It hadn’t been 3 months, but I was already back in Macau. This was my 4th time visiting and I still haven’t gotten bored.
Christmas Eve was particularly foggy and caused a 1hr delay whilst at sea as the Macau authorities weren’t letting ferries in to their waters until permission was granted. Despite the fog it was a surprisingly humid 25 degrees.
Arriving in Macau, we walked 5 minutes until we got to Fisherman’s Wharf. It describes itself as a ‘theme park’. It truly isn’t but it does provide a nice walk with some pretty architecture – including a hotel that has clearly styled itself on American Horror Story.
There wasn’t a lot to see here so we continued walking to the Science Museum. Its unique design has always captured my eye but this would be my first time entering. Considering my friend is studying science, he made a perfect travel companion.
For a mere 25HKD we spent over an hour messing around in the interactive museum. A lot of the exhibits were run down but it still provided a lot fun. Firing a laser gun in the sports zone, catapulting balls into water and competing against a robot to complete a jigsaw puzzle first was enjoyable.
It was then time for the obligatory ‘Pastry Bar’ stop. This MGM, scrumptious haven has an array of sweet treats (as well as savoury – but who cares about that!). Two cakes and four macaroons later satiated my appetite, especially as we had just eaten in a local restaurant for a quick lunch.
In the centre of the hotel is a grand square with an aquarium taking centre stage. The decorations were beautiful and twinkled above the festive market stalls.
We waddled over to the Wynn hotel to watch the half hourly fountain show. It is definitely not on the same magnitude as the Bellagio in Las Vegas but it was charming…and still free.
With a watery crescendo, we took advantage of the free shuttle buses and hopped over the bridge to the Cotai Strip. We went to the Cotai Sands hotel to confirm our Christmas Eve buffet reservation and then, like all self-respecting adults, took photos with Shrek!
Waving goodbye to our green ogre friend we walked to the end of the strip where our hotel was situated. We would be staying in the recently opened ‘Studio City’. A hotel themed on the opulence of old Hollywood. So much money had been poured into the hotel that they roped in Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt to star in a short film and the owner got his girlfriend, Maria Carey, to sing at the opening; even Madonna is performing their soon. This hotel is pure class.
For anyone that knows me, I am a frugal person. However, when placed in a holiday scenario I am willing to splurge, and splurging I did. The hotel is not cheap but I was definitely thrilled with my choice. The hotel even has two goliath statues holding gigantic orbs adoring the entrance to the hotel – what more could I ask for? The hotel is impeccable.
I would be staying on the 22nd floor in a room that blew me away and left me speechless.
In Hong Kong I live in a poxy flat where I routinely smash my head on a microwave and where my bed sits on top of a washing machine, fridge and “wardrobe”. Thus, being able to perform cartwheels in my hotel room felt like a luxury.
A walk in wardrobe, a living room, a bed big enough for King Henry VIII and all his wives, a bath to fit an elephant and a rain shower so invigorating you’ll feel like Tarzan.
The view from the hotel was also perfect – with our glass walls overlooking a lush golf course.
Finding a reason to leave the hotel room was tough but having already purchased tickets to watch a magic show inside our hotel (booked via Klook) we had no choice.
The show was ‘The House of Magic by Franz Harary’. I won’t lie – I’ve never heard of Mr. Harary but apparently he is a world class magician.
To enter the theatre you have to pass through a house of mirrors where you are then greeted by a slight of hand magician to keep you entertained whilst you wait for the show to start.
It’s then that the audience is split in two (not a magic act) and taken to two different arenas. First, I watched “Luis de Matos”. The tricks were small and lame for a mega show that was competing against the “House of Dancing Water”.
The next show required us to swap arena with the other group where we watched “Kyle Knight” where I was also underwhelmed.
The finale featured Franz Harary and it merged the two audiences into a super arena. As the show has no designated seating we rushed to the front where I finally got to watch magic on a grand scale. Classic tricks such as cutting a lady in half was made into an extreme trick where four assistants were simultaneously cut in half whilst they lay on a spinning vertical wheel.
The other performers banned photography but Franz Harary actively encouraged it – he was by far a better showman.
