Tag Archives: Macau

Macau: Royal Hotel

We stayed here only for a night and spent most of our time exploring Macau so we only stayed in this hotel to sleep.

We requested early check-in, but was not accommodated, which was fine with us since as hoteliers, we knew that it’s subject to room availability. But they were kind enough to keep our luggage while we visited nearby attractions.

After our tour and lunch, we came back to check in and was given Room 1322, which was a pleasant surprise since it’s comfortable and quite spacious (I was expecting something small based on my experience with Hong Kong’s Dorsett Far East in 2010). The downside was that it had no view.

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The bathroom came with a bathtub. It too was spacious and clean.

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What I liked most about this hotel was their service. Though I had difficulty understanding the local staff’s English, they were smiling. They did have Filipino staff though that were very accommodating and spoke fluent English. One concierge in particular, Mark, was very helpful. He was the one who helped us with our itinerary and recommended A Lorcha, the restaurant where we had our best meal in Macau.

What I did not like about this hotel was their small lobby, which was always crowded and noisy.  Wi-Fi in the lobby was free.  I also found it weird that their lobby restrooms were kept locked, accessible only through guests’ key cards. This was actually not an issue until we checked out and had to use the restroom again and had to wait for a hotel staff to open the door for us, which was really inconvenient. The same lobby restrooms were also not well-kept. For the 2 days that we were there, there were always stalls with toilets that were not flushed. Though obviously some hotel guests were to blame for their lack of toilet etiquette, the hotel must do better to clean up after such guests.

All in all, I found Royal Hotel Macau a good hotel, but not as luxurious as its website claims.  Book this hotel if you want to be just walking distance to and from Guia Fortress, Ruins of St. Paul’s and Senado Square, but if you prefer to be where the action is, find a hotel along Cotai Strip where new and truly luxurious hotels and resorts are based.

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I’ll end this post with a photo I took of Vasco de Gama Park, which is located right outside the hotel.

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Royal Hotel Macau is located in Estrada da Vitoria 2-4, Macau. Visit their official website for more information.

Macau: A Lorcha Comida Portuguesa

Before leaving for Macau, a friend who was there a couple of years ago strongly advised us to try this really good Portuguese restaurant. Unfortunately, my friend has a rather poor memory so she does not remember the restaurant’s name.

In Macau, we asked around for this elusive restaurant’s name and our excellent Filipino concierge at the Royal Hotel recommended A Lorcha as the must-dine-in Portuguese restaurant when in Macau.

After touring the Ruins of St. Paul’s, Museu de Macau, and Senado Square, we headed to A Lorcha for lunch.

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Arriving without a reservation, we were surprised to see the place still full even when it was almost 2 PM. There were some waiting guests, but the mostly Filipino staff graciously accommodated us to the sole available table for 2.

Clueless on what to order since it was our first time to dine in a Portuguese restaurant, our very knowledgeable waiter recommended the clam and Portuguese fried rice. We added chicken to our order though in hindsight, this was unnecessary since the fried rice was so yummy it did not need any viand. And the serving was generous that we finished only half of everything. Here’s a list of our order and the corresponding charges:

1 Arroz “Chau Chau” a portuguesa
(Portuguese fried rice)                                        HK$98
Ameijoas “Bulhao Pato”
1 Clam “Bulhao Pato” style,
with garlic, coriander and olive oil                    HK$98
1 Frango assado na brasa com piri-piri
(Spicy charcoal-grilled chicken)                         HK$128

All prices are exclusive of 10% service charge so our total bill amounted to HK$356.40, excluding tip.

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This was our most expensive meal in Macau (including in Hong Kong, actually), but it was worth the money. The Portuguese fried rice was very similar to the Spanish Paella, which I like. The clam was good, but salty, which made it the perfect dipping sauce for my bread. The chicken was tender and despite being labeled spicy, was not spicy at all. And the bread was the best I ever had (though the bread from a Brazilian restaurant in Chicago will later change this).

Service was impeccable and prompt even when the restaurant was full. The waiters were knowledgeable and smiling and since we were their fellow Filipinos, had been very kind. They even gave us complimentary bottled mineral water!

If you ever find yourself in Macau, I highly recommend this place, but do reserve a table because it is always full.

A Lorcha is located in 289A Rua do Almirante Sergio, Macau Peninsula, Macau, China. Contact them via +853 2831-3193 or +853 2831-3195 or e-mail alorcha@macau.ctm.net. For more information, visit A Lorcha’s official Facebook page.

Macau – Day 2

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From the Royal Hotel, we walked along a colorful cobblestone street and took in this scenery to get to the famous Ruins of St. Paul’s.

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Ruins of St. Paul’s

When we arrived at the cathedral, I was very surprised to see a lot of people. And I mean A LOT – like busloads of mostly Chinese tourists who even had colored flags or caps to distinguish themselves among each other. It was thus very difficult to get good photos because there were just too many photo-bombers.

