Experience Opulence in Macau

(as published in Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay magazine)

Be sure to drop by the extravagant lobby of the Galaxy Macau!

 

Apart from being the next most accessible destination after visiting Hong Kong, Macau has made quite a name for itself. When mentioning it to any random citizen of the world, there is a 99% chance that the special administrative region (SAR) of China will be associated with gambling, since the activity has been in practice locally since the mid-19th century. (1% will probably relate it to its former colonizers, the Portuguese). Macau’s name in Chinese Ao Men literally means “bay gates,” which makes sense given that it was opened to receive much influence from another culture, making it one of the most diverse leisure destinations today with up-and-coming potential for more growth and expansion.
 
So while it’s widely if not officially established that the most common goal in touring Macau is to enter at least one of its numerous casinos, believe it or not there are other ways to enjoy that doesn’t involve potentially stressful situations from risking a portion (or all) of your pocket money on hand. The increasing number of spa sanctuaries is an attestation to the growth of Macau’s spa industry. As gambling is inextricably associated with luxury, you can expect no less than the best quality spa treatments in Macau with the Banyan Tree Spa, which opened in the last few years. The 3,400-square meter relaxation getaway with its bamboo-themed interiors and twenty-one Asian-inspired treatment villas and suites is located at the Banyan Tree Macau resort, Galaxy Macau complex which houses the world’s largest sky-high wave pool and white sand beach.
 
For starters, try out their Classic Rejuvenation package with ginseng scrub and Swedish massage or Summer Indulgence package with Thai Chamanard scrub and Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. Forget that you’re in the bustling metropolis of Macau and begin your journey into an exotic oasis with a soothing rain shower back therapy before proceeding to your choice of scrub and massage. Afterwards, you can go for the Renewal or Radiant facial treatment if you feel like your whole body should receive the equal amount of rejuvenating attention. A light gong sound can be heard once the entire session is over. If you felt as though you really were in a tropical paradise, that’s because all therapists underwent extensive professional training in one of Banyan Tree’s Thailand, Indonesia or China professional academies.
 
For an indulgent dining experience, visit The Tasting Room located at the Crown Towers in the City of Dreams, home to the world’s largest water show, the House of Dancing Water. Under the leadership of French Chef de Cuisine Guillaume Galliot who began his Asian culinary reputation at Singapore’s Raffles (Hotel) Grill in 2004, The Tasting Room has recently been awarded its first Michelin star by the Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau 2013 after opening its doors in April of the previous year.
 
If there’s one dish to try, it’s the signature onion soup meticulously concocted by Chef Guillaume. This modern take on the classic has earned praises from the likes of Forbes.com and Hong Kong Tatler. The surely memorable dish involves a contrasting yet harmonious blend of hot, thick onion broth and sweet onion-flavored ice cream. Not only does the dish exceed expectations in taste, but the presentation is equally noteworthy with the soup poured right in front of you from a teapot. The Tasting Room is also famous for its fresh seafood dishes, Valrhona chocolates, and fine cheeses and liquor imported from all over Europe.
 
There’s almost and endless number of luxury hotels in Macau.
 
 
To gratify yourselves the furthest after a day of pampering massages and fine dining, why not stay at the newest, largest hotel in Macau and thirteenth largest in the world? Sheraton Macau Hotel Cotai Sands which opened itself to the public just last September 2012 is also the world’s largest Sheraton property, taking world class extravagance to astronomical heights. Naturally, the new property also boasts the world’s largest Sheraton Club lounge.
 
Upon entering the hotel lobby, you can almost taste the opulence in the air given the 61 reception counters ready to immediately accommodate a Herculean demand. Soak in the sun and loll around in three winding outdoor pools equipped with their respective poolside cafés while leaving the kids happily occupied with special activity programs tailored to their wants. Sate your gustatory yearnings at the aptly named Feast, Bene and Xin restaurants, depending on your preferred cuisine. If you change your mind about not gambling or just want to incline towards the norm, you can always head to Pacifica, the hotel’s in-house casino.
 
Evidently, there are now more new discoveries to splurge on in Macau other than slot machines and poker tables. Whether you choose to avail of one or all of the options above, you’re sure to get your money’s worth in exceptional luxury and elegance.
 
Macau has many Michelin-starred restaurants like this one.
 
Banyan Tree Spa Macau honors:
– Winner, Best Spa Design of the Year at the SpaChina Awards 2012
– Nominee, New Spa of the Year at the 8th Annual AsiaSpa Awards held last November 2012 by AsiaSpa, a Hong-Kong based spa and resort magazine
– The Banyan Tree Macau resort also won the distinction of Top 60 Best New Hotels in the World by Condé Nast Traveller UK Hot List 2012.
New to Casinos? Here are some tips:
While there are probably only a handful of people who can still make of some rewarding experience from losing at bets, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your gambling experience – regardless of how deep or shallow your pockets are:
 Before entering the casino, restrict the amount of money you will wager for the duration of your stay and stick to it.
– Study the game you want to play before placing your bet to increase your chances of winning. Experienced gamblers rely on knowledge, not luck.
– Be practical. Set a time limit for yourself; stop when you’ve used up your betting budget. When you do win, remind yourself that you can’t keep it up forever. Enjoy your winnings and save it for next time.

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