Touted as the New Las Vegas, or Asia’s Monte Carlo, Macau is truly a luxe destination.
With nine Michelin-rated restaurants, 33 casinos, dozens of palatial resorts, and home to the Macau Grand Prix, this sunny destination has quickly turned into a second home for many elite travelers.
Once a Portuguese colony, the Macanese culture has become an unconventional combination of Portuguese and Chinese tradition making for a vibrantly cultivated destination. Every year it seems a new resort casino is built, hoping to outdo the last. Amid this chaotic neon landscape, lies pure and utter luxury; it just may take some rifling through the multibillion-dollar debris to find it. Or, skip the guessing and pay close attention to these elite standouts.
For The Modern Historian:
Pousada de São Tiago
A far cry from the neon casino resort behemoths taking over Macau, Pousada de São Tiago offers a refined approach to quiet luxury. Retaining historical evidence of its origins as Fortaleza de Barra, this 17th-century Portuguese fort has been reimagined into an elegant escape on the mouth of the Pearl River. Each of the 12 suites are richly furnished with Portuguese Mahogany furniture, exotic black leather flooring, Hermès toiletries and spacious outdoor balconies — some of which provide stunning views of Sai Van Lake and the Gate of Understanding. Pousada de São Tiago proves that Macau has more to offer than just blackjack and baccarat.
Avenida da República, Fortaleza de São
Tiago da Barra
Fat Siu Lau
With the pleasure of holding the award for the oldest restaurant in Macau, the century-old Fat Siu Lau is still a local favorite. Fat Sui Lau fuses traditional Cantonese with Portuguese dishes, thereby creating a hybrid that is prominent in Macanese cuisine. Still owned and operated by the same family, Fat Sui Lau is best known for their curry crab prepared with traditional Asian spices and their roasted pigeon marinated in a 105-year-old secret recipe. Housed behind a whitewashed exterior, which is enhanced with the traditional red shutters and door of the red-light district, Fat Siu Lau is a must-visit for anyone who revels in tradition and local flavor.
64 Rua da Felicidade
Ruins of St. Paul’s
Among all the historical monuments in Macau, the Ruins of St. Paul’s has steadfastly remained a favorite among tourists and locals alike. The St. Paul’s Cathedral was built between 1582 and 1602, and at the time was the largest Catholic cathedral in Asia. Once a pedestal of wealth, St. Paul’s Cathedral was decimated in 1835 by a fire caused by a typhoon and now only the southern stone wall and attached staircase remain intact. The location of many festivals (and photo ops), the Ruins of St. Paul’s is a fascinating reminder of Macau’s past, which is made ever more poignant with the proximity of Macau’s premier casinos.
Rua de Sao Paulo
For The Epicurean:
Opened only two years ago, the award-winning Altira Macau is the pinnacle of contemporary luxury and has a celebrated focus on world-class culinary innovation and a lavish attention to detail. The decadent tone is set when guests check in at the 38th-floor lobby, where stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the Macau peninsula are on display. These views are enhanced in each of the eight exclusive villas, which feature not only a Jacuzzi and steam room, but a kitchen, lounge and premier gym equipment (which may come in handy after visiting Altira Macau’s varied dining rooms). While the suites are amazing, and the spa is first-class, Altira Macau is most known for its passion in culinary delights, which can be found at any one of its six restaurants. The most famous of which is the Michelin-starred Aurora, where Chef Michelle Dell’Aquila prepares cunning modern Italian delights that are complemented by the exclusive vintages found on their extensive wine list.
Avenida de Kwong Tung
Robuchon a Galera
As the only three-starred Michelin restaurant in Macau, Robuchon a Galera is a must-visit for any self-satisfying epicurean. Located in Hotel Lisboa, this 10-year-old veteran may not be the most modern, but Chef Joël Robuchon’s second restaurant outside of France is still very classically elegant and most importantly, relevant. Highlighting French haute cuisine, Robuchon a Galera offers decadent dishes such as La Pintade et le Foie Gras — a roasted guinea fowl and foie gras served with potato confit — and Le Caviar — a caviar jelly with cauliflower cream, caviar in fine coral infusion with cream of peas, crunchy cone stuffed with avocado salsa and lime zest. Robuchon a Galera has the auspicious luxury of receiving the Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” consistently over the past few years for their 8,000-strong wine list, which happens to be the most exclusive collection in Asia and is available for perusal via iPad.
