Macau’s newest integrated hotel, The Parisian, not only has a staggering 3000 rooms, but an Eiffel Tower outside its front entrance. The gob smacking half-size replica of the famous European icon is an impressive re-creation, which is especially spectacular at night when it is lit up in a blaze of colours, and during regular light and sound shows.
More than 30 million people (including 100,000 Australians) visit Macau annually for its hotels, casinos and Portuguese culture and food, and now a good many are making a beeline for this new 160-metre addition to the Macau skyline. Some are lining up to reach the 37th-floor observation tower for a bird’s-eye view of mainland China, and of Macau’s Cotai Strip that rivals Las Vegas for its neon lights and casino/hotels. Others are lining up for La Chine, an elegant restaurant on the sixth level where diners are greeted with a very French bonsoir.
But Gallic favourites such as escargots de Bourgogne and coq au vin make way here for chopsticks and an Asian/French fusion of dishes, such as canard a l’orange crispy roasted duck with black pepper sauce, and red bean crepes with green tea ice cream. There is an extensive wine list, mostly French and Italian, but also some Chinese wines such as the vaunted Grace Vineyard.
There’s an industrial touch to the restaurant space, with the tower’s distinctive framework of Shanghai steel crisscrossing the interior. The décor is elegant French, and the colour scheme is stylish regency blue. French theming and the re-creation of Parisian icons such as the Fontaine de Mers, the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue des Champs-Elysees are present throughout $US2.7 billion hotel that opened with fanfare on September 13.
The Parisian’s entry area is breathtakingly grand. There’s a massive rotunda with marble balconies, a high-domed painted ceiling and ornate fountain. Off to the sides are sizeable reception and concierge areas inspired by the Palace of Versailles. French-style street artists, mimes, buskers, fountains, carousels, grand arcades (with 170 shops), day spa, the obligatory buzzing casino floor, an Aqua World play area, and a comprehensive entertainment program complete the picture.
However, my standard deluxe room is not spectacular. It’s four-star comfortable, while the rest of the property is a most-stunning five stars. The shower recess fills up with water, most likely just a teething problem, and the view is of rooftop air-conditioning units. If the room counts, it may pay to upgrade to an Eiffel Tower room to improve the outlook, or better still to the Lyon suites, many of which also have Eiffel Tower views, as well as marble bathrooms.
The Parisian is part of the massive Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which is especially notable in Macau for The Venetian, which opened nine years ago. It is a quirky property that pays homage to Venice and has internal canals and gondolas with opera-singing gondoliers. The success of themed concept of The Venetian inspired Sands to follow up with The Parisian.
Also new to the Macau scene in recent months is the US$4.7 billion Wynn Palace that opened on August 22. It is more opulent than The Parisian, and also more expensive.
The Exterior of The Parisian Macau
Rivalling The Parisian’s Eiffel Tower replica, Wynn Palace is fronted by a 3.2-hectare performance lake where a choreographed show of water, music and light stops visitors in their tracks. There are 1200 jets in the lake that shoot water as high as 60 metres. A gondola runs around the lake, providing a great view of the show, or pull up a premium-viewing seat in Wing Lei Palace. This fine dining Cantonese restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows have a perfect lake.
Another show-stopping restaurant at Wynn Palace is SW. It’s a steakhouse named after Steven Wynn, the US casino mogul who is the CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited. There are six high-tech vignettes that play every 30 minutes at SWs, taking the concept of ‘theatre-restaurant’ to a new high.The vignettes are created by production designer and puppeteer Mike Curry, who has also worked for Disney and Cirque de Soleil.
Curry has created everything from an epic journey of a tiger reflected on a Ming Dynasty vase, to an old angler in an epic battle with a trophy fish, and a man portraying his undying love for a gorilla. The star of the show, though, is the steak. It includes Japanese wagyu, prime American cuts and Australian black angus. There’s also a strong seafood offering.
Everything about Wynn Palace is high end. It has a floral theme (including a floral carousel with 83,000 flowers) and extensive displays of Western and Chinese artwork (including a colourful steel tulip sculpture by Jeff Koons). There are 1706 rooms and suites, and even the most basic (the Palace room) feels opulent. Egyptian cotton and large HD televisions are standard.
Moving up in class, and depending on the suite you choose, you can have views of the performance lake, Italian marble bathrooms, iPads to control lights and curtains, Bang and Olufsen sound systems, pillow menus, 24-hour butler service, a makeup room, and a private massage room with surround sound. Chanel, Prada, Ferrari and Gucci are among the 50 shops in the hotel, along with multiple restaurants and cafes, plus day spa.
As grand as both these gaming resorts are, they may soon be upstaged by the The 13. Set to open late summer, it will be a self-proclaimed seven-star Baroque-inspired hotel with 24-hour butler service and a fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms. There has been speculation that rooms will be between A$10,000 and A$100,000 a night. the13.com