Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central

18 Mar 2019 by Michael Allen

Background

We last reviewed The Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central in May 2016, praising the spaciousness and luxury of the hotel’s then-new suites. 

The “luxuriously oversized suites” (as described by the hotel) on the uppermost levels were unveiled in November 2015. There are now more than 350 suites at the hotel, which it refers to as a “hotel within a hotel”. Since many hotels have fewer than 350 standard rooms, let alone suites, I certainly don’t disagree with this description.

In the middle of March, I had to make a last minute trip to Macau, and found that the Sheraton’s rates were among the most competitive of the five star hotels for a last minute booking. I thought this was also an ideal chance to update our review of the property and see how the hotel fares as a place to lay your head for just a quick in-and-out visit.

Where is it?

The hotel is situated within the Sands Cotai Central integrated resort on the Cotai Strip between Taipa and Coloane islands. The Sheraton is set on reclaimed land which — unlike the northern Macau peninsula where the casinos jostle for space with a rather beautiful old town — has been almost fully subjugated to the will of the gaming industry, with casinos galore supplemented with an ocean of gaudy high-end fashion retail outlets for lucky punters to splurge their winnings.

This is, in my opinion, the most soulless and artificial part of Macau, though seemingly beloved of many other tourists, who appear to be largely from mainland China. The area does admittedly have a certain “wow” factor when you first visit, but this quickly wears off after repeat visits.

However, if you’re looking to do any serious or casual gambling, or if you have business meetings with executives from any of the casinos in this area, it’s a convenient location.

What's it like?

Enormous. The hotel has over 4,000 rooms. When Business Traveller Asia-Pacific visited in 2016 it took around five minutes for the staff to clear other vehicles away and make a space for our writer’s car, and crowds of travel groups and gamblers at the entrance made it difficult for him to enter the hotel with his luggage. Fortunately, when I arrived by taxi, there was no congestion at the entrance, though there was a fairly long airport style queue at the check-in counter.

This was definitely an annoyance, as I was on a last minute leisure trip, trying to squeeze out as much enjoyment from a one-night stay as possible. Seeing such a huge quantity of people checking in really made the stay feel less personal and gave the impression that this hotel just churns through guests. However, when I did arrive at the check-in desk, the staff member was polite and helpful, offering me a choice of a low or high floor, and upgrading my room type for free. This was despite the fact that I had booked only several hours earlier. His pleasant demeanour made up somewhat for the long queue.

My room was in Sheraton Sky Tower 1. The hotel, being the behemoth that it is, is divided between this tower and the Earth Tower. In total, there are 3,529 Deluxe rooms, including 1,253 Deluxe King and 2,276 Deluxe Twin rooms across these two towers.

The room

When I got to my floor, what struck me was just how long the corridors are.

The room is large. The decor is nothing to write home about, but is tastefully low-key.

In the bathroom, which is also large, the bathtub is slightly bigger than standard.

A good selection of toiletries is provided.

The shower was powerful and spacious enough.

A powerful hair dryer is also available to use.

The view from the bedroom window is impressive, looking right onto the replica Eiffel Tower of The Parisian (review here). Here is the view by night…

…and by day…

Food and beverage

This being a very short in-and-out trip, I didn’t have time to try any of the food and beverage outlets. However, coming home late and feeling peckish, I decided to order a room service pizza for just over US$20. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly good and I regretted my decision. In hindsight, I ought to have known, given that room-service pizza around the globe doesn’t tend to be of high quality.

It’s worth noting that the hotel does have other F&B options which, although I didn’t have a chance to try them on this short trip, are hopefully better.

Bene is an Italian trattoria with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Carbonara e castelmagno, presented in a large wheel of Castelmagno cheese. Bene’s signature steak is the Wood fire oven-roasted Australian wagyu beef “Tomahawk”, which is seared on the grill and then roasted with bundles of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage.

Feast is an all-day dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets aimed at the whole family. The culinary offerings include Asian, Portuguese and Macanese dishes, while live cooking stations offer Asian noodle dishes and Peking Duck. On Friday and Saturdays evenings, there is a “Seafood Feast” of lobsters, fresh oysters and more.

Yum Cha offers “traditional Chinese comfort food” with a menu inspired by the Chinese tradition of yum cha. The food includes seafood, soups, claypots, meat dishes, rice and noodle specialties, as well as handmade dim sum. The menu features a number of regional specialties including Guangdong barbecued char siu, Shanghai claypot red braised pork belly, and Sichuan spicy wok fried chicken.

Palms Café and Bar is designed with a “tropical twist of lush tropical plants and fills with natural light from the atrium above”. The space turns into to a casual bar serving cocktails and craft beer at night.

The hotel is currently running two Southeast Asian buffets at Feast. The “Hotter Than Ever Crab Bash” is a “Singapore-infused seafood feast” available every Friday and Saturday night from 18:00-23:00, and the “Banana Leaf Brunch”, featuring a range of Southeast Asian specialties, is available every weekend from 12:00-15:00, according to information provided by a hotel spokesperson.

Here are a couple of photos that the hotel sent me…

Leisure facilities

Since my trip was so short, I unfortunately did not have time to try the leisure facilities. However, the hotel offers several.

Level 4 is home to Sheraton Fitness, which incorporates an aerobics room and fully equipped gym, both complimentary to hotel guests. Sheraton Fitness offers exercise equipment, training programs, and personal trainers.

The hotel also has three outdoor pools – Sala, Jaya and Tiki – surrounded by tropical foliage and overlooking the Cotai Strip. Each offers private cabanas and day beds, while the poolside cafes and a poolside lounge offer snacks and drinks.

On Level 3, Shine Spa has 15 treatment rooms, a hair salon and “Beauty Zone” for manicures and pedicures.

Meetings

Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel has more than 14,000 square meters of meeting space for large events. The Kashgar Grand Ballroom spans more than 52,000 square feet, and can cater for as many as 5,000 guests for theatre-style events.

The Kashgar Ballroom and an additional six junior ballrooms offer a total of 152,000 square feet of meeting space at the hotel, plus access to a further 55,000 square feet within the Sands Cotai Central complex.

Check-out

Compared with the long queue for check-in, check out was blissfully straightforward. I simply dropped my room card into a box, and that was it.

The hotel offers a free shuttle service to the Taipa Ferry Terminal.

I waited in the queue a while, but no shuttle bus turned up. Being in a rush to get back to Hong Kong, I decided to hail a taxi instead and pay my way to the ferry terminal. The shuttle service is a nice feature, but for business travellers (or those just generally in a rush) a more frequent service would be appreciated.

Verdict

Price-wise, this hotel is very competitive compared with other five-star properties in Macau. The rooms are large and comfortable, and the staff I interacted with were polite and helpful. However, the check-in process could be quicker and the in-room dining quality needs to be improved.

Quick facts…

  • Best for… its competitive prices compared to other five-star hotels in Macau
  • Don’t miss… the impressive view over the Cotai Strip
  • Price… HK$1,021.20 (US$130) for a weeknight stay in a Deluxe King room
  • Contact… marriott.com
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