Singapore.  It’s one of the most expensive countries I’ve visited, but I needed a challenge. Going to places like Vietnam and Thailand are easy when it comes to budget travel, everything is so inexpensive in the first place, you can do anything you want for a pretty inexpensive price.  Singapore on the other hand is quite the opposite.  Known for its fancy hotels and expensive cuisine, this seemed to be a good spot for a challenge.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that my flight was right about $800 round trip and I had a $550 travel voucher waiting to be used after last years Asian adventures.

The Goal: Find a upscale hotel with a rooftop pool and a view without breaking the bank.

When I started doing research for this trip there was one hotel that kept sticking out in my head.  The Marina Bay Sands.  Known for having the worlds largest infinity pool on top of its 55 story high towers it seemed to be the perfect spot!  I visited their website, found the least expensive room I could possible find and told myself I was going to ‘Treat Myself’ to one night in this amazing hotel.  The price: $550USD.

At the time it sounded like a fantastic idea and well worth the money, but after a couple days I began to wonder.  Is a hotel really worth $550/night because it has a great pool and a cool view?  I decided to ask a group of frequent flyers I know and the overall opinion was while the pool is amazing when it’s not super crowded, the hotel is nothing to be blown away by.  I went back to that reservation and cancelled it knowing there was going to be a better deal out there somewhere.

After a bit of research and a recommendation from a couple travel acquaintences I ran across a hotel that had close to the experience I was looking for.  A rooftop infinity pool 35 floors up, nice spacious rooms and right in the heart of downtown.  This is what I was looking for!  What hotel was it?  We will get to that in a little bit.

The Marina Bay Sands: One of Singapore’s most famous hotels.

Night 1: The Transit Hotel: Aerotel Hotel

When I arrived to Singapore I didn’t land until a little before midnight.  I figured there was no purpose in trying to book a nice hotel when I was going to be missing out on most of the stay so I did a little digging and found that there was a short term hotel right in the terminal!  This hotel allows people to book for a 3 hour minimum and then charges you hourly after that.  The rooms were quite small, only enough room for a twin sized mattress, a small desk and a little room for your luggage, but it was meant to allow people to get a quick snooze in before or between flights.  The rooms do not include bathrooms so you walk down the hall to where there were about 4 private bathrooms complete with showers.  All of which were extremely clean and checked regularly so for those that are freaked out about sharing a bathroom, don’t worry, the bathrooms were spotless.


Aerotel Singapore: A small room with a single bed and a desk.  Perfect for a short stay.

Night 2: The Luxury Hotel: The Westin Singapore

The Westin Singapore is a fantastic hotel in downtown Singapore that starts on the 31st floor of one of the beautiful skyscrapers and has about 15 floors worth of rooms.  The view from the lobby is spectacular with their giant windows facing towards the bay.  The rooms were much different than what I’m used to when I stay in Asian hotels.  I’m used to extremely small and cramped rooms, but this room was beautiful!  Complete with a giant bathroom, vaulted ceilings and nice large windows this was one of the nicer hotel’s I’ve had the opportunity to stay at and it wasn’t even an upgraded room!

The pool was by far my favorite part of the hotel.  Situated on the 35th floor of the hotel, the infinity pool was nice and large and the entire rooftop deck was filled with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and plenty of greenery as well.  There was also a bar serving a nice variety of beers, cocktails and pizza’s for a very reasonable price compared to what I experienced the rest of the trip.  The pool attendants were very attentive and as soon as a guest left the area their their spot was cleaned and prepared for the next person.  They even allowed guests that were checking out that day to enjoy the pool as needed, so if they had an evening flight the hotel didn’t rush them off property as I’ve seen at other places.  Needless to say, I spent a large portion of my stay enjoying the views and relaxing.

Now what about the price?  The price for this hotel was much more affordable than what I would have been charged at the Marina Bay Sands.  The hotel room for one night ended up costing $258USD.

The Westin Singapore features a rooftop infinity pool on the 35th floor of the hotel.

Night 3: The Hostel: The Port by Quarters Hostel

As nice as it was to stay at a nice upscale hotel to stick with my budget I moved myself from luxury living to what I call #HostelLife.  The week before I flew to Singapore I did a little digging on and found this great hostel right on the river called The Port by the Quarters.  The Port had permenant bunks that made you feel like you were almost sleeping in a little wooden cube.  Each of the cubes had a full size bed, electricity, ample lighting and a giant shade to pull down for privacy when it was time to sleep.  While the cubes weren’t sound proof, this is a big upgrade from the bunk rooms that I’m used to staying in with 6-12 people.  The room at The Port had about 20 of these permanent bunks in it, but in all honesty, I didn’t even notice.

The hostel was located right along the river next to Singapore’s major financial district.  Less than a 10 minute walk away we had the Parliament building as well as the court house. Right outside the door was Boat Quay, one of Singapore’s popular restaurant and bar streets full of eager tourists ready to throw down some serious cash for a beer and some decent food.  I admit it, I was guilty of visiting one of these overpriced establishments and found myself avoiding the street the rest of the trip.

The Port by Quarters Hostel featured cubical bunk beds with plenty of locked storage beneath the bunk.

What about that awesome Marina Bay Sands View?

So one of the main reasons I wanted to stay at Marina Bay Sands was because of the view.  The rooftop overlooks much of Singapore and at 55 floors up, the views must be unbeatable.  Unbeatable for most, but there is one place that can put the Marina Bay Sands view to shame and that place would be 1-Altitude.  1-Altitude is a rooftop bar located in the Raffles Tower and truly on top of the building, 63 floors up.

The view?  Out of this world!  The Marina Bay Sands can be seen in the distance and looks like it’s hundreds of feet below. While walking around the rooftop there were truly unobstructed views of the entire city 360 degrees around.  While there was a cover charge of $30SGD or about $20USD, that did include a cocktail of your choice once you reached the rooftop.

1-Altitude gives a birds eye view of Singapore.

So what was the cost?

Overall the price I paid for the three nights came to a total of $336 which averages out to $112/night.  While this definitely isn’t the least expensive place I’ve visited I felt comfortable knowing that I was able to bring the average price per night down tremendously by staying at a couple much less expensive places.  Overall, the experience I had was out of this world and the three night stay cost 3/5ths of a one night stay at the Marina Bay Sands.