This month, dear reader, we’re sailing 60 kilometres west from Hong Kong. All together now: we’re going to Macao.
Why? The long-awaited bridge is about to open, plus this airline recently inked a codeshare agreement with Cotai Water Jet, so it’s easier than ever to bob over. That’s the elevator pitch; now for the fun stuff.
Macao is the Cain to Hong Kong’s Abel, the Venus to its Serena, the Liam to its Noel. These two SARs have long wrestled over the superlatives – zazziest, tastiest, glitziest – but even Hong Kong has to admit that Macao is pretty hot right now. (We also mean that literally… Pacha’s Summer Love pool party, anybody?)
There’s the launch of two big-ticket hotels on the Cotai Strip that aren’t speciously themed after European cities. (Oh wait. Macao’s Holiday Inn is to rebrand as The Londoner later this year – expect a replica Big Ben, Tower Bridge and red phoneboxes for ATMs.)
The MGM Cotai, opened this spring, is a bejewelled cantilevered heifer wedged between the Venetian and the Wynn. There are Qing dynasty carpets, a coterie of acclaimed chefs and The Spectacle, a four-storey atrium flanked by screens and vertical gardens.
Next: Zaha Hadid’s newly opened Morpheus, the wiry skyscraper that’s part of City of Dreams. The 1.6 million-square-foot property has sky villas, a VR zone and a rooftop infinity pool.
Talking of extraordinary constructions, try the Bloody Mary at the jazzy and New Yorky St Regis bar: we say Instagram cocktail of the month.
Walk 10 minutes away from the Venetian and you’re in Taipa Village, a patchwork of quaint streets that have retained much of their traditional pastel-coloured architecture. There’s Rooftop Macau, a boutique selling printed t-shirts and trinkets, plus coffee to drink on the roof; and the Taipa Village Art Space, which, when we visited, was teaching students Chinese calligraphy. Stuff yourself at new La Famiglia, an Italian-Portuguese restaurant that serves an excellent tiramisu; and then again at old favourite Antonio, the home of the garrulous chef who thinks nothing of sabreing a bottle of champagne at a dinner of bacalhau (salted cod) and tomato rice.
And for dessert? A quick round of baccarat, obviously.