Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore's Integrated Resort (IR), is a casino resort offering attractions, hotels, spa, casino and meetings & incentive venues.
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I used to work in a shop here (which is how I decided I'm really not cut out for retail), and I suppose that's how you really get to know every nook and cranny of the place. So here's an insider's perspective.
Having to be here for a month really taught me to seek out all the cheap eats, and I have to confess, I ended up eating at BreadTalk most of the time. Although I have to say, the Astons here isn't half bad for good food at a low price, if you don't mind the wait. There is a food court serving really cheap meals in kind of a cafeteria style, but I suspect that's staff only, and it's really dingy. Anyway, you're at RWS, so I suppose you came prepared to splurge!
The shopping here is frankly, not worth the time, unless you're loaded. The casino, though, is always inundated with crowds, so I suppose if you're a betting man, here's the spot. Anyway it's always fun to just sit and people-watch, as I used to do on my (very lonely) breaks. I suppose even if you're alone without much change to spare, you can just come here to soak up the really festive atmosphere - it isn't a Singaporean landmark for nothing, the manufactured spirit of revelry does work wonders.
More than the casino
Contrary to popular belief, there is actually much more you can see in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) besides its signature item, the casino. As an employee, i worked as a mashaller for a week for their grand opening, and had the chance to explore most of its subterranean depths and back alleys rarely ventured into.
One fascinating thing about RWS is that the carpark is really huge. Whats even more fascinating is there is a string of thriving shops below as well unknown to most except for its most ardent visitors, who don't mind a jaunt any below, ground level and above. I managed to get a meal for free as an employee at the cafes but only paid $3+ to $4 when I came back again after my contract ended. Such prices are unheard of in the realm above, where a single meal can cost a double digit figure.
The main attractions of RWS are indeed the casino and its assortment of theme and amusement parks. Whilst fun, I feel that they are over-rated. The theme parks themselves boasted of 2 rides under repairs and a ride or 2 too violent I almost threw up. The only theme park in my opinion, worth visiting is just Universal Studios, if just for a shot with the globe. Moreover, the shops lining the way to the theme parks sell at such exhorbitant prices that I felt that you shall just ignore them and not even waste the effort of going inside.
The casino, meanwhile, is commendable in its design. The exterior is glowing red, giving you a lucky feel (Red is a lucky colour for the Chinese as its loud character bespokes volumes of cascading wealth and prosperity, not to mention playing a pivotal role in scaring away nian). Unfortunately, I can't describe the interior as I was underage then (and still is), hence not being able to enter and have a poke around.
As with everything else in Singapore, everything in Resort World Sentosa (RWS) comes at a pretty high cost (excluding the psychological trauma done after forking out the hard earned money). Even the food there, costs a BOMB. I am not exaggerating one bit. RWS houses the famous Universal Studios Singapore and Adventure Cove Waterpark, amongst others; and a lot of other enticing retail shops.
Travelling there by the Sentosa express costs a bomb ($3.50 to and fro with no limit on how many inter-trips); but I would recommend just walking there using the Sentosa Boardwalk and pay $1. Yes, you have to pay for WALKING. Plus, you get to enjoy the magnificient view of the sea and surroundings! Great for a long stroll. Do't worry, there are travellators and sheltered walkways.
Man-Made Natural Habitat
I still remember one of my most hilarious memories in this place. Without knowing that we were not allowed to ride bicycles into this place, me and my friend cycled all the way from Sentosa's bicycle kiosk to Resorts World Sentosa only to be chased by the security guard.
Though that was not before we got a few good shots with the lovely man-made cave-lookalike structure at the side of Resorts World Sentosa. With much effort made to look like a natural habitat, the place is plump with greenery and even some water fountains nearer to the edges of Resorts World Sentosa.
Other occasions that lead me to this place would be the dining available. During the period as an annual pass holder for Universal Studios, my family and I would head to Ding Tai Fung for a scrumptious lunch before heading to the thrilling rides at Universal Studios.
