Here is part two of the best casinos in the world.
My sister went on a 3-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and some smaller island nations I had never heard of.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Southeast Asian food, the people are kind, and their history is fascinating. Here’s the deal, though:
It’s hot and humid, and I’m just not that into sweating.
This repulsion to sweat and humidity was turned on its head when I had the opportunity to stay at the Marina Bay Sands Casino and Resort in Singapore.
I’ve Heard of Singapore – Where Is It Again?
The Republic of Singapore is a sovereign city-state island located at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. It has a long history of colonialism but has been a sovereign government since August 9th, 1965. It was formally a British colony.
There’s a ton of exciting stuff on Wikipedia about this unique city-state and how it came to be the most expensive city in the world to live. Singapore is the leading shipping and financial hub for the area.
It is comprised of mostly Chinese descendants who speak English. Buddhism is the most practiced religion in the city-state.
Buddhism is a plus here. Most of the surrounding countries, Malaysia and Indonesia, are heavily Muslim and Hindu. Both religions have either outlawed or frown upon gambling.
Buddhism doesn’t specifically banish gambling. Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha himself, even encouraged light and fun gambling games.
Now that is not to say the Buddhist religion is pro the glitzy casinos we plan in today. Buddhism is a practice of enlightenment, often promoting a simpler life instead of the hedonistic ways of Las Vegas and Macau.
Regardless, Singapore’s booming economy, beautiful islands, and tourist attractions gave birth to one of the world’s most stunning casino resorts.
Marina Bay Sands Casino
The Marina Bay Sand Casino is part of a 40-acre resort owned by Las Vegas’s own Sands. The casino is 160,000 square feet spread over 4 floors.
Players can enjoy one of the 2,500 slot machines or a table game (or 10) at any of the 700 gambling tables. The casino offers over 13 different table games.
We, my husband’s favorite, and were surprised. There were no commission fees as there are in other Asian countries.
This extravagant casino style is popular though out Asian casinos. The Marina Bay Sands is the largest in the island city-state.
The high roller tables (200 tables of the 700 offered) are in private salons. They’re as upscale and extravagant as you can imagine. High roller players can play real money blackjack, high limit poker, and sic bo.
Foreigners can enter the casino floor for free. Singaporean residents are required to pay a daily entry fee of S$150.00 ($108.00). The Singapore government requires this steep entry fee to deter problem gambling within their citizenship.
The casino floor is adorned with gold architecture that is reminiscent of the local temples. Red is considered a color of riches and luck. Red is another popular color found throughout the casino floor. It’s like an Asian old-world version of the Vegas I know and love.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The building that houses the over 2,500 hotel rooms and suites is a 57-story design that reflects off the city’s bay. The hotel and resort are the most expensive built at the time, costing the Sands and its investors around $6 billion to finish in 2010.
The hotel’s towers shoot into the skyline topping out at 656 feet high. SkyPark, the rooftop entertainment area is a considerable tourist draw, I’ll talk more about that shortly.
The property is breathtaking to just look at. There are 18 room layouts for guests to choose from. All rooms have floor to ceiling windows, and most overlook the bay or the Singapore skyline.
The lobby knocked the breath out of both husband and me. The 23-story atrium is the largest of its kind. The expanse and tourist draw of the resort and casino give the lobby a train station vibe rather than an exclusive island resort hideaway.
There were a lot of people, but we were not taken off guard. Marina Bay has 40 million visitors a year. The lobby alone is a tourist attraction.
Our room was on the 42nd floor. We had a skyline view. The hotel calls it a Sky View room. Our room had all the luxury you would expect from a resort and casino of this caliber.
We decided to take a nap. Then we hit the casino floor before our first dinner at the resort.
Marina Bay Sand Restaurants
The Marina Bay Sands Resort and Casino is home to 80 restaurants. They range in price and cuisine. The celebrity chef line up is like none you’ve ever seen in one location.
The list of celebrity chefs is long, but here are just a few:
- Daniel Boulud – bd Bistro and Oyster Bar by Daniel Boulud
- Gordan Ramsey – Bread Kitchen by Gordon Ramsey
- Wolfgang Puck – Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Spago Dining Room by Wolfgang Puck, and Spago Bar and Lounge
We’ve eaten at some of Mr. Puck and Mr. Ramsey’s restaurants in the past. We opted for some of the Asian options and some celebrity chefs’ fare we had not had the pleasure of eating before.
Adrift by Chef David Myers
David Myers is a classically trained chef who has worked under Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud. He moved from Los Angles to Japan to explore the mixing of fresh California inspired ingredients with the izakaya style of Japanese cuisine.
We ordered from the a la carte menu and were not disappointed. The variety of fresh and rich played off each other to leave us wanting more.
All the herbs and lettuces were from the rooftop garden located within the resort. My inner hippie was wooed.
The wine list was vast, but our waitperson was helpful. I had a glass of 2014 Les Amis Alma, Albarino, DO Rias Baixas, Spain. My husband, B, had a glass of the 2015 Bill Downie, Petit Verdot, Riverland, SA, Australia. These were both glasses we had never tasted before.
I’m not going into the details of our meal as the menu at Adrift changes with the season and is likely not the same every month. The restaurant is a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t miss it.
Chinoiserie Modern Asian by Justin Quek
I had never heard of Chef Quek before. I fancy myself a foodie, but I’m apparently not that worldly. Justin is the premier celebrity chef in Asia.
Mr. Quek is known for the mixing of modern Asian cuisine with French influences. He owns multiple restaurants across the region. His review by the Michelin Guide is a good starter for those not familiar with him.
We sat down in the classic dining area that was adorned with modern design as well as classic touches like white linens. The décor was a perfect visual of what a diner can expect.
We ordered again off the a la carte menu and were blown away. The highlight was the king prawn “Marco Polo” with handmade egg linguine.
The wine and cocktail menu is extensive. There are some bottles on the wine menu I had have rarely seen.
I loved the experience and can’t wait to try to his other offerings (in the resort) and around Asia.
SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands
The SkyPark spans the 3 55-story towers of the hotel portion of the resort. The SkyPark holds a couple of impressive world records:
- World’s Longest Elevated Pool – the infinity edge pool at SkyPark of the Marina Bay is a record holder at 479 feet. This might be the most famous and sought-after attraction at the Marina Bay Sands resort and casino.
- World’s Highest Glass Bottom Observation Deck – The SkyPark is also home to the highest glass-bottom observation deck. At 656 feet in the air, visitors can view the entire city in a panorama setting. I did not visit, as I’m terrified of heights.
What I did visit was the pool. I love a good infinity pool. I feel safe knowing the edge is just an illusion. The pool is split into three parts. One is for adults only (the infinity edge) with multiple swim-up bars, and the other two are for everyone’s enjoyment.
I didn’t cover all the things to do or see while visiting the Marina Bay Sands. There is shopping, much like at the Venetian in Las Vegas, the other 78 restaurants, a theme park, the entertainment options, and on-site golf.
There is more than you can do in even three visits, much less one. If you have the time, the money (it’s not cheap), and your passport ready, take a trip to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. This is one of the best resort casinos in the world.