Macau's hotel inventory has received massive infusion in the past few months, thanks to mega hospitality developments. Margie T Logarta zeroes in on the premier products now available.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? A separate entrance from that of the casino ensures guests a sense of exclusivity. The lobby is located on the 38th floor of this column. Interiors by the renowned Peter Remedios, whose previous projects include the Four Seasons Hotel New York and the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hongkong, are über chic but timeless in tone. Numerous materials such as custom-made carpets, stone, wood and tiling were used to create the final results. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the public spaces and guestrooms create a stylish aerie you may be loathe to leave, even to win a fortune from the gaming tables below.
WHERE IS IT? Attached to the new Crown Casino in Taipa. Shuttle buses between the Macau Ferry Terminal and the complex run regularly.
SUITE FACTOR: There are 16 Deluxe Suites, measuring 88sqm and eight Premier Suites, measuring 128sqm, both with panoramic views of the Macau peninsula. There are also eight Villas which are the height of refinement for the discerning guest. Amenities include dedicated lounge area, walk-in wardrobe, plasma screen TV with over 50 channels and broadband internet access. Bathrooms feature a luxurious stone-crafted bath, Japanese-style shower, built-in LCD TV and toiletries from spa expert Elemis.
OTHER FACILITIES: Four restaurants make up the Crown Towers’ F&B roster: Aurora for contemporary French using fine imported seasonal produce is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and boasts one of Macau’s largest wine collections, displayed in a temperature-controlled custom-built cellar; Kira for modern Japanese presented in a dramatic setting beginning with an intriguing bamboo corridor that leads to a circular food stadium displaying meat and fish; Tenmasa, a venerable name in Japan; and Ying for Cantonese cuisine. There’s also a 25-metre infinity pool and a spa as well.
PRICE: Suites from US$490.
CONTACT: Avenida de Kwong Tung, Taipa, Macau, tel 853 2886 8888, www.crown-macau.com
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Despite all the sleek newcomers, tycoon Stanley Ho’s mustard-coloured Hotel Lisboa stands out not only for its eccentric façade, but also for its bling-bling interiors, particularly in the West Wing lobby. The blaze of crystal chandeliers and shiny mosaic tiles may make you reach for your shades, so don’t forget to bring them if you’re checking into this close to 1,000-room property.
But let it not be said, the feisty Dr Ho is giving in to the competition. Behind the Lisboa is its taller, newer sister, the glass-clad Grand Lisboa – in the shape of a lotus – which should be opening shortly, although its casino component is already going strong.
WHERE IS IT? In the city centre. A five-minute drive from Macau Ferry Terminal and 20 minutes from the international airport.
SUITE FACTOR: The Royal Tower suites underwent a recent makeover that had the clunky chairs and sofas re-upholstered, floors re-carpeted and new beddings put in. Bathrooms were modernised and fitted with nice mood lighting, although the tiling is a bit too glitzy for our taste. (But some guests go for this touch, so who are we to argue.) Amenities include broadband internet connection, satellite TV programming and radio music among others.
OTHER FACILITIES: Six restaurant and bars to refuel indefatigable gamers patronising the Hotel Lisboa’s star attraction, its fortune tables. The F&B selection includes a Robuchon a Galera featuring an extensive wine collection of over 3,300 varieties. Master Robuchon makes at least six visits a year to this outpost.
PRICE: Suites from US$265.
CONTACT: 2-4 Avenida de Lisboa, Macau, tel 853 2888 3888, www.hotelisboa.com
POUSADA DE SAO TIAGO
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Actually an authentic hillside Portuguese fort – the 17th-century Fortaleza da Barra built against attack from hostile European forces – housing a 12-suite boutique gem. The sense of arrival is heightened by a small ground-floor tunnel, which even drips water at certain times, leading to the reception and lobby area. Refurbishment was so sensitively done that the door at the entrance is an original, while age-old trees were allowed to remain and continue to drape the ancient walls.
As no lifts have yet been installed, which means guests have to walk up flights of stairs to reach their rooms, this may not be the place for the elderly or physically challenged. However, the management is considering addressing this problem when they begin an expansion programme, the date of which has still to be announced.
WHERE IS IT? Nestled in one of the city’s exclusive enclaves at the tip of the Macau peninsula and along the scenic tree-lined Praia Grande Bay. By taxi, it’s five minutes to most attractions in the city centre.
