We have already reviewed the best 5 star luxury hotels in Singapore. In this review, we compare the newly renovated Raffles Singapore vs. Marina Bay Sands.
Singapore, the gateway to Southeast Asia, is an intriguing country that was created by deeply passionate people following their dreams and aspirations. It’s a place that serves as a canvas for its people’s wildest imagination, where new experiences are created every day, and where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers, and socializers meet.
Singapore attracts more than 17 million international tourists every year. To put this in perspective, this is more than 3 times its total population. Some of this may be a result of the 2018 box office movie hit ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. This film is largely set in Singapore and has boosted the Lion City’s tourism even further.
In this review, we compare and contrast Raffles Singapore vs. Marina Bay Sands. Contact our luxury travel concierge and get a quote at any hotel (Singapore or otherwise), as we offer extra free benefits like free breakfast, complimentary room upgrade, VIP gifts, and more at no extra cost.
Both Raffles Singapore and Marina Bay Sands are iconic hotels in Singapore for different reasons. Raffles offers historic luxury in its all-suite hotel. Marina Bay offers incredible architecture and amazing views, but the rooms are nowhere near as good as those at Raffles. We have compared each hotel below and have then reviewed each hotel separately so that you get more of an idea of which is best for you.
In my opinion, Raffles Singapore is a true luxury hotel offering wonderful rooms, amenities, bars, grounds. This is my top choice. I think Raffles Singapore is the best. However, Marina Bay Sands is also iconic, is cheaper, and offers unlimited Instagramable photo opportunities, so if you want to show off to your friends at home, this is the one to pick!
- Best For Luxury: Raffles Singapore
- Best Rooms: Raffles Singapore
- Best For Views: Marina Bay Sands Hotel
- Best For Cocktails In The (Busy) Pool: Marina Bay Sands Hotel
- Best For Cocktails In The Bar: Raffles Singapore
- Most Exclusive: Raffles Singapore
- Most History: Raffles Singapore
- Most Recently Refurbished: Raffles Singapore
- Best breakfast: Raffles Singapore
- Best Restaurants For Fine Dining: Raffles Singapore
- Queues At check-in: Marina Bay Sands Hotel (feels like an airport check-in, even in the VIP Club Lounge)
- Best Pool: Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Their pool wins numerous awards
1. Raffles Singapore
The year was 1887 when the doors to the Raffles Singapore first opened. Since then, this luxury five-star hotel in Singapore has become an icon that epitomizes the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history, and colonial design.
Situated in the heart of the business and civic district, Raffles Singapore is a veritable oasis in the city. Its classic colonial architecture has been perfectly preserved and provides a stark but lively contrast against its modern-skyscraper neighbors.
Through the decades, liveried Sikh doormen have welcomed some of the most famous personalities, from writers to celebrities, politicians, and members of royalty, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Today it has a resident historian who has created a series of videos featuring key moments from its past (early guests included the writers Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, and Rudyard Kipling).
Raffles Singapore has only recently reopened for guest stays following more than two years of renovation work across its guest rooms and public spaces.
The new works were led by interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud, architecture and design firm Aedas, lighting consultants Tino Kwan and restoration and research consultants Studio Lapis.
The hotel’s suite count has increased from 103 to 115, while new categories have been added; it now offers State Room Suites, Courtyard Suites, Palm Court Suites, Personality Suites, Residence Suites, Promenade Suites, Grand Hotel Suites, and Presidential Suites.
The Raffles Arcade, a collection of shops and “lifestyle spaces”, has a new gift shop, spa, and retail brands as well as a history gallery featuring archive pictures and stories.
The restaurant line-up now includes Mediterranean grill BBR by chef Alain Ducasse, steakhouse Butcher’s Block, three-Michelin star chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s La Dame de Pic, Chinese restaurant 兿 yì by Jereme Leung, and classic Indian restaurant Tiffin Room.
In July, the hotel reopened its famed Long Bar, a popular tourist spot thanks to its invention of the Singapore Sling, and the Grand Lobby, which has a daily afternoon tea service.
Even the pool on the rooftop has been renovated, with the huge Marina Bay Sands building visible in the distance.
Some of the best rooms are the 31 suites lead onto the Verandah. These are 58 sqm, and ensuite bathrooms have been redesigned with Victorian details and Peranakan tiles, a type of colorful local ceramic.
No visit to Singapore is complete without a stay at this iconic all-suite luxury Singapore hotel. Each suite features period furnishings, lofty 14-foot ceilings, and modern conveniences expected of a 21st-century hotel. Raffles butlers, legendary for their charming and graceful service, are available to fulfill requests both ordinary and extraordinary.
Get the following benefits at Raffles Singapore, by booking via our Luxury Travel Concierge:
- Upgrade to next category (subject to availability upon arrival, applicable up to Personality Suite)
- Complimentary Semi-buffet Breakfast in Tiffin Room for up to two in room guests per bedroom
- Complimentary Singapore Sling on arrival
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay, to be redeemed at all Raffles-operated Food & Beverage outlets, Raffles Spa and the Raffles Boutique
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
2. Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The Marina Bay Sands hotel comprises three 55-storey towers, 2,560 luxury rooms and suites, and 18 different room types. This hotel is enormous, home to an iconic and eye wateringly high swimming pool that sits across the towers.
This unique structural masterpiece, designed by visionary architect Moshe Safdie, spans the width of all three soaring Marina Bay Sands hotel towers. The SkyPark floats atop the three soaring hotel towers at a height of 200 m (650 ft). This gravity-defying platform stretches longer than the Eiffel Tower laid down and is large enough to park four and a half A380 Jumbo Jets.
It houses a ticketed observation deck, lush gardens, shops, top-notch restaurants, and an exclusive, infinity-edge swimming pool with a legendary view. Complementing the retail space are delectable dining options, including restaurants by celebrity chefs, fine dining, and casual eateries.
To be honest, it’s not my cup of tea at all. I am not great with heights, and this is the world’s largest infinity-edge pool at that height. It comprises 422,000 pounds (191,416 kilos) of stainless steel and holds 380,000 gallons (1,438,456 liters) of water.
Natare engineered this stainless steel swimming pool to allow for the swaying of the three skyscrapers in every direction. There are four movement joints beneath the main pools, designed to help them withstand the natural motion of the towers, and each joint has a unique range of motion. The total range of motion is 500 millimeters (19.68 inches). The SkyPark is designed for wind pressures of up to 2.5 kPa (5,933 lbs./ft² or 250 kg/m²) and wind speeds of up to 105 ft./s (32 m/s). It seems almost unnatural, but you can’t help but admire this marvel of engineering. It shouldn’t work, but it does!
If you do decide to stay in this Disney or Vegas-style massive hotel and want to experience the pool, get a poolside lounger first thing in the morning, before the crowds.
The hotel rooms are very average. The sheer size of this hotel limits the level of luxury. 2,500 rooms is not boutique! Expect spectatorship and awe here, but if you are looking for the highest level of luxury, you will not find it here.
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