Dec 6, 2010

Cards and Canals - My Marina Bay Sands Experience

Sun and Sands
Sun and Sands

After 5 months, I decided to re-visit Marina Bay Sands in October to check out its "progress" (this integrated resort seems to be perpetually under construction, even after its official opening on 23 June 2010). In my Great Casino Report, I highlighted the long queue outside the Casino and a canal with no water in the Shoppes. Both sights were not very encouraging. After my October visit, I had a better feel of the place as more areas are now accessible after the progressive opening up. My experience in Sands can be summed up thus: cards and canals.

Casino Entry Levy
Finally I got the chance to read the Casino levy. To actively discourage residents (citizens and permanent residents) from gambling in the two integrated resorts, the government imposes on them an entrance fee of S$100. Previously I had the impression the fee was US$100 and calculated per-entry. It is actually calculated daily (read point 3).

Taxi and Surcharge
Casino levy inside; taxi levy outside. At the taxi stand outside the hotel, I saw this surcharge notice. The levy was imposed to reduce waiting time (they probably want a long taxi queue to pick up visitors like in Changi Airport) but commuters cried foul. From the notice, it looks like Comfort taxi has no surcharge on Sunday and public holidays - too good to be true?

Hotel and Skypark
Hotel and Skypark. The latter resembles a surfboard from below, agree? I found the Skypark entrance outside the hotel which is a bit counter-intuitive for me as access to observation level of hotels are usually from inside the building. Access to the Skypark is not free and set you back by S$20.

Hotel Interior
Interior of the hotel which came as a shock to me. There is only one word to describe it: cheapskate. You wouldn't imagine a hotel with its unique card deck design by Moshe Safdie will turn out this way on the inside. The hotel is connected to the Casino and Shoppes across Bayfront Ave by an underpass.

The Shoppes @ Marina Bay SandsCanal No Longer Dry
Before and after shots of the canal in the Shoppes. This is the change in 5 months. Good to know the Shoppes is no longer facing a "drought"!

A Waterway in SandsWaterway Circus
A waterway in Sands. I have the feeling they reused the idea (the San Luca Canal) from their flagship hotel in Macao - the Venetian Macao. I will blog about my experience in Venetian Macao someday. A waterway inside a shopping mall is a novelty in Singapore. While the canal is actually quite short, they make up for it in terms of creative designing of the canal circuit like the waterway circus in the right photo.

Sampan Experience
Luckily the waterway ride does not follow the usual Venice theme around the world (for example, inside the indoor theme park in Genting Highlands). Sampans are used instead of gondolas, to our relief. These small boats bring you very near to the shops, unfortunately you can't get off as and when you like. When you are in Sands the next time, look up. You can see some nice views of the Singapore River above the shops!

Perpetually Under Construction
Sands is "perpetually under construction". From left, the Art Science Museum shaped like a lotus; the part of Shoppes behind the Waterfront Promenade; the Waterfront Promenade with one of the two floating Crystal Pavilions in the background.


me said...

yes the interior not as 'great' as the design from outside .. but they say the hotel facility and the room is nice..maybe have to try it later :p skypark is also temptating to see!

me said...

by the way i like the sun and sand photo...nice!