If you ask someone where the most expensive building in the world is, he or she might guess New York City, Paris, Tokyo, or London. Although those cities are famous for their expensive real estate, none of them are home to the most expensive building ever constructed.
The city-state of Singapore, in fact, boasts the most expensive building ever constructed. Its Marina Bay Sands resort, which opened in 2010, cost a staggering $5.7 billion to complete.
The Marina Bay Sands sits on 15.5 hectares of very expensive Singapore land. Its three hotel towers connected by a top-level walkway are now a dominant feature of the city’s skyline, and the building’s design has drawn praise and acclaim from architects all around the world.
The property, which is owned by the Las Vegas Sands company, features a casino, dozens of luxury retail shops, celebrity-fronted restaurants, the largest ballroom in Southeast Asia, and 2,561 guest rooms and suites.
The building’s architect, Moshe Safdie, was said to have been inspired by decks of cards when designing the three hotel towers. Each tower is 55-stories, and all three are connected and capped by a large and breathtaking sky park that runs across the length of the property’s top.
The Marina Bay Sands sky park is a sight to behold. The park stands 200 meters and has 12,400 square meters of surface space. Probably the most spectacular feature of the sky park is the 150-meter “vanishing edge” swimming pool, which uses reflections to create the appearance that the pool’s water extends all the way to the horizon. Whereas swimmers inside the pool see the water stretching to infinity, sunbathers above the pool see the pool’s edge drop off at the very end of the roof, giving the impression that the water could fall to the ground 636 feet below.
Deep below the sky park’s pools are four moving joints that allow the sky park to sway up to 20 inches in the wind. These joints were added by the building’s engineers to relieve pressure at the staggering height where the sky park sits.
Some 600 feet below the sky park are The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, a fully functional shopping mall that features 800,000 square feet of retail space. Boutique shops like Gucci, Chanel, Prada, and Ralph Lauren headline the mall, which houses more than 250 luxury stores and restaurants.
A real-life canal runs lengthwise throughout The Shoppes mall, and connects the hundreds of luxury stores to other amenities like several theaters and arenas of various sizes, and a fully functioning indoor ice-skating rink.
Adjacent to The Shoppes mall is the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, with 1.3 million square feet of meeting space. The main ballroom in the center can hold 11,000 delegates, and is the largest in the entire region of Southeast Asia. The center itself has five floors that can each host a convention or business meetings, with room for 250 meeting rooms or 2,500 exhibition booths.
The real moneymaker of the resort, though, is the casino. With a huge floor space of 15,000 square meters, the casino has room for 600 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines. The casino is spread out along four different floors of playing space, and offers baccarat, roulette, sic-bo, “Singapore Stud Poker,” and big six wheels. Marina Bay Sands was also approved by the Singapore government to spread craps, blackjack, and pai gow tiles.
The last big amenity at the Marina Bay Sands is its ArtScience Museum, which showcases creativity in the fields of art, science, design, media, architecture, and technology. The museum’s large roof resembles a lotus flower, and is recognizable as a distinct feature of the Singapore skyline in its own right. The museum’s roof also includes an adjustable waterfall that runs on collected rainwater.
Visitors to the world’s most expensive resort certainly have their pick of attractions to enjoy, but what are the actual guest rooms like? The Marina Bay Sands offers nine different room types, ranging from the basic “deluxe room” all the way up to the chairman suite, a living space of almost unimaginable luxury.
The chairman suite can be configured in two color schemes, black-and-granite or gold-and-earth, depending on the guest’s preference. The suite sits on levels 53 and 54 of its hotel tower, and features 630-square meters of living space. With unobstructed views of Singapore from three-bedroom balconies, guests will hardly want to leave the suite to enjoy all the amenities of the resort itself.
The chairman suite also comes with its own dedicated “team of butlers,” who are on-call 24 hours a day to accommodate guest needs. A variety of laptops and tablet computers are available for suite guests to use as well.
Each chairman suite includes a master bedroom with a furnished balcony and “his and hers” bathrooms. Three other bedrooms are also located in the suite, two with balconies, and one designed for children with no access to a balcony. Guests select from a daily menu of luxury linens and pillows for their bedding. All bedrooms include walk-in closets and bathrooms, and each bathroom comes standard with a jacuzzi, a rain shower, and double sinks.
In the living area of the chairman suite, you will find a baby grand piano, two living rooms, a dining room, a dry bar and pantry, and a kitchen. The suites also include media rooms, a study, an exercise room, and a game room with a pool table and a bar.
Needless to say, staying in the chairman suite is not cheap. The price for a single night’s accommodation is $17,000. Even the least expensive rooms in the Marina Bay Sands are relatively costly, with stays in the resort’s basic rooms starting at $900 a night.
Those luxurious room amenities, the resort’s spectacular attractions, and the property’s valuable real estate in the heart of Singapore all combine to make the Marina Bay Sand’s the most expensive building in the world.