Macao’s boutique hotels are the complete opposite of the city’s flashy casino resorts. With just a handful of rooms, they make up in charm and discretion what they lack in facilities. And some are so unobtrusive, you can walk right by without realising they are there. Macao’s loveliest boutique hotel – Pousada de Sao Tiago, parts of which date back to the 17th century – is currently closed for renovations. But there’s still an awesome boutique foursome spread between Coloane, Taipa and Macao proper, all waiting to welcome their select clientele. Where to stay in Macao?
Cool Pool: Regency Art Hotel, Taipa
The 326-room Regency Art Hotel is large and uncluttered, while not exactly fancy, and at the back of the property a lagoon pool and shady colonnade are just the place to kick back and relax.
Many of the Regency’s guests are part of large groups, who tend to shop and sightsee during the day, so the pool area is rarely crowded. Rain or shine, there’s plenty to keep youngsters occupied.
There’s also a gym, tennis, ping pong, darts and three acres of gardens that are well used to games of hide-and-seek.
Food is not the Regency’s strong point, however three outlets – Chinese, International and an all-day café – do a perfectly adequate job. And the Regency Hotel is neatly situated at the northern end of Taipa, equally handy for both Cotai and the main part of the city.
Beach Retreat: Pousada De Coloane
For anyone whose image of Macao is a long lunch that stretches well into the afternoon while sitting beneath a vine-covered trellis, Pousada De Coloane’s restaurant provides the answer.
With a mere 28 rooms, this former tycoon’s country mansion puts the “x” in relaxation, with a splash pool, newly opened spa, and all just five minutes’ walk away from the beach.
Just about everyone who comes here waxes lyrical about the staff, many of whom have worked here for years and proudly regard the hotel as their second home.
You can’t get much further south in Macao, and few venture as far as Pousada de Coloane unless they’re headed to the 18-hole golf course that’s just down the road. So the hotel’s residents are left in peace, with time to relax on the balcony or dally in the spa bath that’s a feature of each room.
The hotel stands a little below the main road, which lies a short way from the circular Coloane hiking trail. The other main attraction here is Coloane village, a picturesque, rustic seaside settlement about half-an-hour’s walk away along the coast.
Metro Bolthole: Pousada de Mong Ha
The lovely thing about the Mong Ha is that it doesn’t really feel like a hotel – more like a private city hideaway.
It’s right in the middle of town, and actually started life as an army barracks. Pousada de Mong Ha is now a hotel training school, and the student staff members impart a real sense of enthusiasm and liveliness.
There are just 20 rooms – go for a suite if you would like a balcony. Naturally, there’s little in the way of facilities beyond some well-kept gardens, but the whole of Macao is on the doorstep.
Start the day with a buffet breakfast (it’s worth checking in just for the homemade bread and jams) and – from Monday to Friday – try lunch or dinner or both at the Educational Restaurant, which got an enthusiastic nod in the latest Michelin guide to Macao.
The menu is international and the chef a professional. Otherwise, the Mong Ha’s chief asset is its peace and solitude.
Top Scoff: Rocks Hotel Macau
First things first – the Rocks Hotel Macau is part of the retail, dining and entertainment strip known as Fisherman’s Wharf, right next to the main ferry terminal, and enters into the spirit of things with a cod Victorian design that sets the 74-key Rocks Hotel Macau apart from its neighbours.
The rooms and suites are each prettily decorated with intricately patterned wallpaper and faux antiques, and the atrium grants a spacious feel to the whole property.
Pleasant on the eye the hotel may be – but it’s the tummy, and taste buds, that are in for a real treat.
By way of aperitif, ease up to Sky Lounge on the top floor, and grab a cocktail and take in the panorama which embraces airport, harbour and the vast new bridge being built across the delta to Hong Kong.
Even more enticing, Vic’s Restaurante [SIC] on the ground floor serves up amazing Portuguese and Macanese cuisine with a modern twist.
The tables are often packed with locals – quite the best recommendation. Naturally, the wine list – predominantly Old World – is excellent.
Where to stay in Macao? If these four aren’t suitable one of Macao’s brand new flashy resorts might capture your imagination.
Find out about the Macau Tower experiences and book your Skywalk tickets for a thrilling experience.
Find out about Macau’s boutique hotels here.