May 7, 2010

Marina Bay Sands - An Embarrassing Show

Well, this is one hotel that I will be avoiding, at least for the next one or two years. Hope they get their act together, by then.
    ST May 6, 2010
    Uproar over Marina Bay Sands conference woes
    By Ng Kai Ling & Lim Wei Chean

    ORGANISERS of the first conference held at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) are looking into taking action against the integrated resort (IR) for the problems which plagued the event from the word go.

    They say MBS failed to deliver the 'unmatched guest experience' it promised when it first signed the deal early last year.

    Mr Yap Wai Ming, chairman of this year's organising committee for the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) conference, said they will take stock of all the things that went wrong before meeting MBS to discuss the issue. He did not give a date for the meeting.

    The IPBA conference, a prestigious meeting of lawyers now into its 20th year, was the first event hosted at the IR, which threw open its doors on April 27 after months of delay. More than 1,000 lawyers and judges from all over the world, including the United States, Japan and Chile, attended the meet, which started on Sunday and ended yesterday.

    By the time it was over, delegates had compiled a long list of complaints about MBS, ranging from minor irritations to major flaws:

    - At the five-star Marina Bay Sands Hotel, some delegates spent the first night without air conditioning.

    - Some guests had to make calls using their mobile phones because the room phones were not working.

    - Some rooms had no hot water or working toilet flushes.

    - Facilities like the gymnasium, spa and swimming pool were not ready for use.

    But the problems did not end at the hotel rooms.

    At the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, sound quality in the conference rooms was poor, and meetings were interrupted by construction noise or worse.

    Mr Yap said an IPBA committee meeting had to be reconvened along a corridor because of loud piped music playing in the meeting room. He said MBS told them it was unable to turn the music off as the sound engineer was not around.

    To add insult to injury, the power went out for more than half an hour in the conference room on Tuesday during the address by the Chief Justice of the Australian state of New South Wales.

    The inadequacies so irked the delegates that one of them, lawyer Axel Reeg from Germany, raised a motion during the annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday that the association take a 'fair and tough stance' against MBS for not delivering what it promised.

    'The conference has been world class. The venue was presented to us as going to be world class. Sadly, it is not yet world class...I think we should rename Marina Bay Sands to Construction Bay,' the 51-year-old told the assembled lawyers at the AGM.

    Mr Yap said MBS should have been more honest about the progress of the IR right from the start, when it knew that its planned opening last December would have to be pushed back because of unforeseen construction setbacks and labour shortages.
    One of my lawyer friends, who was staying over at the hotel for the conference, told me that the hotel even messed up the check-in/check-out times for their guests.

    Five hours before my friend was due to check out, the hotel staff thought that she and her husband had already checked out. The hotel staff assigned the room to a new guest and insisted on sending his luggage to my friend's room.

    My friend had to tell them exasperatedly, "Wait, WAIT. You are making a mistake. This is MY room. You can't give a stranger a key to enter into MY room. This is a security breach!!"

    She also telephoned several times to ask for mineral water, but it never came. Oh, and she had to use her own handphone to call. The telephone in her hotel room was not working.

    There were other horror stories - about hotel guests getting stuck in lifts etc. In one case, the lift worked, but only partially - the door opened only halfway, so the hotel guests had to squeeze their way out.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    A terrible start, for the highly-billed IR. What happened to the quality control?


    thor said...

    Such issues should have been found out during the soft launches and ironed out way before the actual opening. MY guess is that the pressure was ON to rival sentosa opening timing...
    A lot of times time to market is being overstressed despite the obvious flaws and "bombs" that will arise from launches prior to completion of the projects.

    Anonymous said...

    Once these faults are fixed, things should be OK. And the hoo ha will also die down after a while or maybe longer for more serious ones like if someone died.

    Many things are like that, not just in the hotel and convention sector.

    So let's move on for better times ahead and more good years. Sounds familiar?

    Anonymous said...

    It seems that the IR is as shoddily run as it is ugly to look at. The entire place is an eyesore that should have never gotten building permission. And it seems the interior is fighting to outdo the exterior ugliness in terms of quality standards. Well it proofs that many things in SGP are sadly enough only words and empty promises, and that the island is still light years away from doing well in the service industry!

