China Travel Hotels - The Venetian Macau

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					A Gilded Entrance Once used by Venetian ship captains to navigate their
way to the riches of the East, the Armillary Sphere that greets visitors
in the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel's resplendent lobby isn't so much
about navigation, but about arrival.Feminine bronze busts and glowering
lions welcome visitors to the world's biggest hotel, and probably its
most gilded-no less than a ton of gold leaf adorns the Venetian's
columns, domes, frescoes and probably even its doorstops.Once through the
threshold, an entryway colonnade whose vaulted ceilings are crowded with
reproductions of Renaissance art, I'm conducted directly to the hotel's
heart-its casino floors.At 550,000 square feet, the casino is the world's
biggest, four times the size of its sister casino, the Venetian Las
Vegas.The CasinoThe Party in Beijing bet that they could turn Macau into
the new gaming center of the Universe (or gambling center if you prefer,
though the industry would prefer if you didn't). So far, they appear to
have bet on a winner. Macau is the only place where China's 1.3 billion
historically gambling-crazed people can go splash their cash on a chance
to win big without actually leaving sovereign PRC territory. Another 2
billion are within a five-hour flight. Thanks to this, the casino floors
are filled with people, and it's not exactly peak season. The global
casino is collapsing like a house of cards. The Venetian casino, on the
other hand, is doing a roaring trade.However, the casino occupies a
surprisingly small share of the hotel's space. The Venetian Hotel is a
sprawling structure so large that even after a one-hour tour with the
Venetian's Public Relations head, Sonia Lei, I've barely scratched the
surface. The Venetian is more than just the world's biggest casino, it's
a mega-mall, a foodie heaven, a luxury spa, and it even has an abundance
of facilities for the kids.Family EntertainmentIf you're lucky, you might
catch an event in the hotel's 15,000-seat stadium (might Manny Pacquaio,
who pummeled Ricky Hatton at the Sands on May 2, score some knock-outs
here in the future?). Over in the CotaiArena stage, performances by big-
name acts like John Legend, Avril Lavigne and The Police are putting
Macau on the concert circuit map.The Venetian has gone to great lengths
to cater to families. For starters, the hotel has a rooftop 18-hole mini
golf course. If playing around dusk, it's a great place to catch
spectacular views of the sunset.Children can climb rope netting, scurry
through networks of tunnels, jump into ball pools and test their balance
walking across padded beams (don't worry, they're encased in netting too,
just in case...) or play a number of multiplayer video games in the Qube,
a sort of designer playground that looks like a cross between a level in
Crash Bandicoot and the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.The Venetian's
palm and statue-studded pool is another area families can enjoy. More
often than not, kids rule the place like a sort of aquatic Neverland
while adults retreat to their cordoned-off area to enjoy cocktails and
some reprieve from youthful hyperactivity.In the Manchester United
Experience shop, a sort of interactive museum doubling as a souvenir
shop, football fans test their skills against an assortment of
simulators. You can practice taking shots at a bull's-eye, try to stop
Wayne Rooney from scoring on the goalkeeping wall, and test your
dribbling and passing skills.If you've called a little too much attention
to yourself by accidentally body-slamming yourself into one of the
simulations, there's a video wall you can slink off to where you can lick
your wounds and wait for the embarrassment to pass.Cirque du Soleil does
a show here too. As with all Cirque du Soleil performances, the vibrant
colors and jaw-dropping acrobatics of Zaia are more than enough to
captivate spectators of all ages.Beyond the VenetianIf, after all of
this, the kids still want more, Macau's tiny size ensures that all other
options are within easy reach of the hotel. The Fisherman's Wharf
features a man-made volcano which doubles as a learning center, an
"Aladdin's Fort," featuring bumper cars and Arabian-themed amusement park
rides, as well as a huge underground video arcade with all the latest
games.For those looking for something a little more adrenal, the War
Games Arena has target practice and paintball-a good place, perhaps, to
let older kids run themselves out of steam.You might notice that the
"arena" (shown on the right) bears an uncanny resemblance to Iraq. Though
staging live "militainment" in a landscape intended to call to mind real
war-torn streets where hundreds of thousands have actually died might
strike some as objectionable or even obscene, if playing soldiers &
insurgents sounds good to you, you can do it here-for a fee.For a full
day of decidedly more wholesome family fun, you might want to hop on the
Cotai Ferry and take the kids Hong Kong Disneyland. No guns there and
everything's cute and cuddly.A little closer to the hotel, Coloane
Island's Hac Sa beach has long stretches of sand, playground areas, a
basketball court, a BBQ area, and if you fancy a little hike, trails
leading from the beach up the mountain (just a big hill really) to a
waterfall and eventually to the summit where a statue of A-ma, goddess of
mercy, stands watch over Macau. It's easily the best place for views of
the Cotai strip and Macau.Treating Yourself RightOf course, parents need
pampering too, so after a full day spent running around for the kids, the
V spa is the place to go for massages, hairdressing and other treatments.
