What's new in Macau?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Jennifer Kester

Macau is called the Las Vegas of the East, but the Chinese region makes more than five times the gambling revenue of Sin City. The stakes are getting even higher as MGM, Melco Crown Entertainment SMJ all have plans to create massive casino hotels here in the next several years. It looks like Vegas should be called the Macau of the West. While you wait for Macau to get even glitzier, our Forbes Travel Guide editors give you the lowdown on the hottest restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues to check out now.
Where to Eat
Pink Grill opened in the bustling Cotai district in April featuring an Asian-influenced steak and seafood menu served alongside Balinese sculptures and hand-etched stone walls lit by chandeliers. Chef Edward Yu’s menu has dishes like well-marbled Japanese Kobe beef cooked ishi-yako(served on hot stones) and raw Australian lobster with red chili sauce. Spring 2012 also saw the opening of The Tasting Room in the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Crown Towers, Cotai, with a menu of classic and regional European cuisine. Chef de cuisine Guillaume Gaillot is well known for his slow-cooked onion soup, but you should also explore the restaurant’s tasting lounge, which offers 16 wines, fresh oysters, Mons cheeses from France and Switzerland, and beers from Belgium and Estonia. Take in views of the Cotai Strip from the windows lining the main dining room — an intimate circular enclave awash in soft beiges and teals.
Where to Stay
The speed and scale of Macau development isn’t letting up, and a spate of new hotels reflect the city’s stunning growth. The Conrad Macao, Cotai Central in the Sands Cotai Central complex opened in April, and — with 636 rooms, four restaurants and 50,000 square feet of function space spread over 39 floors — it is the largest of the luxury Conrad hotel brand. The Himalayan-themed resort features a lush tranquility garden and restorative ayurvedic treatments at its Bodhi Spa, while the Grand Orbit restaurant has 24-hour dining to appease up-all-night guests. Sharing space in the Sands Cotai Central is the 4,000-room Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, which opened its doors in September with two hotel towers and three outdoor pools. And creating lots of buzz is the new Wynn Resorts casino. While the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Wynn Macau opened in 2006, the company is expanding its Macau base by breaking ground on a new, 51-acre megaresort on the Cotai Strip. Set to open in 2016, the casino resort will feature 2,000 luxury suites, 10 restaurants, a couple of theaters and a nightclub. Also in the works is a new $2.5 billion MGM resort; it will add a projected 1,600 hotel rooms, 500 gaming tables and 2,500 slots to the game. Not to be left out of the race, Galaxy Macau will join in with an expansion that will include the first all-suite hotel from The Ritz-Carlton and the world’s biggest JW Marriott.

Where to Play
Speaking of Galaxy Macau, the extravagant property just celebrated its one-year anniversary in 2012 with festivities at its 50-plus restaurants, rooftop wave pool and sand beaches. While the complex’s sensual China Rouge lounge is technically a member’s-only club, those dressed to impress can make their way inside the 1930s Shanghai-style nightclub. Go for the live entertainment — jazz trios and singers — but make sure to take a look at the carved woodwork, jade sculptures and artwork by celebrated Chinese artists.

Paulo Barbosa
Paulo Barbosa

The new factor in town, with largely unknown implications, is the Hengqin island new development zone. Very close to Macau, the mountainous island is three times larger than Macau’s total area. Until very recently one could find remote oyster fishermen village communities there. But all is changing since the Beijing central government decided to grant a part of the island lands to be developed by the Macau Special Administrative Region. The huge campus of the Macau University is being built there and it will fall under the region’s jurisdiction. Nearby the campus, a brand-new city is being built from scratch. The local government stated that the Hengqin new development zone will play a supplementary role to Macau, accommodating millions of visitors.

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