August 5, 2020

Safe or not? Staycations in Phase 2 - My MBS experience

Aching for a staycation but worried about COVID? Read how one of SG's top hotels is making guests feel safe and relaxed

Safe or not? Staycations in Phase 2 - My MBS experience

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, travelling overseas has become a distant memory. No more quick JB trips across the causeway, or taking a ferry to batam for a weekend getaways.

At least not for now. And the furthest you can go is probably Sentosa.(PS. Have you heard of this promotion for NDP where you can go on attractions for free? Not a paid promo, but just a good lobang for this NDP!)

Anyway back to topic, the good news is that now that the government has allowed Staycations again during this phase 2.

But you might be wondering, is it really safe to do staycations?

Cat doesn’t agree. Source

So I had the good fortune of scoring a free room at the iconic Marina Bay Sands, so I decided to be a human guinea pig to be an experiment to ‘test’ the safety for you.

You’re welcome.

Let me walk you through my staycation experience in this post COVID world and you’ll get an answer by the end of this article.

Oh and this isn’t a sponsored article by MBS but just sharing my personal experience from my stay!

Checking In

Before you even enter MBS, you need your NRIC or passport to access the different areas inside. Even crossing from the hotel to the mall requires you to re-scan for entry as it’s treated as a different area. Safe Entry is also done at all attractions and restaurants.

Entrance of MBS - Keeping SG safe one temperature screening at a time.

The moment you enter, your temperature is taken while you scan your IC. These stations are set up across multiple entrances and exits and are manned by a dedicated temperature screener.

After entering the lobby, the first thing I noticed is really the people in red. If you guessed they are Safe Distancing Officers, you’re absolutely 100% right!

Just doing their job without anyone in sight 😂

Before proceeding to check in, you will definitely notice the signs that tell you what MBS is doing during this period to ensure the safety of the customers.

Our well-being is definitely their priority if they want to remain open!

They also administered a health declaration form where I needed to declare a few things which is pretty normal. Things like not having traveled out of Singapore for the past 14 days, no symptoms of fever, flu, cough, etc.

You can try scanning the QR code and see 😂

Only after this process is done and checked by the Safety Distancing Officers, was I given the green light to check in with the front desk.

Staff decked in PPE gear. Just short of the gown really.

Let’s just say they’re fully decked with the proper equipment - Masks, face shields and even gloves to protect themselves and the customers. There’s also a motion-sensor sanitiser dispenser at each counter.

This part is pretty straight forward with the checking in, which is the standard process. I was soon given the keys to my room and I headed over to check it out.

Before even entering the room, I noticed that this sign was hanged on nearly every door including mine.

I guess it’s to show that they have cleaned the room to meet the highest SG Clean standards for that added peace of mind for the guests.

If you’re wondering what’s that, then you can take a look here on how businesses can certify themselves to be SG Clean. It’s not exactly easy!

The Room

Finally got into the room! My sweet home away from home. Here’s a quick shot of what the room looks like:

Trust me it is as comfortable as it looks

Oh, I forgot to mention that I was given an amenities kit during my check-in.  It included a useful items like hand sanitizer, surface cleaner, a pair of gloves, mask box (to keep your mask), and a poker thingy for surfaces.

Like you know, those things that you use to poke lift buttons for the super paranoid people. Found something similar sold on Shopee here.

COVID-19 personal prevention kit.

What was noticeably missing from my room though, was items like the in room dining menu and information booklet that states everything you need to know.

Their absence was explained by this paper (picture below) that was in the room, as an effort to reduce touch points between guests as much as possible. Even the TV remote was wrapped in cling wrap, which I assume is changed for each customer.

Thus, those items are now digital and can be accessed by scanning the QR code which includes everything I need to know.

Clean, clean, clean, clean and clean!‌‌

Even the towels were different. They’re wrapped in plastic which shows that it’s washed and packed properly before being given to guests. Another great way to alleviate the safety concerns!

Mmmmm. Clean towels.‌‌

The Amenities

Travelling around the hotel mostly means using the lifts, and like most places the capacity per lift is only capped to 4 people.

There’s a sign displayed at every lift lobby and inside the lift so no excuses to say ‘I didn’t know!’