The V spa will soon transition into the far more expansive MaloClinicSPA,
an integrative wellness center that aims to be Asia's premier medical
tourism destination.The Malo's prerogative will be "holistic healthcare"
with an emphasis on life-long wellness, preventative medicine and
holistic health management, which means that they'll do far more than
just seaweed wraps and pedicures. They'll do everything from breast
implants, to dental work to facials.Once freshened up, it might be time
to head to the Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes to take advantage of
Macau's fixed exchange rate. Pegged at 3% under the HK dollar, visitors
automatically save 3% at any one of the 330 boutiques housed in the
commercial plaza. Coming from the mainland with its stronger Yuan that
discount approaches 10%, which means shoppers in the Venetian get some of
the best value on name brand items in China.Dads wanting to catch the
latest developments in the sports world are advised to hit either World
Wide Wings or McSorleys. If you're looking for a good pint of Guiness,
Guiness pie, or one of 16 other brews poured to enjoy before sports on
flatscreen TVs, McSorleys is the place for you.Eating and DrinkingThe
Venetian also houses a wealth of culinary options. There's fine dining
galore. Fogo Samba's is a Brazilian-style buffet with a great salad bar.
Vegetarians take note, the salad bar is a menu item in of itself; order
that alone and you're set.But you don't need to hit the jackpot to pay
the restaurant bill. The Venetian's affordable 1,000-seat food court has
everything from smoothies to Japanese. You'll also find a Fatburger
franchise there, word of caution: it's crazy addictive.Of course, with
the largest casino in the world at your fingertips, the urge to at least
try on of the thousands of games on the casino floor will be pretty hard
to resist. To earn a few high-fives from the Chinese, play Baccarat,
007's game of choice in the Dr. No, Thunderball and Goldeneye films.Once
you've won big, you can buy your new friends a round of martinis (or my
favorite, Manhattans) in the Bellini lounge. Bellini's resident, DJ Kill,
Shanghai's erstwhile "King of Krunk," alternates with various live
musical acts. Their eclectic musical selections are fittingly analogous
to the eclectic Venetian. If you sit down to watch the masses, you're
sure to see an extremely diverse crowd here to take advantage of a truly
multifaceted hotel.How to Get ThereThe Macau International Airport (MFM)
is served by daily flights between major regional destinations; see the
Ctrip Macau flight arrival schedule for details and to search for
flights. Of course, many visitors arrive via ferry, hydrofoil or
helicopter from Hong Kong (Hong Kong flight arrival schedule); passengers
coming from Hong Kong arrive at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal.The
most direct water service is the round-the-clock CotaiJet service, which
links to a complementary Venetian shuttle bus which requires only five
minutes' travel time to bring you to the Venetian. From 7am, there are
half-hourly departures from the Hong Kong-Macao ferry terminal in Sheung
Wan and hourly departures after 7pm. The CotaiJet arrives in Macau at the
Taipa Ferry Terminal where the shuttle bus awaits.If you are traveling to
Macao from Shenzhen, take a ferry from the Fu Yong Terminal near
Shenzhen's Bao'an International Airport (SZX) ( Shenzhen flight arrival
schedule ).

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