Marina Bay Sands
Photograph: Nicole-Marie Ng

What a staycation at Marina Bay Sands Singapore is like right now

From check-in to check-out, here's what you can expect during a stay at the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Phase 2

Nicole-Marie Ng

It's been 10 years since Marina Bay Sands first opened its doors and became a glittering icon of the Singapore skyline. If this was any regular year, the Integrated Resort would be throwing a blowout bash with plenty of promotions and parties to celebrate. But these are not ordinary times we're living in.

Earlier this year in April, Marina Bay Sands closed its doors to guests for a period for three months – a first in its history. The disco ball party lights for its anniversary jamboree were replaced with a nightly light show in support of #SGUnited. And now that the hotel has been certified SG Clean, the merrymaking can finally resume, albeit in a safe and responsible fashion.

From now till March 31, 2021, get a complimentary room upgrade when you book the 'Joyous Family Staycation' package. You'll also get free entry to Planet or Plastic? exhibition at ArtScience Museum on top of other perks including free parking, early check-in and complimentary access to the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck and Infinity Pool. There are plenty of other exciting things to look out for when you head down to Marina Bay Sands for a staycation too – here's a look at what you can expect.

Checking in

Despite the lack of tourists, the Marina Bay Sands lobby bustles with people coming and going – many speaking in different languages and accents as well – a pleasant reassurance that while a lot has changed in these past couple of months, some things don't. Join the socially distanced queue to check in – the process takes a little longer now as each registered guest has to fill in a declaration form. But while waiting, soak in the art that surrounds you: Sol LeWitt's Arcs and Circles is a cheery, colourful piece behind the reception area; Israel Hadany's Motion acts as a seating bench for guests and Antony Gormley, Drift, is a massive sculpture you'll only spot if you remember to look up.

Here's a tip if you're not a fan of waiting in line: book a club room or a suite instead. You'll be ushered to a private check-in area where you can wait on comfy seats while sipping on complimentary drinks for your number to be called. You are on vacation after all.

Rooms with a view

With over 2,500 rooms in six categories at various price points, you're sure to find the right fit to lay your head at night. All rooms either offer stunning views of Gardens by the Bay and the South China Sea or Marina Bay and the city skyline – it's up to you to decide what you want to wake up to.

Once you've pried yourself away from the massive floor to ceiling windows, you'll also find that your room comes kitted out with a wellness amenity kit that contains a surface disinfectant, hand sanitiser, a keychain that acts as a touchless tool (handy for lift doors), disposable gloves and a mask container. All towels and bathrobes in the toilet have also been washed at high temperatures and wrapped in plastic to prevent contamination.

You can also rest easy knowing that the room has been deep cleaned using the latest electrostatic spray technology. The comfy bed and pillows help with that too, of course.


Don't go hungry

Once you're all settled in, it's time for some food and there's no shortage of options at The Shoppes. With set lunches priced from $10.70, special afternoon tea sets, happy hour deals come nightfall and award-winning restaurants like Mott 32 and CUT by Wolfgang Puck, you won't go hungry during your stay.

Those looking for something more unique can check out the exclusive Boulud Sud pop-up happening at DB Bistro from now till the end of October. Hailing from New York and Miami, Boulud Sud is a Mediterranean-inspired concept by celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. Expect dishes inspired by the flavours of Southern France, Greece and Turkey such as a pide flatbread ($28) stuffed with herb-spiced beef, Moroccan chicken tagine ($68 for two) served with lemon couscous and a refreshing grapefruit givré – the restaurant's signature dessert where an emptied out grapefruit is re-stuffed with grapefruit sorbet, Turkish delight and sesame halva.

Time to explore

Walk off all that feasting with a walk around The Shoppes and its 170 boutiques – the first Apple store in the world to 'float' on water is also a short walk away by the promenade.

For those with kids in tow, take them to the ArtScience Museum's Future World exhibition where there are five new digital installations to discover. You can also check out its latest exhibition, Planet or Plastic, which delves deep into the global plastic pollution crisis. Alternatively, prance about the multi-sensory Digital Light Canvas or go on a relaxing sampan ride along the canal that runs through The Shoppes.

Want some fresh air? Cross the connecting bridge over to Gardens by the Bay where the mid-autumn festivities are in full swing. As the sun goes down, witness about 2,000 hand-painted lanterns light up its outdoor grounds.


Rest and relax

At the end of a long day, unwind with a massage at the Banyan Tree Spa. It's offering 50 percent off all treatments till November 15 so now's the perfect time to indulge.

And of course, no trip to Marina Bay Sands is complete without a dip in its Infinity Pool. But don't expect to rock up in your bikini or trunks and be allowed in. You need to book your slot online and each registered guest is only allowed an hour in the pool each day. Our advice is to make your reservation as soon as you've confirmed your staycation as spots get snapped up fast.

On the bright side, this means that when you make your way down, the pool is practically empty save for a few other staycationers. Make the most of this opportunity to snap that coveted Instagram shot without any pesky tourists getting in your way. Did you really do a staycay at MBS if you don't?

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