Media Trip Invitation: Marina Bay Sands Singapore

If you have noticed one thing in common about the past 10+ posts in this blog, indeed, they have been about Marina Bay Sands (henceforth: MBS). It has taken me more than 3 weeks to write the series, which are actually detailed breakdowns of the activities (rather, the places that we dined at) that I experienced on a recent media trip to the massive integrated resort in Singapore. The invitation was kindly extended by Marina Bay Sands to a select group of media and media personnel in Jakarta. Of those who participated, I was visibly and obviously the youngest and least experienced. This fact only made me feel even more humbled to receive the surprising invitation.

Marina Bay Sands Singapore at night
MBS Asia's Dining Destination Media Trip was a 3 days & 2 nights journey that was literally packed with culinary and gastronomic experience (warning! indulgence overdose!!). But we didn't just eat and drink non-stop, as the itinerary also included other exciting activities such as the Slava's SnowShow at the theater, river cruise, trip to the ArtScience Museum, kitchen tours and intimate sessions with the key personnel who contribute greatly in the culinary wonders at MBS.

No more suspense now, I am letting the cat out of the bag. So here is the breakdown of our activities during the trip. (for more details of the activities, please click on the title of each, which will take you to the relevant posts)

Day 1:
Lunch at Todai
After the breakfast on board of Garuda Indonesia, we were in a serious need for satisfying tummy-filler. Todai seafood buffet couldn't have been more suitable to fill the gaps. Not a big seafood craze myself, I only tasted the boring seafood item, the salmon sashimi. My friends in our trip group gladly handled the task to being my testers for the other raw stuff like the oysters, snow crab legs, green mussels and cocktail shrimps, etc. Their verdict was a resounding unison: tip-top fresh!

The Social Pavilion & Property Tour
The Social Pavilion is Singapore's 1st interactive social networking platform set in a photo booth where visitors can take photos, personalize the background and post it on Marina Bay Sands Facebook wall. Then we proceeded to property tour around the hotel suite, Banyan Tree Spa and Fitness Club, all of which are located on the upper levels of the property. The view from each sites were simply stunning.
Fitness Club 55 floors above ground.
The lounge area at Banyan Tree Spa
Cocktail hour:
It was such a privilege to watch Waku Ghin's internationally acclaimed bartenders mixing libations right in its bar and lounge at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. At Waku Ghin, the patrons are not just treated to its selection of world-class cocktails, but also to fresh and meticulously prepared bar nibbles.
It was still barely dinner time, so the purpose of our visit was to sample some of CUT's unique floral & herbs infused cocktails and its popular lounge bites. We received a warm welcome by Wes Guild, the Assistant General Manager, Irwan and Lugas the mixologists. Tasting 9 different cocktails at one sitting proved to be quite confounding, but lucky the light bites were heavy enough to keep us "grounded".

Dinner at Au Chocolat
Au Chocolat is a relatively new addition to Marina Bay Sands Singapore's collection of F&B establishments. The 4,700 sq ft casual french dining concept is divided into 2 distinct sections: the Bistro and the Confiserie. Our group was supposed to have a 3-course dinner set. The selections were already picked out from the main menu, so we only had to choose from these available options. We were supposed to see the Chief Chocolatier, Chef Tai create the sticky treats, but somehow it was cancelled.

River Cruise
Having a clean and well-preserved bayfront area presents a lot of incentives to places like Hong Kong and Singapore. Besides becoming a hotspot for business district, the bayfront area is also often used as a chic dining and entertainment hub, as well as tourist attraction, such as river cruise.

Right after dinner, we went to the pier just outside the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and hopped on a traditional motorized wooden boat. It was a lovely experience cruising the bay at this hour (around 8PM). As I listened to the recording about the places we were passing by, I stuck my head out to smell the odourless water and felt soft gusts of wind gently caressing my face.
View of Marina Bay from the river cruise boat

Day 2:
Breakfast at Rise
I had never seen a buffet breakfast at 5 star hotel this busy and crowded before! It was just 9.30 AM when I came down and much to my surprise, I found a long queue at the entrance! These people are actually like me, hotel guests staying at Marina Bay Sands. It didn't seem like they were getting to their tables anytime soon, but lucky me, I cut the queue with just flashing my "special" tag. I felt guilty...sort of.

Exclusive tour of Heart-of-House
Not just anyone can gain access into the Heart-of-House at Marina Bay Sands, unless you are one of the 8,000 staff or you are under some official business with someone inside. I was none of the above, hence I feel deeply privileged to have Executive Chef Christopher Christie as our host who took us around the labyrinthine underground food factory where all the culinary wonders at Marina Bay Sands were made possible.

