Review: VenetianMacao Casino Hotel, Macau

Most people would expect a overwhelming good review of a 6-star resort hotel. Well, this will be one of the worst review I would have given any hotel, 6-star or otherwise!

Venetian Hotel, MacauVenetian Macao hotel is a hot 6-star shopping mall cum casino and hotel launched in Macau(or Macao) about a year ago in August 28, 2007. The Venetian Macao include 3,000 luxury suites in a 32-story tower – recreating the beauty of baroque Venice complete with canals, gondolas, singing gondoliers and other legendary Venetian icons.

(As I understand it, the resort belongs to the Sands Group. There is already a Sands Hotel/Casino in Macau and these sister hotels run a regular shuttle service between the two).

The Venetian Macao is modeled after it’s namesake resort in Las Vegas, USA and retain a similar grandeur and opulence that it’s flagship resort in Las Vegas is supposed to have.

I recently checked into the Venetian in Macau after spending a busy working week in Hong Kong. I was expecting a weekend of fun, relaxation and discovery but ended the weekend swearing that I’ll never want to set foot into this hotel again. Let me give you a blow-by-blow account of what had me so cranking mad with this hotel.

Macau can be reached from Hong Kong via fast-ferries that ply between the two countries every half-hourly. It takes only 40 minutes to reach Macau from Hong Kong. Once you land in Macau, that’s where the nightmare starts!

The VenetianMacao Casino Resort is on a nearby island of Taipa which is about 15 minutes away from the Macau ferry terminal via a car or coach. There is a coach pick-up point at the Macau ferry for visitors to the Venetian Macao – but this pick-up coach is a general one where anyone who wants to go to Venetian Macao can simply hop on for free.

So, here you are, having paid almost US$400 for a room, now need to join a snaking queue for 15-20 minutes together with hundreds of day-trippers, casual visitors, beady gamblers, curious shoppers or bored locals who are mostly not paying guests of the hotel.

After scrambling up the coach, and a 15 minutes coach ride, you are again disgorged with hundreds of visitors, into the small hotel lobby which is milling with hundreds of curious, puzzled, dis-interested people. You then need to find your own way to the check-in counter only to find that there are hundreds of hotel guests like yourself ahead.Among the mess, noise and general bedlam, a hotel staff comes along, and offer to bring you and other checking-in guests to another check-in lobby to expedite the check-in process.

Gladly, off you and some other guests go, despite no offer of help with your luggage, only to find that the next check-in counter is not some 10 meters away but some 200 meters away! Imagine the misery of checking into a 6-star hotel to find that you have to lug your luggage and bags, up a escalator, across a busy shopping mall, through a smoky and crowded casino hall, before reaching the other check-in counter.

The misery does not end here because after checking in, you now need to repeat the same process of lugging your luggage, wade through the casino crowd, before arriving at the right lift lobby. The hotel is so massive that it has 3,000 suites, 2 check-in counters and 4 hotel lift lobbies. Go to the wrong lift lobby and you repeat your misery all over again.

The hotel suite may be big and gorgeous but you have totally lost the mood to appreciate anything by then.

Only hardcore gamblers or shoppers would appreciate anything about Venetian Macao after that tedious checking in process because only the casino and shopping mall are conveniently located. The rest of the hotel facilities remain a treasure hunt. Try going to the swimming pool, gym, spa or indoor golf putting range and you risk going through a confusing labyrinth of corridors, lifts and lobbies again.

Don’t expect quality family or retreat time here either. The swimming pools are not heated despite the cold of a late November. There is only a small gym with only a few gym equipments. The Spa is small and has no other facilities (i.e. jacuzzi, steam room & sauna) and everything in the spa menu cost double the price of typical hotel prices.

The shops in the ultra-large shopping mall are of the ultra-upmarket brands that it seems so pathetic because most of these luxury shops remain empty despite large throngs of people along the mall’s corridors.

There is a good variety of cafes and restaurants within the shopping mall but they tend to be expensive. The foodcourt also sell a great variety of food but it tends to be crowded all day. Although it is technically a food court, be warned that prices are not cheap either.

The other saving grace for the resort is the indoor gondola ride that stretches to a large part of the mall. The boatmen seems to be genuine Venetians who were not shy of showing off their singing prowess and hence, a large part of the mall resonate with their powerful voice. (I’ve seen a similar gondola ride in a large shopping mall in Doha, Qatar but the boatmen were mostly quiet).

Will I come back again? No. Will I recommend anyone to this hotel? Only if you are a hardcore gambler or shopper – otherwise, no. You have been warned…

Location of VenetianMacao Casino Hotel
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n,
Taipa, Macao SAR, P.R. China
Size: 32stories with 3000 over rooms
Facilities: Shopping Mall, Casino, Restaurants, Swimming Pools, Childcare Centre, Golf Putting Green, Spa, Gym, Performance Theatre, Gondola Rides

Friendliness: Polite staff. Some staff have English problems.
Pricing: Starts from US$400 per suite