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The Ruins of Saint Paul’s refers to the ruins of a 16th-century complex in Macau including what was originally St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul, which at the time was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia. It was built by the Jesuits from 1582 to 1602, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Behind the Ruins is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt that houses relics and artifacts from the Jesuits who built the complex.

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Museu de Macau
On our way to the museum, I found a spot that offered a wonderful vista of the ruins. This is one of my favorites in this set:

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Museu de Macau required an entrance fee, but we’re not really into museums so we were content with just looking at some Sun Yan-Sen memorabilia outside the main museum. There was a pile of rocks too described as belonging to the first phase of construction around the original St. Paul’s College.

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Jardim Da Fortalleza
At the top level of the museum is the Jardim da Fortalleza, which has limited flora.

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I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they are my favorite in this set:

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Aside from these, the garden also provided us with views of Macau’s skyline:

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Afterwards, we headed back to the ruins.

At the bottom step is a signage about Macau and a pedicab photo spot.

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And on the opposite road were shops selling delicacies and Macau’s famous jerky with flavors ranging from the simple Whole Pork of Fillet to Spicy Beef and Barbecue Neck Pork (huh?!)

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To those planning a visit here, know that these shops offer free food taste.  My friend and I initially planned to dine in a proper restaurant, but got full from savoring Pastelaria Koi Kei’s delicacies.

Aside from the jerky, Macau is most famous for their Portuguese Egg Tart.

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Though somewhat full, we couldn’t resist buying one each. And it was indeed so good and worth all the talk – not too sweet, with flaky pastry and yummy custard filling.

Afterwards, it was time to check nearby points of interest but on the way there, I was again amazed at how crowded the narrow streets were.

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St. Dominic’s Church
After getting my foot stepped on and myself bumped into a couple of times, we finally got to St. Dominic’s Church, which was founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominica priests. The first Portuguese newspaper on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China (The China Bee) was published here on September 12, 1822.

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Santa Casa da Misericordia (Holy House of Mercy)
Just beside St. Dominic’s Church was the Holy House of Mercy.

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This was established by the first Bishop of Macau in 1569 after one of the most prominent charitable organizations in Portugal. Holy House of Mercy is also responsible for founding in Macau the first western-style medical clinic and other social welfare structures that still function to this day.

Senado Square

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Senado Square has been Macau’s urban center for centuries. It is surrounded by pastel-colored neo-classical buildings that lend the place a Mediterranean vibe.

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And yes, it was crowded too.

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Honestly, I was disappointed with the last 3 parts of this travel. I’ve seen better buildings elsewhere, and they were just too crowded with people it was difficult to appreciate them.

Before leaving the square, I took this shot of their Post Office.

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Late Lunch at A Lorcha
Aside from the free food tasting, this was the best part of our Day 2 in Macau. It requires a separate post, though.

Museu Maritimo
We passed by this on our way to our next stop:
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A-ma Temple
A-Ma Temple was just beside A Lorcha, right after the Museu Maritimo.

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Its signage says that A-Ma Temple already existed before the city of Macau came into being, and that A-Ma is also known as Tin Hou (Heavenly Empress) and is the Goddess of  Seafarers.

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This last set of photos was taken on the bus that would take us back to Macau pier for our ferry ride to Hong Kong.

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Till next!

Macau – Day 1

We started our day with breakfast from McDonald’s in Hong Kong’s international airport.

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I had the Grilled Chicken Twisty Pasta, which cost me HK$ 22.50 and it was my worst breakfast ever.  I did not expect it to have some sort of soup, which tasted weird (like water with a little salt, pepper and other spices). The chicken was tender, but had an aftertaste. Perhaps that’s really how it is, but for me, it’s so bad that I barely touched it.

From the airport, we rode a bus to the ferry to get to Macau and from Macau’s pier, rode a taxi that took us to the Royal Hotel.  Our room was not yet ready so we decided to explore its neighboring attractions.

Guia Fortress
Guia Fortress was our first stop as it was just walking distance from the Royal Hotel.

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This is a historical military fort, chapel and lighthouse complex and a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Historic Center of Macau.

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Honestly, I was disappointed with the fortress, since I was expecting something grand. The chapel was also small (picture-taking is not allowed inside) and the lighthouse was too simplistic (Batanes lighthouses captivated me so much, thus the high expectations.)

These photos were taken from the ground level of the lighthouse.

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And these flora were taken in and around Guia Fortress too.  Isn’t the “dragon” so cute?

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Afterwards, we headed to the city center for lunch. We really had no idea where to dine so we just walked and walked (sorry, my friend and I are both geographically challenged, though I find this one of the joys of traveling as it makes me discover places that I might have ignored if I rigorously follow certain travel guides).

While walking rather aimlessly, we passed by Grand Lisboa and Casino Lisboa.  Grand Lisboa is the tallest building in Macau and the 118th tallest building in the world by architectural structure.

