I Stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Just to Swim in the Infinity Pool, was I insane?

The Marina Bay Sands is one of the icons of the Singapore skyline.  Ever since it was announced in the early 2000s everyone knew it would be iconic.  Since it finally opened in 2010 it has proven thus, to the point that some estimate that 1% of Singapore’s GDP is produced within the walls and halls of Marina Bay Sands.

If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time you’ve seen pictures of Marina Bay Sands.

singapore gardens marina bay

The Marina Bay Sands complex is enormous, not to mention the hotel itself.  It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re looking at pictures of the MBS from across the bay, but each of the three towers is 58 stories tall, connected on top by their massive Skypark.  On either end of the Skypark are restaurants and bars (to which you can go for a fairly touristy fee) and in the middle is the legendary Infinity Pool.  To give you perspective on how massive the Skypark is, it is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall and also as long as about 4.5 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets!  There are 2,561 rooms at the hotel, an equally impressive number.

The negative-edge Infinity Pool is another engineering marvel.  It’s 150 metres long and holds 376,000 gallons of water!

So basically the Marina Bay Sands is the best of the biggest of the luxurious-est of the ostentacious-est of the GDP-est.  I had seen it many times.  I had even gambled there.  But there was one thing I had never done: swam in their famous Infinity Pool.

Last November it was time to change that.  It was time to swim in the Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool.  There is only one way to do it: you must be a guest of the hotel.  I was in Singapore for work and decided to go for it.  I booked a night (spending $458USD of my own money, not a blogger rate or anything) at the Marina Bay Sands.

…spoiler alert, the video version of this review is much better, so I’ll link to that first below.

Checking in

If you remember from above, the Marina Bay Sands has 2,561 hotel rooms.  You have to bear that in mind when you go to check in, there’s almost always a line but it moves quickly.  They have everything down to a science, almost like Disneyworld.  The atrium is massively impressive, as you can see from this picture I took during a previous trip (where I just walked through).

singapore gardens marina bay

I was quickly checked in for my room on the 39th floor.  I paid a little extra for a city view room, because obviously!  I had spent so much time looking at MBS from the central business district that I wanted to see how the CBD would look from the opposite perspective.

The Pool

I quickly dropped my bags off at the room and made my way up to the Infinity Pool.  I had to scan my keycard in order to access the pool area, and then I was there.  I was with a colleague so I didn’t swim in the pool quite yet, we just relaxed by the pool and had a couple of drinks.

I’ll say this: I was in Singapore for the better part of 4 weeks and this was seriously the first night where the skies were clear.  It made for a great sunset and I had the best view in the city!

The pool was incredible.  It was worth every penny when you combined it with the unbeatable view.  There are three huge sections to the pool with all manner of lounge chairs, tables, and bar staff walking around to make sure your glass remains full.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves in the pool and taking in the incredible view.

As day turned to night we enjoyed the breeze at the pool when all of a sudden we saw enormous beams of light emanating from the Skypark, which is when we realized we were watching the famous Marina Bay Sands light show!

I was fairly tired so I finished my beverage and made my way back to my room to give it a closer look.  I was saving my swim for the next morning, which I’ll explain shortly.

The Room

Like I mentioned earlier I paid a little more for a city view room.  The room was quite spacious, which you’d expect at a premium price point.  There was a little seating area and floor to ceiling windows.

marina bay sands review

One thing that really annoyed me is the curtains didn’t open the width of the room.  The picture above shows as far as I could open the curtains.  I would have loved a full panoramic view from my room instead of seeing basically 2/3 curtain.  The view was still incredible though.

marina bay sands review

marina bay sands review

The king bed was lovely, as you’d expect.  I find mattresses in Asia to be a little firmer than elsewhere in the world but I prefer that so it worked out well for me!

marina bay sands review

The bathroom was nice, amenities were about standard for the region.

marina bay sands review

marina bay sands review

marina bay sands review

Ok enough of that, how was swimming in the pool?

The next morning I awoke just before 6am and got my swimming trunks and water wings on.  Why before 6am?  The pool opens promptly at 6am and there is practically nobody there then, so I could take plenty of pictures without coming across like I was Taking Pictures At A Pool Guy.  True to what I had read, it was practically empty!  I set my cameras down on a nearby lounge chair, taking care to make sure they were protected from bumps and falls into the water, and made my way into the pool.

marina bay sands review

The water was chilly at first but I adjusted to it quickly.  The sun rising from behind me cast wonderful light onto the CBD of Singapore.

marina bay sands review

(you really need to watch the video at the beginning of the post to get the full breadth of the view!)

