Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
What is it? Singapore's Marina Bay Sands resort is topped with a 'sky park' that scores 10 out of 10 for sheer marvel. Longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower and large enough to park 4?Airbus A380s on, the architectural wonder - suspended 200 metres above ground - has a 1.2-hectare tropical oasis and a stunning infinity pool. The sky park sits atop three 55-storey hotel towers, which have a total of 2,561 guest rooms, myriad restaurants and function centres linked to other noteworthy venues, such as the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, a 300-store shopping centre, theatres and the Marina Bay Sands casino.
Why should I go? The biggest draw is the casino, which has four gaming floors featuring roulette, blackjack, baccarat and sic bo (a Chinese dice game) tables, as well as slot machines with video poker, electronic sic bo and roulette. Serious punters are likely to find themselves in one of 30 private gaming rooms on the upper two floors, which are reserved for invitation-only Paiza Club members.
I don't gamble. Is there anything else to do? There are plenty of other attractions, including the ArtScience Museum, which is hosting, until August 12, an exhibition of Andy Warhol artworks to mark the 25th anniversary of the artist's death. You can also party at the Crystal Pavilion, home to nightclubs Avalon and Pangaea.
What's the ambience like? Being so large, the resort can be a little bewildering and impersonal. At times, the hotel lobby feels like a busy railway station. The staff are focused on processing guests, and fall short on personal attention.
What are the rooms like? A typical deluxe room is a 39-square-metre space (reasonably large for Singapore) with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of waterfront park complex Gardens by the Bay. It's not plush, but has the modern convenience required of a five-star hotel, including complimentary high-speed internet access. Two-hundred-and-thirty luxury suites come with butler service and access to VIP areas.
What about the food? It's confusing to work out where to eat as there's no information provided in the room compendium. The adjoining retail complex has establishments founded by celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Wakuda and Justin Quek. At the hotel, there are three restaurants on the ground floor. The service is brusque at Rise and Jin Shan, which serves Chinese breakfast favourites but lacks seating.
What's the bottom line? Deluxe rooms cost S$359 (HK$2,220), plus 10 per cent service charge in addition to a 7 per cent goods and services tax.
Marina Bay Sands is at 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore, tel: +65 6688 8897 or visit www.marinabaysands.com.