Known literally as the ‘Vegas of China’, Macau is located on the country’s southeast coast. The city holds the same, if not even more of an invigorating buzz than its American cousin. Millions of gamblers stroll the streets, spending thousands in billion dollar hotels and casinos.
Macau exudes an exciting energy. The bright lights of the Cotai Strip’s Mega-Hotels – the Venetian, Four Seasons and St Regis – dwarf you, whilst the flashing lights of Hard Rock Hotel, MGM Grand and many many others surround you in the near distance.
8pm | Studio City
Fresh off the one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong Island, hop onto one of the many complimentary hotel buses waiting outside the terminal to take you directly to the Cotai strip. On a street lined with giant hotels, you spot the $3.2 billion Studio City. It looks like it’s been modelled after some sort of super city, and that’s because it has: Gotham.
A city that never sleeps, Macau is a gambling and party haven, making it the perfect place to arrive late and head straight for the bar, located directly in the middle of the fully-packed casino behind the marble-floored lobby. Don’t expect to wine and dine for cheap here, however, we’re talking big city prices.
The same goes for the gambling tables too. It varies at each spot, but expect minimum bets of HK$300-HK$500. After an evening on the tables and a stroll around the never-ending maze of high-end market stores and designer shops, food awaits.
11pm | Cotai Strip
Step outside at this time and the warm air still hits you. Walking down the strip, notably less busy at this time (everyone is well seated and comfortable in the casinos), it’s a perfect opportunity to explore the lobbies and casinos of each hotel for a couple of hours.
Sheraton, Conrad, Wynn, The Parisian (opening in September), even the Holiday Inn; they have it all. Despite the elegant designs, landscapes and originality that each hotel brings, the casinos all feel the same. Huge, busy and a vibe you can’t help but feel infatuated with.
After a late night bite in one of the hotel eateries offering food from all over the world, it’s the perfect time to reach one of the hotel nightclubs and really live it up.
1am | Bellini Lounge, The Venetian Macau
Modelled after its sister hotel-casino The Venetian Las Vegas, the 39-story Venetian Macau holds the largest casino in the world. It’s the largest single hotel building in Asia and the seventh-largest building by floor space in the world. If you can make it through the casino floor without tiring out from the long walk through the beautifully designed golden lobby or stopping for the buzzing lights and sounds, you’ll reach the Bellini Lounge bar.
A bougie club, it’s playing R&B and Hip Hop Music Videos on a giant screen behind the stage. The centre island bar is the best seat to catch the live music performers before the DJ takes over and gets some people on the floor. After a few more (some soft ones to ensure you stay awake too) the music gets louder and the club busier; it’s time to slow it down.
3.30am | The Roadhouse, Broadway
Take a quick taxi ride to a shopping complex across the street from the 5-star Galaxy Hotel – a sprawling gold complex of high-rise hotel towers – go down the side entrance and you’ll reach a live sports bar; The Roadhouse is usually open until 6/7am (or when the game finishes).
Mainly serving a clientele of tourists and travellers with the odd group of locals around, the bar is filled with old blues, rock and biker memorabilia, and has a band playing live music right until the game begins. Not too busy, with food and drinks (including hot beverages), it’s the perfect place to recover without having to hit the sack after a heavy night in Asia’s’ Monte Carlo.
6.30am | 再见 (Goodbye)
The sky starts to lighten around 5am. After a final stroll along the strip and a quick grab of juice or breakfast in one of the hotel restaurants, it’s a quick hop on the bus from The Venetian back to the Hong Kong ferry.
Macau is a culturally rich place, with many historical sites. The Portuguese colony that existed here before China took control in 1999 still has a strong presence. One night in Macau won’t offer you the chance to see this side of the city, although Macau is definitely a place to visit if you’re just looking for a heavy night too. Either way, this city is for sure going to become more of an attraction than it already is.