SUITE FACTOR: Each suite is laced with a balcony facing the picturesque Inner Harbour, which takes on a golden glow at sunset. And no better place is there to take it in – with a wine glass in hand – than from this perch.
A recent refurbishment, which injected all of today’s standard mod cons such as flat-screen TVs, updated lighting fixtures, Wi-Fi and in the bathroom, rain showers and mosaic tiling, did not diminish the Portuguese influence dominating the previous ambience. Much of the furniture such as the ornately carved beds and chairs in dark wood were retained and refreshed. The result is an outstanding blend of the historic and the contemporary.
OTHER FACILITIES: La Paloma Restaurant, one meeting room and the St James Chapel.
PRICES: Suites from US$361.
CONTACT: Avenida de Republica, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago de Barra, Macau, tel 853 2837 8111, www.saotiago.com.mo
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Scarlett O’Hara would have been delighted to have checked in here. Charming balustrades, stunning chandeliers in the atrium and plush carpets evoke the elegant 18th century.
WHERE IS IT? Ten minutes by foot from the Hongkong-Macau Ferry Terminal and a 15-minute car ride from the international airport. Make sure to instruct your cabbie to drive you to the very end of Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, and not at the entrance or it will mean a long walk for you.
SUITE FACTOR: Categorised as Deluxe, Premier, Grand Premier, Premier Suite and Two-Bedroom Suite with grilled balconies offering breathtaking sea views and vast expanse of sky. These are equipped with
32-inch LCD TVs, cable programming, wireless phone with IDD, complimentary in-room broadband internet service, smart CD players and temperature control system among others.
The vintage theme continues to be infused here with the richly patterned wallpaper and curtains in powder blue, botanic prints and the bathroom boasting gold taps in the porcelain sinks and sensuous bathtubs on claw feet, which in some rooms, lie alongside a window.
OTHER FACILITIES: The main restaurant is Vic’s Café on the ground floor that has indoor and alfresco seating. From the semi-open kitchen come an à la carte menu and buffet. Next to it is an English-style pub with street entrance, great for after-dinner cigars or drinks. The rooftop Sky Lounge is another post-dining retreat and has a large outdoor area ideal for a party of 100.
PRICE: Suites from US$258.
CONTACT: Avenida da Amizade, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, tel 853 2878 2782, www.rockshotel.com.mo
THE PRIDE OF SHELDON
SANDS MACAO HOTEL
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Although the rooms are not yet open to the general public, from a recent sneak media peek, this 289-room property is a sophisticated bet to win those looking for an authentic boutique experience in Macau. Housed in a 24-storey building, it adjoins the by now, well-established Sands Macao (casino).
WHERE IS IT? A five-minute taxi drive from the ferry terminal, 20 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from the border gate with China. Its entrance is separate from the gaming palace.
SUITE FACTOR: Three Presidential Suites, occupying 418sqm of space and equipped with private Jacuzzi, karaoke, sauna and massage rooms, comprise the topmost tier. This is complemented by 51 Penthouse Suites, laid out over two floors and 1,858sqm of space, featuring massage rooms, Jacuzzis, saunas and karaoke, Japanese style and mahjong rooms and 204 Deluxe Suites, measuring about 56 to 60sqm, featuring plasma TVs, Jacuzzi and Wi-Fi. For families and groups of friends, the 34 Executive Suites partitioned into sitting and sleeping areas, make for an ideal outing. Dark woods and rich tones dominate the interior hues.
OTHER FACILITIES: Amenities planned include seven restaurants and bars, a heated rooftop swimming pool and its own 660-seat theatre, located on the third floor of the building and equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual hardware. Another innovation, the “Ultra Lounge” will open intending redefine the nightlife scene in Macau.
PRICES: Not available at press time.
CONTACT: Largo de Monte Carlo, No. 203, Macau, tel 853 2888 3388, www.sands.com.mo
STARWORLD HOTEL & CASINO
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The bustling main lobby is enormous, a dazzling combination of glass and glitz, which certainly makes an impression. A smaller reception to the side caters to the adjacent Galaxy Casino’s favoured clients. The building was designed by Rocco Yim, responsible for the landmark 2IFC in Hongkong.
WHERE IS IT? In the heart of downtown Macau where the gaming action is hot and heavy, and next to the Wynn Resort.
