Hobos Occupy Marina Bay Sands: Singapore 

I have been scheming for some time…for a few months. Now, you may know me as someone who can slum it up a bit…..sleep in questionably sanitary conditions…..dirty sheets…..uuuuh….I am not too sure. But to be sure, I can certainly live it up a bit, too! But I have been scheming, and ever since I started our Southeast Asia trip planning I have had my eye on this gorgeous place in Singapore. The temptation to blow some  big money on a nice hotel is pretty intense whenever I look at photos of this place online, but seriously? Marina Bay Sands – an architectural marvel! This place is expensive and we are budget travelers, and even with the cheapest hotels and grandest of cost cutting measures this trip is still a budget buster! I can’t do it!

We already have reservations in Singapore for rooms at Hotel Nuve for three nights that our son-in-law-to-be Tristan booked. This is a nonrefundable booking, so if I want to stay at this dream hotel we will need to go to Singapore a day earlier. It makes sense to be in Singapore a little longer anyway.

I go to the hotel’s website. I click on the booking link. I back out. Naaah…..it can’t be worth it! I can’t tell you how many times I do this. I think maybe I can work some overtime shifts to pay for it. But I am already working practically every day….

Oh look! I can book a room and don’t have to pay for it until we arrive, and furthermore, I can cancel right up until the day before! I might as well make a reservation! And so that is exactly what I did. It means we will be going to Singapore one day earlier than planned originally, but that’s perfect! The room only accomodates four people……need to figure out what to do with the extra two later…..I don’t tell anyone about my plan. It is going to be a surprise!

About a month before our trip our daughter Ashlee came up with a fantastic idea. It is a special birthday for my dear husband and father of our children this year. Ashlee tells me that she is thinking it would be awesome if our older kids pay for a nice hotel for dad and I to stay at in Singapore for one night, while they take the younger kids.

Well, I latched onto that plan immediately, and tell her that indeed I have a room booked already at this place that I have been dreaming about…..(I hate to say this though, because it shows that I am materialistic, and that is something that I battle against…..I don’t want to be materialistic….).

The plan is that on our first night in Singpore we will stay at this dream hotel, our older kids are paying for it as a birthday gift….and Ashlee is going to take the younger kids so David and I can have a bit of time together! Wow! How sweet is that? Ashlee makes bookings at Hotel Nuve for that night for the rest of the crew, and the plan is perfect! We decide it will be a surprise for the Birthday Boy.

If you are a master manipulator like me it is easy to surprise David. I tell him the day before we leave to Singapore that there is a problem with our hotel booking. Hotel Nuve (which is where we are staying during the wedding) didn’t have enough rooms for the extra night that we are spending in Singapore. I tell him that Ashlee has booked rooms there for the kids and themselves, but David and I will need to stay elsewhere for the first night because they are fully booked.

At first he does not seem too interested in what I am saying. When I tell him that the hotel that I booked us at is really junky, he is annoyed. I try to explain to him that hotels in Singapore are expensive and everything is booked up. I try to console him by telling him that at least it is only for one night. He isn’t having it. I am careful to play the game right…..don’t make him too annoyed….try to minimize the negative….change the subject….luckily he doesn’t ask for the hotel name, because I wasn’t prepared to anwer that.

When we arrive in Singapore we travel in style via metro to the Bayfront MRT station, which after all is what wealthy people do when they go to fancy hotels, right?  Not…..

There are huge signs pointing towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel from the MRT station, and we follow the signs in the passageway directly into the hotel lobby. I am nervous the whole time thinking that David must see the signs and surely knows exactly where we are going, but he does not let on.

Our clothes are ratty and dirty. In fact, I think we don’t have any clean laundry with us right now. We did so much resting and relaxing in Phi Phi that we didn’t even get our laundry washed!

And this is how it is when eight ragamuffins show up in the lobby of a world famous hotel! We all have backpacks on our backs, and certainly don’t have the appearance of high class travelers. The thought of this makes me chuckle to myself. No need to be pretentious here…..

We stop about 100 feet away from the check in desk, and I tell David I need to go to the restroom. I am really not going to the restroom. Johann is in charge of distracting and entertaining David while I go to the check in counter. I am essentially 100% certain that David can see that I am standing in the check in line, but he remains oblivious.

The clerk at the counter peers skeptically at me from behind his glasses. “Do you have a reservation?” I am sure I look like a fright.

I am prepared, and I show him my reservation on my iPad. After a few moments he asks me how many people are staying in the room. I am not sure if he notices the seven other backpackers standing about 100 feet away. I reply that there are four of us; two adults and two children.

After a few uncomfortable moments the clerk tells me that they only have rooms with one king sized bed. He tells me that my reservation is for two people, not four. I show him the email that refers to my reservation for four. Another moment passes and he asks me if a room with a pullout couch is okay, to which I reply of course. My kids can sleep just about anywhere and don’t ever complain. Don’t forget, we are hobos!

As the clerk hands me the key cards he smiles and says, “I gave you a really nice upgrade. I hope you enjoy your stay at Marina Bay Sands!” 

He asks me if I need help with my luggage. Of course not, since everything I own is on my back….and then I am off. 

I veer off course so I can purposely avoid the crowd of seven backpackers standing in the hotel lobby. I don’t want the clerk to think that I belong with them, or they belong with me. 

Once I am out of the clerk’s line of sight I wave to Johann that is is time to go. Seven backpackers follow me to the elevators of Tower 3…..no Louis Vuitton luggage for us…..and it is not until we are up on the 53rd floor that David realizes that this is the “junky hotel” we are staying at!

