As hotels go in Macau, most follow the big, bold, and over-the-top style that is typical of the mega-resort casinos that have transformed the city in recent years. But search a little beyond the casino strip, and you’ll find more than a few places to stay where the soul, character, and charm of the old Macau still lives on.
Pousada De São Tiago
Nestled on a hillside on the western side of Macau, this enchanting colonial-era hotel provides the perfect escape from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the main town and casino areas. Here you can enjoy a slower and charming side of Macau in this genuinely historic property that oozes character. The hotel was once a Portuguese fortress, and its picturesque surrounds make for a tranquil stay. It has its own chapel (popular for wedding ceremonies) and also features an outside swimming pool and sun terrace. Some of Macau’s main attractions like the A-Ma Temple and Maritime Museum are within walking distance. Service is friendly, and the rooms are plush with a distinct Portuguese colonial influence. The hotel features 12 suites with harbor-view balconies, ideal for kicking back and watching sunset over the bay. Relaxing here is effortless.
Avenida da Republica, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago da Barra, Macau +853 2837 8111
Tucked away in a more secluded part of Taipa, this five-star boutique hotel is truly a hidden gem. Standout highlights include its stunning infinity pool, which features floor-to-ceiling windows, exquisite views, and even underwater music. The hotel boasts 216 rooms, including 24 suites and four villas; complete with all the latest mod cons, they offer the epitome of luxury. Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining here, too. You can choose from the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, Ying, to award-winning Italian and Japanese restaurants, plus an ultra-stylish bar on the top floor of the hotel (38 Lounge), which features live music and unbeatable views of the city skyline.
Altira Macau, Avenida de Kwong Tung, Macau +853 2886 8888
Pousada de Mong-Há
In another welcome contrast to the casino hotels, this low-key hotel was originally an army barracks for soldiers, but is now part of a training school for Macau Tourism Studies. However, don’t let that put you off; the staff here are some of the most professional and courteous you will find in Macau. It’s small, with only 20 rooms, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in warmth, charm, friendliness, and tranquility. The hotel is surrounded by lush gardens and natural woods, and a public park is situated nearby. It’s also within easy reach of areas like St. Lazarus District, which offers a picturesque setting and colorful colonial buildings. The hotel’s facilities include a restaurant, fitness center, library, and several gardens. Rooms are a comfortable size and a tasteful blend of East and West decor. A majority of the rooms also feature a balcony.
Macau Lan Kwai Fong
Named after neighboring Hong Kong’s party district “Lan Kwai Fong,” this modern and chic boutique hotel is set close to the town center, making it an ideal place to stay if you’re looking to explore the city. The hotel features 200 rooms, all stylish and a comfortable size. The in-house restaurant (Lan Kwai Inn) serves up high-end Chinese cuisine. There’s also a club lounge serving light snacks and an additional well-stocked bar. Facilities-wise, the hotel has its own 24-hour casino, a small spa, and a few shops as well. For easy access to most of Macau’s attractions, you can’t do much better than this location.
Macau Lan Kwai Fong, Rua de Luis Gonzaga Gomes 230, Macau +853 2880 0888
Pousada De Coloane
Located on a wooded hill in Macau’s southern island of Coloane, the Pousada Coloane is a beach hotel that is far removed from Macau’s glitzy casino strip. For peace and tranquility, look no further. The hotel overlooks Coloane’s Cheoc Van Beach and the South China Sea and is moments away from easy access to nice strolls along the coast. There’s plenty to see and do in the neighboring areas, including several hiking trails and nature walks, both of Coloane’s two main beaches, the quaint Coloane Village, and regular transport links to the main town and casino strip should you need them. The hotel offers 28 rooms, each with its own spacious sea-view balcony. Other amenities include a swimming pool and a genuine Portuguese restaurant complete with its own terrace for al fresco dinning.
Pousada De Coloane, Praia de Cheoc Van, Coloane, Macau +853 2888 2143
This boutique hotel overlooking the harbor is located in Macau’s Fisherman’s Wharf shopping area. It’s styled on the bygone elegance of the Victorian era. Even the staff here are decked out in period costumes. The 74 rooms and suites continue the old-world theme, but the rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the balconies overlooking the wharf are a nice addition. The hotel’s restaurant (Vic’s Restaurante Português) serves traditional Portuguese cuisine with a modern spin. They also serve a fabulous afternoon tea set. There’s a rooftop bar (Sky Lounge) with an outdoor terrace and great views. Macau typically prides itself on being ultra modern these days, but this hotel is unique as it enables you to step back in time to a slower, more elegant, pace of living. Perfect for those who are fond of a bit of old-world charm.