Macau’s casinos: More than just great places to gamble

Think of Macau, and the first image that’ll enter your mind will likely be one of the territory’s many casinos. Nor would you be doing Macau a disservice in this regard, for its luxurious casinos have been the driving force behind its continued runaway success as a tourist destination over the last decade, attracting tourists from all over Asia and across the world with the promise of world-class gambling facilities and sumptuous accommodation.

But thanks to the new generation of casino that is emerging in Macau, and wholesale improvements made to its older casinos, these gargantuan establishments are now able to offer those who choose to frequent them far more than just great gambling. Indeed, they now offer a diverse array of entertainment.

Stay in the lap of luxury

In keeping with the glamorous image that is such an integral part of Macau’s casino industry, the casinos themselves are wonderful places to stay, regardless of whether you’re a high roller or just an intrigued tourist.

Should you elect to stay at one of the new-generation casinos, such as the Casino Venetian Macao, you’ll find that even the most basic rooms offer tasteful furnishings and décor to give that feel of luxury.  Thanks to their modernity, the room sizes are generous in terms of floor space and ceiling height as well, and often feature multiple TVs and even videogame consoles, alongside all the usual features and amenities.

But even the more established casinos, such as the Grand Lisboa, aren’t found wanting in terms of luxury. Although given their age, rooms at these establishments aren’t typically as spacious, nor do they offer the sheer number of available rooms as the newer casinos do – a point well worth bearing in mind when deciding where to stay.

Regardless of where you stay, you can expect to find high-speed internet access, cable TV, room service, mini-bars and tea and coffee making facilities available. Although these may not always be free, which again is worth investigating when deciding on where to stay.

Take in a show

Underlining the fact that Macau’s famous casinos offer far more than gambling and accommodation, is the dazzling array of entertainment they lay on. Again, it’s the more modern casinos that are leading the way in this regard. the Cotai Arena, a massive indoor arena with a seating capacity of 15,000 that is part of the Casino Venetian Macao, has quickly established itself as one of Macau’s hottest entertainment venues.

Performances ranges from sports events and beauty pageants, to concerts from famous musicians and bands from around the world. This is amply demonstrated by the Rolling Stones, who will be performing at the Cotai Arena in March 2014.

Likewise, other new casinos, such as the Sands Casino Macao, also offer excellent shows and events. While even the older casinos still have several famous attractions that are worth seeing. Although prices vary from event to event, many are competitively priced, and crucially don’t require you to be residing at the casino’s hotel if you wish to attend them.

Wine and dine to your heart’s content

Modern casinos offer far more than finger food and bar snacks. Nowadays, everything from hearty burgers to fine dining, along with a selection of great bars, can be found in all major casinos.

Although the offering does vary from casino to casino, each offers you a host of dining and drinking facilities, designed to suit your mood and budget accordingly:you can expect to find cuisines from around the world alongside traditional Chinese food; sophisticated bistros alongside steakhouses and elegant restaurants; and for those in a hurry, outlets of famous international fast food chains.

Drinking establishments are similarly varied, ranging from cocktail bars to the more refined surroundings of quiet bars and pubs where you can enjoy a beer or a fine malt over a good conversation.

Enjoy the amenities

All modern casinos offer plenty of first-rate amenities to their guests. You’d be hard pushed to find a casino resort in Macau that doesn’t have at least one first-rate swimming pool, and many also offer cinemas, on-demand TV in their rooms, and room service.

Entertainment programmes for children are often available for those who wish to have a bit of peace and quiet, and most casinos also lay on tours of Macau itself. Given the territory’s rich history(having been ruled by China and Portugal in its time), its reputation as a fascinating cultural melting pot is well deserved, and worthy of further investigation. A number of casinos now also help guests arrange trips to visit nearby Hong Kong, which can be another fascinating day out.

…and of course, hit the casino

But while there’s clearly much more to Macau’s famous casinos than gambling alone, for any adult tourist, no trip to Macau can be complete without stepping onto the casino floor of one of these lavish establishments to see if lady luck is on your side.

Thanks to the extensive investment Macau’s casinos have benefited from over the last decade especially, this is truer now than at any point previously. Gone are the days of smoke-filled casino floors with slightly rundown, kitsch décor; nowadays, Macau’s casinos offer some of the most beautifully decorated and modern facilities in the world.

Of course, some things never change, with traditional games such as baccarat, sic bo, blackjack and roulette remaining the most popular games around. But the modern establishments especially, such as those on the Cotai Strip, offer a wide assortment of other games, including over 6,000 slot machines in the case of the Venetian. Likewise, all of the major casinos cater for all sizes of bankroll, ensuring you can set a reasonable limit and simply enjoy the thrill of rolling those dice or seeing which hand you’re dealt.

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