It’s one of the most exciting events on the planet. A new-world waterside city with its skyscrapers’ lit up with animated patterns. At the base of it all a bright illuminated line snakes its way around the city streets, containing the fastest, most engineered cars in the world screaming through with unimaginable noise and speed. Once the race is over the city turns on its seductive side with glitzy parties usually only seen during summer in the south of France or after a Hollywood awards ceremony.
Do you want to be apart of this? Hell yes you do!
Formula 1 has always attracted the biggest and brightest. From car manufactures like Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW, superstar drivers; Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and the current whizz, Sebastian Vettel. It’s no surprise that glitz and glamour follows this circus around the globe and apart from Monaco there is no more glamorous race than the only night race, the Singapore Grand Prix.
If you’re going to attend you best do it right. Here’s a quick guide to the tickets, the places to stay and of course the after hours activities. At the end I’ve put together three packages, depending on your price range; My Amex is Black, My Amex is Green (and Maxed Out) and My Visa is Debit. If you do one of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Singapore Grand Prix Tickets
There’s something for everyone and the coolest part is that all tickets include entrance to a world-class concert after each day’s festivities. This year (2014) it is Robbie Williams, Jennifer Lopez and John Legend. Past acts have included Rhianna, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, The Killers and Black Eyed Peas.
Pit Grand Stand 3 day tickets start at SG $1,288 (US$1030) and are cheaper if you buy in a group of 4. So what does your 1000 bucks get you? Views of the start / finish line, right opposite the pit lane so you can grab a bird’s eye view of the pit stops – often the place where they race is won or lost. But perhaps the best part of the pit straight seating is the view of the final corner. A sweeping bend that is taken full throttle at over 200km/h.
Other grandstand tickets include; Padang Grand Stand (SG $598 US $480) , a long section of stands along the straight of St Andrews road. From here you see cars whizz past historic colonial buildings of St Andrews Cathedral and The Supreme Court. The Bay Grand Stand (SG $298 US $240) is on the water front on the eastern shore of Marina Bay.
It’s a larger permanent structure, facing a floating stage that will be full of giant screens on race day. The Bay Grand Stand not only has cars race in front of it, but underneath it as the track takes a hard left through a tunnel right under the stand.
Cheaper options are the Walkabout tickets. The Premier Walkabout includes access to all zones including the hub of Zone 1 (This zone includes the pits / start finish line and another entertainment precinct), you can also ride the Singapore Flyer (The world’s largest ferris wheel) for free during the race! 3 day ticket from (SG $ 498 US$400) Standard Walkabout is just Zone 4. Which has access to standing stands along a bridge and the main park in the centre of the race track with it’s festive atmosphere and numerous food stalls and bars. (SG $228 US $180).
Singapore Grand Prix – Where to Stay
Over 40,000 international visitors fly in to the tiny island just for the Gran Prix. With that in mind you can understand that prices will be expensive and rooms hard to find. But there are ways to avoid the big room costs if you’re willing. Three of the best for GP fans from expensive to dirt cheap are below.
The Ritz-Carlton Millennia
Ritz-Carlton is a name synonymous with luxury and opulence, and the Singapore edition is no different. In their own words , staying at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore is staying in “impeccable Five-Star hotel and experience luxury of the highest order.” The Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore is a favourite with those looking to stay at the Grand Prix as it is located only a few minutes walk from the pit complex and also the home of the The Podium Lounge – one of the most exclusive parties of the weekend (which we shall get to shortly).
At publication 1 month out from the Grand Prix in 2014, the cheapest room is going for SG $1350 per night (US approx. $1080) or if you’re really looking to go all out a 1 bedroom suite is a measly SG$ $3500 (US approx. $2080) a night. If you think that’s expensive, don’t worry it includes breakfast.
Marina Bay Sands
In only a few short years this building with it’s unique rooftop sky park and infinity pool has become the icon of this city-state. It’s a great mid-range option for the GP and the best part is probably access to its famous infinity pool, of which you could watch the race if you wanted with a good view of the West side of the circuit.
Expect to pay about SG $819 – $912 (US $655 – $730) a night for a standard room. This could be a great option if you consider the fact that you will likely be able to watch the race k from your room or the sky park. Despite the huge amount of rooms in this three tower complex they do sell out early. So be quick.
WokeHome Capsule Hotel is ideally located a block back from Boat Quay and you can be at a selection of entrances to the track within 5 or 10 minutes walk. This feels more like a hostel then a sealed off capsule hotel and it’s pretty easy to meet other travellers if you wish, plus you have the bonus privacy of your own capsule. (But probably not private enough to bring someone back if you meet someone special whilst out partying).
Expect to pay SGD $35 – $50 a night! See my review of WokeHome here – Waking Up in a Singapore Capsule Hotel.
Singapore Grand Prix – The Parties
Almost as legendary as the race is the Singapore party scene. If you want to party with the rich or famous, get down to some of the world’s best dj’s or simply drink some beers with the locals, the Singapore GP has it covered.
Corporate companies are known to book out some of the city’s most exclusive spaces and treat their favourite clients and the region’s rich and powerful, the young jet-set or those pretending to be to live it up.