    Anonymous said...

    and this has been deemed by the government as the hottest thing that will boost singapore's economy... well it seems all the IR can do is to destroy the international reputation of singapore!

    Anonymous said...

    Anon 2:28 pm

    Not so serious lah. Other countries also have such problems and maybe even much worse. But they recover. So will we.

    I remember a foreign big shot in the industry commented that even if SIngapore failed in IR or whatever, the good thing is it will have a second chance.

    Anonymous said...

    why IR here or IR there? the whole damn thing is but just casino they are interested with.

    yeah i support the casino and i quit my job just to be a full time gambler.

    i paid 2k for 1 year, which translate to about 5.50 a day. i'll try to win 200 a day playing bacarrat with 50,000.

    Anonymous said...

    Why is everyone complaining? They did promise "unmatched guest experience", din they? They did deliver, 'cos which hotel out there can match such experience? None right, as far I remember, no hotels start out getting guests stuck in lifts, unusable phone system, security breach ... all in one day. Unmatched guest experience indeed, they just did not say is is a good or bad one. :P

    Anonymous said...

    "What happened to the quality control?"

    Now here's the scapgoat!!

    Who is the Quality Director/Manager/Engineer in charge of the project!!

    We should held them responsible for not ensuring quality while the management did a great job LOL

    Anonymous said...

    don't you juz luv the casinoes? oops, i mean IRs? they are truly providing jobs to the economy

    not to mention we lawyers will be having a field day filing suits...hmmm, if there are sufficient numbers, perhaps a class action suit will be nice. and a milestone for singapore's very own legal history.

    i was anticipating all these problems from mbs 2-3 years back when i noticed discrepancies in the progress and the claimed opening date.

    Anonymous said...

    LOL they should have known better than to piss off a bunch of lawyers. Sue them back to the stone age, go!

    Anonymous said...

    wow is all I can say.

    bring on the dirt. this is so bad it's funny.

    Vincent said...

    This is indeed the ultimate joke which I will be sharing with my friends for weeks to come. A large group of top-notch international lawyers coming down to singapore to experience worst standard of living than me. haha.

    1) No air-con. considering it's extremely hot at 32 degrees during the night these few days. At least I got fan in my house. If they were to open their windows, it will face the deafening roar of the ECP.
    2) No internal telephone. They will have to use their roaming mobile to call the hotel for room service (which may not come)
    3) No toilet flush. this is the ultimate. if the room service did come, it will be with a bucket of water. else it's gonna stinks.
    4) No water for consumption. Not even newater! They are living in a desert.

    Anonymous said...

    Cheaper Better Faster.

    Anonymous said...

    world class buildings + third world salaried contruction workers + at least 100% return of profit to the govt = PAP ( the one and the only)

    DK said...

    Somehow I felt that they were too eager to open their doors. Come on, get everything right before you open your doors.

    Speaking of which.... How come they can get license to start business when other part of the building is still under constructions? Isn't it dangerous to the public?

    Anonymous said...

    Think Hotel 81 can provide better service. Seems like without IR Singapore economy will come to a standstill. Ears getting numb of hearing IR here and IR there. Probably in the long run it will lead society INTO RUIN.
    Wonder whether "YOG" will be the next embarrassment.

    Anonymous said...

    When they go hotel room balcony hoping to admire the view, they face the ECP highway and the noise.

    What a setting and what a view!


    Better go to the Bahamas casino resort in the Caribbean!

    Anonymous said...

    Well, since Citizens are really not invited nor welcomed, who cares?

    Let foreigners advertise their shortcomings to the world. Let them screw each other through and through.

    We citizens just stay away on the sidelines and watch the show.

    lex said...

    This is hilarious.. MBS would have it easy if it had been a convention for manga fans.. hahaha but a conference of lawyers, I imagine the lawsuits to be fast and furious

    Anonymous said...

    Sad to say the SG brand is no longer the same as the past. Quality Control has given way to profits and bottom line.

