Singapore's second "integrated resort," Resorts World is more of a leisure destination compared to its urban counterpart, Marina Bay Sands. A S$6.59-billion project, the resort covers 49 hectares (121 acres) on Sentosa, Singapore's fun island getaway. The resort's six different hotels (which offer a total 1,200 rooms and suites) accommodate mainly leisure travelers and families, as do the attractions here, the highlight of which is Universal Studios Singapore. The shopping arcade is packed with gift shops and candy stores, plus shops selling luxury fashion and accessories. Look for the Chihuly Studio (Hotel Michael; tel. 65/6577-6990) to see the world-renowned artist's eye-popping glass sculptures, all for sale. Over 60 dining choices offer everything from inexpensive local treats to outstanding dining experiences from possibly the world's greatest chef, Joël Robuchon. The resort also hosts meetings and conventions, and at night, there's the Voyage de la Vie show and a few nightlife options.
The Casino has 530 gaming tables with over 19 different games, plus 1,300 electronic game machines set amid glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly and a garden court with natural sunlight, fresh air, and water features. A resident band plays nightly, and you'll find food promotions and drinks trolleys throughout. You must be 21 years or older to enter; the main entrance is on the basement level just beneath the Crockfords Tower hotel. Foreigners can enter for free (bring your passport), while Singapore citizens and residents must pay a fee. There's also a dress code prohibiting beachwear, flip-flops, casual shorts and sleeveless T-shirts.
Universal Studios Singapore (8 Sentosa Gateway; tel. 65/6577-8899) opened in 2010, but at press time, not all rides and attractions were up and running. The theme park is divided into seven zones that include Jurassic Park, Shrek, Sci-Fi City, New York, Hollywood, Madagascar, and Ancient Egypt, with 24 themed rides for all ages. Inside the park you'll also find restaurants, snack bars, and gift shops. Before you go, here are some critical tips: Book in advance -- if this is a big part of your holiday plan, buy tickets online when you plan your trip. Limited tickets are available each day on a first-come, first-served basis, but they run out fast -- especially on weekends and holidays. Otherwise, you can queue on the day itself and hope there are tickets left. I also recommend getting to the park at opening. The crowds pour in by 11am, so if you're early, you can try to beat some of the long lines for rides. Also, you may want to bring a change of clothes if you plan to get wet on the water rides.
The park is open daily from 10am to 7pm, but hours can vary, so it's a good idea to call in advance. On Fridays and Saturdays, the park hosts Hollywood After Hours from 7 to10pm, with discounted dining and shopping, plus a pyrotechnic show (rides are closed, though). Ticket prices are as follows: weekday 1-day pass S$66 adults, S$48 children (ages 4-12), and S$32 seniors. Weekend and public holiday 1-day pass S$72 adults, S$52 children, and S$36 seniors. Two-day passes are S$118 adults, S$88 children, and S$58 for seniors. The ticket includes free passage on all rides, except for the Amber Rock Climb, which is an extra S$10 per person. Note: The park also sells a Universal Express feature that lets you jump to the head of the queue of one line only for an extra S$30 per person on weekdays and S$48 per person on weekends and public holidays. Access to Hollywood After Hours is S$5 per person and includes 15% discount on all meals at park restaurants. Tickets can be purchased online from www.rwsentosa.com or by making a reservation at tel. 65/6577-8899. The Universal Studios Singapore ticket booth, located at the main entrance, is open Sunday to Thursday 9am to 8pm, and Friday and Saturday 9am to 9pm.
At the waterfront promenade, an enormous light and fountain display called Crane Dance is staged every evening at 9pm; the 10-minute show is free of charge. At press time, additional attractions were slated to open starting in 2011. The Marine Life Park promises to be the world's largest oceanarium, with over 700,000 creatures on display in 20 million gallons of water, plus special entertainment and educational programs, all built around a conservation theme (which, ironically, has drawn criticism from local and international conservationists about the ethics of keeping wild marine life in a leisure attraction in the first place). Also on the cards is the Maritime Xperiential Museum, a waterfront display dedicated to the history and global importance of sea trade, with a multimedia, interactive theater-in-the-round.
There are six hotels here, including the Hard Rock Hotel. Two hotels, Equarius Hotel and Spa Villas, are scheduled to open in 2011-2012. The ESPA spa will also open in 2011.
A final tip: The complex has a kids' club that is open to everyone, whether you're staying at the resort's hotels or not. It's located in the Hard Rock Hotel, with excellent staff and planned activities and games for children 3 years and older. The cost is S$12 per hour, extra if you want them to serve meals.
You can get to the resort by following any of the routes mentioned above that will take you to Sentosa. The public bus that leaves from VivoCity shopping mall drops you in the basement just near the casino. The light-rail train's first stop on Sentosa lets you off at the resort's main promenade.