Follow the max capacity!

Plus every lift is equipped with an automatic hand sanitiser dispenser as well. Sanitize your hands after pressing the lift buttons.. Or use the ‘poker’ 😂

Gotta keep up with those GAINS

I visited the Gym as well during this trip, but I kind of forgot to take pictures here.

A few things that I realized were:

  • You have to do a safe entry check in here, so you need to bring your phone
  • You are given a personal towel and water bottle when entering the gym.
  • Safe Distancing is observed as well, with one machine on and the next machines off
  • Sanitiser wipes available everywhere in the gym to wipe off equipment
  • Staff wipe down machines immediately after someone used it. Considering there was only 2-3 people at the gym when I visited, it was pretty easy.

That being said, measures are put in place to ensure people stay far from each other here as well.

I also visited the pool during my stay. Like seriously, what’s a trip to MBS without visiting the infinity pool?

Infinity pool with literally NO ONE!

I guess during this period without any tourists, there really aren't many people at the pool at all. I took this shot without anyone in the picture at around 5 pm. Those of you who have visited the pool at MBS before would know this rarely ever happens  😅

Anyway before entering, you will need to scan the Safe Entry as well so you definitely need to bring your phone along. Don’t forget your mask and remember to wear them the moment you step out of the pool or risk getting a stern reminder.

Once you entered the pool area, you can grab a pool towel which is also wrapped in plastic like the ones in the room. In case you’re visiting the pool at MBS, here’s a quick tip that most people don’t know.

There’s 2 Jacuzzis available at Tower 3, and 1 Jacuzzi available at Tower 1. These are limited to 4 people only so you get your own space while using it. And yes, they’re heated. Plus you get a really good view of Gardens By The Bay.

View of Gardens By The Bay from the Jacuzzi

With that, let me conclude this section with one last picture of the infinity pool.

I think it’s just my phone, but it’s not that cloudy!‌‌

The Dining

During one of my lunches, I decided to visit the famous Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay.

The missus actually suggested this for lunch as there was a lunch deal, plus I always wanted to visit it so I decided to make a reservation for lunch the following day.

If you notice, the staff is well equipped.

The procedures are pretty standard, requiring the scanning the Safe Entry, temperature taking, and sanitization of hands before entering the outlet.

After being seated, we were given mask covers to put our mask in while eating. Also, there are no physical menus and required us to scan a QR code in order to access the menu on our phones.

At this point, I realize that this is pretty much a norm as reduction of customer touch points is important.

Besides that, it was a pretty normal meal. Here’s a few shots of the food that I had which includes the main course and dessert.

Chicken Kiev, spinach, mashed potatoes, cherry tomatoes
Eton mess, vanilla whipped cream, meringue, mixed berries

Tip: If you’re not an MBS member, remember to sign up as you can get up to 20% cashback while dining in MBS. At least your wallet won’t feel so painful afterwards 😅

The Checkout

This is probably the simplest part of the experience as you can use the express check out to reduce any contact with staff as well.

Drop your keys, and off you go!

After dropping off the keys, I headed to the mall to grab a quick bite at the food court before heading home.

That's pretty much the entire experience from start to finish. I snapped a quick picture of the mall as well before I headed home too.

MBS just ain't as crowded as it used to be, and maybe that's good?

The Conclusion

Once again, this isn’t a paid article for MBS. (However, if anyone from MBS reading this wants to sponsor me another room, I wouldn’t mind. 😅)

The hotels have a very, very tight standard to follow to ensure the safety of their guests. That includes Marina Bay Sands with all the safety measures that are put in place.

After all, I don’t think they want a coronavirus case to happen on their watch as it’ll take a lot of effort to clean up if it ever happens.

For those of you who may be craving that ‘overseas’ retreat, a staycation may be the next best thing considering we won't be able to leave Singapore for a while.

A getaway to the Gardens by the Bay ain't so bad la.

I wish my house view was so nice also

Oh and err.. They’re also having a NDP special where you can visit the domes for 6 months for unlimited times for just the price of a single ticket!

Also, if you’re also wondering what’s the price for an MBS room now, it starts from $299++ for 2 nights minimum. This is pretty much a steal considering I always see that their room costs $500++ during normal times.