Still having time before Christmas Eve buffet we used our free Ferris wheel tickets. Studio City is home to the world’s only figure of 8 Ferris wheel called ‘Golden Reel’ that is smack bang in the centre of the hotel. It is a pure feat of engineering and architecture.
It was night time and still foggy. Our view was limited. Despite this, the experience of riding was enough to make me enjoy the ride. A partly glass floor and beams of floodlights made the experience magical. I would definitely return in clearer conditions.
Grand Orbit Buffet
We were eating in the Cotai Sands Hotel at the ‘Grand Orbit’. The food on offer varied from seafood to carvery, from Italian to Indian. It was a wide choice and with a plate of turkey piled high I tucked in. The food wasn’t phenomenal but it wasn’t bad either. It was a lovely place to eat dinner and at less than 500HKD it was well priced. The staff were superb and deserve extra praise for their attentiveness and kindness.
The puddings on offer were making me salivate and just as I was about to waive my napkin in surrender, cocktail glasses filled with mini macaroons were added to the selection. I swiftly made a last trip before my trouser button ejected to the other side of the room.
Before returning to the comfort of the hotel bed, we visited the outside of the Venetian hotel that was hosting a free light show and project mapping display on their exterior walls. It wasn’t Christmas related but was once again free so I am not complaining.
After counting turkeys in my dreams I awoke early and went for a 7am swim. The hotel cost a lot of money so I was making sure to try and test everything on offer.
As it was winter only the indoor pool was available but it was beyond luxurious. No more fumbling for locker keys as a wireless bracelet is issued instead to activate your locker.
The pool was huge and would clearly embarrass SeaWorld and their tiny whale enclosures. The only let down to the pool was that it was a bit too shallow. However, I still got in a decent swim that was good practise for when I go to Palau in July.
A buffet breakfast was included in our hotel price so the swim made me ready for round two of binge eating.
The Spotlight restaurant was grand with many options available. The freshly squeezed juices and dumplings were divine.
It was now, that we had to leave our hotel room. I wanted to tie myself to the bed in act of desperation to remain in the room just a bit longer – but not wanting to look like a dominatrix’s client, I left, begrudgingly.
However, we didn’t leave the hotel all together as we still had complimentary tickets for a 4D Batman ride, ‘Batman the Dark Flight’. This ride has been made solely for the purpose of Studio City. Whilst touring Wayne Enterprises the Joker and other heinous villains broke out of Arkham and poisoned us. We got to join the cape crusader as he defeated foes and raced us across Gotham to find an antidote.
Sitting in four long rows you clip yourself in and stare, transfixed at the largest screen you have ever laid eyes on. The curved screen would trick us into believing we were in Gotham.
Our seats raised up and the safety barrier descended. We were tilted forward and began our heroic journey. The ride wasn’t the most thrilling and a few more sharp turns and lunges would have been appreciated. However, the ride itself was fun and left my friend trembling. The ride is in 4D so they blast fragrances into the room and of course there will be water!
Venetian / Galaxy
We left the hotel and walked to the Venetian. I don’t particularly like the hotel as inside it is a labyrinth and the fake sky makes the hotel dark and gloomy. Despite this, they had a shop we needed to visit so we made a dash inside. After grabbing the stuff we walked outside and were greeted by snow! A wonderful sight and idea by the hotel.
A quick stop at the Galaxy Hotel let us admire the Christmas decorations and lose money at the casino. We hopped across the road and visited old Taipa where a Christmas flower show was blooming.
Returning to the main island of Macau we made our way back to the MGM. The Christmas market contained some scrumptious snacks that just had to be tasted. Gingerbread ice-cream and eggnog doughnuts glided into my stomach, curing any hunger pains.
With ourselves booked on an 11:30pm ferry we walked around the town centre and Senado Square where we observed the ‘Festival de Luz de Macau’ (Macau light festival).
More light mapping on buildings and Christmas decorations transformed the once Portuguese Colony. The star of the show was the light show on the Ruins of St Paul. The famous landmark was lit up and edgy project mapping made it dance and jive.
Overall, the fourth time to Macau was my favourite so far as Studio City left me blown away. With the Parisian Hotel nearing completion and a bungee jump left un-jumped I have more reasons to venture back to Macau.
All photos taken by myself: Follow me on Instagram – Arik_Dane