BACKGROUND This enormous integrated resort took only five years to build, and represents the culmination of owner Sheldon Adelson’s dream of creating a “Las Vegas in Asia”. The final piece in the hotel puzzle is the largest, with around 3,000 rooms and suites (some reports state 2,900 guestrooms), as well as three floors of high-end retail outlets, masses of event space, a 1,200-seat theatre and a host of other leisure and dining facilities… not forgetting the requisite casino, though this ostensibly takes a back seat to the retail and entertainment offerings.
It opened on September 13 amid great fanfare, with operatic performances inside the lobby, a speech by Sheldon Adelson, followed by ballet and musical numbers outside under the Eiffel Tower, with an accompanying firework display.
WHERE IS IT? On the Cotai Strip between The Plaza Macao (featuring Four Seasons Hotel Macao) and The Venetian to the north, and Studio City to the south. Across the road is the Sands Cotai Central complex, which includes St Regis, Conrad, Sheraton Grand and Holiday Inn.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Fronted by a massive half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, and sporting a classical Parisian façade, this is yet another phenomenal piece of architectural bling on the strip of reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane islands that already boasts more than its fair share of such edifices.
The entrance lobby continues the theme, with a circle of huge classical columns surrounding a fountain populated by gilded statues, Versailles style – an impressive welcome designed to wow, which it does.
The front desk area to the right is decorated in deep-red and gold hues and the concierge area on the right is similarly gilded in royal blue – to my mind these were gaudy, but I am sure the mainland Chinese who will make up the vast majority of guests will appreciate them as part of the overtly ostentatious design ethic which is typical of such resorts in the former Portuguese enclave. The shopping “boulevards” that surround the casino area are decorated in ornate French style and boast names like “Champs Elysées” or “Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré”.
ROOM FACILITIES The corridors in this enormous hotel seem to go on forever, and I admit I got lost on more than one occasion. I was in a Deluxe room (33 sqm); other room types include Eiffel Tower rooms (the same as deluxe but with a view of said tower), Famille rooms (47 sqm) with separate children’s sleeping areas, and Lyon suites (72 sqm).
The rectangular layout of the room will be familiar to any frequent traveller, with the wardrobe and bathroom door in the entrance corridor, the work desk against the wall with a mirror above it, and a single easy chair near the window. The king-size bed had a very hard mattress, but this is a nod to mainlanders’ preferences, and I actually like it too. The wifi was free, easy to connect to and fast, whilst the HD-TV was huge (55 inches). I wasn’t so happy with the walk-in shower, which was a little on the small side for me.
All in all it’s a pleasant room that allows a good night’s sleep and provides all the necessary amenities, but do not expect top-end luxury – that is not the customer this hotel is aiming to attract. Rather, this is a good product for the middle classes, in particular the mainland Chinese mass market who will spend minimal time in the room.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are 11 restaurants and food courts at Parisian, overseen by South African executive chef Alex Gaspar, whose food philosophy is “always use the best ingredients and help them speak for themselves”. Amongst a range of French, Chinese, Japanese and Eurasian cuisines, standouts include Lotus Palace, which serves a range of Chinese regional cuisines as well as pan-Asian dishes, and Le Chine (located in the Eiffel Tower), which offers a fusion of classic French and Chinese dishes.
Breakfast is served at Le Buffet on the ground floor in a front corner of the building – given the number of rooms in the hotel you can guess how busy it gets, and during my breakfast it could be hard to find what I wanted as serving dishes were emptied at an astounding rate – many of you will be familiar with the mainland Chinese penchant for piling a plate obscenely high with whatever food is available.
MEETING FACILITIES The Parisian’s size – and that of its Sands sister properties, all connected by walkways – means large conferences can be catered for with ease. A total of 5,200 sqm of meeting space includes The Parisian Ballroom, which can hold 2,600 guests banquet style; dedicated outdoor event space, five meeting rooms, two boardrooms, an excellent business centre, and the Parisian Theatre can also be booked for events.
LEISURE FACILITIES These are geared firmly for the leisure and family markets. Shoppes at Parisian is a high-end retail mall on levels 1, 3 and 5, the outlets lining wide corridor “boulevards” named after famous Paris streets – particularly nice is the Place Vendome area, and fashionista shoppers will be in their element.
The entrance to the Eiffel Tower is on L5 but you then go up a long escalator to L7 to cross the “love-lock bridge” to the tower’s lower viewing platform. A lift takes you to the 37th floor near the top for 360-degree views of the Cotai Strip – the Eiffel Tower experience costs MOP168/188 weekdays/weekends (US$22/24).
On Level 6 is the Pool Deck, which contains the resort pool (for hotel guests) and Aqua World – a water park open to all (open 10am-6pm; MOP160/180). There’s also Qube Kingdom, an extensive kids’ play area with all manner of diversions (open 9.30am-9.30pm; MOP120/150 for first two hours), an extensive fitness centre and the hotel’s luxury spa, called Le Spa’tique.
The hotel casino must also be mentioned – it occupies the huge central area of the ground floor, with multiple access points from the entrance lobby and shopping mall. Despite the efforts of Macau’s hotels and resorts to shift the focus away from gaming, it remains a vital piece of their business and was already buzzing at 8.30 in the morning when I went for a wander after breakfast.
Lastly, The Parisian Theatre seats 1,200 and from September 30 to November 13 will host the global hit Thriller Live. Expect other world-class shows after that.
VERDICT It’s a visual feast, there’s no denying it, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the great skill, application and effort that’s gone into its construction – and continues in the staff’s running of such a huge property. It’s worth a visit just to experience the scale of the accomplishment (as is true of many of Macau’s grand hospitality projects, of course), but ultimately this is not really a hotel designed for individual business travellers, who will be put off by the sheer number of mainland Chinese leisure visitors. As a conference destination, though, The Parisian Macao has a huge amount to offer – and as a short-stay family getaway, it would be a special experience.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Deluxe King room in mid-October start from HK$1,120 (US$144) including taxes and surcharges.
CONTACT Estrada do Istmo, Lote 3, Cotai Strip; tel +853 2882 8833; parisianmacao.com