Monday, 4 October 2010

Tall Hype, Short Delivery

Marina Bay Sands Resort
One of the things I had to check out in Singapore was Marina Bay Sands.

I'd heard a lot of buzz about this amazing structure consisting of three towers topped with a kind of skateboard on top that provided amazing views of the city.

It's a massive development, featuring a casino, hotel, entertainment, luxury shopping, and of course sightseeing.

And it's become quite the landmark in the city, across from Clark Quay near the downtown business district.

Marina Bay has its own existing subway stop and there is construction going on to build a stop on another line that will be closer to the complex. In fact there is construction going on around the entire area which clearly shows the ripple effect of having a landmark development built and others wanting to cash in on potential traffic.

As a result it took us a while to get to the actual complex, sweating in the midday sun as well. There were some kind of sculptures that spewed mist into the air hoping to make things cooler, but it seemed like wasted effort as the mist was blown away and would quickly evaporate into the atmosphere.
The human sculpture riding a bike

We finally made it into the shopping centre which had high ceilings and had all kinds of name brands like Chanel, Ferrari, Prada, Bulgari, Omega, Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo to name a few. What was also interesting was that in the basement there was a food court featuring hawker food for those who couldn't afford the five-star dining in the complex. Many celebrity chefs are opening up restaurants here, such as Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Wakuda, Justin Quek and Daniel Boulud.

To entertain the shoppers, or at least potential ones, there was a human sculpture, a man sitting on a bicycle, trying not to breathe too heavily. He was painted in a kind of gold/copper paint and his facial expression was a bit dull, probably to save energy on his facial muscles. People tried to make him laugh and eventually he did and had to give up his pose.

Riding a boat in a shopping mall river
Another section of the mall had a mini river with the Singaporean version of gondolas -- mini fishing boats that were steered by Malaysians wearing conical hats. None of them belted out arias (probably thankfully) so it was hard to see what the benefits of the ride were.

Then there was the casino which we didn't check out as you had to have a passport to go in as a way to deter Singaporeans from gambling. If they insist, then Singaporeans need to pay S$100 ($76) for a single entry, or S$2,000 per year.

But for those like us who don't want to gamble, but want to see the sights, we can head up to the 57th floor to the Sands Skypark -- for S$20 ($15.21) each. Before buying the tickets, we had to read a series of clauses saying there would be no refreshments up there until the bar opened at 6pm, and we were not allowed to go to the hotel area where the rooftop swimming pool was, and so on. The regulations only made you feel more and more like a tacky tourist than a guest.

A view of Clark Quay from Skypark
While it only took around 10 seconds to get up there, we were quite limited in what we could see, a small cordoned off area that only gave us an idea of what it was like to be on top of Singapore.

We could see buildings into the distance and hover over the construction projects nearby, but other than that there weren't any seats or refreshment areas to speak of for us thirsty tourists. There was however a nice bathroom, but that was basically it. The Skypark just wanted to take our money and then make us leave.

After taking a series of panoramic pictures we left. Oh we stopped by the small pastry shop called Sweet Spot in the lobby and sampled some of their chocolates -- passion fruit (pretty good), Sichuan pepper (no pepper flavour at all), and mint (very good).

At least we had a somewhat sweet finish to the otherwise bland visit.

1 comment:

  1. how come they don't serve drinks in a hot place like singapore. people will get dehydrated. what kind of logic is that? not very people friendly at all.