This place is rather quiet during weekdays and has a nice vibe to it.
Resorts World Sentosa bloomed and bustled with activities. I recalled being enthralled the first time I lay a foot there. It was brilliantly constructed. Resorts World Sentosa boasted a humongous casino that screamed grandeur all over. The arches and pillars that sprawled before me boosted the sense of luxury there. Iconic hotels with a touch of individuality were scattered nearby. Resorts World Sentosa felt like a universe that was worlds apart from Singapore. Truly the destination for any form of short get-aways.
Unfortunately, it wasn't all peaches and cream there. The stores available there aren't applaudable at all. I wasn't impressed. The halal stores were limited. We could only rely on the Malaysian food stall located nearby the Universal Studios of Singapore and Coffee Bean. It gets blend and banal after a couple of days constantly consuming those there. Hence, we had to equip ourselves with a baggage full of edibles during our week long stay-cation there. Baggages stocked with food weren't the only thing we had to equip ourselves with. Apparently, so did our wallets. The price tags at the stores available there were certainly no laughing matter. It had numerical digits that seemed to trail forever. Resorts World Sentosa should totally consider sprucing the area up with a fusion of both affordable and the not-so ones within their compound.
Find Everything Within This Intergrated Resort
Resorts World Sentosa is the gateway into Sentosa, with the iconic Sentosa Boardwalk and Sentosa Gateway Arch And Bridge the first things visitors see. As an integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa has nearly everything, including attractions, retail shops, restaurants, entertainment and more.
The majority of Resorts World Sentosa consists of retail space, which encompasses Festive Walk, The Forum and The Galleria, Luxury Fashion. Generally, the shops here consist of mid-range to high-end branded or luxury goods. Dining options are more varied at Resorts World Sentosa, ranging from cheap eateries and fast food, to affordable cafes, to more pricey restaurants, and even fine dining at celebrity chef restaurants. There are 2 free shows which take place only once on a daily basis, the Crane Dance is at 9pm and the Lake Of Dreams is at 9.30pm. Plan your time in advance, and you'll be able to catch both shows.
The rest of Resorts World Sentosa is bounded by 5 hotels, all with different themes, as well as the Resorts World Convention Centre. Crockfords Tower is the exclusive, by-invitation only hotel, with an elegant, luxurious and sophisticated theme. The Casino is also located at the base of Crockfords Tower. Hotel Michael is a tribute to architect Michael Graves, with a modern and contemporary artistic theme and artworks. The whimsical and playful Festive Hotel caters to families, while the edgy Hard Rock Hotel with its rock and roll theme is more suited for meeting, conferences, and exhibitions. The rainforest themed Equarius Hotel is well situated off the beaten track, right next to several nature trails for hiking, and also has 11 ocean suites with underwater views.
One of the highlights of Resorts World Sentosa is the Marine Life Park, S.E.A. Aquarium, The Maritime Experiential Museum and Adventure Cove Waterpark. The S.E.A. Aquarium is the world's largest oceanarium, housing over 800 marine species in 49 habitats, including many uncommon species, like the only giant oceanic manta ray in captivity. The Adventure Cove Waterpark is a wet play area, with 6 water slides, 14 themed areas, and one of the world's longest lazy-rivers. The Maritime Experiential Museum showcases the history of ancient maritime trade, with over 400 artefacts and the Typhoon Theatre.
It's also worth exploring the scenic Water Front of Resorts World Sentosa, with its Historic Ship Harbour, Lighthouses and Art Sculptures By Romero Britto. The other star highlight here is the theme park Universal Studios Singapore, with 24 attractions in 7 themed zones.
If you're planning a visit to Resorts World Sentosa, do note that while admission to the general areas is free, admission fees for the various attractions vary. Allocate between 1 to 4 hours for viewing, and be prepared to do quite a lot of walking.