Considered the world’s most instagrammed hotel and welcoming over one million visitors per year, the Marina Bay Sands is more a tourist spot that happens to be a hotel. Its infinity pool is Singapore’s main attraction.
“We booked a room at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel”, a former coworker announced when I visited him some weeks ago. “You used to study in Singapore, right? Do you have any other tips for us?” Of course, he had not booked the room at this hotel for its 5-star service or its breakfast buffet, but simply to be allowed access to its famous and exclusive swimming pool. It sounds strange, but he is not the only one who books a room in this expensive hotel just to take a dip in the pool. From superstars to local Singaporeans to even myself as a student, everyone wants to go there, no matter if this is a very expensive experience.
South East Asia’s most iconic building
From the start the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was designed to become a symbol of South East Asia. With a 340-metre-long (1,115 ft.) platform connecting its three 57 floor towers, this magnificent structure stands out from Singapore’s impressive skyline and was set to become one of the most iconic buildings worldwide. Located across from the financial district, the MBS seems to complement the rest of the Singaporean skyline. On the one side you can see the skyscrapers rising from the financial district and on the other Singapore’s most beautiful building. However, what makes the complex even more special is its 140-meter infinity pool situated right on top of the connecting platform: A swimming pool with a view that only the rich and famous can afford and that has been featured in movies, music videos and Instagram posts of popstars and football players.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone can enter this exclusive swimming pool. “Access to the Infinity Pool is restricted to registered hotel guests only”, the official website of the hotel states and with a very strict policy to control the pool entrance it looks like they take this matter very seriously. Obviously, all this exclusivity and extravagance fits well to Singapore – a country where one out of six citizens is a millionaire and where Ferraris and Lamborghinis are common vehicles driving the streets.
It´s been more than two years since I came back from my semester in Singapore and of all the experiences I had, I must say that visiting the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands hotel was one of the most exciting and memorable ones.
“Swim on top of the world” – a large Marina Bay Sands´ advertisement was one of the first things that caught my eye when I first landed at Changi Airport. I had barely arrived in the country and was already seeing photos of perfect sunsets being reflected in the quiet waters of the infinity pool. So on my way out of the airport I was already googling “how to get into the infinity pool of the Marina Bay Sands”.
After reading at least a dozen articles from bloggers providing all kinds of information, I wasn´t sure if it was going to be worth it. Suggestions ranged from sneaking into the pool while visiting the Skydeck, a viewing platform open to all visitors, to simply booking a room for at least one night.
A 300 euro attraction
“It costs at least 300 euro for a single night” , Pepe my Spanish roommate in Singapore told me on our way to Cé La Vi, the bar located on top of the MBS and situated right next to the famous swimming pool. It was our first Friday night in this city and we wanted to catch a glimpse of Singapore´s coolest spot. Although the bar and the pool are located right next to each other, only hotel guests are allowed to enter the pool area. Party guests at Cé La Vi have to make do with a view without donning swimming shorts. After a couple of drinks “on top of the world”, I realized that the hype around the Marina Bay Sands was not just about the impressive view, but the desire to enjoy that view while floating in waters that merged with the skyline in the background.
After much debate about how to best get into the pool, my three roommates and I finally settled on simply booking a double room, but splitting the price among the four of us and sharing the swimming pool access card. We didn’t care about actually staying in the hotel room, we just wanted to enter the infinity pool as we pleased for at least a day, and 300 euro ($US 371) shared by the four of us seemed like a fair price to pay for such a unique experience.
We weren’t the only ones indulging in these kinds of shenanigans. Most foreign students at least once gained access to the swimming pool this way.
After having seen hundreds of photos on the internet of people watching the sun go down behind the impressive Singaporean skyline from the edge of the pool, finally being there myself was as satisfying as I had imagined. Relaxing at the edge of the infinity pool and enjoying the cold and refreshing waters on a hot Singaporean day felt as exciting as for instance my first visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
For me the world’s most popular swimming pool was not merely part of a hotel, but an attraction in itself. And as far as I was concerned the experience was well worth the investment. Considering a 4-star hotel room in Singapore will set you back around 120 euro, I can definitely understand why many visitors prefer to pay 300 euro and instead stay at the 5-Star Marina Bay Sands. With exclusivity as their marketing strategy, I can only confirm Singapore’s most popular tourist destination won’t stop attracting visitors any time soon.