For many of us, when we think of Macau, we think of only one thing – casinos. And that’s certainly true across most of the territory, with 33 casinos located on Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island, but as we discovered recently, a trip to Macau can also mean getting away for a much needed rest and recharge.
Tucked away on the south eastern tip of Coloane Island is the Grand Coloane Resort; a destination that is all about relaxing, recharging and enjoying time away from city life. We were recently invited to try the hotel and facilities for a family getaway, perfectly timed for the last weekend of the school holidays.
The great thing about a trip to Macau is the quick one hour ferry trip and for our 7- and 5-year-old boys, this was definitely a highlight. Fortunately a smooth crossing, despite the pouring rain outside, meant that we arrived in Macau without a hitch.
Transport to the hotel from the ferry terminal is via a complimentary shuttle bus, which departs from the bus terminus just outside the terminal building. Unlike many of the hotels, there is no signed bus stop, so just head to the left hand side of the terminal and look out for the Coloane branded bus. A 20 minute trip took us from the heart of the strip to the lush green mountains and sea views of The Grand Coloane.
This resort-style hotel, with sea views and a mountain backdrop feels a million miles from the huge, imposing hotels that dominate the Macau skyline.
First impressions on arrival were that some parts of the hotel looked in need of cosmetic updating and certain areas looked a little tired. That said, it added to the relaxed charm of the hotel, and certainly didn’t detract from our experience. The hotel has only 208 rooms, each with outdoor terrace and either sea or mountain view and all the rooms have recently undergone an upgrade to offer well finished and very spacious accommodation.
As we were visiting the hotel with with two rather boisterous boys, we chose to have two interconnecting rooms rather than a suite. Both rooms were very large, each with its own spacious outdoor terrace. Light, bright and tastefully furnished, the rooms had ample bathrooms, huge beds and well equipped mini bars (always important when travelling with children!).
The suites are also very large and can easily accommodate an extra bed, so ideal for families that want to share. The large outdoor terrace also ensures that parents can relax and unwind once the children are in bed.
We arrived at the hotel around lunch time so headed straight for the lunch buffet at Café Panorama. Although not quite on the scale of some of the large buffets found at upscale Hong Kong hotels, we were all impressed by the food. The buffet included a barbecue which was a huge hit with our boys, plus a good range of salads, cold cuts, some sushi, Asian dishes, pasta and more.
In addition to the buffet style dining, there is also the highly regarded Kwun Hoi Heen, a Cantonese restaurant for those craving dim sum.
Having stuffed ourselves, we had to take a little break before heading to the pool, so took the boys to visit the kids area in The Club for a bounce on the bouncy castle – a huge hit for both kids. For younger children, there’s also a room set-up with toys, arts and crafts and space to crawl and run around. The Club also houses the hotel’s Nirvana spa where you can truly relax and unwind with a massage, facial or manicure.
There are both indoor and outdoor pools at the Grand Coloane, and despite the wet start to the day, the weather lifted long enough for us to enjoy the large outdoor pool. Surrounded by a veranda and garden, there is a small pool for young children, plenty of loungers and, to aid your relaxation, table service for drinks, cocktails and light snacks from the friendly staff at the pool bar. For older children, the slip and slide bouncy castle is bound to be a hit and our two made the most of it, working up a great appetite just in time for dinner.
Weekend evening dining at Café Panorama involves an Italian themed buffet, with a wide selection of antipasti, salads, pasta, roasted meat, fish, seafood and of course desserts. Again, the food selection was not on the scale of other buffets, but the emphasis on quality was evident throughout and we were all very happy with the selection on offer. If you want to try something different, you can hop on the shuttle to the Cotai strip to explore what else Macau has to offer.
By breakfast the following morning, I wasn’t quite sure I could face another buffet, but that didn’t stop the children digging into the selection of Asian, western and pastry dishes to start their day and fuel them for a morning’s swim. As checkout was not until 12pm, we all enjoyed a further few hours relaxing by the swimming pool, all feeling that even though we had only been away for 24 hours, we had all benefitted from the break at The Grand Coloane Resort.