I stayed in the $6.6 billion mega-hotel in the heart of Singapore, and it wasn't anything like 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Harrison Jacobs/Business InsiderThe rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore is the largest in the world.
  • Summer blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians” is set in Singapore, which is known worldwide for its extravagance and wealth.
  • Marina Bay Sands is a landmark in Singapore, featuring a hotel, casino, museum, shopping mall, and incredible views of the city and the bay.
  • I stayed at Marina Bay Sands to see if it’s really worth the expensive price tag, and frankly, I was disappointed.

Singapore is known worldwide for its extravagance and wealth, and it’s the setting of “Crazy Rich Asians,” the summer blockbuster everyone’s talking about based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan.

And at the heart of Singapore is the extravagant Marina Bay Sands resort and hotel.

At its opening in 2010, Marina Bay Sands was the world’s most expensive stand-alone casino, featuring 500 tables, 1,600 slot machines, and priced at around $US6.6 billion USD.

In June, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toured some of Singapore’s most luxurious tourist attractions – including Marina Bay Sands – and the local crowd greeted him like a rock star.

Marina Bay Sands is also home to a luxury 5-star hotel, shopping mall, convention center, museum, two theatres, multiple upscale restaurants, and two floating pavilions. To top it all off, a Skywalk connects its three buildings and features restaurants, an observation deck, and an infinity pool that looks out over Marina Bay.

I recently got the chance to stay at Marina Bay Sands and experience its best-known attractions. Here’s a look inside:

I got to the Marina Bay Sands (sans security escort) via Singapore’s super efficient metro, which stops directly underneath the hotel.

The subway stop leads directly into Marina Bay Sands’ giant shopping mall, home to a host of luxury designer brands.

Seen from the outside, here’s the full view of the Marina Bay Sands complex from the water. The structure on the left is the ArtScience museum, designed to look like a lotus flower.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

Source: Marina Bay Sands

The hotel and SkyWalk are over 50 stories high, and just the SkyPark is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall.

Source: Marina Bay Sands

Outside the entrance to the hotel is a lineup of high-end sports cars. At first, I thought these were guests’ cars, but then I realised that you could rent a selection of supercars from Ultimate Drive. $US280 buys you 15 minutes of drive time with a Ferrari.

Here’s a look at the stunning interior features of the inside of the hotel. Moshe Safdie architects designed the entire resort.

Source: World Architecture News

The decoration of the hotel is very baroque and doused in golds, oranges, and blacks. It’s supposed to make you feel like a million (or billion!) bucks, I suppose. But it can look a bit dark if you aren’t near a window.

The bed in my hotel room was super comfy, as expected, but honestly the decor of the place was all very dated. It seemed like it was cutting edge when it opened, but now it’s kind of drab for a hotel that costs $US500 a night minimum.

If you get a “harbour view” room, you’ll end up with a pretty spectacular view. Unfortunately, if you end up on the city-side, you’ll be facing the Marina Bay Sands’ giant mall.

Seriously, the view on the harbour side is incredible. You can get a full view of Gardens By The Bay, and the SuperTree Grove, home to unique vertical gardens that resemble trees. At night, the entire bay, including the SuperTrees, are lit up in neon.

For a top-of-the-line luxury hotel, the bathroom left a lot to be desired. The shower-head was broken, spraying water every which way, and only got to a lukewarm temperature.

My hotel room had a wood paneled desk with a nice leather chair.

A luxury hotel room wouldn’t be complete without a cosy robe in the closet.

Or complimentary bottled water.

Here’s a peek inside the Chairman’s Suite — the top end room in the hotel.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

Source: Marina Bay Sands

The gym is functional but nothing special, just a line of treadmills and free weights. The biggest bummer of my stay was that the sauna and steam room were closed for renovations.

The real star of the hotel is the Sands Skypark, which has the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool — and it’s only available for hotel guests. At 57 stories up and overlooking the Singapore skyline, it makes for quite a pool day.

Source: Marina Bay Sands

Just about everyone in the pool is doing one thing: swimming to the edge and taking photos of the skyline over the infinity pool. There was exactly one person swimming laps, and he was pissing everyone off.

Multiple hot tubs line the harbour side of the Skypark so you can take a dip while looking out at the sea.

The Singapore skyline itself is nothing really to write home about, but it’s still pretty cool to have it all laid out in front of you.

The Marina Bay Sands boasts a ton of celebrity-chef run restaurants — including Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro & Oyster Bar, and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, which is on the Sands Skypark.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

I was thinking of eating at Spago, but after I ordered a $US12 espresso ($US12!!!), it was apparent to me that the restaurant, and all the celebrity-chef restaurants in the Sands, would be wildly overpriced.

Thankfully, the Marina Bay Sands has Rasapura Masters, an in-house 24-hour food court that mimics Singapore’s famous hawker stalls, where street vendors cook up local specialties for low prices. There are tons of tasty options.

Come sunset, everyone is getting their Instagram pictures. It’s a majestic spot to sit and have a beer while the sun goes down.

The view from the Skypark at night is perhaps even more spectacular than the day when the whole city is lit up.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands spectra water show is another nighttime attraction.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

The shopping mall was absolutely massive, with just about every high-end brand you can think of — Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Cartier, to name a few.

The coolest part about the shops was that there was a canal running through it and you could hire a gondola to ride on. I wouldn’t pay to do that, but it was cool to watch.

The art and science museum had a modern glass design.

Source: Marina BaySands

I visited the FutureWorld exhibit. Created in collaboration with a Japanese art collective, it showcases the museum’s mission of highlighting the intersections of art and technology.

Courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

Source: Marina BaySands

This part of the exhibit is called the Crystal Universe, or as I call it, Instagram heaven. 4-D technology and 170,000 LED lights give visitors the illusion of being in space.

Source: Marina Bay Sands

While some parts of Marina Bay Sands were spectacular, and the photo-ops were plentiful, I was honestly disappointed with how dated parts of the $US6.6 billion luxury resort have become. If you’ve got the cash, it could be worth splurging for a night or two, just to access the SkyPark. Otherwise, stop by for a visit to see how the other half vacation.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.