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10 of the best hotels in Macau

We've cherry-picked Macau's very best hotels, from bijou lodgings and flashy resorts

By Ben West
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While China’s Special Administrative Region of Macau is known for being ‘the Vegas of China’ for its high octane gambling, there’s much more to this former Portuguese colony than slots and gaming tables. Its old city centre blends funky boutiques with colonial ruins, while its interconnected islands of Taipa, Coloane and Cotai have different personalities: the first offers old Catholic churches and traditional Macanese architecture, the second boasts attractive beaches and old colonial villages, while Cotai is awash with mega-casinos.

Gourmet dining, epic nightlife and a shopper’s paradise also beckon, and its past is very apparent, with Portuguese cuisine readily available and streets paved with traditional Portuguese tiles next to ancient Chinese temples.

Macau is also home to some of the world’s most modern and stunning hotels, many with 100s of rooms and state-of-the-art facilities, as well as a smattering of small, down-to-earth lodgings. Of course, it has a Wynn Palace, but it also has a bijou option staffed by trainee hoteliers, hiker-friendly spots, a golf resort and a riverfront idyll. Here’s our pick of the best.

The best hotels in Macau

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1. Wynn Palace

Costing a cool $4bn, this 1700-room Cotai monster unsurprisingly drips luxury – think Jeff Koons artworks and Qing Dynasty vases, and a gigantic lake peppered with fountains – but does surprise with its surprisingly modest room rates. Even standard rooms are sleek and spacious, with touches like a choice of eight pillow types and floor-to-ceiling windows. Twelve restaurants offer overwhelming dining choices, including Hanami Ramen, headed by Michelin-starred chef Yuki Onishi. There’s a spa and gym, casino, upmarket shops and even a cable car, and it’s conveniently close to the airport and ferry terminal.

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2. Altira Macau

One of Macau’s numerous casino hotels, the Altira Macau is located in a quiet area of  Taipa, where 216 large luxurious rooms and suites provide stunning views of the Macau Peninsular. The high-end restaurants offer Cantonese, Sichuan, Japanese and Mediterranean options, and other enticing on-site amenities include a penthouse cocktail lounge with regular live music, a spa with steam rooms and sauna, and a sleek infinity pool.

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3. Pousada de Mong-Há

This excellent budget option dating from the 1970s is a complete change from the mega-hotels in casinoland. In a much quieter area, by a park housing the remains of a 19th-century fortress, and with just 20 rooms, it’s one of Macau’s smallest hotels. Staffed by trainee but eager-to-impress hoteliers, it is charmingly unpretentious. Its low-key facilities include a small fitness centre, gardens, and a lounge/restaurant decked out in pretty Portuguese hand-painted tiles, where, appropriately, European dishes are served.

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4. MGM Cotai

With more than 1000 rooms behind a most striking façade of nine colourful blocks seemingly stacked on top of each other, this is the antithesis of the cosy little family hotel. The wonderful interior design is no less imaginative and chromatic. A huge main lobby leads to a ballroom, restaurants, casino, spa, fitness centre, outdoor pool and a stunning art collection including Qing dynasty carpets. Swish, tasteful bedrooms complete the swanky set-up.

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5. Pousada De Coloane

This great budget option is set on a wooded hill away from all the flashy action. Built in the 1930s, the 28 simple rooms each have a balcony with sea views and a bathroom whirlpool tub. Laidback, the hotel features a small pool and a restaurant serving traditional Portuguese home-style cooking. The Coloane Hiking Trail is just a few minutes away, as is the beach.

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6. Conrad Macao Cotai Central

Several big hotels are located on the Sands Cotai Central casino resort on the Cotai Strip, where this 44-storey hotel sits. The Conrad is the most popular of them with guests and reviewers. It contains 636 comfortable upmarket rooms and suites complete with marble bathrooms. The Dynasty 8 restaurant specialises in Cantonese fare, while Grand Orbit focuses on Macao’s Portuguese-Chinese fusion cuisine. Other features include four outdoor pools, a huge gym and a luxurious spa.

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7. Nüwa

As high end as it gets, this elegant Nüwa is set in the City of Dreams casino, shopping, and dining complex in Cotai, and boasts (no, really) 267 state-of-the-art deliriously luxurious rooms and a further 33 villas featuring ceiling-height windows. The three restaurants are all Michelin-starred, and offer Chinese, French and sushi options, and there’s a lobby cafe/bar for delicious coffee and cakes, or stylish cocktails as the sun sets. Nearby, entertainment venues feature the likes of renowned acrobatic spectacle The House of Dancing Water, and popular nightclub Club Qubic.

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8. Grand Coloane Resort

Don’t let the imposing and less than beautiful exterior put you off this golf resort. It’s about 30 minutes from town and is packed with impressive facilities, including an 18-hole, par-71 championship golf course, a bar and two restaurants serving Asian and western dishes, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. Mountain bikes are for hire and there’s the obligatory spa and gym. Rooms are equally impressive, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and large private terraces.

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9. Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16

This riverfront retreat in the heart of the historic old town has the old docks on one side and mainland China on another. It has 408 French-influenced rooms and suites with chic touches like Bose sound systems, espresso machines, plasma screens and designer bathrooms. The French theme continues in the haute cuisine restaurant, bistro and cafe, and there’s also a dim sum restaurant. As well as a casino you’ll find a pool, gym and spa on site.

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10. Regency Art Hotel

This unassuming budget option in a quiet Taipa enclave is well-located for both the city centre (10 minutes’ drive) and Cotai. The 326 spotless rooms and suites are spacious and unassuming, while facilities include a gym, pool, tennis and squash courts set across three acres of grounds planted with mature shrubs and trees. The restaurants serve Chinese, Macanese and Portuguese fare.

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