The Inside View
Two residents of Marina Bay, one former: James O’Brien, account manager with a financial consultancy firm, and one current: writer and editor, Monica Pitrelli, give their views on living in Singapore’s showpiece district.
Why did you choose to live in Marina Bay?
Monica Pitrelli: That’s easy: work. My husband’s office is in Repbulic Plaza, so it’s really convenient for him to get to work. We have an apartment on the 24th floor of The Sail and have been here since 2009.
James O’Brien: We moved into a two-bedroom apartment in The Sail in 2006 because it was relatively cheap at the time. The Sail had just come on the market and there were hundreds of apartments being leased at the same time, so the owners were not in a strong position.
What is it like living there?
MP: In the last year, prices have doubled at The Sail. When we moved in there were so many open properties that it was really a buyer’s market and we could practically name our own price but, now that most of the units of been snapped up, it’s much more difficult to negotiate a good deal.
We do really like it though, even if the apartment is small. We have a fantastic view out over Suntec and could even see a part of the F1 race, until construction blocked our view.
What’s the best thing about living in Marina Bay?
MP: Free firework shows! It’s ridiculous but we’re so used to them that we don’t even get up from the sofa to watch them anymore, as the shows happen every other night.
JOB: The main advantage of staying in Marina Bay is proximity. For anyone working in the CBD it was very close and easy to get to, while another positive is the ease with which one can get on the ECP and to the airport in about 15 minutes. Plus, it’s within walking distance to the Singapore Cricket Club.
Can you recommend some good places to eat and drink around Marina Bay?
MP: There are lots of restaurants: Indian, Japanese, and salad bars, plus wine bars and a Harry’s pub, all in very close proximity. Then there are the usual chain restaurants and food stores like Cedele as well.
Are there any other good things about living in the area?
MP: There’s always a lot to do in the area, and the transport links are very good. You can walk from The Sail directly to Raffles Place MRT station and the route is underground as well, so you’re protected from the elements, whatever the weather.
Is there anything lacking from the area?
JOB: I think that area lacks a residential feel and this is particularly noticeable on the weekends when Marina Bay felt a bit too much like a windswept and lonely CBD.
MP: A good grocery store or supermarket would be really nice, as there is nowhere like that now. Also, a lot of the restaurants and bars tend to close on weekends, when all the city-workers depart, although the ones under The Sail stay open now. While there are lots of taxis in the morning, as everyone is getting dropped off at work, it is very difficult to get a taxi in the evening.
What would your advice be to someone thinking of moving to the area?
JOB: If someone needs a ‘pad’ in town, maybe someone who travels a lot – the area might suit. However, having recently moved to a flat on River Valley Road, I would advise potential movers to the area to consider their priorities.
MP: Living in Marina Bay definitely makes sense if you work there or nearby. If you like city living then it’s a great place to live; my husband and I lived in New York previously, so it felt very natural for us to live here. If you like wide open spaces or being close to nature though, then the area probably isn’t for you.