By: Brooke Chenoweth
The glitz and glamour of the big casinos, the fine-dining and the luxury shopping may lure many tourists to Macau, but for the rest of us who are just looking for a quiet escape, The Grand Coloane Resort offers a blissful respite from busy Hong Kong at just a ferry ride away.
Peaceful, tranquil, relaxing, and rejuvenating are not words you generally associate with a weekend in Macau, but this hidden gem of a resort offers all that and more. Located on the southern tip of Taipa island, with the green hills of the country park behind and nothing but the South China Sea in front, The Grand Coloane Resort is the only resort in Macau that is casino-free. It’s a nice change from the chaos of the Cotai Strip, so we decided to check it out.
The ferry from Central takes 55 minutes, and there’s one every 15 minutes, so there’s no need to stress about missing one. Despite a slightly seasick three year old, the journey was easy enough and we were in Macau before we knew it. There’s a complimentary shuttle bus from the pier to the resort and it takes around half an hour. While the resort is literally 5 minutes from the strip, it feels a million miles away. As shiny towering hotels quickly gave way to green parks and views of Hac Sa Beach.
The Grand Coloane was once The Westin Hotel, and since rebranding they’ve only done minor touch ups to the place. In some places it looked a little shabby, but for the most part it was clean and comfortable, with a “lived-in” feel that only added to the charm. The resort only has 208 rooms of varying sizes, and each one has a small terrace and a view (of either the beach or the sea). Our family of 4 had a suite for the weekend – and it was huge! Even with an extra bed for the boys, we had plenty of room.
We started our weekend with a dim-sum lunch at Kwun Hoi Heen, a new culinary experience for our 3 and 6 year olds, and it was all very good – we even tried a few new things!
It happened to be the hottest day of the year, so we spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool. There are two pools at the resort, one indoors and the other out. The outdoors pool is divided into two sections, with a small toddler pool and a Jacuzzi, and it was the best place to be. The Poolside Bar also made sure we didn’t go hungry (or thirsty) while swimming. The kids club had set up a giant slip n’ slide in the garden, and while it looked like fun, it was a little too adventurous for our boys. The indoor kids club was a big hit, as was the bouncy castle set up during brunch. There’s a big focus here on making families comfortable and ensuring that everyone gets the most out of the weekend, and the spa takes care of the adults. They offer basic services but the massages were excellent and added to the feeling that we were on a proper holiday.
Buffets are the main way of eating at the resort, with Café Panorama offering breakfast, brunch and dinner. There was a variety of Italian dishes at dinner and a mixture of Asian and Western options for breakfast. While the weekend brunch was a BBQ, which our boys simply loved. If you were staying for longer than a weekend, the buffet could get a little boring, but there are plenty of options just a shuttle bus ride away.
Even though we left reluctantly on Sunday, we felt like we had really gotten away. It was so nice to find a resort in Macau that caters for families, rather than the high-rolling gamblers and tourists. We will definitely be back.
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