Speaking during the opening, Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson predicted visitor numbers to exceed 70,000 per day when all facilities within the Marina Bay Sands complex are open. Also according to Mr Adelson, the SkyPark and additional Shoppes (shops) should open on June 23, the date of the grand opening of Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Casino Singapore.
The casino of Marina Bay Sands Singapore occupies several floors, the bottom two floors: basement 2 Mezzanine (non-smoking) and basement 2 (smoking) are meant for normal folks, and the two much smaller areas on the upper casino’s two upper floors with more than 30 private gaming rooms are reserved for high-flyers. Also located there is Paiza, a special club for invited VIP members only. Only players who meet the average bet and length of play criteria of the respective rooms will be invited. Note that normal folks are not allowed into the two upper floors of the casino. Basement 2 casino is for smokers only; pleasantly surprised, though, when I entered this section of the casino, I did not even notice I was in a smoking area. A job well done by the part of the contractor that put in the air treatment filtration and ventilation systems!
It is my personal view; the magnificent Marina Bay Sands is worth a visit, even if you’re not a guest at the hotel or a casino patron. It is very beautifully and tastefully decorated. Not to mention the mind-blowing view looking up from just outside the Shoppes on Bayfront Avenue. Especially the sky bridge which looks very much like some kind of an airship with its rhombus pattern cladding – breathtaking! The Marina Bay Sands’ Singapore casino comprises of less than 3% of the entire floor area of the complex - 15,000 square meters. But with 500 tables and six games and over 1,600 slot machines, casino patrons are guaranteed to have a fun time. Also worth a mention is that the casino has several entrances / exits on the shopping mall. And what’s more? The Marina Bay Sands casino offers complimentary, non-alcoholic beverages to all its casino patrons. The casino floor was beautifully fitted and an exact copy of the artist impression drawn by architecture firm Moshe Safdie and Associates - amazing.
Clear signage everywhere in the casino and that was helpful. But what I found interesting is the fact that this casino provided players, who requested it, with a special Marina Bay Sands “Gaming Guide”. This idea I like. Not everyone is a seasoned player! I found the slots great fun even though, at the end of the day, coinless machines ain’t my thing. But the most incredible of all is the casino ceiling and its amazing piece of art, the giant diamond-like shaped chandelier; a must-see for anyone visiting the Marina Bay Sands Casino! Only 1/3 of the hotel rooms were open to guests who had pre-booked a room and invited VIPs including Sheldon Adelson, Sands’ Singapore boss, on April 27. No walk-in guests were allowed to stay at Marina Bay Sands overnight on the auspicious day. Interestingly, the entire lobby was open to the public. And what a lobby it was. Sands lived up to its statement when it said: “we will be magnificent”.
Indeed the word “magnificent” sums it all up nicely. The lobby has numerous giant plant pots 2-3 meters tall with trees of between 3-5 meters. Numerous restaurants and bars line the lobby and the ceiling looks splendid with natural lighting brighting up the entire hotel lobby. Also hanging in the lobby is a gigantic geometric wire frame-like sculpture – not sure actually how to call it, but it is fresh. To see a piece of art of such splendour hanging in a hotel lobby was definitely a first for me personally. Wonder how they would go about cleaning that! Folks staying at the hotel can enter the Casino, the Shoppes, the Convention Centre via two underpasses or via a footbridge linked to the 4th floor of the Convention and Casino buildings. Please bear in mind that pedestrians can not cross Bayfront Avenue to the Casino and Convention complex from the hotel building. You must either use the underpass or the footbridge. For poker enthusiasts, disappointing news, with the exception of Singapore Stud Poker, the Marina Bay Sands won’t be offering Texas Hold’em – for now. The Marina Bay Sands Casino, at the time of my visit offered some engaging games: Money Wheel, Sic Bo, Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack and Singapore Stud Poker. Not too many, but every game offers a variety of betting limits designed to suit all players. The introduction of additional games is in the pipeline, though. As for slots; these brand new high-tech machines feature no less than 250 themes and a variety of jackpots, including linked Progressive Jackpots – in which amounts may increase as a game is played. I am not in favour of forcing people to wear “formal” attire, but a no entry rule to the casino applies to anyone wearing slippers, shorts and singlets (sleeveless shirts). It’s Singapore and not Las Vegas. From my observations, these rules are not too strictly enforced at Marina Bay Sands’ casino. H
However, no dress code applies to visitors to the shops, restaurants and other facilities in the complex. Locals and Singapore permanent residents have to pay a $100 entry fee. Tourists to Singapore don’t. As I had mentioned earlier, there are four floors where visitors can enjoy gaming. Having said this, not all of the Marina Bay Sands complex or those four floors are gaming. Marina Bay Sands is much more than that. Witness soon the opening of a food court in basement 1 next to an ice rink, also still under construction nearby are dozens of “not too exciting” shops, the usual brand names really but… there will be a dozen unique restaurants once this mammoth construction project is completed. During my visit on the 27th of April, the canals “a la Venice” were not finished. In fact, I didn’t see any of the luxury retail Shoppes surrounding the casino floors open apart from “Food Kiosks” (a small stretch of eateries where one can indulge in a snack or a local dish) situated in basement 2 right in the heart of the Marina Bay Sands complex. There should be at least 13 restaurants including a food court scattered throughout the property once construction is completed. Only a handful of them were open to the public for dining at the time of my visit. These restaurants included one may be two manned by celebrity chefs, and the “Food Kiosks”.