Thursday, June 2, 2011

We visited China – Macau

25 April 2011 – Macau

Macau, along with Hong Kong, is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of China. Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until 20 December 1999 . Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of "one country two systems", the PRC's government is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy.

Macau occupies an area of 29.5 square kilometers with a population of around 6 lakhs. The territory's economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism but also includes manufacturing. Macau is heavily dependent on imports of all kinds. Macau depends on mainland China for most of its food, fresh water, and energy imports.

The four of us reached Macau around 4PM. We travelled in a turbojet from Hong Kong to Macau. Due to some fault, we were not issued a seat number, which later resulted in us travelling First Class. The journey takes about 40 minutes – I dozed off in the comfortable sofa seats.

As soon as we reached there was a bus waiting to take us to “The Venetian” Macao Resort Hotel. Ms Gowri from Travel Bazaar had insisted that we visit Macau and stay at the Venetian. She had promised a memorable stay at the hotel – by god it was. A stay - which we will never forget.

The Venetian Macao is a hotel and casino resort in Macau owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation. The Venetian is a 40-story, $2.4 billion anchor for the 7 hotels on the Cotai Strip in Macau. The 10,500,000-square-foot Venetian Macao is modeled on its sister casino resort – The Venetian in Las Vegas – and is the largest single structure hotel building in Asia, The fifth-largest building in the world by area and the largest casino in the world.

The resort has 3000 suites, 1,200,000 sq ft of convention space, 1,600,000 sq ft of retail, 550,000 square feet of casino space – with 3400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables and a 15,000 seat arena for entertainment/sports events.

We had never seen anything so big and magnificent. As you enter the hotel, you stand mesmerized by its grandeur and stare at everything in amazement like a small child. Your earlier impressions of class gets immediately relegated and images and experience of Venetian Macao remains permanently etched in your memory. It sets a new bench mark. The other day I went to see the much hyped and happening place in Bangalore the ‘UB City” for the first time – the gap is as wide as team “Barcelona and Mohan Bagan”

Hotel is a renaissance Venice-themed property featuring stunning replicas of Venice landmarks such as St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace, Campanile Tower, and three indoor canals with gondolas and singing gondoliers

Venetian is the largest single structure hotel building in Asia and the third-largest building in the world.

We did agmble on the slot machines and the roullett table - NO LUCK. Lot of Chinese from main land China and hong Kong come to macao to gamble in a big way. They constitute 90 to 95 percent of the tourist. At over 550,000 square feet this is the largest gambling floor in the world, and it’s well executed.It is incredibly easy to get lost inside this behemoth.On an "ordinary" weekday The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel attracts up to 86.000 visitors.

Figure 1 - The inside of the dome of the main lobby

Figure 2 - The main lobby with its breathtakingly opulent interior.

Figure 3 - Navin takes a photo

Figure 4 - Waiting while we checked in.

Figure 5 -Replicating the beauty of Renaissance Venice with ornate moldings and lavish decoration

Figure 6 - The gambling tables. Unfortunately we are not allowed to take photographs. This one was by mistake.

Figure 7 - One of the ceilings – replicating some of the frescos of Venice

26 April 2011 - Macau

Figure 8 - Grand Canal shopping

Figure 9 -300 High end shops displaying the latest

Figure 10 - Resting in the Royale Suite

Figure 11 - A different view

Figure 12 - Trying to look for the tea bag

Figure 13 - The sunken living room adds to the splendour of the room

Figure 14 - Canopy-draped king-sized beds and fluffy duvets and choice of pillows – only a phone call away. (Pillow Talk)

Figure 15 - Stunning view and even pretty viewer

Figure 16 - Under different set of lights

Figure 17 - Royal bathroom

Figure 18 - Royal Toilet

Figure 19 – Kats working the accounts - difficult task for him - what with all the addition,subtraction,mutiplication etc

Figure 20 - Cup of tea with Navin and Kats

Figure 21 - Very relaxed

Figure 22 - Quite satisfied

Figure 23 - What else

Figure 24 - Lift lobby

Figure 25 - 1,000 seat food court with artificial sky

Figure 26 - Another view

Figure 27 - Notice the Venice house being replicated

Figure 28 - Deciding what to eat. Kats and I decided to do what the Chinese do in China - the girls decided to have Indian and Italian food

Figure 29 - While they were deciding - a beer if you don't mind

Figure 30 - Wish we were like the mannequins

Figure 31 - Window dressing is at its very best – so is the cost

Figure 32 – Connecting lobby

Figure 33 - Posing in front of an ad

Figure 34 – On the way to noodle bar

Figure 35 - For a drink and bite

Figure 36 - Simply great atmosphere

Figure 37 - Unlimited choices

Figure 38 - Deciding what to order

Figure 39 - Bigger picture

Figure 40 - Caught my attention

Figure 41 - Bought some things for the grandchildren

Figure 42 - Legs are paining

Figure 43 - Yet another example of fresco ceilings

Figure 44 - My turn to be photographed

Figure 45 - Each floor is connected by an elaborate arrangement of richly decorated stairs and escalators

Figure 46 - Get the idea now

Figure 47 - The size is really mind boggling

Figure 48 - The landing – seeing is believing

Figure 49 - A convention hall

Figure 50 - India's filmfare award function was held here

Figure 51 - Venetian wedding cake - "I DO' - not again

Figure 52 - View from the room

Figure 53 - Another view

Figure 54 - Some more hotels under construction

Figure 55 - The other wing of the hotel

Figure 56 - Waiting for the gondola to arrive

Figure 57 - We thought they lost their way

Figure 58 – The Grand Canal. Imagine this on the second floor

Figure 60 - Gondoliers all the way from Venice singing serenades

Figure 61 - A street play for the tourists

Figure 62 - Back to the main lobby. This time to check out.

Figure 63 - End of holiday

Figure 64 - A well earned rest - finally

The travel back from Macau to Hong Kong was another experience in efficiency. The luggage was booked in the hotel room. Thereafter we checked out, drive to coati terminal, immigration, ferry ride straight to HGK airport, immigration at HGK and flight to India. I sighted the luggage only in India. Two days at Macau was a life time experience of hospitality industry at its best.

The opulence and grandeur, combined with taste and elegance is what Venetian is all about. The sheer size of this enterprise makes the hotel stay even more memorable.

26 April 2011 - bact to Bangalore, India

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