Imagine my surprise when we walk into our room…..I mean suite! The clerk had upgraded us hobos to a grand 1100 sq ft  (98 sq m) uber luxurious Orchid Suite on the 53rd floor with incredible views of Singapore’s skyline and bay! At first all we can do is look down…..down….down….

We have a full living room…

…..a gorgeous bathroom…..  

…..luxurious bedroom with a second pull out couch….all of us hobos could stay here in comfort…..    

And then I get ADHD……look at the views!

Oh wait…..the pool…..rooftop negative edge…..you need a key card to get in, and only two people can get in with one key card…..so we take turns…..I wonder if security is getting alerted that our key cards keep getting scanned at the pool….


I think we broke the rules and all parenting etiquette….we leave the kids in the pool by themselves….there are so many people in the pool it is not possible to drown….Annika loves the hot tub….


We go out on the observation deck to check out the views. The observation deck is free to hotel guests, but there is a $23 charge for anyone off the street to get up here. Well, we are hotel guests, aren’t we? Here is Jasmine and her bridesmaid, Holly, who joined us as well.

Aundrea and Jasmine haven’t seen each other in two years so when they meet for the first time here Aundrea breaks into tears.


Before long Ashlee and Ville join us too, so there are 12 hobos in our hotel suite. And Tristan brings up some street food for dinner, and there are 13 of us!


We try to get a family photograph. We are all here except Emerson.


The evening wears on. This is a perfect place for some final wedding planning…..enjoying a dinner…..swimming…..catching up with everyone….

Everyone wants to stay. Ashlee disagrees. No one is staying  except David and I. It is our time for each other here high above the skyline in this beautiful city of Singapore. We haven’t been apart from our babies on this trip for a minute. They give us big hugs and kisses, and more rounds of hugs and kisses. 

We discuss if everyone should leave at once, or in groups as not to attract attention…..finally the door clicks shut and it is just Mr. Handsome and I for tonight, this one night of luxury….

Soon as the door closes we prepare to go up to the pool, which is open until 11:00 pm.


Fantastic! The swim is amazing. When the pool closes we head off to sleep (of course). The bed is deliciously comfortable. It is the sweetest thing in the world to lay here cuddled next to my beautiful husband…..

Morning comes too soon, as I am sure you can imagine.


Of course we go straight out to the pool for a morning swim (and photo session).


This pool is just ridiculous!   

You will be happy to know that you are actually reasonably safe up here. You would have to fall into the trough first before you go over the edge.

Yonder you can see busy shipping yards, which is what has made Singapore what it is today.   

Oh look! A mermaid!   

We are busy taking photos……snap…..snap…..snap….

….which makes us hungry….so we head out in search of breakfast. We go down 53 stories…..

Everything is hideously expensive. We end up at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. After breakfast David orders a pannacotta, which is intensely delicious and will remain on our taste buds for life. Our breakfast bill is $56 SGD. OUCH!


And then it is straight back to the pool!! But this time it has been taken over by several selfie addicts. It is very distracting. The self adulation is unbelievable, says me who has a camera glued to my nose 24/7. It is hard to enjoy the pool for what it is when the selfie addicts entertain us. Every single person in the pool is taking photos of themselves nonstop. They aren’t swimming, or enjoying the water, or enjoying the beautiful morning…..but they sure seem to be enjoying their self images! Oh wait, there is one older man in the pool swimming…..and one super model man in the foreground…..

Finally I can’t resist and I train my zoom lens on one of the worst offenders. This girl took pictures of herself for over an hour straight! Actually I don’t think she stopped at all.


Suddenly she notices my zoom lens trained straight on her, and she turns quickly to glance around to see if there is someone behind her that I am taking photos of…..I think she knows I took photos of her….as quickly as she glances around, I swing my camera to the left and nonchalantly act as though I am innocent. And to answer your question….no, I do not have her permission to post these photos here.


In the meantime Johann has joined us.

The pool gets busier and busier, although nothing quite like last evening. I guess it is getting close to checkout time. I call downstairs and arrange for a late checkout.


Oh no…..put this woman in selfie rehab…..she does not stop!


I don’t stop either. It is a competition now. Who can take the most photos……


Ding, ding, ding, ding…….ding, ding, ding, ding…..time’s up! We have to leave!! Argh! We rush to our room, take quick showers, pack our hobo bags…..

The hotel delivered a sweet little birthday surprise for the birthday boy…..we gobble it down and check out….and we feel what? Deflated? Elated?

Oh my gosh! How to describe it? Seriously? I can’t believe we got this amazing upgrade! I can’t explain how incredible the pool is, even with all the self-infatuated, self-adulating, self-loving, self-absorbed selfie takers….

And that is the story about how hobos occupied Marina Bay Sands in Singapore! What an amazing pool, what a beautiful hotel! If I were a millionbillionaire I would stay there and stay there and stay there……

We check our hobo backpacks in at the hotel luggage storage and leave for the day. In the evening we are back to pick up our backpacks, and we take a few photos of this magnificent architectural marvel at night from the street.


And that is how dreams come true…..in some kind of a weird way…..maybe it was a stupid dream to get to stay here at Marina Bay Sands…..maybe it was wasteful thing…..maybe materialistic…..maybe self-indulgent…..maybe unnecessary…..but I will say this….we enjoyed it very, very much! A huge thank you to our kids for this gift and for taking the youngest three so we could have a night to remember.

0 thoughts on “Hobos Occupy Marina Bay Sands: Singapore 

  1. This may very well be one of those times that you’ll remember as one of the highlights of your trip! I’m glad you were able to go, and wish David a very happy birthday!

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