Rarely does a building become an icon quite as instantly as the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, its three 55-floor towers topped and connected by a vast, curved-surfboard-like deck, the SkyPark. The most ambitious undertaking yet by its owners, Las Vegas Sands, it opened in April 2010 and quickly replaced the Merlion as the Singapore image of choice in the travel brochures, summing up the country’s glitzy fascination with mammon. Even if you have no interest in the casino – open, naturally, 24/7 – the complex, which includes a convention centre, a shopping mall, two concert venues, numerous restaurants and its own museum, is well worth exploring. The hotel atrium, often so busy with people gawping that it feels like a busy train station concourse, is especially striking, the sides of the building sloping into each other overhead to give the impression of being inside a narrow glassy pyramid.

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Where to stay in Singapore: an area by area guide

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