Macau (also spelled Macao), is a small island off China’s mainland and was governed by Portugal from the mid-16th century until late 1999. It was the last European colony in Asia. Because of the juxtaposition of colliding cultures and its closeness to Hong Kong, Macau is a buzzing city filled with surprises around every corner.
We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel, which is centrally located on the Cotai Strip. Cotai Central is where all the big casinos, shopping, and attractions are. The hotel just opened a few months ago and has all the amenities we needed to have a wonderful stay. Every day our room got refreshed with a new toothbrush and comb, along with free bottled water. What’s nice is that if you want to bring your children on this adventure—you can! We didn’t! Macau is incredible family-friendly. Kids are not allowed in the casinos, but you will find them running around the malls, swimming pools, and parks.
The hotel also has a great kids’ program that features a toddler play area which includes activities like face painting, cooking, and coloring competitions. There are three swimming pool areas and you can choose a location that works best for you and your friends—with or without children. We found a nice quiet place between palm trees.
The hotel is home to a world-famous spa with some incredible services. Shine Spa was created with the help of a feng shui Master from Hong Kong and the treatments are based on the 5 elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. They offer the most amazing treatment where you answer a few questions based on your birthdate and your current mood via an iPad. Depending on your answers you are offered two different treatments that will align your body, mind, and spirit. When I filled out the iPad questions, I got Metal and Water as my elements. I chose Metal and I received the most heavenly 90-minute massage with oil filled with gold leaf. After the 14 hour flight – it was bliss!
Dining options are extraordinary, the hotel offers three restaurants on the property:
Xin is Macau’s one and only hotpot and seafood restaurant. It is an incredible dining experience where you get to choose the ingredients you want to cook in your private pot with the broth of your choosing. I have to say, this was one of my favorite meals.
Bene is their Italian restaurant where you can get traditional Italian dishes that include homemade pastas. For those who are not too adventurous, this is the perfect venue. And after eating Chinese food for a week, having Italian food is a treat.
Feast is a market-style, causal buffet that is open all day. There, everyone can get whatever type of food she wants. Fresh salads, fruit, cheese, and desserts are in endless supplies. Some of the highlights include Asian, Portugues, and Macanese delights. This was a favorite because everyone got to chose what they wanted to eat.
How to get to Macau: The Taiwanese airline Eva Air is a Star Alliance member, so if you have points you can upgrade to the Elite Class. It is not as fancy as First Class, but it is very comfortable and makes the 14-hour flight easy. Flights from LAX to Taipei, then Macau are daily. If you are lucky, you might get to ride on the Hello Kitty plane.