I was reading the most recent posts on this website and I have to concur. This hotel is horrible (in the most horrible sense)! It was supposed to be a weekend getaway for me and my girlfriend and we were expecting to be wow-ed, but instead we were left utterly frustrated and disappointed.
My first negative experience came even before I checked in! I made my reservation via the hotel's website. It wasn't until a few days later did I receive a confirmation email on my booking, and this was ONLY AFTER I sent them a follow-up email to inquire about it.
The confirmation email stated that I could check-in at either Towers 1 or 3 and provided NO INFORMATION on parking for vehicles. Naturally, I drove my car to one of the towers, only to be told by hotel staff that the carpark entrance is located on the opposite side of the road where the convention centre and shops were. Hence, I had to make a detour. There were road signs indicating where the carpark was but those who do not know better will think that this carpark was only meant for people heading to the shops and convention centre. I parked my car under the section marked "Hotel". You would think that the elevators/escalators at the carpark would lead you up to the hotel. NO IT DOESN'T! It leads up to the shops and it took us at least another 15 minutes of walking before we got to the hotel.
Next up is the check-in experience. The actual check-in process was alright - took about 10 minutes. But we had to queue for about 30 mins before we got our turn! When we first joined the queue, there was a family of tourists at the front. They were complaining about not being served despite having waited in line for one hour! I believe that check-in times are usually bottlenecked at the housekeeping and reception levels. From my experience with other 5 star hotels in Singapore, checking in at 2pm and checking out at 12pm is the norm. Marina Bay Sands' check-in and check-out times are 3pm and 11am respectively. This is already an additional 2 hours for housekeeping to ready the rooms for new guests. At reception, there were four staff serving the check-in crowd of about 5-7 groups at that time. Therefore, the only logical reason that I could think of for the appalling waiting time is lack of manpower. But then, is this a justifiable excuse? After all, guests are paying 5-star rates, and they should be getting 5-star service.
Sometime later, I realised that I had forgotten to inquire about the complimentary access card for use when exiting the carpark the next day. I was checked-in at Tower 3 and had approached the reception there to make my inquiry. To my dismay, they were unable to provide me with the information that I needed and I was told to approach the valet service counter at Tower 1, which was at the other end of the building - a 5 min walk. I finally reached the valet service counter and once again made the same inquiry. Another piece of dismal news - MBS does not provide complimentary parking for its hotel guests and a fee of $6 is required. $6 is not a big amount and I can very well afford it. But what peeves me is the knowledge that MBS has the cheek to charge ITS OWN HOTEL GUESTS for parking when most other (if not all) hotels in Singapore provide complimentary access. Why are guests not informed of this beforehand? Surely MBS does not expect all its guests to be foreigners? Also, I think that my question was a very basic question which the reception staff could have handled. Telling a guest to do a 5 min walk for such a simple matter does not reflect well on the hotel's service standards at all.
My experience the next day was no better. I got woken by sounds of highway traffic and construction drilling at about 9am. Just some background information before I proceed - the MBS project was a massive undertaking with the Singapore government. However, there was some delay and they had no choice but to open only certain parts of the estate to the public, the hotel being one of those opened earlier (recall that MBS is made up of several components i.e. hotel, shops, convention centre etc). There was still construction work going on at an adjacent compound that is directly linked to the hotel, hence the drilling that I heard. As for the highway traffic - the hotel is located NEXT TO a major highway, so probably at least half of the hotel occupants will have the highway as the view in their rooms. So yes - MORE sound proofing work needs to be done for these rooms!
To be honest, I was glad that the check-out time for MBS is an hour earlier than the norm as I was eager to leave. Given that this hotel's rack rates are not cheap, guests ARE ENTITLED to gain access to top notch amenities and service. Regretfully, this was sorely lacking in both aspects. I recall seeing this whilst using the "Check In" feature for Facebook - "Marina Bay Sands Hotel - this place is ridiculous". I absolutely agree.
Last but not least, a word of advice to my traveler friends - there are many quality hotels in Singapore, especially around the Marina Bay area where MBS is located. Some examples include The Ritz Carlton, The Mandarin Oriental and The Marina Mandarin (good value for money). Please make your hotel bookings there. =)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located along Marina Bay waterfront with 3 cascading hotel towers, 2,560 rooms, extraordinary Sands Sky Park, floating crystal pavilions, lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum, The Shoppes, Celebrity Chef Restaurants, Theatres and hottest nightclubs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
- Marina Bay Sands Singapore