The rise of the Cotai Strip and the large neon-lit international hotels to help mould this cityscape on reclaimed land has not only reshaped Macau. Visitors are now spoiled for choice – and there are plenty – at a price to suit their tastes and budgets.
1. Grand Emperor
There’s a gold lining to being a guest of this five-star hotel. With a meticulously-crafted replica of an 18th Century gold carriage at its front door, visitors are treated like British royalty as they walk through the lobby along the Golden Pathway, astoundingly comprised of 78 bars of gold. Its neon-lit royally crowned facade is a landmark in an area close to Macau historic hub. Each room and suite has a noble feel with their rich colours and plush fabrics, dining focusing on the Grand Emperor Court with its fashionable and tasty Chinese cuisine. In line with its regal presentation, the hotel stages a daily “changing of the guard” ceremony at the entrance.
2. Banyan Tree Macau
Unlike sister Banyan Tree resorts around the globe, this five-star addition takes the shape as a high-rise hotel within the large Galaxy precinct on the Cotai Strip, albeit with 10 attractively decorated villas, set amongst gardens on the private pool level. From the welcome lobby to the Banyan Tree day spa and signature Belon restaurant, this plush hotel has a wow factor, and much has to do with the guest rooms. Yes, all rooms are suites, each boasting a window-side pool and a Japanese inspired wooden bath tubs in the bathroom, to name just two features. And there’s free wifi, perfect for relaying your images of the suite back home.
3. Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16
Set on the waterfront of Macao’s inner working harbour, within an easy walk of Macau’s historic hub, this five-star hotel has the design of a Portuguese palace yet touches of French flare. The guest rooms range from premier to prestige suites across the 18 floors, the outdoor pool area and adjacent Mistral Restaurant rewarding guests with a view across the waters to neighbouring mainland China. Also overlooking the harbour is Le Chinois restaurant, French in name, Chinese with its cuisine. For French fine-dining fare, there’s the boutique style Prive. A magnet for those seeking rejuvenation is the plush So Spa while fans of the late Michael Jackson can marvel over an exhibition of memorabilia in the MJ Gallery.
4. Venetian Macau Resort
From the moment you step foot inside the expansive Venetian Macau Resort, you feel you have entered another world, from the dome and the Italianate paintings on the high ceilings to the twisting canals and singing gondoliers. The hotel’s 3000 suites are not just elegantly furnished and decorated, they are spacious. An addition to the many branded shops, the resort boasts outdoor swimming pools, a mini golf putting course, a well equipped fitness centre and a day hospital specialising in such fields as dentistry and paediatrics. There’s also the Venetian Theatre which has hosted Cirque de Soleil extravaganzas along with the more recent Shrek the Musical – a virtual city within a city.
5. Holiday Inn Macao
Situated in the heart of Macau’s neon-lit Sands Cotai Central, this modern hotel is acclaimed as the largest Holiday Inn in the world. And judging by its many qualities, it’s perhaps a nudge above its four-star rating. Overall, the Holiday Inn boasts as many 1224 spacious and contemporarily decorated guestrooms, 65 being suites. From the inviting lobby lounge to the open-air pool on the fourth level, there’s much to like about the ambience and atmosphere. And if you wish to dine in one of the neighbouring restaurants within the precinct, you can charge the bill to your room. If you who want to stay trim, the large health club may fit the bill.