Hotels, restaurants and bars are gearing up for booming business this weekend, when the Formula One race roars into town.
Hotels are expecting full occupancy over the three-day Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix that starts today, despite the haze threatening to throw a spanner in the works.
Race organiser Singapore GP had said on Tuesday that there were no plans to amend the racing and entertainment programme based on current levels of the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI).
EXPECTING FULL HOUSE
As (the haze) is a transient inconvenience, we have not seen any decrease in demand or cancellations resulting from the haze.
MR GINO TAN, general manager of the 790-room Pan Pacific Singapore
Singapore has been shrouded in haze for several days due to peatland and forest fires in Indonesia. The 24-hour PSI had hovered in the unhealthy band, resulting in several outdoor events on Sunday having to be cancelled or modified to avoid physical exertion by participants.
Rain and changing wind patterns, however, have brought relief, with the 24-hour PSI falling to the moderate level of 80-100 at 9am yesterday. Air quality continued to improve throughout the day. As at 7pm, the 24-hour PSI was 68-83.
Pan Pacific Singapore, Marina Mandarin and The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore are expected to be fully occupied this weekend.
"As (the haze) is a transient inconvenience, we have not seen any decrease in demand or cancellations resulting from the haze," said Mr Gino Tan, general manager of the 790-room Pan Pacific Singapore.
Measures are in place to ensure the guests' well-being should the haze worsen, he added. For example, guests can obtain N95 masks for free at its concierge and front desk. Its outdoor swimming pool will also be closed when the PSI hits 150.
At Marina Mandarin, there were "more group and corporate bookings compared to the past two years", said its director of marketing communications Patricia Yong. The hotel has 575 rooms.
The 1,261-room Swissotel The Stamford and the 769-room Fairmont Singapore have "received a huge amount of interest, similar to last year", said their executive assistant manager of sales and marketing Ng Sok Hia. Circuit-facing rooms at both hotels start from $1,450 a night.
Demand for rooms has spilled over to hotels not along the Marina Bay street circuit. These include the 511-room Royal Plaza on Scotts in Scotts Road and the 747-room Shangri-La Hotel in Orange Grove Road. Both are fully booked.
Restaurants and bars are also expecting a crowd during the event. Mr Jason Pope, owner of Dallas Restaurant & Bar at Boat Quay, said: "Boat Quay has been a popular area before and after the race, especially among Europeans looking for something to eat and drink." Patrons can watch the race on a 75-inch television set at the restaurant.
Mr Andrew Ing, chief operating officer of The Lo & Behold Group, which owns establishments such as Loof, Overeasy and The Black Swan, said: "Bookings have been pretty strong this year." He is expecting more overseas patrons, given the strong line-up of performers this year which include US rock legend Bon Jovi, pop band Maroon 5 and musician Pharrell Williams.