Laura Janelle Downey

Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Laura Janelle Downey is a correspondent who covers Atlanta for Forbes Travel Guide. After receiving a master’s in journalism at Florida A&M University, she landed in New York City as a reporter for People, where she once followed Billy Crystal to the men’s bathroom just to get a quote. Since then, she has been a fashion/entertainment editor, magazine journalism professor and managing editor of 944 and Vegas/Rated magazines. Her favorite pastimes include hitting the spa, finding out which Five-Star hotel has the most comfortable bed and trying out delicious dishes in any given city.

  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Does 99 Noodles have any special views?

    Encore Macau’s 99 Noodles provides a special view for its diners. Those who want to keep a close eye on what is going on in Encore’s gaming hall can be seated near a lime green partition with geometrical cutout shapes. A look through the colorful separator will have you seeing the casino’s table games and hearing gamblers scream at the sight of a win. If you choose to sit at one of the banquette-style half-booths, you’ll have a view of the entire Macau restaurant, which includes an elegant bar area, a few tables and a set of oversized, colorful crisscrossed chopsticks near the bar.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the price range for a meal at 99 Noodles?

    The price range for a meal at 99 Noodles located inside of Encore Macau goes from MOP38 to MOP1,288 MOP. In U.S. dollars, that price range is $4.80 to $161. Some of the $4.80 options include the Northern Chinese dim sum such as fried scallion cake, steamed oats and red bean bun, and pan-fried Chinese puffs loaded with scrambled eggs and chives. The $161 item on the menu is the steamed rice with braised shark’s fin in chicken broth. The soups that go with your choice of noodles start at MOP68 ($8.50) and go up to MOP188 ($23.50). You can order dessert items such as mango pudding for 48 MOP ($6) or double-boiled bird’s nest with coconut milk for MOP668 ($83.50). There’s something to fit everyone’s budget at the Macau restaurant.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Is 99 Noodles a good place for group dining?

    Encore Macau’s 99 Noodles is a good place for small group dining because the restaurant has a 30-seat capacity. Grab a group of up to eight people and set up shop at a bunch of tables or slide into a couple of the banquette-style half-booths and enjoy a bowl of noodles alongside great conversation. But if you’d like something a bit less formal, head to the bar area, where you can enjoy a savory meal in a traditional bar-style setup. One of the things to know about dining at 99 Noodles is that reservations are not required. So if you and your pals make a last-minute decision to dine in the Chinoiserie-inspired Macau restaurant, you’ll never know how packed it might be. My advice is to try to visit either before the lunch rush or after normal dinner hours.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the interior design of 99 Noodles?

    The interior design of 99 Noodles located inside of Encore Macau is incredibly colorful and chic. Thanks to Roger Thomas and Hirsh Bedner Associates, there are several very large chopsticks in colors such as lime green, fuchsia and orange hung along the walls. And you’ll also notice neatly placed cream bricks resting on top of orange walls. With black chairs and tables, bright red carpeting patterned with flowers and a strong French Chinoiserie design seen throughout (think golden Parisian birds and bells), playful elegance abounds within the Macau restaurant. Should you grab a table at the black and gold bar, you’ll enjoy looking at the floral patterned frosted mirror located directly behind the bartender.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are five things to know about 99 Noodles?

    Although there are several things to know about Encore Macau’s 99 Noodles, here are my top five picks:

    1. When you’re at the restaurant, it’s a must to order one of the nine offered noodles (handmade egg, pressed buckwheat, Beijing la mein, Shanxi knife-shaved, tip-ended, one string, cat’s ears’ noodle chips, Chinese fettuccine or pressed corn) with soup or garnish.

    2. Pay attention to the colorful chopsticks (you’ll see them in lime green, orange and fuchsia) that have been placed along the walls — they add a playful touch to the Roger Thomas- and Hirsh Bedner Associates-designed establishment.

    3. If you’re a gambler and would like to take a break from the tables to enjoy a hand-pulled noodle entrée, be sure to grab a seat next to the lime green partition with geometrical cutout shapes. From there, you will be able to eat as well as keep a close eye on what is going on in Encore’s gaming hall.

    4. If you’re just not sure of what to order, try one of the Macau restaurant’s five signature dishes, which include pan-fried Chinese puffs filled with scrambled eggs and chives, beef brisket broth with noodles in tomato soup, fried tip-end noodles with green beans and minced pork, Sichuan-style shredded chicken and cucumbers with cold noodles, and sautéed pork belly and mushroom noodles in yellow oil.

    5. Should you order noodles, you’ll notice that the bowl they are placed in is lopsided. The reason for the odd-looking bowl is actually to help you. Since eating wet noodles can be messy and a lot of people come in to eat during a quick lunch break, diners keep the side of the bowl that’s a little higher closer to their chest. This way, if the soup splashes, they won’t get any of it on their clothing.
  • On November 5, 2013
  • On November 5, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the design style of Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central?

