Family Fun In Macau

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Venetian Macau is old, it has been there since the year 2007. But even today it is the best known family destination where tourists go to take gondola rides, stroll along and window-shop at hundreds of designer shops by the artificial canal on the top floor. Even today, the artificial sky above the canal succeeds in fooling the first timers. The Venetian is an icon and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. The reclaimed land in the Taipa Island of Macau on which The Venetian was built later saw more development. The City of Dreams, a casino resort with a cluster of hotels came up in front of The Venetian on its east side, with a road in the middle separating the two. The Las Vegas Sands group, the owner of The Venetian, named this road as "Cotai Strip" dreaming of building a strip here that would be similar to 'The Strip' in Las Vegas. Today, in 2016, their dream is very close to reality. Keep reading...

Hotels in Macau Peninsula

The Historical Background

Casino gaming has been there in Macau since the year 1850. It was Chinese style gaming that later evolved into western style gaming but the control of the industry was still with the Chinese. It was a monopoly system that allowed a single business group to own and operate casinos in Macau. The ownership of Macau got transferred to China in 1999 and subsequently in 2002, the government of the Special Administrative Region of Macau ended the monopoly system of casino ownership. At that time, almost all casino gaming was concentrated in the Macau peninsula which can be called the 'mainland' portion of Macau and houses most of the city's historical landmarks. A few western and even Chinese owned western-style casino resorts did come up in Macau Peninsula after 2002 prominent among which were Sands Macau, Wynn, MGM, and Grand Lisboa. With those developments, the peninsula got congested. Further growth of the casino industry required new land and therefore the land reclaimed from the sea in Taipa became attractive.

The Clean-up

Though Taipa started emerging as the future destination of family tourism in Macau, the historical part of Macau was still in the peninsula and those old streets were not ready for families. Following orders from the powers in China, the local administration started the clean-up sometime around the year 2010. The "ladies" operating from the streets were chased away by the police and forced to either leave Macau or work from the establishments known as "saunas" or "clubs" housed inside some large hotels in the peninsula. Even the legendary parade of Chinese ladies on the ground floor of Hotel Lisboa was stopped later. Of course even today there are Macau businesses that offer interesting things like "honeymoon packages" to single male tourists from China but at least those things are not visible on the streets. Starting 2015, an armed policeman is posted 24 hours at the entrance of every major hotel in Macau.

Taipa, The Future of Macau

Sands Cotai Central in Taipa Macau

After The Venetian and City of Dreams, 'Galaxy Macau' resort (from the owners of StarWorld hotel) with its own collection of hotels started business on the west side of The Venetian. Recently Galaxy have added another venture called "Broadway Macau" which is an entertainment and food oriented extension attached to Galaxy. Sands group's project 'Sands Cotai Central' came up next to City of Dreams on Cotai Strip. Sands Cotai Central with four hotels is a pure family destination with entertainment targeted at kids.

Studio City Casino Resort in Taipa Macau

Studio City, another family oriented major casino resort opened in 2015 on the Cotai Strip in Taipa. It is owned by the Melco Crown group that also owns the City of Dreams. Studio City offers an attraction to the families called "Golden Reel - the world's most iconic ferris wheel". Its a paid attraction but already attracts huge crowds.

Eiffel Tower in Macau - Parisian Hotel in Taipa

The next in line on the Cotai Strip is The Parisian adjacent to The Venetian, which is likely to open sometime in 2017. The Parisian will bring Eiffel Tower to Macau. In fact the construction of this half-scale Eiffel Tower is almost complete and it is rumoured that the tower will open for public even before the resort opens its doors.

Wynn Palace and MGM in Taipa

Wynn Palace in Taipa Macau

The New MGM Building in Taipa Macau

The two most famous casino resorts from the peninsula would not like to the miss the Taipa boom and are already getting ready. The first to open in August 2016 will be the Wynn Palace. It is at a walking distance from The Venetian. There is a road that separates City of Dreams from Sands Cotai Central. A short walk on this road brings one to Wynn Palace and MGM (under construction). Wynn Palace will have a huge fountain called "Performance Lake" that will remind visitors of the famous fountain show of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

All new casino resorts in Macau will have fewer number of gaming tables and machines and instead their emphasis for profits will be on non-gaming revenue. In other words, it means that they want families as their customers.

Everything Near The Venetian

All these upcoming Taipa developments are within a walkable distance from The Venetian and are connected via free shuttle buses from Macau peninsula. These buses start from Sands Macau, StarWorld Hotel, Lisboa Palace, Macau Ferry Terminal, and would also operate from Wynn and MGM once their Taipa properties become operational. Within Taipa, a convenient and free shuttle bus service called "The Cotai Connection" connects these resorts for tourists. An elevated railway system is under construction that will provide another alternative for local travel and resort hopping. What more one can ask for? If there is something, the government there will certainly work on it before we even ask. Macau will be irresistible.

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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