    Anonymous said...

    In Pyongyang, the only international-class hotel (well, the only one that foreign tourists stay in) has elevators that open their doors on every floor.

    Welcome to Pyongyang South.

    Anonymous said...

    Eh, even manga fans would have been furious.

    These are very basic things that MBS screwed up in. I mean, imagine a hotel room with a toilet flush that doesn't work, and no hot water.

    Nowadays, even SAF barracks are better than that!

    Artxy said...

    it seemed as though some people are really delighted when teething problems plague the IR. wondering why...

    Anonymous said...

    When citizens are no longer proud of what the Government is doing, it is time to ponder why.

    Deaf frogs should be wary of slippery wells. Falling in means no way out.

    Anonymous said...

    it's bad management, plus bad public policy guidelines, and implementation.

    first - management only want to earn money, to open the casino but guideline says must have XX no of hotel rooms, and other facilities.

    so though management knows that hotel and staff not ready. what the heck, open and make money from casino.

    did any public officer do quality control? but guideline never said that hotel must be operating properly only that XX no of hotel room must be open.

    also, somewhere, someone must have thought it is good idea to open with a big bang convention. probably suggested to organising committee to hold it there, trusting that management will respond accordingly...but hey.. management not govt linked..maybe the management already told someone that it is not ready? did anyone listen?

    yes, it is very sad day for Singapore Inc.

    Anonymous said...

    Not strictly connected to this post, but I was at the casino Friday night. Singaporeans and PRs couldn't gain entry since the systems were down. Several men in suits walked up and down, but no one had a clue as to what to do.

    One hour later I and 50-60 people who had been waiting paid 100 bucks and got in. All the while foreigners were walking in without any problem.

    Imagine! Paying customers were made to wait. No contingency plan, no alternative arrangement, nothing!

    There air is still full of dust. The casino looks fabulous, but there aren't many eating or drinking options. Marina Bay Sands has a looooong way to go! But I won't be going there anytime soon.

    Anonymous said...

    reminds me of the opening of the Hong Kong airport 2 decades ago. In the rush to open the facility, QC has taken a back seat.

    Well gonna be glad that we have lawyers there for the first run, they will be moving the improvements.

    No one complain about the casino portion of the IR though...

    Anonymous said...

    I thought must pass BCA inspection to be open?

    Anonymous said...

    There you have it.

    S'pore going backwards, from 1st world to 3rd world, just China during the late 80s and early 90s.

    Standards have certainly decline.

    After every mistakes in the past, it's always the "let's move on" bullshit. Now we really have "move on" to more cock-ups.

    Let's move on again? Where do we move on from here?

    auntielucia said...

    Wondering whether the lawyer conference organisers got a special deal to be the 1st at MBS?

    If so, then they shld expect teething problems lah! Pay peanuts n u get shell accommodation n service.

    If they paid top $, then they shld sue and get Mr Hates to Lose More than Wins to pay up.. perhaps lifelong entrance fee to MBS for S'poreans and a month's free stay for non-S'poreans?

    Anonymous said...

    Are the leaders testing us with a dose of bad governance?

    Seems to me the standard of our first world government has degenerated quite noticeably of late.

    They must be pretty confident of total support from the new citizens over such a gamble.

    Anonymous said...

    IR screw up = Government fault!!???

    And Government merely gives out licenses...

    Sugggest that we should be fair and call a spade a spade...

    Anonymous said...

    agreed, people are blaming the government when IR screwed up.

    should we blame the government too when the dinner tastes horrible?

    Anonymous said...

    Quality control is a non-issue in Singapore because operators are not held repsonsible for poor service or lapse of service.

    There simply is no carrot and no stick to have good quality.

    System goes down, Singaporeans only grumble and endure in silence. They lack the guts to speak up or vote with their feet.

    System goes down, the operator just pins the blame on "technical fault", shrug their shoulders and tell you f*** off. You can't sue them, and there isn't a culture of holding operators liable for poor service

    Our budget airlines are frequently plagued with bad service or no service. But yet, nothing has changed. The law can't do anything about their track record of poor customer service, and they don't seem to be bothered to improve, since they know there are lots of cheapskates out there who will risk flying with them because their tickets are cheap.

