There’s a lot of buzz about this year’s opening of the first two legal casinos in Singapore since 1823. They’re part of two resort complexes—costing upwards of $10 billion—complete with luxury shopping, spas, theaters, theme parks, celebrity-chef restaurants, and significant meeting and event space.
Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island opened first with four of its six hotels (including a Hard Rock Hotel), shops, restaurants, and Singapore’s first casino—helping to boost visitor arrivals 24 percent in February 2010 compared to 2009 figures. Universal Studios, with the world premier of its Madagascar attraction, opened in March. Two more hotels, a water park, maritime museum, ESPA spa, and what will be the world’s largest aquarium come later this year. Meeting space accommodates up to 35,000 attendees and includes a ballroom for up to 7,300 seated guests. Resorts World has partnered with exhibition center Suntec Singapore, streamlining the planning process for meetings that use both venues.
The eagerly awaited and more upscale Marina Bay Sands had its soft opening in April 2010, with 963 of its 2,560 hotel rooms, 1.3 million square feet of meeting and convention space, the city’s second Las Vegas–style casino, and luxury shops. The impressive Sands Sky Park, a cantilevered rooftop terrace that spans the tops of three 55-story luxury hotel towers, opened June 23, 2010, along with an outpost of the mega-watt nightclub Pangea. Six restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy, and Tetsuya Wakuda will open throughout the year. In October, one of two theaters will debut with a production of “The Lion King.”