One of the most notable is the Audi party on the 8th floor sky suites and terraces of the Fullerton hotel. The Fullerton literally has the track go adjacent to the hotel on two sides. With views closer than most of the stands and free-flowing champagne this is one of THE places to watch the GP providing you can get an invite – Purchasing an Audi R8 in Singapore a month out from the event might really help your chances.
Public but really expensive parties
I would love to review this but I haven’t managed to find my way inside yet, and with tickets for Sunday night after the race starting from SG$1,200 It’s unlikely that I will be this year. (Unless an organiser is reading this and wants to throw me an invite, then you can reach me here. Amber Lounge is a F1 institution, originally starting in the Monaco GP 12 years ago it now pops up at Abu Dhabi, , Austin and Singapore. What do you get for that four figure entry free? Well drink and food is naturally included, Oh and prepared to be entertained by a star that has likely had numerous top of the chart hits, that usually plays in an arena but instead will be performing for a select group of 500 or so lucky (and rich) attendees. Taio Cruz was in charge of rocking this party in 2011. Don’t want to groove then there’s fashion shows by some of the world’s top designers with models free to roam amongst the guests after the show.
More details http://amber-lounge.com/
The Podium Lounge
In their own words; The Podium Lounge is the ultimate A-list party for the racing community and Singapore’s party elite. Attended by F1 drivers, celebrities, musicians, Royalty, models, ambassadors and the ultra jet-set crowd since 2009, the party will again be the most sought after and glamorous nightlife experience during the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.
They aren’t just talking themselves up, The Podium Lounge is THE main VIP party to go to, officially sanctioned by Formula 1. It’s not uncommon for Fernando Alonzo or Sebastian Vettel to stick their head’s in and make an appearance. Sebastian likely to be wearing his “Keep Calm and Jager Bomb” t-shirt.
Unlike Amber Lounge which is out of reach of your average punter, there are (somewhat) affordable tickets to The Podium Lounge – $188 SGD get’s you in, $298 SGD get’s you in with a bottle of Moet (score!). If this is too cheap for you, then don’t worry there’s plenty of opportunities to splurge; Your own VIP Lounge for 25 people is SGD $25,000 with numerous Jeroboams of Moet and Belvedere ensuring everyone is refreshed. The Podium Lounge also includes a poolside fashion show and international DJ’s – 2014 brings Ian Carey on the decks and Nadia Alia on vocals.
Get your tickets at podiumlounge.com/sg
Public Parties that you probably can afford
Zouk is a clubbing institution based in Singapore that I’ve mentioned before here – Singapore Beach Party with Avicii. Singapore’s biggest club will be in full swing a variety of parties over the Grand Prix weekend with the first event already announced..
Trance royalty Dash Berlin is teaming up with GH Mumm Champagne to rock Zouk club on the Friday night in a party called “Gear Up”. Dash Berlin was recently voted #8 DJ in the world and his uplifting melodic sound is sure to go down a treat amongst race fans and locals alike. Details below and you can get your tickets online here.
Poolside Pitstop Race Parties at the Pan Pacific Hotel
These are in the style of prestigious Vegas and Miami pool parties – full of people, fun, and booze. This accelerated affair will have partygoers, celebrities and models converging at this highly anticipated event while the race is ongoing! Catch the race live, soak up the sun and dance the night away with international guest DJs over 2 nights during F1 race weekend.
20 September 2014 (12:00pm to 8:00pm)
21 September 2014 (6:00pm to 3:00am)
Tickets at http://www.poolsidepitstop.com/
If none of this suits you and you’re just after a few drinks after the race. Head to the incredible Clarke Quay. A popular going out area, you are sure to find whatever you desire, from nice loungey bars, Irish pubs and live music. It’s cheaper to by a bottle of alcohol than individual drinks. But if you think you can’t drink a bottle of vodka in a whole night, then don’t worry, the staff will keep it out back for you to finish off the next night. AquaNova is my pick of the bars here, a fresh modern feel with a live band playing rock versions of current hits. But there are dozens of venues here for you to choose from.
Budgets – (Per person / USD)
My AMEX is Black
3 x Day Ticket Pit Grandstand: $1030
Amber Lounge Ticket (Friday and Saturday): $2500
Ritz Millennia Singapore (based on 3 nights in a 2 bedroom apartment twin share) $3240
My AMEX is Maxed Out
3 Day Ticket – Padang Grand Stand: $480
Dash Berlin at Zouk: $35
Poolside Pitstop: $250 (mostly on ammunition for Champagne showers)
General Admission Podium Lounge: $150
Marina Bay Sands (based on 3 nights in a standard room twin share) $875
My Visa is Debit
3 Day Walkabout Pass: $180
Bar / Club entry at Clarke or Boat Quay – $FREE
Hanging outside Amber bar in the hope someone gives you their pass on the way out, also free (but unlikely)
3 Nights WokeHome Capsule Hotel (Average) $100
BONUS – Watch the race without a ticket;
Singapore is a city of skyscrapers and as such there are plenty of venues up high where you can watch the race without a ticket. Examples include Ku De Ta, 1 Altitude and Equinox. At time of publication all of these bars are keeping quiet about their Grand Prix options asking customers to phone directly for enquiries. In 2013 entry in most of these places was advertised for approx $300 on race night usually including some kind of drink. Arguably better value than a walkabout ticket to the actual race. Come back for more details on these options as they come to hand.