For one night only: mrbrown lives it up at Marina Bay Sands
The wife and I had a chance to stay for a night at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) recently. It was a rather pleasant experience as our room was the Orchid Suite, which is one of their junior suites.
I've never even been to that part of Singapore. It is like another country altogether. There is no MRT station there yet, and no buses that I know of. So we took a cab to MBS instead.
After looking at the iconic building from afar for so long (yes, one of our most iconic buildings is a casino hotel), I finally got to look inside.
The wife wanted to bring the kids along but I told her, let's make this two-day one-night staycation something for just the two of us. I was away in Sydney for a week before this and really wanted to spend a little "us" time.
Living it up at MBS
The view was the first thing that struck us. From our suite on the 52nd floor, I could see the Fullerton Hotel, the Esplanade "durians", the Marina Floating Platform, and pretty much the entire CBD. It was pretty breathtaking.
My wife pointed to the tiny little white statue below and asked, "Where is the regular Merlion? I only see a mini one."
"What do you mean? That IS the regular Merlion!"
"Oh," she said sheepishly, "But it looks so small!"
"We are on the 52nd floor, dear. Everything looks small."
We did a little shopping in the mall called The Shoppes. It sounds a little pretentious if you ask me. We Singaporeans like our mall names to be simple. Why not Marina Bay Sands Plaza or Marina Bay Sands Mall?
What did you say again?
I blame the Orchard Ion (which sounds like a weapon from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back") for this fancy-schmancy shopping center name trend. The other problem with a name like The Shoppes is that you can't say that you are going there without people misunderstanding you.
"Where are you going today?"
"Yes, but what shops?"
"Saying it slower does not help me understand which shops you are going to."
And just like that, everyone will start calling it Marina Bay Sands Mall. Or The Shop-pees, just to be understood. Good luck telling the taxi driver to drive you there.
We also got to watch "The Lion King" in one of the MBS theaters. I loved the costumes and songs but thought the stage looked a little cramped. Pride Rock must also be facing the space crunch we are facing in land-scarce Singapore.
The next morning, we got up early to have breakfast at the topmost Skypark, on the 57th floor. We thought we had a good view from our room but man, at the Sands Skypark, it was even better.
We ate rather quickly because we wanted to get into the famous pool, called the Infinity edge swimming pool, also on the 57th floor. You can just go right to the edge of the pool and enjoy the view. From a certain angle, the pool looks like it ends in a sheer drop.
I did what every hotel guest did in this famous pool. Nope, not swim: take pictures. I think they should open a camera shop on the 57th floor and call it the "Cameras-Accidentally-Dunked-While-Trying-to-Take-a-Photo-of-the-View-From-Inside-the-Pool Repair Shop".
Everyone seemed to throw caution to the wind and just take their cameras with them into the pool so that they could snap the view. I think the cameras swam more than humans.
mrbrown gets cultured
Nearby, there is a bowl-shaped building with five fingers that always stumped me (see what I did there?). I never knew what it was. It looked like a peeled mandarin orange, waiting for the top half to complete it.
It turns out that the "orange" was the ArtScience Museum, an MBS-owned private museum. It has a permanent display in the top floors (where the fingers are) and in the lower floors are traveling exhibitions. We saw the Dali exhibition, Van Gogh Alive (not the real works but a projection of his works inside a room with music), and the Shipwrecked exhibition.
I enjoyed Shipwrecked the most. OK, I don't enjoy shipwrecks per se, I just enjoy partaking in the history.
Shipwrecked contains more than 400 items found in a shipwreck off Belitung Island. This ninth-century Arab boat was supposedly carrying stuff from Tang China back to the Middle East.
I told the wife if we were rich, we could buy the priceless ancient bowls and use them for dinner, just to show off. Maybe use the gold bowls to hold our instant noodles and the ceramic ones to hold the soup.
Back at the hotel, we had a little tour of the Chairman's Suite, their largest suite. It costs S$17,000 (US$13,808) a night, and has four bedrooms, pool table, karaoke room, salon room, massage room, and grand piano. I kid you not. I think the only thing the suite DIDN'T have was it's own swimming pool (I am disappointed at this missing luxury, MBS).
Wait till I find shipwrecked treasure of my own. I will book my wife a stay in the Chairman's Suite the next time. We will sing karaoke all night long and maybe make Simba and his Lion King friends sing for us at the in-room grand piano.