The Growing Allure of Macau

JW Marriott Galaxy Macau

Must-See Landmarks
The Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an umbrella term for more than 20 locations that showcase the ages-old assimilation and co-existence of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. Monuments include venerable urban squares, churches, temples and more.

Perched at the highest point on the peninsula, the Guia Fort and Chapel offer sweeping views of the city and, beyond, mainland China. The chapel, built in 1622, retains almost all of its original features.

Free Fall
Daredevils can bungee jump off the Macau Tower from a platform 765 feet above the ground.

Last year brought some mixed metrics for Macau. This Special Administrative Region of China posted a decline in gambling revenue for the first time since public accounting of data began in 2002, collecting US$44 billion in revenue, a 2.6 percent drop year-over-year.

However, the destination also saw record visitor numbers, some 31.5 million travelers, representing an increase of 7.5 percent year-over-year. The United States continues to be the number-one long-haul market for Macau, with more than 185,000 visitors per year. The promising rise in tourists is just one reason development continues full-steam ahead, bringing myriad new hotels, casinos and attractions to the 11.5-square-mile region.

In February, the Harbourview Hotel opened in the new Fisherman's Wharf complex. The property, which has 389 standard guest rooms and 55 suites, was designed in a European Gothic style, redolent of 18th-century Prague in the Czech Republic. Amenities include a restaurant and bar, a fitness center, an indoor pool, and footbridges connecting to both the Flamingo Casino and the Babylon Casino.

Last month, two major Marriott properties opened in the Galaxy Macau complex. The 1,015-room JW Marriott  (pictured), Asia's largest in the brand, offers more than 30,000 square feet of function space, several dining options, a pool and a fitness center.

Also a part of Galaxy Macau is the Ritz-Carlton, Macau, where guests enter a 51st-floor lobby with panoramic views of the city. The hotel has 254 suites, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, an 8,000-square-foot pillarless ballroom and two additional meeting spaces. Lai Heen, a high-end Cantonese restaurant, features five private dining rooms for groups.

The 400-room St. Regis Cotai Central is scheduled to open this December with 13,455 square feet of function space, a restaurant and bar, a 38th-floor spa and an outdoor pool with private cabanas.

Two massive complexes under development are the US$2.7 billion, 3,000-room Parisian Macau casino resort and the US$3.2 billion Studio City resort, which will include a 1,600-room hotel, a 5,000-seat entertainment venue and 500 table games. Both properties expect to open late this year or early next.