January 19, 2022
A Decadent Trip to the ‘Vegas of the East’
Vibrant and charming, Macau may be a tiny island in the South China Sea but it never fails to delight. Providing an unexpected mix of old and new and east meets west, Macau is a unique travel destination and the perfect spot for luxurious indulgence.
Macau: A Primer
Macau’s distinctive melting pot of cuisine, culture and architecture is all thanks to its former status as a Portuguese colony. From the mid 16th century to 1999, sovereignty in the region belonged to the Mediterranean country, making Macau the oldest European holding in all of China. Sovereignty was transferred to mainland China in 1999 and since then, the city has undergone considerable development, giving rise to a new era of world-class entertainment, Michelin-starred cuisine and high-profile resorts.
Due to its size, getting around Macau is a breeze and there are plenty of travel options including public buses, private hire taxis and free buses running regularly from the city’s numerous casino resorts. The main peninsula is connected to the smaller, more rural islands of Taipa and Coloane with a reliable light rail network, and there are plenty of footpaths and walkways to explore too.
The main peninsula is where much of the action happens and it’s where you’ll find the Historic Centre of Macau, Cotai and the Ruins of St Paul’s. However, there’s plenty to do on both Colane and Taipa too. History buffs will love the cobbled lanes and fusion of architectural styles in Taipa Village, while Coloane is home to Alto de Coloane, the highest point in all of Macau.
Where to Stay
For unprecedented luxury, it simply has to be a suite at the Ritz Carlton Macau in the newly-renovated Galaxy Macau resort, Cotai. The only hotel in the region to bypass rooms, the suites here provide all the amenities that you would expect from such a prestigious brand. Even the smallest suite features a separate living room and sofa, and Club upgrades are available to guests that provide access to a private lounge complete with complimentary breakfast.
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable trip, stay in the Presidential Suite. Situated on the 52nd floor, this palatial suite was designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates and stretches across 2325 square feet. You’ll have your own marble bathroom and in-room steam room and sauna, as well as access to a private karaoke room and a sprawling fireplace to enjoy.
What to Do
Casino gaming is a big deal in Macau, the city has even overtaken Las Vegas herself as the gaming capital of the world in recent years. While throughout the globe the popularity of the online casino industry has surged considerably, driven in large part by the array of promotions, special bonuses and free gaming offers available from online providers, in Macau it’s the brick-and-mortar gaming rooms that reign supreme. Residents from Hong Kong flock here in their droves to play baccarat in the extravagant Venetian Macao and the City of Dreams.
Being on the cutting edge of culture and entertainment, there’s simply no shortage of other things to do in Macao besides gambling. However, if you’re looking to take in a show like no other you have to book tickets for The House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams. This 90-minute spectacular includes dancing, diving, acrobatics, live music, state-of-the-art digital effects and even a motorcycle stunt show. A re-imagined version is on the cards for 2022 but it will retain all the elements that make it such a world-renowned show.
If thrills and spills are more your thing, head to Studio City and ride the figure-eight Ferris wheel. The showpiece of this Hollywood-inspired entertainment complex, the golden wheel bears more than a passing resemblance to a running film reel. Standing at over 125m high, this unique ride is equipped with 17 pods that follow the figure of eight-track, providing some of the best views of the region and the South China Sea in the process.
Where to Eat
Easily the best restaurant in Macau—if not one of the best in all of China—the triple Michelin-starred The Eight at the Grand Lisboa hotel is the destination for a sumptuous meal. The number 8, of course, is the luckiest number in Chinese numerology and you’ll find tasteful nods to this throughout the interior for the black, red and metallic dining room. For lunch, choose the Cantonese dim sum experience. Evening dining, meanwhile, calls for crispy char siu bao buns, har gao dumplings and the signature lobster.