SUITE FACTOR: There are 500 guestrooms with two Sky Suites – The Presidential Suite and Penthouse – each measuring 557.4sqm. Their large picture windows afford a sweeping view of city centre developments (available also in the other room categories). Bathrooms also have expansive windows, allowing uninterrupted scenery if one doesn’t wish to draw the shades. The “Star Service” button provides 24-hour alert service, provided by a Star Service representative. A bar area, contemporary furnishings and art pieces in the living room add to the feel of a New York apartment.
Other perks include the Intelligent Bill Checking function, broadband internet access, pillow menu, minibar, private safe, 40-inch plasma TV, ergonomic chair and workdesk and auto-curtains. Non-smokers can avail of non-smoking rooms.
OTHER FACILITIES: An infinity swimming pool on the 17th floor and fitness centre, 12 restaurants and bars, including Laurel and Jade Garden for Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine, Bi Feng Tang, a unique Chinese deli and Inagiku, a branch of the famous Japanese chain.
PRICES: Suites from US$271.
CONTACT: Avenida de Amizade, Macau, tel 853 2878 1111, www.starworldmacau.com
THE VENETIAN MACAO
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Is it the Vatican? Is it Versailles? Yes and no, and a lot of both. This 3,000-suite mega resort, replicating the famous canals and icons of Venice is the humongous brainchild of The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. It’s even surpassed the size and takings of its North American sister, astounding even its backers with its early success.
WHERE IS IT? It’s the anchor tenant of the ambitious Cotai Strip development on Taipa Island, which when completed will boast several five-star hotels, each with their own casino and meetings and conventions attractions. But the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel is the mother of them all.
SUITE FACTOR: All suites are 60.4sqm or larger, with a bedroom, an oversized 12-square-metre bathroom finished in Italian marble and a sunken living room. Details that will appeal to business travellers include dual-line telephones, in-suite fax/copier/printer and high-speed internet access. Furnishings are rich and plush, just like those found in Venetian palazzos.
OTHER FACILITIES: All the features of the Las Vegas property are found in The Venetian Macao such as the gaming experience, the themed retail venue, multiple restaurants (over 30 outlets), spa and wellness centre, a 15,000-seat showroom and arena and at 92,903sqm one of the largest convention, meeting and exhibition centres in Asia-Pacific. The Grand Canal, featuring authentic gondolas with good-looking gondoliers as well as Chinese sampans (we are in Southern China after all), is a big attraction, although charging somewhat steep prices for a short ride. There are also an abundance of other nature features such as waterfalls, wave pools and gardens and lanais.
PRICES: Suites from US$214.
CONTACT: Estrada da Bala de N Senhora de Esperanca, s/n The Cotai Strip, Taipa, Macau, tel 853 2882 8888, www.venetianmacao.com
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The intimate lobby – crowned by a striking ruby-red chandelier – belies the miles of floor space devoted to the gaming activity.
WHERE IS IT? In the centre of downtown Macau and fronted by a Performance Lake where regular dramatic displays are staged several times throughout the day and into the night when the lighting creates a spectacular visual experience.
SUITE FACTOR: The resort has 120 One-Bedroom Suites (average size: 186sqm) and 20 Two-Bedroom Suites (average size: 278sqm), which are further divided into the Lake Suites and the Sky Suites. Guests, booked in these categories, enter at the Wynn Club Entrance, enjoy VIP check in and full access to the amenities of the Wynn Club.
Perks vary depending on the tier of the suite. The two-bedroom ones come with 24-hour butler service, while the Sky Suites are located on the top floors of the hotel. All enjoy a Wynn signature pillow-top king-size bed with fine Egyptian cotton, living and entertaining areas and sumptuous bath fixtures. The two-bedroom units boast their own massage room. The Sky Suites are more privileged and have in each bedroom, his and hers bath with dressing area, glass-enclosed shower, bathtub with an ultra-deep bathing well.
OTHER FACILITIES: Two heated pools and whirlpool on the ground floor, high-end shopping arcade, seven restaurants including Okada, a branch of Okada at Wynn Las Vegas and a Starbucks outlet.
PRICES: Suites from US$411.
CONTACT: Rua Cidade de Sintra, Nape, Macau, tel 853 2888 9966, www.wynnmacau.com