Equarius Hotel versus Hotel Michael: Which RWS hotel should you choose?
Updated: Oct 3, 2021
Looking to spend the weekend at Resorts World Sentosa? At present, there are two hotels you can choose from if you want to be part of the action at this popular Sentosa destination.
Having stayed at both, I pit them against each other. Read on to find out about my experiences and which one I preferred.
I booked both my stays through Traveloka's app, which in my opinion has always offered better rates than the RWS site itself.
For my Equarius Hotel stay, I snagged an amazing deal on Traveloka where I paid $395 for two nights. Depending on when you stay, this hotel can cost up to $300 to $400 or more per night. The 3D2N Tropical Nights Package I got also came with free welcome drinks, masks and parking.
Typically, Hotel Michael's rates have always been cheaper than Equarius Hotel. But this time round, I paid slightly more at $453 for two nights as the September holidays were peak season. I did get two free USS tickets along with my stay though. It's also worth noting that Equarius Hotel's rates for my particular dates were around $600 for two nights .
Winner: Hotel Michael. Whilst I scored a way better deal at Equarius Hotel, Hotel Michael will always be the more affordable hotel. Whenever I compare prices, it has always featured the lowest rates of any hotel in Sentosa. So if you're on a tight budget, Hotel Michael is your go-to.
Hotel Michael takes the cake for best location, being a mere 5 to 10 minutes walk from RWS attractions like USS and the SEA aquarium. All you need is to get off at RWS's monorail stop, head through Festive Walk, into the indoor area and you're there.
Equarius Hotel is a little more inconvenient location-wise. I was unaware of the shuttle bus service that drops off at Hotel Michael, and ended up walking about 20 minutes to the hotel. It's way further in than Hotel Michael and you'll end up having to walk past Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel too.
So I definitely recommend taking the shuttle, which comes every 15 minutes and stops just outside the Hotel lobby.
Winner: Undisputedly Hotel Michael. You can get to RWS' restaurants and attractions in a jiffy, no shuttle bus needed.
As I visited both hotels during the school holiday period, check-in was quite a nightmare. It was especially frustrating at Equarius Hotel, where we had to wait more than an hour to check in despite pre-booking a 3 to 4pm check-in slot online.
The online check-in machine wasn't working as well, with only 2 to 3 physical counters serving guests. The hotel provided comfortable seats to wait around in , but these definitely weren't enough for everyone.
Checking in late, we also missed our 5pm pool slot (facilities can be booked online in advance here). Thankfully, we were able to book another slot the next day, albeit with limited timings available.
Check-in was equally frustrating at Hotel Michael. Though numerous check-in machines are available for guests, they were pretty wonky and couldn't register our IC or booking confirmation number.
We were only successful after seeking help from a staff, and still had to re-queue at their concierge counter to claim USS tickets. All-in-all, the process took around 45 minutes.
Winner: RWS really needs to spruce up its check-in process, with better allocation of staff to help guests during peak periods. Both hotels lose in this regard, but Equarius Hotel was a slightly more unpleasant experience due to the longer waiting time and unhappy guests. We spoke to a few and they all agreed that check-in was a headache.
At 51 sqm, there's no question that Equarius Hotel's lead-in Deluxe rooms are bigger than the 37 sqm Hotel Micheal's.
I found Equarius Hotel's standard rooms to be one of the most spacious and impressive, having stayed at other Sentosa hotels. Mine had a nice balcony with deck chairs overlooking Adventure Cove, as well as a sofa bed.
The marbled bathroom was extremely roomy too, with double sinks, a shower, bathtub as well as a toilet separated by a partition. There was even space for a chair and dressing area.
Of course, all the standard amenities were included like a hairdryer, toothbrush kits, shower caps, shampoo and conditioner, bathrobes and vanity sets. There was the standard coffee tea and minibar as well.
In contrast to Equarius, Hotel Michael's lead-in rooms are kind of a let-down and best described as basic. Though the hotel is a tribute to legendary architect Michael Graves, its Deluxe room decor is somewhat uninspired and feels dated. Balconies are barely large enough to step into, and the bathroom lacked a tub. Our room also didn't have a sofa.
All the standard amenities were there, though one of the mugs was cracked and leaked when water was poured into it. It seems the hotel neglected to replace this.
Winner: Equarius Hotel wins hands-down, thanks to its roomy size which is perfect for both couples and families.
For both hotels, I highly recommend pre-booking your pool slot online at least one week in advance. I didn't do so for Hotel Michael, and only managed to visit the pool an hour before check-in on the last day.
The pool at Hotel Michael is way tinier than that at Equaris, with a forgettable setting and small Jacuzzi.
You'll be much happier chilling at Equarius' pool area. Thanks to sprawling grounds, the pool and its surroundings have a resort-like vibe, with beach villas enjoying direct access. You don't need to stay in a beach villa to swim though.
I liked how you could just swim up to the villas, though the Jacuzzis themselves are reserved for villa guests. And thanks to SMM measures, the pool never once felt crowded.
Equarius Hotel also boast a decent-sized gym with all the equipment you need for a staycay workout. As for Hotel Michael, the gym was noticeably small with not much equipment. It's serviceable for a short workout, but not worth the visit otherwise.
Due to COVID restrictions, both hotels don't have spas open at the moment.
Winner: Equarius Hotel outshines its sister here, thanks to its sprawling and picturesque pool that makes for an enjoyable swim or chill-out session. Its gym is bigger too. Do note that you only get 45 minute sessions at RWS hotel pools and gyms.
I didn't actually try the breakfast at Hotel Michael, but there's no need to if you've had it at Equarius. Both hotels serve the exact same menu, just using their own restaurant kitchens.
The breakfast menu was rather limited, with a choice of either a Classic American Breakfast or Local Delights which included dim sum (one small bao), char kway teow and 2 soft-boiled eggs. Both sets come with yoghurt, bread, fruits and a drink too.
We tried both options and they were decidedly mediocre, though I recall the western one being slightly better.
Being a well-known hotel chain, it surprised me how little variety the RWS hotels had in terms of breakfast offerings.
Winner: With both hotels serving the same food, they tie for being unforgettable and overpriced at $28+ per pax. Skip breakfast and eat somewhere else at Resorts World.
Which hotel is best?
Although Hotel Michael gets more points for affordability, location, and a marginally faster check-in process, I'd go for Equarius Hotel if I had to choose.
The rooms and pool area are definitely more impressive, making it a great staycay option for couples, families or a group of friends.
RWS does need to work out its kinks though, such as being understaffed and having poor technology for check-ins during peak seasons. Breakfast can be improved too, the current dishes are meagre and sub-standard.
My thoughts? Stay at Hotel Michael if you must be near the major attractions, and Equarius if you want bigger rooms and better facilities. If you don't intend to spends lots of time at RWS and have a flexible budget, there are honestly better hotels at Sentosa like W Singapore Sentosa Cove (read my review here) and Shang-Rila Rasa Sentosa.