A quick hop over the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong, Macao offers its own distinctive blend of culture and casinos. A Portuguese enclave that pre-dates Hong Kong by 300 years, Macao mixes Mediterranean style, including a profusion of baroque churches and sturdy fortresses, with all the vestiges of Chinese heritage, creating a unique and fascinating atmosphere.
Perhaps Macao’s most iconic sight, all that remains of the 17th century Jesuit church of St Paul’s is its facade and grand staircase. Part of the UNESCO-listed historic centre of Macao, St Paul’s was, at the time of its construction, the largest catholic church in Asia. Destroyed by fire in 1835 the facade, which was fortunately left complete, is intricately carved, and you are able to climb up to the windows to get a closer look at the craftsmanship. The bottom of the ruins has been converted into the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt and houses religious artifacts.
Macao’s urban centre for centuries and part of the UNESCO-listed historic centre of Macao, Senado Square oozes the grandeur of neo-classical Europe. Many of the buildings surrounding the square are protected monuments, particularly the building after which the square was named, the Leal Senado. Macao’s most important historic building, it once housed the ‘Loyal Senate’ of the city. The square always has plenty going on and is excellent for a leisurely stroll.
Built on the highest point of the peninsula, the Guia Fortress was built between 1622 and 1638 and is part of the UNESCO-listed historic centre of Macau. The views afforded by the fort over the city, and on a clear day over to China, are spectacular, and you don’t even have to walk up to the fort to enjoy them – there’s a cable car from Flora Gardens. Within the fortress there is a chapel where, in 1998, some original frescoes were uncovered that depict both western and Chinese themes, making them the most valuable frescoes in Asia and perhaps even the world. The complex’s lighthouse, built in 1865, was the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast.
One of Macau's most famous casino hotels, the Hotel Lisboa is a huge complex in the heart of Macau. A flamboyant blend of Portuguese and Chinese decor, sample some of the 14 restaurants, 4 of which are Michelin-starred, and numerous entertainments before bedding down in one of the hundreds of luxurious guestrooms - the Hotel Lisboa is like a vibrant city within a city.
Sat on Macau's picturesque waterfront in the midst of the historical old town, the Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 exudes glamour and sophistication. With five indulgent dining options, a harbourside pool and casino, sleep soundly in elegant guest rooms of French-design with city or Pearl River views.
In the heart of Macau's business district and just a 10 minute complimentary shuttle ride from downtown, the Holiday Inn Macau is in a great location to explore the city. Boasting a grand colonial facade, within you'll find a stylish and contemporary property with a good range of amenities, including an in-house casino.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.