ArtScience Museum Visit: Andy Warhol & Harry Potter Exhibitions
Ms. Anita, the Education Officer at the museum took us on a tour around the exhibition that tells the life of the whimsical and entrepreneuristic persona, Andy Warhol. He is an eccentric artist who was misunderstood because his thoughts were too advanced for the people then to understand. After which, we went on to Harry Potter exhibition that showcased the props and original artefacts such as clothings, items, etc that were used in the movie production. I was an avid fan of Harry Potter, but now that I've "grown" out of it, the exhibit took me only 20 minutes to finish.
The famous flying car from Harry Potter's 2nd book
Lunch at Sky on 57
We were lucky that at the time of our visit, Chef Justin was on site, managing a few restaurants simply means he has to divide his time between his restaurants in Taiwan, Singapore and Shanghai. While listening to Chef Justin explaining about his self-labelled wines, JQ, the free-flow of complimentary bread rolls entertained our eager tummies.

Kitchen Tours:
Ø Waku Ghin
Our group was entertained with a preview of what the intimate experience would be like. Well, it was not that intimate by Waku Ghin's standard, as there were 11 of us. And despite the squeezing for space and perfect angle and spot to capture each moments when the chef was cooking, we had much enjoyment, right from when the slab of butter hit the smooth flat and wide conduction stove.
Ø Guy Savoy
Chef de Cuisine Charles-Benoit Lacour demonstrated the creation of one of Guy Savoy's signature: the Tomato Medley. Simply put, it's an ensemble of a variety of fresh, diced, imported tomatoes and diced tomato jellies The dish packs a twist because the tomato juice that oozes out from the top plate will trickle down the holes, to season the surprise laid underneath: warm tomato tart with tomato soup. We didn't sample this dish, so I can't comment on the taste.

Dinner at db Bistro Moderne
Before watching Slava's Snow Show at the Theater, we were scheduled to have dinner at db Bistro Moderne by Daniel Bouloud. Chef Boulud himself was regrettably, not present at the time of our visit. I can only imagine having to manage 13 restaurants in 6 locations scattered across the globe, from the Big Ben to the Big Apple. The  Chef trusted the operations in Singapore in good hands: Executive Chef Stephane Istel, who has worked alongside Chef Boulud for more than 6 years.

Slava's SnowShow
Slava's SnowShow is a theater performace created by a famously eccentric pantomime act, Slava Polunin of Russia. The peformance didn't have any concrete plot to follow, so it was purely sit-down and have-fun type of performance. Audience was especially entertained by the interactive chance where the casts would either splash the select "lucky" audience with water, make a fool out of them or rain white paper confettis resembling snow.
Slava's SnowShow

Day 3:
A stay at Marina Bay Sands is incomplete without taking a dip in its famous Infinity Pool. The narrow but long strip of pool has an edge that vanishes into the infinite horizon facing the Marina Bay. The illusion of water cascading vertically from this elevation is so appealing and enviable, that many would just come here to pose at the edge or bring their cameras into the pool  to snap some photos (like I did, see the photo below). I'm not good in the pool, so after a few laps and several snapshots later, I left to get ready for breakfast. Non-hotel guests can access the pool for a fee.
Infinity Pool
Breakfast at Sky on 57 with the Vice President of F&B for Marina Bay Sands, Tamir Shanel
Our group breakfast with Mr. Tamir Shanel, Vice President of F&B Marina Bay Sands was arranged in one of the private rooms at Sky on 57. We had been here the previous day for lunch and it was such a pleasurable feast, so I expected the food to be nothing less for the breakfast. Soon after ordering, Mr. Shanel entered the room. Much to my surprise, he settled next to my chair! I almost felt like jumping out of my seat and moving to another unoccupied chair. 

An hour with Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher
The live cooking demo took place at The Club, which on normal days serve as an exclusive all-day dining venue only for guests staying in the the Club Rooms and Suites of Marina Bay Sands. An hour with Ryan Witcher means 60 minutes of pure sugar rush and I'm loving every second of it!
Pizzeria Mozza is one of Mario Batali's restaurants and of course I was excited to get to try his pizzeria concept. We were treated to a 4-course Italian lunch at Pizzeria Mozza that Executive Chef Carla Mendoza and team had kindly prepared for our group.
Lastly mentioned, but the most important of all, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to Marina Bay Sands for the invitation extended and for hosting such a delightful gastronomical experience. Not only did it enrich me with an experience of my lifetime, but along the way, I've made new friends who I probably wouldn't have met outside. Thank you :)
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