- I spent a night at ONE°15 Marina's hotel in Sentosa Cove.
- It cost around $217 for a night's stay in a marina-view room.
- The hotel looked dated, but the view of the marina was a great escape from Singapore's busy streets.
Singapore is home to more than 5 million people, and some 80% of its residents live in high-rise public apartments.
Like many locals in the city-state, I grew up in an apartment built by the government. These residential estates are typically made up of clusters of tall, uniform buildings. It's where hallways are filled with neighbors hanging laundry, elderly residents can be spotted chatting on the ground level, and a hawker center — or open-air food court — is always in walking distance.
Needless to say, I've had the typical Singaporean upbringing. Constructed by the country's Housing Development Board, these apartments are referred to as HDB flats and they're home to about 80% of the country's resident population. The average unit is 1,022 square feet and despite the modest size, they can be expensive.In 2023, the median price of a four-room HDB flat costs between 470,000 to 864,000 Singapore dollars, or around $348,500 to $640,700.
But a select few — the wealthiest of Singapore's 1% — live in Sentosa Cove, a gated community located on a resort island.
Sentosa is an offshore island in southern Singapore, where many tourist beaches and resorts are located. Sentosa Cove is a 290-acre estate within Sentosa, and was built on reclaimed land.It's been described as Singapore's Monte Carlo for its abundance of yachts.
There are two parts to Sentosa Cove — one that's accessible to the public, and includes a stretch of eateries that make up Quayside Isle. The other part, a gated community with private bungalows and condominiums, is only accessible to residents. Sentosa Cove's marina – which has a yacht club and hotel — is somewhere in between, and is only accessible to members and hotel guests.
While most residents live in public housing, Singapore is the second-richest country in the world. The city-state has a per capita gross domestic product of $116,486. There are 298,650 millionaires and billionaires living in Singapore — some of whom call Sentosa Cove their home.
The waterfront enclave is the most exclusive gated community in Singapore. There are only 2,100 homes in the estate,a mix of landed properties and condominiums. On average, bungalows in Sentosa Cove are listed for at least $13.5 million.
Sentosa Cove is especially known for its marina, where dozens of million-dollar yachts are docked. Last year I had the chance to charter Singapore's cheapest yacht. At the time and because of the pandemic, the price was only $220 for a two-hour sail. Today, it costs $1,260 to charter the yacht for a four-hour sail on a weekday.
This time around, I wanted to have a taste of what it would be like to live in Sentosa Cove, so I returned to the estate on a recent weekend to spend the night.
I booked a night at One°15 Marina's hotel, Sentosa Cove's yacht club. It's one of only two hotels in the estate.
On average, hotels in Sentosa can be expensive — luxury hotel chains Sofitel and Shangri-La often cost between SG$450 and SG$500, or $334 to $674 for a night's stay in their entry-level rooms.
The only other hotel in Sentosa Cove — W Hotel — has similar rates, as its entry-level room costs around SG$500 a night too. As I was on a budget, I decided to book a room at ONE°15 Marina's hotel instead, as it's one of the cheapest hotels in Sentosa.
My first impression was that the yacht club looked run down. The exterior was far from glamorous and almost didn't seem to fit the gorgeous backdrop of the marina.
The walls looked like they needed a refresh, with rust building on the outside. And unlike the berth where the yachts were docked, the dry dock — where the boats for charter were kept — wasn't anything special, designed with a simple wire fence and metal storage racks.
Despite the club's lackluster facade, membership at the club is said to be pricey. While official rates aren't listed on its website, several members online claim that the entrance fee alone costs SG$60,888, or $45,140. Apart from being allowed to use One 15 Marina Sentosa Cove's facilities, member privileges include affiliate rates at dozens of golf clubs around the world and access to partner yacht clubs in countries like the US, UK, and Australia.
One°15 Marina Sentosa Cove did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
One°15 Marina is exclusive to hotel guests and members only, so it was near-empty.
Inside, the yacht club had a modern design, with glass and wooden furnishings. I'd only bumped into around a dozen people during my stay, so the club felt incredibly private.
One°15 Marina is replete with amenities including two restaurants, a spa, gym, and pool — all of which can be used by both members and hotel guests. The club also owns 42 yachts that are available for charter. According to a 2019 post by One°15 Marina, chartering a 68-feet luxury catamaran starts from SG$3,400, or $2,250, for a four-hour trip.
There are 26 guest rooms at ONE°15 Marina's hotel. I booked the second-cheapest room for SG$292, or $217.
The room measures only 34 square meters, or around 366 square feet, but felt spacious. Amenities-wise, it was basic — it came with a large bed, TV, and a small minibar. The room felt reminiscent of a business hotel, with cheesy ambient lighting.
But the room was spotless and was even cleaner than some five-star hotels I've tried in the past.
The bathroom was simple but impressive — it was replete with a deep soaking tub and a TV to match.
The hotel provided standard soap and dental kits, and everything functioned well. There wasn't really anything to complain about — like the bedroom, the bathroom was immaculate.
At night, I took a stroll down the marina. Access to the berths are exclusive to ONE°15 Marina members, but I could spot gorgeous luxury yachts from right outside.
Yachts are expensive to own in Singapore. One estimate lists the average cost of a yacht in the city-state at around S$1,219,884, or $905,000.
Most of the yachts weren't occupied, but there were a few with staff working on maintaining them.
The next morning, I was greeted with a gorgeous view of the marina, complete with million-dollar yachts and the bright, blue sea.
The view was my favorite part of the hotel — it felt a world away from where I live in the east of Singapore, and reminded me more of yachting cities like Monte Carlo or Miami — clips of which fill up my TikTok feed. I could even see several of Sentosa Cove's luxury properties from afar, including blocks of duplexes and towering metallic buildings.
While having breakfast at Latitude Bistro, one of the restaurants at the club, I had a glimpse of the club's clientele. Many of them were yachting with their families — baby strollers, fishing gear, and coolers in hand. A handful of women were lounging about dressed in luxury labels, carrying Chanel bags, and wearing expensive watches, fitting of the Sentosa Cove's glitzy reputation.
The ritziest feature of the club was the massive swimming pool that overlooked the marina.
Lounging by the pool was the next-most popular activity at the club, after boating out at sea. It was the perfect place to beat the heat, which hovered at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit that weekend.
While swimming isn't an activity limited to Sentosa Cove, it had an entirely different vibe from the rest of Singapore, with a close-up view of the yachts. It felt tranquil, far away from the drilling of construction sites, the whirring of vehicles on the roads, and the busyness of the dense streets.
Overall, ONE°15 Marina's hotel wasn't as luxurious as I expected.
The hotel itself was slightly dated, but the view of the marina was unbeatable. It felt like a world away from where I lived — although, in reality, it's just a 30-minute drive away.
Ultimately, the experience was worth the money — after all, traveling across Singapore is still much easier than flying to Monte Carlo or Miami for a taste of seaside living.