    The said...

    /// thor said...
    Such issues should have been found out during the soft launches and ironed out way before the actual opening. MY guess is that the pressure was ON to rival sentosa opening timing... ///

    Thor - but that WAS the soft launch. The problem is that they chose to have a soft opening with the lawyers' convention. If you notice, only parts of the hotel are opened for business.

    I think the real reason is that they want to operate the casino as early as possible. And it is possible to operate the casino when other parts of the complex are opened - hence the term IR.

    Raelynn said...

    i think people are not happy about the IR, not exactly because we're not proud of it per say, but because Singaporeans feel like they are being treated as second class citizens in their own country about the IR by restricting all singaporeans to having to pay the 100dollar levy to enter a specific area in the IR.

    now, i am totally for the family to be able to prohibit the other member to enter the casino because of compulsive gambling problems. but having to levy 100dollars for other regular public?? they can come up with all the glorious reasons for all they want, but frankly its just plain ridiculous. it's not about "if you cant pay means you cant afford to play/ if you can afford to play in the casino, you can well pay the levy". when you impose the levy, people who pay and enter the casino, they have the mentality of "i've paid a hundred bucks already anyway, i'll just play". compare this to if there's no levy, and the general public waltzes in, takes a look, maybe gambles a little (say 100dollars for the sake of argument) just to try their luck and then waltzes out again.

    i might be the minority to think this way, but the levy just might increase the compulsive gambling anyway.

    SMS said...

    Mr Wang, interesting event .... I remember watching on TV earlier this year of a grim faced Minister walking the ground to push the schedule. Fortunately no one was hurt or major electrical safety mishaps. It goes to show that when a project quality is sacrifice for the sake of some political face saving or political agenda.

    Anonymous said...

    Citizens endure long lines, crammed together like sardines to pay the $100 levy.

    Foreigners, on the other hand, get a wide spacious entrance and an easy cruise into the casino.

    It smacks of blatant discrimination against Singapore citizens.

    Might as well put up a sign saying "Singaporeans and dogs not welcomed."

    Oh wait. We are doing that already. There are many companies who have stated explicitly or inplicitly in their recruitment advertising that "Singaporeans are not welcomed to apply".

    Anonymous said...

    Sounds an analogy scenario of the airport in UK?

    Icemoon said...

    Foreigners, on the other hand, get a wide spacious entrance and an easy cruise into the casino.

    Not really. PRs, whom we consider foreigners, also suffer the same fate like us. In fact only government thinks they are not foreigners in the statistics, haha

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...

    I thought the $100 levy was imposed to discourage Singaporeans and PRs from entering the casino to safeguard them against gambling problems? That was one of the measures the govt had proposed coz people were concerned about social repercussions of having IRs in Singapore.

    beAr said...

    my guess is that they chose to open and face a lawsuit, than to face an even bigger lawsuit by breaking the contract with IPBA.

    Anonymous said...

    Its all fengshui, which they picked an auspicious time. The casino is making money even on the first day.

    If faced with lawsuit, they would just pay and compensate. The casino earnings would be more than make up for it.

    Xtrocious said...

    Maybe MBS is just like the ang mos...all show and no substance...hahah

    According to what I know, MBS had to have a certain percentage (40% of GFA if I remember correctly) of their IR open before they can get the casino license...

    Anonymous said...

    I hope the lawyers sue the hell out of MBS. They are a truly arrogant and incompetent bunch. I resigned from the organisation after 2 wks of training whereby they promise to turn all of the employees into double headed snakes. Not only did they fail to give me what they promised during the job interview, they are turning around to ask me to compensate them. What an obnoxious group of frogs!

    Anonymous said...

    i remember people saying MBS will be greater and grander than RWS. But look at where it all landed. A bunch of complaints and potential lawsuit. I'll never forget what their CEO said. "Let RWS start first and make all the mistakes." HAHA. Who's making the mistakes now. From what i know, RWS so far has a good and clean record and no lawsuits... =P