If Raffles is one of the finest hotels in the world, then Sands SkyPark Hotel at Marina Bay, must surely be one of the whackyiest and, most expensive.
Designed by Moshe Safdie, it opened to the public just 18 months ago and this extraordinary architectural feat of engineering and ingenuity is now an iconic landmark in Singapore. Three, 57 floor high towers carry a 340 meter ‘sky park’ on top of them in the shape of a vast boat. This massive cantilevered platform is visible for miles around and stands out in the skyline like a huge floating ship in the sky. It is quite a sight and beautiful to behold
To book a room at the hotel, you’ll need to dig deep into your pockets because it’s S$798.00 per night for the cheapest room, and S$1,798.00 (they do throw in breakfast and wifi ) the most expensive. Guests can enjoy swimming in an 150m-infinity swimming pool, whilst peering down at the ant sized people below, or stroll through the parks ‘airborne’ gardens and enjoy fabulous meals cooked by no less than 7 international celebrity Chefs (I hope that so many celebrity chefs don’t spoil the proverbial) At the base of the SkyParks atrium is the worlds largest casino with 500 tables and a whopping 1,500 slot machines to play on lest you get bored during your visit. Only the lucky guests at the hotel have access to the bars, restaurants, pool and garden areas on the SkyPark but for S$10.00 dollars those of us that can’t afford to stay there, can go up to a viewing area on the top and take in the breath taking views of Singapore and beyond. We had originally planned on doing this as it would have been a fantastic photo opportunity, but it was time for some more hedonism, and the fact that we couldn’t get a drink ‘up at the top’ rather put us off, so we plumped instead for a very chi-chi bar in the public area in the lower atrium and ordered a staggeringly expensive bottle of Piper Heidsieck champagne to toast our honeymoon adventures.
At the north end of the atrium there is an enormous Anthony Gormley suspended sculpture titled, Drift. At 23 metres high and 15 metres wide, this metal structure has been composed from 16.150 steel rods and 8.320 steel nodes. It took 60 workers to construct it on site, and weighs 14.8 tonnes so I hope that it never falls, and lands on someone’s head.
After I’d polished off the peanuts, and sucked the last drop out of the Piper Heidsieck bottle we caught a taxi over to Little India that is located on the eastern side of the city. Here we spent a happy hour going round the shops, buying tacky plastic Ganeshas and souvenirs to add to our altar collection, and paid a visit to Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu temple on Serangoon Road. Taking off our shoes outside we entered this colourful temple and watched in awe and wonder at all the sights going on inside. Fresh, heavily scented garlands of flowers, bananas, and small gifts had been placed at the bottom of the various shrines, and the thick smell of incense filled the air while Hindu priests wearing nothing but a loin cloth, wandered around or sat praying on red velvet cushions in various little coves and nooks and crannies. The temple was busy as people came in to say their prayers and I felt goose bumps as I breathed in the spirit and soul of this glorious temple.
Time was ticking by far too quickly on our last day, and there was still a visit to China Town to fit in, so after we had offered up our prayers and thanks to Ganesha we left the temple and hailed a taxi for China Town which is on the other side of the city. Singapore’s China Town is vibrant and exciting. Packed full of little shops and places to eat, it is bustling with activity and swarming with tourists and locals. We went into a number of shops and marveled at the laquerware and various chinosiserie before stopping for a quick beer to cool us down. After half an hour or so it was time to think about some dinner so I asked an Australian who was sat at the table opposite us, where he thought might be a good place to go to. He gave us very clear, and precise instructions as to where to go to find some good restaurants and helpfully suggested that we should walk to the end of the street, cross the road and then turn sharp left. Pedro and I thanked him, finished our beers, and followed his directions to the tee until we got to the part where we should have turned left. Behaving like two naughty school kids, we looked at each other laughing, and decided that we’d take a sharp right turn instead.
To be continued………………