    The design style of Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central is contemporary and clean. Expect to see paintings hanging in the bedroom, a bird’s-nest-type lighting fixture in the check-in area with an oversized red flower on the carpet, and cream hues and mahogany furnishings throughout. The spacious environment is comfortable and very welcoming to all. You’ll notice that the Macau hotel’s Lobby Lounge has comfy brown arm chairs with tan, brown and red accent pillows surrounded by geometric shapes on the carpet and in lighting fixtures (check out the red circles dangling from the circular lamp shades) as well as in the ceiling (see several square shapes all over).
  • On November 5, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are the rooms like at Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central?

    The rooms at Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central are a nice departure from the accommodations found at Holiday Inn locations in the United States. The rooms at Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central are infused with red accents, as seen on the satin and silk headboards and bed throws. You’ll also find brown and cream hues in the carpeting alongside wood furnishings. The closet area comes equipped with a three-drawer dresser and its semi-see-through front, a safe, an iron, an ironing board and two pairs of white bedroom slippers with brown trimming. In the bathroom, there’s a glass-encased shower, bathtub, robe and environmentally-friendly bathroom products, such as a ginger-and-lemon-scented liquid body soap, hydrating shampoo and more. Elsewhere in the room, expect a 42-inch LED television, accent chairs and fresh flowers such as yellow calla lilies imported from Holland, in addition to a view of the Cotai Strip.
  • On November 5, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Where is Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central located?

    Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central is located on the Cotai Strip in the Sands Cotai Central complex, which includes two other hotel brands — Conrad Macao, Cotai Central and Sheraton Macao Hotel Cotai Central. If you are flying directly into Macau International Airport, which is located on Taipa Island, the ride to the hotel takes anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. And if you’re coming from Hong Kong via the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, the ride is about an hour into the Taipa Ferry Terminal. From there, you can take the Macau hotel’s complimentary shuttle (look for buses labeled “Holiday Inn” or “Sands Cotai Central”) directly to the property, which ends up being a 15-minute car ride as well.
  • On October 6, 2013
  • On September 30, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What kinds of skincare products are used at The Spa at Château Élan?

    The Spa at Château Élan uses several lines of products on its guests. The main skincare product at the spa is a grape-seed-based line called D'Vine, which employs antioxidants to help preserve the derma. The Spa at Château Élan also incorporates products from Clinicians Complex and Extraderm in its treatments. If you are interested in having a makeup application session with an expert, book a 55-minute slot with an artist who will use Colorescience products to highlight your face. And if a little more pampering is needed, the brand of choice used for a manicure or pedicure is the eco-friendly SpaRitual nail polish.
  • On September 30, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Does The Spa at Château Élan offer couples treatments?

    Since The Spa at Château Élan sees lots of couples, you can expect a variety of treatments for two on the menu. Choose from services such as the 110-minute Château Aromatherapy Couples Massage Experience, which starts off with a salt-glow exfoliation followed by a body rinse in the spacious rain showers before an application of massage oil is applied, or the 80-minute Château Essential Couples Facial, where two aestheticians carefully treat the face for a rejuvenating look and feel. The Atlanta spa also offers the four-hour His and Hers experience for couples. Pairs will delight in facials, pedicures, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne, a suite filled with candles and a tasty spa lunch at Fleur-de-Lis.
  • On September 30, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the style of The Spa at Château Élan?

    The style of The Spa at Château Élan is reminiscent of a French estate. Expect to see stately lamps, wood flooring, plush couches, eclectic armchairs, candles and cushioned boxed ottomans. Inviting hues such as tan, gold, soft blue and mahogany-lined furnishings fill the open spaces. Upon arrival, you will notice that the check-in desk is made with several pieces of crushed wine bottles (a tribute to the property’s winery) — a stunning visual wonder. The recent spa renovation also made way for some contemporary touches, which include glass-encased showers and multicolored glass tiles seen in each guest suite. The Spa at Château Élan does a nice job of giving its guests French luxury at its finest.
  • On September 30, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas have?

    Whenever I would have friends come to town during the time I lived in Las Vegas, I'd always take them to Verandah at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel. The Sunday brunch there is fantastic! My usual would be the mini belgian waffles (I'd always ask for three!) with powdered sugar, raspberries and a side of their applewood smoked bacon. Then, I'd take a walk to their donut station and watch one of the chefs make fresh maple-glazed donuts with rainbow sprinkles just for me! I've never been disappointed with brunch at Verandah. The options are endless — from The American (two eggs any style, hash browns, toast and a side of meat) to The Jump Start (featuring items such as a cholesterol-free omelet and much more). Simply delightful.
  • On September 30, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What restaurants does Bellagio have?

    A couple of my favorite restaurants located inside the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Bellagio include chef Akira Back’s Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge and chef Todd English’s Olives. I love the energy at Yellowtail — whether you’re just grabbing a drink at the bar, sitting in the main dining room or on the patio for dinner, the vibe is sexy (I once sat at a table across from Paris Hilton and company) and the specialty rolls are delicious (try the rock shrimp hand roll and the yellowtail scallion)! But I also enjoy going to Olives around lunchtime and sitting on the patio so I can catch the Fountains of Bellagio show. My meal of choice at this modern Mediterranean restaurant is the ricotta ravioli (roasted tomato basil sauce, sweet Italian sausage and garlic bread crumbs). It’s fantastic and when paired with a glass of wine — Olives features a collection of more than 900 vinos! — you just can’t go wrong.