Marvels of Macao with Sands Resorts

My trip to Macao and time spent at Sands Resorts Macao in their luxurious 807 sq. ft Louis Suite was nothing short of a captivating journey

Marvels of Macao with Sands Resorts - The Parisian Macao.

Macao is a seamless blend where East meets West in a spectacular fusion of culture and architecture. I had the privilege of exploring the marvels of Macao with Sands Resorts Macao. This five-day Familiarization trip, aptly labeled ‘Rediscover Macao,’ was organized for over 200 MICE professionals and media from all over the globe. Multiple events were held in the Sands integrated resorts – The Londoner Macao, The Venetian Macao, and The Parisian Macao to showcase their exceptional facilities and services.

My journey started with a seamless flight from Mumbai to Hong Kong aboard Cathay Pacific. Upon touchdown at Hong Kong International Airport, I was guided to board the SkyPier Terminal Transfer Coach and embarked on a delightful one-hour journey that whisked me through the breathtaking 55km stretch of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) – the longest bridge-cum-tunnel sea crossing in the world. Upon arriving at The Londoner Macao, a wave of awe swept over me, and little did I know, the adventure had only just begun.

Birthday Surprise:
No one knew it was my birthday, or so I thought, but the Sands team are Christmas elves at work. Once I entered the luxurious 807 sq. ft Louis Suite, I was surprised to see a personalized photo frame, a soft toy with a heart balloon, and a delicious cake from their famed restaurant, Churchill’s Table, waiting for me. The unexpected gifts made my stay even more memorable! After settling into the British-designed suite, I indulged in the Victorian-style bathtub, watched a Korean drama on their 20” Prima Smart TV built inside the bathroom mirror, and then got ready for the first of many events – Welcome Cocktail.

Staycation at Louis-Suite at The Londoner Macao.

Eiffel Tower’s Magic in Macao:
The Parisian Macao brings the life of Paris to Asia and provides an authentic French experience to all visitors. Its highlight is the 525-ft replica of the Paris Eiffel Tower, which delivers a breathtaking view of the Cotai Strip from its observation deck on level 37. At night, the Eiffel Tower lights up the streets and the grand illumination show dazzles the sky with captivating colours. As we enjoyed exquisite food and a wide array of desserts (macarons won my tastebuds), we interacted with representatives from multiple countries and Helena de Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office shared her views on Macao, “We want to track visitors for tourism plus MICE and we are looking at the possibility of multi-destination offerings combining Macao and Hong Kong as part of the Greater Bay Area.” Macao will be an all-encompassing destination, offering a myriad of experiences for everyone.

MICE: Where Ideas Converge:
Kris Kaminsky, Senior VP of Hotel Operations, Sands China Ltd., said, “Sands Lifestyle #ReDiscover Macao 2023 is the first post-pandemic mega MICE familiarisation trip that Sands Resorts Macao has organised. The carefully curated itinerary gave attendees an immersive experience of all that makes Macao a world-class MICE destination and showcased our ongoing support of the Macao Government Tourism Office’s ‘tourism + MICE’ initiative. We also showcased our comprehensive MICE capabilities, which are needed for seamless and successful MICE events, to our business partners from all around the world.”

Kris-Kaminsky at THE LONDONER MACAO -FAM TRIP

The MICE conference was held at The Londoner Macao. The staggering 150,000 sqm of meeting and exhibition space proved itself to be the perfect venue for conventions, business seminars, live entertainment, innovative functions, and dynamic dining options. It can accommodate up to 15,000 pax in its largest space and has 334 breakout rooms and 12,500 rooms and suites.

The panel discussion occurred at The Londoner Macao’s Smart Stage – Macao’s first hybrid meetings space. The forum’s two panel discussions, “Innovation & Technology from the Lens of an Event Professional” and “Talent Retention, Motivation & Optimisation” were moderated by David Blansfield, Executive Vice President, Northstar Travel Group. The panellists talked about how they navigated through the pandemic to find an alternative but effective solution for business meetings and how AI can benefit the future of the MICE and hospitality industry. David Blansfield said, “AI is revolutionizing the way we refine our strategies, directing our focus towards elevating and enhancing the guest experience.” Along with many international guests, this forum was also attended by students from the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies.

The forum was followed by a teambuilding culinary activity – the Chef’s Challenge. This event featured masterclasses led by top-notch chefs from Sands Resorts Macao, and Alex Gaspar, executive director – culinary, took center stage.

Beyond the Suite Life:
With the late afternoon free, I decided to explore the hotel and its many attractions. The vastness of the three hotels is impressive, each connected by picturesque walkways and luxurious shopping avenues. Sands Shoppes is the largest indoor shopping mall in Macao with over 850 duty-free outlets boasting an impressive array of international brands. The true-to-scale Elizabeth Tower stands outside The Londoner, welcoming all guests and providing an enchanting backdrop for photos. The lobby of the hotel is inspired by the original Crystal Palace built in 1851, and the Victorian-designed atrium is a piece of art. Other noteworthy attractions include the Changing of the Guard, the original 1966 London Bus, replicas of 10 Downing Street, and the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.

