It’s somewhat of a contradiction that Singapore, a country known for sin taxes and tough-on-crime policies, has two of the world’s glitziest casinos. However, in the face of fierce competition by regional rivals for tourism dollars, Singapore decided in 2005 to loosen up and embrace gambling.
Seven years later and Singapore is proud owner of two casino resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Both resorts were completed in 2010 and both of them were incredibly expensive. It remains to be seen whether Singapore will be successful in its transformation from a sleepy, business-minded city to global entertainment center, but one thing is certain, Singapore is not the same place it was a few years ago.
Urban Luxury at Marina Bay Sands
Located on the waterfront in Singapore’s city center, Marina Bay Sands occupies some of the country’s most desirable real estate. The casino was developed by Las Vegas Sands at the astounding cost of $8 billion SGD, becoming the world’s 2nd most expensive casino property. The money was well spent.
The 55-story property has an incredible design, consisting of three towers that are connected by a boat-shaped rooftop structure. The entire complex has 2500 hotel rooms, more than 200 shops, 70 restaurants, 600 table games, 1500 slot machines and even a skating rink! The restaurants range from fast-food outlets to the casino’s seven celebrity chef restaurants. Every night Marina Bay Sands becomes a major tourist attraction because of its light and water show that sends laser lights flickering into the sky for miles.
Perhaps the true highlight of Marina Bay Sands, though, is its SkyPark. This rooftop park is where hotel guests spend their days relaxing by the infinity pool and enjoying the amazing views of the Singaporean skyline. A stay at Marina Bay Sands costs a pretty penny, with rooms starting around $400 SGD, so for most, a more realistic way to experience the SkyPark is a visit to the public observation deck, restaurant or cocktail lounge.
Photo Credits: Marina Bay Sands
The Island Life at Resorts World Sentosa
While jet-setters and the international glitterati will no doubt be entranced by Marina Bay Sands, families and those seeking a more relaxed holiday can instead check out Resorts World Sentosa. Located on Sentosa, a small island just off the Singaporean coast, Resorts World Sentosa has taken the idea of an active resort to an entirely new level. The world’s 3rd most expensive casino property, the $6.5 billion SGD complex has six hotels, the world’s largest oceanarium, a marine museum and even a Universal Studios theme park!
The Universal Studios at RWS is the first and only Universal Studios in Southeast Asia and it was considered a key addition in the quest to make Singapore a world-class tourist destination. The theme park is comprised of seven zones and debuted with several cornerstone attractions including the Battlestar Galactica dueling roller coaster and “Transformers: The Ride.” Families with small children will enjoy the zones Far Far Away (based on the movie Shrek) and Madagascar (based on the Dreamworks film of the same name).
But let’s not forget about the casino, after all it is the RSW moneymaker. The resort’s casino floor is 15,000 sq meters and includes 500 gaming tables, 1,300 slot machines and 19 different games. The casino is open 24 hours a day and provides adults with a welcome reprieve from the resort’s many family friendly activities.
The six hotels at RSW are Beach Villas, Crockfords Tower, Equarius Hotel, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Hotel Michael. Hotel Michael, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock are the most affordable options, with rooms beginning around $350 SGD per night. Beach Villas provides only luxurious villas, which are suitable for families or couples desiring some space. While the Crockfords Tower is where the high-rollers stay, as it is an invitation-only hotel that provides a personal butler service with each one of its suites. Altogether the six hotels at RSW offer 1,800 rooms and an untold amount of luxury.
Photo Credits: Resorts World Sentosa