BACKGROUND Opened in 2010, Mandarin Oriental Macao is away from the chaos of Cotai Strip, on Macao island. There is another property on this island called Grand Lapa Hotel that was operated by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group until 2014.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Situated on the NAPE (Novos Aterros do Porto Exterior) waterfront, the hotel prides itself on its unparalleled vistas of the Macao tower and the Nam Van Lake from its rooms and facilities. The hotel is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, an American architecture firm. The exterior symbolises the hotel’s relationship with water through rippled, reflective glass windows that almost appear blue when seen from far. I visited this property after a busy day at Cotai Strip, and was glad to enter a realm of calm. The lobby is contemporary and chic, with scattered seating and abstract artwork behind the two receptions. The two chandeliers here further brighten up the naturally lit lobby that’s lined with ceiling-to-floor glass windows. Unlike the other hotels of Macao, the casino-less Mandarin Oriental is compact, but feels more in tune with travellers who value an overall “hospitality” experience.

WHERE IS IT? The hotel is located within the One Central development of Macao, and is close to the retail stores at this multi-use complex. It is a ten-minute drive to the Macau ferry terminal and is 15 minutes away from Cotai Strip.

ROOM FACILITIES There are 213 rooms including 26 suites and one Presidential suite. I was offered a refreshing welcome drink soon after my check-in. My Deluxe Lake View room comforted me with understated luxury and modern amenities. The room, decorated in shades of brown and gold, overlooks a stunning view of the Macao Tower and Nam Van Lake. This view is best enjoyed while soaking in the bathtub that is fitted with hydrotherapy massage fittings. Toiletries are by Aromatherapy Associates. Alternatively, the two lounge chairs facing the French window also offers a beautiful city view.

A jewellery box with handcrafted desserts from Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop was kept enclosed on the work desk, which I only discovered later. An HDMI connection from the panel of the desk connected my iPod to the 42-inch flat-screen television that created surround sound in the room. It also has USB ports and power sockets to charge various devices.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Vida Rica Restaurant and Vida Rica Bar are the hotel’s snazzy F&B offerings that overlook the tower and lake. They’re designed by the Tokyo-based Design Studio SPIN and emanate a different look and feel from the rooms and suites that are designed by Singapore-based LTW Designworks. An interesting feature here is the metal bamboo installations that reflect the symbol of Mandarin Oriental — the oriental fan when viewed from certain angles. The bar has some interesting cocktails, a few of which, such as Legend of Kremlin (served in a vintage book) and The Ruins of St. Paul (served in a framework of the monument) are presented uniquely and shaken in front of guests. I devoured the chef’s four-course degustation menu that started with a salad with summer vegetables plated as a garden. Next on the menu was the wild mushroom tea that was light and flavourful, followed by pan-fried tooth fish that was delectable and fresh. The meal ended with pear “belle helene”, which is vanilla ice cream with poached pear, served with hot chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream — it is as delicious as it sounds. There is also a Lobby Lounge on the ground level and Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a 320 sqm ballroom called Ocean Room that can be partitioned into two, along with two meeting rooms that can be combined — Harbour Room (47 sqm) and Bay Room (47 sqm), a boardroom (60 sqm) with a pre-function area (173 sqm).

LEISURE FACILITIES Outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness centre with sauna, steam and indoor Jacuzzi and a spa featuring Aromatherapy Associates’ products.

VERDICT Sophisticated luxury in a city known for its chaos. An alternative experience in Macao, fitted with business facilities.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from HK$2,857/ 24,579 for a Deluxe Lake View room.

CONTACT Mandarin Oriental, Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen Nape; tel: +853 88058888;