2-4 Avenida De Lisboa
As quaint as it sounds, Food Street (Rua do Cunha) is justifiably famous for its smorgasbord of succulent and sugary treats. Stroll down the pedestrian walkway in one of the oldest villages of Macau as you sample local and international street food. Delicacies such as phoenix egg rolls, fish balls, jellies and traditional Macanese egg tarts are on kaleidoscopic display and ready to be savored. Food Street is a culinary adventure for even the most die-hard foodies.
Rua do Cunha
For The Decadent Traveler:
Banyan Tree Macau
As one of the newest and most exclusive hotels in Macau, Banyan Tree, located in the Galaxy Macau Resort, is a treat even for the most jaded travelers. While all 246 suites feature indoor relaxation pools, it is the Sanctuary Pool Villas that offer the most indulgent oasis of romance complete with sumptuous bedrooms, living area, ornate furnishings, show kitchen, spa treatment room, outdoor garden and the requisite private pool. For a truly elite experience, opt for the bilevel Presidential Suite, which offers stunning panoramic views of Cotai city and best of all, a private gaming suite. In the whirling dervish of Macau, Galaxy Macau’s Banyan Tree is a welcoming beacon of utter relaxation and pure luxury.
Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus
Ristorante Il Teatro
Ristorante Il Teatro lives up to its moniker, with its well-executed theatrics both in the kitchen and outside of it. Using only the freshest of ingredients (most of which are flown in from around the world), Chef Anthony Alaimo creates dishes that boast the traditional character of Italian cuisine. Dishes such as pan-seared whole Australian or Maine lobster tagliatelle in a light brandy cream, or a classic whipped spinach ricotta ravioli, grilled Italian sausage and cherry tomatoes, or Chef Alaimo’s artisan pizza have star power even against the elegantly furnished backdrop of the restaurant. Whether you delight in traditional Italian courses, or you just came for the Performing Water show, Ristorante Il Teatro will astound you.
Rua Cidade de Sintra
The Spa at Crown Towers
In the lofty City of Dreams, the Spa at Crown Towers provides a dazzlingly luxe spa experience featuring an extensive list of global treatments, such as a signature Deep Blue Massage of Bora Bora, reiki and Indian head massage. Spanning two levels and featuring 12 lavish treatment rooms, including a hair and beauty salon and an exclusive VIP area, guests will be hard-pressed to ever leave.
Estrada do Istmo
For The Dedicated Shopper:
Opened almost five years ago, the Wynn Macau is rumored to be the first Vegas-styled casino resort in Macau. Comprised of two towers, the Wynn and the more recently opened Encore, it is the latter that houses the most coveted intimate and boutique-like suites. Guests are encouraged to relax in utter opulence with world-class views in the two-bedroom Sky Suites, which feature an in-room spa therapy suite — perfect after a long day of shopping in either the Wynn Esplanade or the Esplanade at Encore. Home to dozens of the world’s most exclusive brands, such as Dior, Prada, Versace, Piaget and Hermès, the Wynn Macau is a dream resort for anyone who follows the religion of style.
Rua Cidade de Sintra
Zi Yat Heen
Proclaimed to be the best Chinese restaurant in Macau, Four Season’s Zi Yat Heen is a stylish ode to traditional Cantonese dishes. Feast on the house favorite, a succulent crispy crab claw with shrimp mousse, which has been lightly fired and then cooked in a special Chinese spiced broth or an innovative take on bird’s nest soup at this two-starred, Michelin-rated restaurant. Helmed by the Chinese culinary master Chef Ho Pui Yung, this restaurant is delicacy among the cluttered restaurant landscape.
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança
One Central Macau
Housing the largest selection of luxury brands in Macau, this 200,000-square-foot emporium is a wonder of modern retail. In One Central Macau, flagship stores are the norm and a dizzying array of rare and one-of-a-kind items by some of the most exclusive brands in the world are on display and better yet, available for purchase. Focused on personalization and customer service, many of the boutiques offer VIP rooms and tranquil outdoor patios for a more intimate shopping experience. One Central Macau is an opulent jewel box encasing some of the most prestigious and elite brands in the world. Needless to say, it is an experience not to be missed.
Avenida de Sagres and Avenida do Dr. Sun Yat Sen
Erica Henderson has been writing about fashion, travel and food for the past five years. When she’s not holed up in a local coffee shop she can be found styling fashion editorials, exploring San Francisco and indulging in its influential culinary scene.
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