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Estabelecimento de Comidas “Ving Sing”
Finally, we reached a row of restaurants, but we had difficulty choosing where to dine since all the restaurants had Chinese characters so we didn’t know their cuisine.  We finally settled for one that had pictures of what’s on their menu on their wall.  After being seated, we were pleasantly surprised to be offered an English menu.

Here’s a list of our order:

1 Noodles of Beef Brisket in Soup MOP 40
1 Deep Fried Spare Ribs with Spicy Salt MOP 60
2 Coke MOP 20

I believe there’s 10% service charge so our total bill amounted to MOP 131.50 (about US$ 17 for two people). By the way, 1 MOP (Macau Pataca) is equivalent to 1 HK$ (Hong Kong Dollar).  Also, you can use HK$ in Macau, but you cannot use MOP in Hong Kong.

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Our food was good, especially the spare ribs, which was not spicy at all despite its name.

Jardim do San Francisco
After lunch, we opted to go back to our hotel to check-in. On our way there, we passed by this garden. Note the plants that form 2-0-1-3.

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Then it was time to rest at the Royal Hotel (I will make a separate post about our stay here).

Macau Tower
After freshening up, we decided to go to Macau Tower.  Entrance fee is at HK$/MOP 100.

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This tower is 338 m (1,109 ft) in height from the ground level to the highest point and is touted to have the best view of Macau.  It also offers various activities e.g. Skywalking and bungee jumping.  We wanted to try it, but it was so expensive at MOP 2,688 per person (over USD 300!) for a bungee jump.

Macau Tower was lovely, though it was too foggy so the afternoon view was not remarkable. Below are photos taken from the ground floor/lobby of the tower.  Just look at the stuffed panda bungee jumping!

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These photos were taken from the observation deck.

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I was hoping to catch the sunset, but did not, since we were on the side where the sun does not set, but we stayed there until night time for a night view.

While waiting, we decided to have some snacks  of soft-served ice cream, Macau’s famous egg tart, and cinnamon roll from the Tower Delicatessen.

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Come night time, this view greeted us:

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Isn’t it lovely?

Here are collages of more night shots taken from Macau Tower’s viewing deck.

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Here’s my parting shot of Macau Tower taken before I boarded the bus that would take us to our next stop.

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Along Cotai Strip
Afterwards, we headed to Cotai Strip, which is where the newer hotels and casinos of Macau are located.  This reminded me of my tour of Las Vegas last year.

First, we visited the City of Dreams, where I got fascinated with a mermaid show.

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These are random shots taken from the same hotel.

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Did you notice how the dragon changed colors?

Outside the hotel was this view, which is one of my favorites from this set.

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We passed by these scenery on our way to Venetian Macau.

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Note how the buildings’ color changed from blue to red to a combination of both in the above collage.

The next set of photos all feature the Venetian Macau.  Too bad we missed the start of the show and saw only the finale, but I was not really disappointed since I watched the same show last year in Las Vegas.

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People milled around the guy in white (lower left on the above collage) since he seemed to be floating about a feet from the ground.  With his painted face and all-white ensemble, he looked like a statue, and it was funny to see people poke him to see if he’s real and watch surprise register on their faces when he fluttered his lases or winked at them.

Here’s a photo of Venetian Macau’s trademark:  the gondola

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These photos were taken inside the Venetian Macau.  We were told that this resort and casino complex is the sixth-largest building in the world by floor area.  It is also the largest casino in the world and the largest single structure hotel building in Asia.

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Next stop:  The Galaxy Macau.

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Did you notice the faint streaks of light emitted by the bell-shaped structure with the reddish hue  in two of the photos?  These bell-shaped structures are called cupolas and there are 6 of these at the top of the two towers of Galaxy Macau.  All 6 are covered in 24-carat gold – enough to cover 87 football pitches!  According to its official website, the same gold-leaf cupolas feature a laser show system that projects laser beams into the sky every 15 minutes.  It is claimed to be the largest laser shows in the world and is visible across Macau.

We were here quick as we feared that the scheduled shuttle would leave us so we had no time to linger, and failed to see its famed Fortune Diamond, which is located in the main lobby (we entered via the bus lobby).  This is a mammoth three-meter gem that rises from behind a waterfall.

At the bus lobby, we saw their Wishing Crystals, which is a series of giant crystals that float above a pool of water. The crystals have advanced motion sensor technology that triggers special visual effects when guests walk near the crystals. When all the crystals are activated, good luck symbols flash from the crystals and reflect in the water.  Amazing!

There’s a rendition on the cupola too (the purple one in the collage).

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After taking photos, we headed back to the bus stop where we were almost left behind since a guard stopped my friend who had a cup of beverage with her.  Turned out its now allowed on buses.

With tired feet and aching muscles, we headed back to the Royal Hotel and called it a night, eager for more adventure on Day 2 of our Macau trip.