Cotai, Macau


Cotai Strip is the gambling highway of Macau, if not Asia. Las Vegas would surely not relinquish the throne to Macau, but the stream of money and ‘high rollers’ into Macau, especially Cotai, over the last years has been relentless. In fact, some time ago, it surpassed Las Vegas’ sales.

Out of curiosity, a trip to Macau was put in order. No gambling, no gaming, just plain sightseeing.


At the heart of Cotai are five star hotels. You can easily hop from one hotel to another, for free through hotel shuttles.

Well-scrubbed casino and hotel clients were filling in the Acqua di Gio smelling lobby and hallways of Sheraton when we checked in. Before going to Macau, I had signed up for Starwood Preferred Guest membership (for free) to get some discount and exclusive check-in experience. Sheraton Macau has the most number of rooms in all of this hotel worldwide, and its website boasts that it’s the largest hotel in Macau. Well, going by the numbers, it has almost 4,000 rooms. If one could cut the long lines of check-in for free, online, why not do it.

This hotel is just one of the massive structures in “China’s special region” that offer luxury. Venetian is one of the most popular hotels because of its gondola rides on one of the upper floors, with artificial skies, rides, waterways, and all simulation of Venice. Sheraton is linked to Venetian through a long covered, carpeted, airconditioned foot bridge with ‘walkalators’ left and right. Still, despite the convenience, my feet won’t forgive me for all the walking on heels.

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Macau in January was freezing, and with aching feet, I preferred staying (when I could) in the room at the Earth Tower, facing Sky Tower. The glass window looked out on the opulence of Cotai.
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sheraton macausheraton macausheraton macaucotai stripFrankly, the thread count in bedsheets advertised in hotel sites doesn’t make sense to me. As long as pillows are soft, comforter smells good, and bed doesn’t break when I make a trampoline out of it, we are good.

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Bathroom. My sister corrected me one time for saying I’m going to take a bath, when I meant I’m going to take a shower, when I actually meant I’m going to use a dipper in bathing. But luxury hotels don’t have dippers or pails. Only tubs, hot-cold shower, hose spray, and rolls of tissue.

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With an overnight stay rate of about $200 and a deposit of ~$100, I wouldn’t regularly stay in five-star hotels unless paid for or with special discount or if there’s a business convention or an important occasion like honeymoon when people tend to go over the top.

But of course, I enjoyed our stay. This is China. A nation of difficult histories and self-created ultra-wealth. It’s always interesting to see where people put their money – or bets.

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