Other people made their way into the pool area so I left the pool, dried off with one of the 23423542349572349834 towels available, and checked out the rest of the pool area.

marina bay sands review

The sun was rising over the Gardens by the Bay, such a beautiful sight that contrasted so greatly from the city view on the other side.

marina bay sands review

It was time to say goodbye to the pool because I had to get to work.  But not before capturing an image that I think captures the soul of the Infinity Pool.  Beautiful morning light, people swimming with friends and family, drinking in the view, it really sums up the pool experience for me.

marina bay sands review

The Breakfast

I grabbed some breakfast at the buffet in the atrium before I made my way into the office.  As you can see below the buffet was vast and the food was very high quality.  I guess comparing it to a Las Vegas buffet is appropriate, since it is a casino hotel and all.

marina bay sands review

marina bay sands review marina bay sands review marina bay sands review marina bay sands review marina bay sands review

Final Thoughts

Ok, so was it worth it?  Yes.  Would I stay there again and spend hundreds more per night than another hotel?  Yes.  That pool is worth it.  I’m not even that much of a Pool Person but holy geez it was incredible.  I would love to have 2-3 days there just soaking it all in.  You simply have to do it at least once.  It’s not an authentic cultural experience, the service isn’t incredibly personal, but you still need to do it.

If spending $400+ for a night at a huge megaresort like this is too much, spend $20-30 and go up to the Skypark.  You won’t be able to swim in the pool but you’ll still get to experience the view.  For my money, though, the pool was 100% worth it.  Back to the title of the post, was I insane to stay at Marina Bay Sands just to swim in the pool?  You bet.  But insanity is kinda fun sometimes 🙂

 

Have you stayed at the Marina Bay Sands?  What did you think?  Tell me in the comments below!

 

11 Comments

  1. Not crazy at all because I’d do the same thing haha (and I probably will next time I’m in SG)! For what it’s worth you can also go up to the top for free if you say you’re going to Ce La Vie at the top (although I’ve always bought a drink or two up there anyway). Not sure if that’s changed but it was still the case when I was there in Spring 2016.

    Reply
    • Good to know I’m not alone! Ce La Vi now charges I think $20SGD to go up there but that $20 goes toward your bar tab.

      Reply
  2. I did the same thing, for the same reason…except you might think I’m actually crazy. I was on a cruise ship that stopped in Singapore for the day (not even night) and I checked in, just to swim in that pool. However, as cool as it is, I didn’t love it. I’m not usually a germaphobe, but the water smelled a little icky and had an oily quality to it. Plus, it was so crowded, I couldn’t really relax. I had such high expectations…oh, well.

    Reply
  3. Been to MBS, but opted not to stay there. Too industrial scale; Disneyland is an apt description. Stayed instead at the Conrad Hilton, one bedroom corner suite with sweeping CBD and north city view, big pool (but not rooftop or infinity) for less than $300 U.S.

    Reply
    • Conrad is definitely a great property!

      Reply
  4. Haven’t stayed there but I wanted to. When we were in Singapore a few years ago we looked at doing what you did but ended up not doing it. It’s still on my list though!

    Reply
  5. Not crazy at all. I think most people stay there just to use the pool. Skipped it last time I was in Singapore but hope to stay next time I visit.

    Reply
  6. I’ve done the same thing. Did 3 nights at the Ritz Millenia and one at MBS for the pool. Rooms are the Ritz are way better, but the gym and MBS and the pool are incomparable.

    Reply
  7. You’re not crazy, I’ve done the same

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  8. It’s not crazy, we did it too during a layover a few years ago. The pool was interesting but the property was unremarkable and there are better hotels in Singapore at the same price point or lower.

    I don’t think we’ll stay there again — revenue to the Marina Bay Sands enriches owner Sheldon Adelson, a major Trump donor. When we want to support the reelection campaign we’ll just cut out the middleman contribute directly.

    Reply
  9. I did the same. And like you, I went up to the pool the first thing in the morning. It was peaceful and magical then. Also I was able to have a whole hot tub to myself after I came out of the pool.

    Reply

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