, it was a good idea to sleep in and have in-room dining for breakfast instead. While you can order it anytime, the tip we received was to place an order the night before, so it arrives precisely the time you designated.
Check out the panoramic view of Singapore’s cityscape from 56 storeys above, where you can easily spot iconic landmarks like Gardens by the Bay, Supertree Grove, the Singapore Strait, Esplanade and even the Merlion statue. Plus, hotel guests can access the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck for free! If you’re up for it, the attraction also hosts 45-minute yoga sessions during both sunrise and sunset by Virgin Active yoga teachers.
While Malaysians await Black Tap’s arrival in Malaysia (specifically at Sunway Resort), the next closest place you can go to indulge in those CrazyShake milkshakes and award-winning burgers is Marina Bay Sands. They also have plant-based meat burgers if you’ve yet to try them.
It all felt familiar and new at the same time, and strangely, there was so much to do that I didn’t need to leave the premises. The three-day staycation came to a close rather quickly, but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
For more info, visit Marina Bay Sands’ website.
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