The culture of placing bets in Macau goes back to the 1500s, but when legal casino gaming entered the picture in 2002, the tiny peninsula shot into the gaming stratosphere. Check out the top casino resorts in Macau, the only place in China with legal gambling.
Even by the upscale standards of the Macau Peninsula, the lavish Wynn Macau is every inch a luxury Vegas-style hotel. (Just try to not be impressed by its grand copper-mirrored facade -- which is even more striking by night when choreographed fountain displays kick off.) True to its go-big-or-go-home ethos, there are a ton of features here, including eight eateries, three bars, and a casino so glam, it made an appearance in the James Bond film "Skyfall." There are more than 1,000 rooms and suites, all of which benefitted from a 2014 refresh; their aesthetic will appeal to those who love overdone, un-subtle decor.
It's hard not to feel overwhelmed upon arrival at the Galaxy Hotel, with its glittering gold facade and white towers soaring up over 30 stories to shimmering gold-leaf cupolas. The super-ritzy hotel is part of the billion-dollar Galaxy Macau complex, located in a Vegas-style, purpose-built gambling and tourism strip south of central Macau. At 1,500 rooms and suites, it's certainly one of the larger hotels in the area and it offers easy access to a wealth of facilities, including the Grand Resort Deck with its artificial beach, wave pool, and river ride. Guests also have direct access to over 100 dining options and 200 retail outlets. Like Wynn Macau, the rooms here provide minibars, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
JW Marriott Hotel Macau is a sleek and contemporary luxury property and one of six hotels that make up the two-billion-dollar Galaxy Macau complex. At over 1,000 rooms, it's the largest Marriott hotel in Asia, each stylishly decorated with upscale amenities that include Nespresso coffee machines and TVs in the bathroom mirrors. A huge resort deck features an artificial beach, a lazy river ride, and splash parks, and there is easy access to a large casino with table games and slot machines.
There are few hotels in the world that can claim such an eclectic patchwork of architectural styles as the Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16. Its cobbled forecourt, majestic neoclassical columns, and natural stone facade combine to grand result. The lobby is no less extravagant, with a melange of spiral pillars, twinkling crystal, and decor inspiration drawn from Art Deco glamour -- including paintings with scenes from the Roaring Twenties. Flowers, music, and scent give the hotel a polished vibe, while the on-site casino adds a dash of Vegas glitz.
Marked with the distinctive Hard Rock badge, this shimmering cylindrical property is one of four towers that form part of the Vegas-style City of Dreams casino, retail, and entertainment complex. Though perhaps lacking the hedonistic vibe of its Vegas or Cancun counterparts, the hotel attracts a fair share of young revelers hoping to be part of the rock-and-roll experience -- or at least a glitzy facsimile of it. The familiar international brand, extensive resort facilities (including outdoor pool with swim-up bar), and lack of any real raucousness also mean families comprise a decent chunk of the clientele. Rooms are sleek and spacious with impressive in-room tech and loaner Fender guitars.
At over 800 feet, the iconic tower at the Grand Lisboa is a Macau landmark and its LED dome -- lit by over a million lights -- draws crowds of tourists day and night. The extravagance continues in the lobby, where everything shimmers and sparkles -- expect to see marble in-lay floors, massive columns, lots of mirrored surfaces, and lavish cascading crystal chandeliers. Fitting for Macau's glam image, there's a lot to see and do here, and the Grand Lisboa is a destination in its own right for visitors across the city. This property has eight restaurants including the sophisticated Robuchon au Dome, a Michelin-starred venue in the peak of the dome, with sweeping views of the city. The hotel has a large casino with slots, gaming tables, and an entertaining live dance show, and the outdoor pool has a resort-like look.
With a huge neon sign and a casino on-site, the 900-room Hotel Lisboa Macau does its part to bolster Macau’s “Las Vegas of Asia” reputation. This four-pearl property, a Macau relic, has a grandiose vibe and plenty of glitz and shimmer throughout. There are six restaurants, plus a salon, spa, and heated indoor pool. The casino lends itself more to gamblers interested in table games, as there are only around 100 or so slot machines, and free shuttle service is provided to the ferry and neighboring casinos. Traditional rooms have lavish furnishings such as heavy curtains and rich bedding, but the decor can look dated when compared to other hotels in the area. Rooms at sister property Grand Lisboa are more contemporary, but their rates are higher.