Hotel Review: The Marina Mandarin, Marina Bay in Singapore
Words by Peter Brooker
The Marina Mandarin is a 5-star hotel firmly fixed in the heart of Singapore. Not to be confused with the Mandarin Oriental, where Google insists on directing you. ‘Are you sure you didn’t mean Mandarin Oriental? Everyone else is going there, shall I book you in? It’s got much better reviews, are you sure? Alright if you insist’.
The hollowed interior of the Marina Mandarin has a hexagonal atrium that sears magnanimously skywards. Impulsively one is expected to look up and unholster their phone, stand in perfect alignment next to the glass elevator whilst simultaneously blocking all human traffic to the lobby.
Gold discs hang perpendicular from the ceiling like an elaborate game of connect four. Whilst silver rings droop in their wake like a relaxed slinky from one side to the other.
It boasts 575 well-appointed guestrooms and suites and all rooms offer breathtaking views of the surrounding cityscape.
The room is a comfortable size, over-conditioned with a modern feel. Once you step foot on the balcony the warm heat enters the room and the surfaces become quickly riddled with condensation.
I’ll shelf the complaints about the WiFi for a second and draw your attention to the view.
The views are mesmeric from the balcony and if you’re not already seen the infamous Marina Bay Sands before, then stepping out on the balcony will inflict a coup de foudre – a love at first sight vista.
The Marina Bay Sands hotel stands imperiously keeping careful watch over its illuminated-blue inhabitants. The roads are quiet at night; and the streets have a serene stillness, devoid of any human cacophony.
The hotel offers direct access to the Marina Square Shopping Mall, and is within walking distance of popular tourist attractions such as the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Gardens by the Bay, and the Singapore Flyer.
We just missed the Singapore Grand Prix Formula One race, but apparently the hotel is situated trackside.
If you’re thinking of visiting the infamous Raffles hotel where the Singapore Sling was invented, then you should be mindful that it’s closed for refurbishment until November 2018.
However, the Raffles Hotel has a pop-up bar round the corner on Seah Street where you can purchase a Singapore Sling for a handsome $31.
Back in the Marina Mandarin the breakfast service is inexplicably ordinary. Luckily what the service lacks (accuracy and punctuality) the view makes up for. Awe inspiring vistas of the city landscape, the Pan Pacific swimming pool and the historic Suntec City.
The Marina Mandarin is not to be outdone when it comes to jaw dropping swimming pools.
The 25-metre outdoor mineral pool comes with all the luxury accoutrement. It’s finished with a still stream of water that eddies round the sides, ornamented with open-flush fountain vases emitting the verisimilitude of nearby waterfalls.
The Marina Mandarin is by far a romantic hotel. But then this isn’t the Swiss Alps. This is the 3rd biggest business capital in the world, there’s little place for sentiment here. Although it’s unfair to say it’s completely devoid of emotion. It’s very self-aware as a city that it can’t be a soulless concrete jungle. You only have to indulge the Gardens by the Bay or the Night Time Safari to see how the focus of Singapore’s ecological footprint.
Singapore is a design-led city. It’s clinical. Chewing gum is illegal here, as is Jay walking. The graffiti is sanctioned and any acts of rebellious natures meet strict punitive measures. (They still hang people in Singapore for murder, conspiracy to commit murder and drug trafficking). Hawkers have all been caroled into a designated area and one boasts the only Michelin starred market stall in the world.
You should really do the obligatory city bus tour if you really want to see the city. This will take you to the botanical gardens that boast the biggest Orchid Collection in the world. Former patrons involve most of the British Royalty and former U.S presidents.
Room prices vary depending on what tier of luxury you’re after and the time of season etc. However, prices at 228 SGD (circa £125) and can go considerably north from there.