Gamble on a trip off the beaten path in dual-identity Macau

Senado Square
My wife and I are going travelling throughout Asia and would love to go somewhere a little different for a couple of days where we can explore and have some fun. We would like to go somewhere that has some cultural activities but also a good nightlife. Any suggestions?

My wife and I are going travelling throughout Asia and would love to go somewhere a little different for a couple of days where we can explore and have some fun. We would like to go somewhere that has some cultural activities but also a good nightlife. Any suggestions?

Located on the southeast coast of China, Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the country. Though it is not always an obvious choice for a travel destination, Macau is a stunning region with a fascinating history.

Located across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, Macau was an overseas territory of Portugal until 1999. As a result of its former rule, Macau’s buildings, fortresses, churches and food are all uniquely Mediterranean. This, juxtaposed with Chinese culture, temples and shrines, mean that Macau really is a city of duality.

Macau is an ideal tourist destination thanks to its beautiful clean streets, lush gardens and picturesque landscape. Wandering around the city by foot is the best way to explore the city’s heritage and attractions. Senado Square is the city’s busy central hub. The stunning main square is surrounded by elegant Portuguese style architecture and countless shops and restaurants. It’s ideal for shopping or simply grabbing a coffee and indulging in some people watching.

The island’s Chinese heritage is very much alive and its history can be best seen in the A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macau Peninsula. The A-Ma Temple existed before the city of Macau came into being; it was constructed in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty to commemorate the sacred goddess of the sea who bestows blessings on fishermen. The temple complex consists of Ming Dynasty shrines, prayer halls, pavilions and gardens creeping up the hillside and it is free to visit.

In contrast, Macau is also known as the ‘Vegas of the East.’ It is Asia’s largest destination for gambling. The SAR of Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal, and takes in more revenue than Las Vegas. The gambling industry is very prosperous here and is a vital part of the economy. Step into the casinos and you are transported to a world of glamour, high stakes and slot machines.

Two must-sees are The Venetian Macau and Hotel Lisboa. The Venetian Macau is modelled on its sister casino in Las Vegas and is the largest casino in the world and the sixth-largest building in the world by floor area (10,500,500 square foot.) Hotel Lisboa, built in 1970, is one of the most distinctive buildings in Macau. Showcasing a lavish blend of Portuguese and Chinese décor, the hotel and casino has become a flamboyant icon in the heart of the city. A city of both culture and extravagance, Macau is the ideal place to enjoy a few days on your travels.

Where to stay

Mandarin Oriental (*****)

Prices start from €262 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

The stunning Mandarin Oriental has a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a health club. Situated in a premier waterfront position, Mandarin Oriental offers unparallel service and luxury with the promise of relaxation.

Hotel Lisboa (*****)

Prices start from €97 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

Situated in the heart of Macau, the iconic Hotel Lisboa is close to Cineteatro Macau, Senado Square and Fortaleza do Monte. Also nearby are Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Leal Senado.

Hotel Beverly Plaza (****)

Prices start from €94 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

Located at the heart of Macau at Avenida Do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, Hotel Beverly Plaza is right next to the Casino Lisboa. This mid-century modern hotel includes an outdoor pool, multilingual staff, and laundry facilities.

Casa Real Hotel, Macau (****)

Prices start from €87 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

Inspired by authentic Portuguese architecture, the Casa Real Hotel is adjacent to the Ferry Terminal linking to three destinations of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Hong Kong International Airport, with just a ten minute drive from the Macau International Airport. The 381 air-conditioned guestrooms at Casa Real Hotel, Macau include minibars and safes.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!