It is not uncommon for cities and resort towns to build their names and fame from a conglomeration of nightlife, stunning nature and uninhibited spots for thrill seeking. Very often most places that have become famous for recreation are often built right out in the middle of nowhere, like Vegas in the desert or along the pristine shores of Atlantic City. Macau is certainly the place to be right now in terms of its global gaming, touring and nightlife appeal, but it is unique in that all of this exists surrounded by an atmosphere of a unique colonial heritage. The old quarters of the city are a fascinating look at the Portuguese colonization which with the many good and bad aspects that such colonization brings has ultimately left at least an impressive and unique city design for a lasting heritage.
Macau seems to have all the features of an island, it extends far out into the sea, it has many bridges and bays and built up areas such as the airport where sea has been transformed into land, yet it is actually a peninsula that is attached to mainland China from where most of its visitors still arrive. The island is blowing out the competition worldwide in its staggering appeal for luxury accommodations and world class gaming. What is fascinating is that while the city has an ever increasing number of rooms its daily average of visitors is still higher and the average visitor stays between 1 and a half to two days, so the question becomes where are these people staying? They are right in the casinos! Many clients are coming from China and will gamble through the night on their day and a half sojourn in the casinos. Every major hotel has its slots and by far some of the best gaming can be had at The Grand Lisboa (one of the city’s oldest landmark casinos) The Wynn, The Hard Rock Casino and the Galaxy.
For accommodations one will find that rooms are not cheap, but depending on the season one can find very good deals and most of the major casino hotels are all suite facilities complete with stunning restaurants, buffets, pools, saunas, Jacuzzis and loads of other facilities like child care centers, conference and entertainment halls, luxury shopping, specialty and duty free stores and much more. Macau is one of those places where it truly seems money can buy you everything at least when it comes to comforts, luxury and high stakes gambling. The Venetian is a work of Renaissance wonder and the entire hotel offers lifelike recreations of Venice, The Banyan Tree is one of the best in town with its full range of massage and sense altering treatments, there is perhaps no hotel as relaxing as this one from the mystical lobby right to the hallowed walls of your lavishly furnished room. Transport is quite easy even between the main city center and the outlying area where another group of casinos is found by the airport. The drive is only ten minutes, but buses run to and fro between all the casinos until late so it is very easy to move about from one casino to the other and to enjoy the historical city as well.
For those who like to travel and tour culture in addition to gaming or simply want to enjoy a good hotel without gambling at all, this city affords ample opportunities to explore. The first thing that brings to mind the Portuguese years of dominion are the white and black stone paved walkways. These are stylized almost like mosaics and often they have images of sea animals and plants that twist and turn in a curvy design. The flashbacks are instant for anyone who has seen the design in Portugal. The houses and public offices are remarkably European in design and around every corner seems to be another church or fortification with unmistakably old world features. The most famous monument is the Church of St. Paul which is no longer functional but whose skeletal fascade is still standing and with nothing but open sky to fill its windows and doorways it looks like something used for a movie set. Yet here thousands of tourists will daily take photos and enjoy elevated views of the downtown. Just to the right of the church stands the fortress which is at the peninsulas highest land point. It overlooks the entire downtown and much of the port and sea beyond. As one wanders the labyrinthine streets of this old quarter it is possible to encounter such a diversity as to make this place seem very eclectic. There are noodle shops interspersed with modern food chains and casinos and old sailor’s quarters, it is all a real adventure into the mosaic of this peninsula’s storied past.
One thing is certain is that Macau will not disappoint. The benefits of tourism are studied and worked from every angle, from the preservation of the historical heritage of the area to the leading standards which they set in the hotel and service industries to the exciting and non stop gaming atmosphere that is prevalent on every part of the peninsula, Macau is a city that does not sleep and never ceases to enchant.