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Arrival in Singapore

View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.

As we start our descent into Singapore Changi Airport, an announcement is made “Please remain seated until the row in front of you has vacated”. We’ve seen how well this works when adhered to in Brazil, where everyone stays calm in their seat waiting their turn. Here, however, no one takes any notice whatsoever, and the usual chaos ensues as soon as the plane has come to a standstill.

There is a wheelchair waiting for me just outside the door of the plane, and at the end of the corridor, I am transferred to a buggy that takes me to immigration. For some reason I am instructed to walk through immigration itself, and although there are only a couple of people in front of me at the special assistance lane, by the time I reach the other side, my back is hurting. Having completed the arrival card online a couple of days ago, once I reach the counter everything goes quickly and smoothly.


The same porter, with the same chair, is waiting for me there, and takes me all the way to the well-organised taxi rank.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

There’s a frisson of excitement as we turn up outside, in the four-lane drop-off zone, which is organised to the point of appearing regimented. As soon as the car doors are opened, two porters grab out luggage, immediately asking if any items are fragile. When I explain that my backpack is full of camera gear, a fragile tag is attached as well as a very noticeable CAUTION tag.



A stunning lady in a beautiful traditional Chinese cheongsam dress, greets us at the door, and leads us to the VIP check-in area where we are immediately offered a seat and very personal treatment. We appreciate this nice touch, as the general check-in area has a roped-off queueing system with a handful of people waiting.


Marina Bay Sands is the only hotel we booked independently on this trip, as Undiscovered Destinations were unable to secure a comparative price. Having dreamed of staying in this incredible hotel since I saw videos of it when it first opened in 2010, I have to pinch myself that I am finally here, having just been allocated an upgraded Premier room. And what a room it is.


As soon as we walk in through the door, the light comes on automatically and the curtains open.


The room consists of a corridor leading to the main bedroom, a bathroom with a bathtub, a separate shower and double basins, and a separate toilet off a dressing room.


The bathroom features lots of nice touches, such as the tap being in the middle of the bath (so that two people can share a soak together without either getting the tap in their back), a handheld shower attachment at one end, and a number of complimentary toiletries.






The toilet is like something out of a sci-fi movie, and will take a lot longer than the two days we are staying to try and figure out what all the buttons and switches do.


Again, as soon as we enter the small room, the lights come on, and the toilet bowl lid lifts. Everything is programmable: the built-in bidet offers different water angles, shapes and positions of the spray. The hot air dryer has similar options. All this can be programmed for two different users (including toilet seat up or down), as well as other features that I didn’t have the time, nor inclination, to work out.


As soon as you get up from the toilet seat, the flush starts, and a blue light appears under the rim of the toilet bowl. Once the flush has finished, the lid closes again. I just know that I will get too used to that and forget to manually flush the toilet of the next hotel.

In the corridor leading from the door to the bedroom, is a tea station inside a mirrored cupboard, complimentary water and coffee, and a drawer full of Chinese and Western snacks.




The enormous TV does not just have numerous channels in various languages, it also has a complete guide to the hotel, which is actually very useful.


The mini bar is complete with a cocktail-making kit, and there is a box of complimentary chocolate biscuits.




It is no surprise to find that everything is controllable remotely from the bed: all the lights, (including those in the bathroom), some of which are dimmable, the DO NOT DISTURB sign outside the door, the TV, the curtains, the very modern-looking telephone, and an alarm clock. As ‘gadget freaks', we both love this leading edge technology.





Our room looks out over the shopping complex.


My only two niggles about the room, are that I would have liked a desk and chair where I could comfortably use a laptop (I hate using it on my lap), and that the two settees are rather too low, making it difficult to get up again.

As soon as the porter arrives with the luggage, we go off to explore the rest of the hotel.

The bags in the dressing room


Marina Bay Sand Hotel consists of three towers topped by a skyway, which features a 150m long infinity swimming pool. It is a spectacular piece of architecture, and although we don’t generally like big hotels, I have to admit that this is rather fabulous.


My top priority is to check out that swimming pool. Being a massive tourist attraction in Singapore, the hotel has strict security measures. From our room, we take the lift to the 22nd floor, where we change into the dedicated Skyview lift that takes us right up to the 57th floor. This area is open to pre-booked members of the public, whereas we just flash our room card to proceed.

Looking down on the restaurant in the lobby from the corridor outside our room.



The view over Singapore from the roof deck is stunning! I take a few photos while it is still some daylight left.

Cruise ship in the marina

The famous Gardens by the Bay

Singapore is preparing to host the Formula One road race in a few days.


Having not eaten since breakfast on the plane, I am getting rather hangry, so we try and find a restaurant that will accept us without reservation. With around 50 restaurants in the hotel complex, it should be possible.

Lavo Italian Restaurant

With just a short 15 minute wait, the first restaurant we enter (I want to be on the rooftop still) is able to fit us in.


It would be rude not to start with cocktails: I have a Lovo Mule, while David chooses a Limonito.




While we enjoy our pre-dinner drinks, a small dish of complimentary bread and olives arrives.


Penne alla Vodka – onions, prosciutto, peas, and light cream sauce. The kick from extra chilli flakes makes this dish rather yummy.


David declares his Chicken Dominick “perfect”, with white balsamic, roasted potatoes and chilli flakes.



Just as we have finished the main course, the nightly light show starts. We ask the server if it is OK to pop out to watch for a few minutes and take some photos.




Back inside the AC restaurant we order another drink and peruse the dessert menu. Watching a young couple on the next table tucking into what looks like a delectable dessert, I ask them what it is. Tiramisu. On their suggestion we order one to share. It arrives with a bit of fanfare, as the waitress removes the outer casing and the dessert erupts like a volcano.

I am delighted to confirm that the tiramisu tastes every bit as good as it looks.


Once we’ve paid, we go back out on the deck to admire the dynamic lights of Singapore by night.




It’s been a very long, and exciting day. The initial plan was to take a cab over to the Merlion statue on the opposite side of the bay to take some photos from there of the hotel, but neither of us have the energy, so we just collapse into bed, knowing we’ll be up at 05:30 tomorrow morning.

Thank you to Undiscovered Destinations for allowing us to fit our own arrangement into this amazing Grand Tour of South East Asia.


Posted by Grete Howard 14:36 Archived in Singapore Tagged singapore changi f1 wheelchair undiscovered_destinations night_photography marina_bay_sands_hotel leading_edge_technology formula_one_racing lavo_italian_restaurant electra_light_show simgapore_by_night

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My gosh, I hope to be able to stay in the hotel as well one day. I already had a peek of the inside at reception level and liked it very much. It is nice to have a look of the rooms as well ... you guys must have felt like royalty! :) :)

by Ils1976

Wow, I've seen that hotel on TV (Amazing Hotels) but never thought about the possibility of staying there! It absolutely looks worth the splurge :) The views are fantastic and that pool is really something else! Your dinner looks and sounds good too, especially the spectacle of the tiramisu! But I'd have gone for the Dragon Spritz on the cocktail list I think.

by ToonSarah

We sure did, Ils, it was absolutely amazing.

Let me know what the Dragon Stritz is like, Sarah, if you ever get the chance to try it. ♥

by Grete Howard

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