As I walked further, I could feel the royal ambience of London changing to match the romantic allure of Venice. The music shifts and so does the sky, transforming into a masterful tapestry of vibrant blues with fluffy clouds. For a second, I almost thought it was real – it’s that impressive. Gondolas gracefully navigate the winding canals within The Venetian Macao, which is also the second largest casino resort in the world.

Crystal Palace at the Londoner Macao.
The-Venetian-Macao.-Photo-by-Pooja-Amritkar. Gandola Rides

A Dazzling Venetian Affair:
The evening was followed by a Venetian-themed showcase dinner, held at the hotel’s colonnade. The long table, capable of seating around 100 guests, was artfully decorated. As we were served delicious food with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, Nuno Lopez, the first Macao designer to be featured in British Vogue, unveiled his latest collection. The shimmering gold outfits took our breath away, and the extraordinary fashion show with skilled violinists left us reeling for more. It was an exceptional night, no doubt, but it didn’t end there – the after-party was held at St. Regis Bar where we enjoyed their signature cocktails and a live jazz performance.

International buffet breakfast at The Residence, an exclusive club for The Londoner Hotel

Gastronomic Grandeur:
International buffet breakfast at The Residence, an exclusive club for The Londoner Hotel guests, includes their signature dim sum, light refreshments, all-day snacks, drinks, and evening cocktails. The Residence is divided into a series of rooms inspired by classic London houses and the homes of British celebrities and famous figures. I found myself utterly captivated by the enticing array of culinary delights and juices capable of satisfying every craving.

Exploring the Heart of Macao:
I love exploring new cities and cultures, discovering each place as much as I can – and I must agree, Macao has a lot to offer. Our first local visit was led by our wonderful guide, Sofia, to witness the beauty of Macao. We started by visiting the Guia Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Guia Chapel, one of the oldest churches in Macao, and Guia Lighthouse, an iconic symbol of Macao’s maritime heritage. Our next stop was the Macao Museum, which showcases the history and multicultural heritage of Macao.

At The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Sofia asked us to look closely and observe the Christian religious symbols, such as saints and angels, alongside oriental designs, proving a mix of Western and Chinese culture. We walked down the steps towards the famous Senado Square, where we indulged in a unique Portugal drink, Ginjinha at Ginja do Senado. It’s a sweet cherry liquor and its irresistible flavor tempted many to buy bottles as souvenirs to take back home.

Local sights in Macao - Ruins of St. Pauls, Macao Fort, Buddhist temples. Best places to see.

After lunch, we went to Coloane Village, a laid-back area in Macao where we sought blessings at Tam Kung Temple and the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier. We learned about the shipbuilding industry in Macao at Lai Chi Vun Shipyards and then had the best egg tarts in all of Macao at Lord Stow’s Bakery flagship store. I loved the buttery, crumbly, sweet, and slightly caramelized texture. It’s no surprise they are so popular.

The following day, I went to A-Ma Temple, which is not only the oldest temple in Macao but also the oldest building. Kandy, our guide, led us through the pavilions, prayer halls, and two additional temples connected by paths. She also showed us the Chinese tradition of burning paper money and houses so the deceased can have a comfortable afterlife.

Immerse and Inspire:
In the afternoon, I went to teamLab SuperNature at The Venetian Macao to explore its variety of digital art installations, light displays, and interactive projections. The Floating Flower Garden, Valley of Flowers, and Massless Clouds are among the best immersive exhibits I have ever witnessed. Their artworks urge people to become one with the art and redefine their perception of the world.

A Night to Remember:
The final event, London Jubilee – The Gala Celebration, was nothing shy of an extravagant festivity. It demonstrated just how spectacular events at The Londoner Macao can be. Starting with cutting-edge sound and lighting systems for an immersive atmosphere to outstanding dining options prepared by world-class chefs, the arena provides a breathtaking backdrop for all events, incorporating pioneering technology and eco-friendly practices. Kris Kaminsky assured us that the night would be an unforgettable event filled with thrilling surprises – he was not wrong. The Union Jack-inspired evening commenced with musicians and dancers dressed like London guards, and the ‘Queen’ graced the scene, adding royal charm. The London Arena buzzed with the energy of over 200 people, still leaving enough space for more.

dynamic sensation and winner of Australian Idol in 2004 – Casey Donovan at The Londoner Macao

The dinner consisted of dishes from the top five restaurants at The Londoner – The Huaiyang Garden, The Mews, Chiado, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, and Churchill’s Table, each contributing its distinctive signature dish. But the main surprise was seeing the dynamic sensation and winner of Australian Idol in 2004 – Casey Donovan, capture everyone’s heart with her impressive vocals. The night ended with people taking their talents to the dance floor and leaving with a bag full of wonderful memories.

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