Hong Konged and Macaued

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After a long stint I’ve had the opportunity of travel yet again and this time it was all suite(d) up!

The Venetian in Macau is definitely a glorious address. It was ours for two days! 33-091, The Venetian, Macau! The Royale Suite is something I cannot for sure stop raving about. The moment you step into the hotel the sheer magnamious size gets your attention as does the expansive detailing done to mimic the City of Canals, Venice. St Marks Square is recreated, the canals are recreated the blue skies between the facades are recreated. If I say its Venice minus the smelly canals I wouldnt entirely be wrong! The hotel lobby is very welcoming and grand. The Great hall with all the escalators and the painted ceiling is beautiful. If there is one thing that the Venetian scores full points on the architecture and interiors its the proportions. Its easy to mimic but to mimic well is quite a challenge. And at the Venetian there is no room for tackiness. Its regal, beautiful and charming.

If the hotel was impressive the suites make double the effect. All suites the resort hotel leaves you with a princely feeling. The room is grand in size with a king bed and a step down sette area with the minibar, a second television and the writing desk. The sofa bed adds an extra bed to the suite when necessary. The suite(d) up bath complete with a dresser is quite effective. It has all the ingredients of a glamor room. The views from the room are beautiful. The very new next-door neighbour, The Galaxy hotel makes a pretty picture in the foreground while the Macau tower adds to the background. Macau has several bridges connecting to the three main island. The hotel is a world in itself with several entertainment and dining options. Vegetarian food is not too hard to find and with the number of Indians in the zone Indian food is also not a treasure hunt!

Of the entertainment options a ride on the gondola as the boatsman sings you a tune will make a cherished memory. The shallow blue waters of the canal and the cloudy blue skie are quite surreal. The Zaia show may not be the best of the Cirque du Soleil but is a must-do at the Venetian. Personally I loved the score, the tune of which I could not stop humming to the very next day, the trampoline, the trapeze acts and the hot air balloon effect. The clowns as are in all circuses hilarious! Then we did something that was a pleasant surprise – the Ice World at the Venetian. The Ice sculptures are so very pretty but the temperatures are frigid!!! The Wonders of the World and the Carousel make intricate ice sculptures while the Winter forest and the Ice Age make perfect settings. The 4 pools and many Jacuzzi’s tucked away amid foliage and statues are a complete pleasure to unwind at. The heated jacuzzis remind one of the Roman Baths.

The highlight of the trip, or rather the crazy adventure that sent my adrenalin sky-rocketing was the 233m/764 feet jump that we did atop the Macau Tower. That is the World’s highest bungee jump and its one of the most awesome things ever!!! Standing on the observation deck with the sign, “Caution : Falling People” is quite a sight to watch, but actually falling off is another thing altogether. The 10sec free fall is beautiful, the highest free fall time in the world, an then as you fall the feeling is quite spectacular. Of the ten seconds of my free-fall, half was spent on being struck by an incredible feeling. Upon the first rebound I couldnt stop screaming my lungs out with the thrill. With the second rebound I got comfortable but the vocal chords wouldnt want to stop yelling!! Peppy tracks at the fall, the tracks keep you in good humor and the claps at the landing, by all the others who’ve been there and done that, add to the excitement too. The Hacknett company that organizes the bungee is very professional and with the safety harness its safe! So once you decide to jump there is no more fear but total excitement. It was my first bungee jump so the instructor had got me looking straight ahead into the blue blue skies before I actually jumped. Well looking straight down is pretty scary!!! The feeling on the whole was very very thrilling.

After a sumptuous lunch at the Spaghetti House in the Galaxy hotel we saw the show in the hotel lobby which is extremely grand. What with the fountain rising and all. Enrobed in Italian Marble on the floors and the walls the Galaxy hotel looks extremly rich and splendid. Brightly lit makes a stark contrast with the Venetian that is rather sober but extremely likeable. The Cotai strip where the two mentioned hotels are located are also home to the Hard Rock hotel, the City of Dreams and the Crown. We also saw the show at the City of Dreams called the Dragons Treasure. The 360 degree projection narrates a story of the dragons, treasure and sprinkles upon us good fortune to win some more at the casino. Its a different matter altogether that it really didnt work! On us! Macau probably didnt live up to its hype (as the Las Vegas of the East) but gave us an extremely memorable and splendid holiday. We couldnt leave without the famed egg-tart which we had aplenty from Lord Stowe’s Bakery. I would recommend the bakery whole-heartedly. Its delicious!

Another crazy hotel is the Grand Lisboa. With a see to believe exterior its view is to be taken all in good humor. The interiors are rather old and tacky and very forgettable. But the trophy like form with gold all over is hilarious and foolish. Yet it marks its place on the skyline of Macau.

Macau with all its properties and many more in the offing looks promising.We saw atleast 5 more large-scale mega-hotel projects coming up. The older properties are alright but the Cotai Strip looks and feels very ambitious and knowing of the Chinese tenacity it should all be complete in 2012 like they claim. Of the other properties the Four Seasons that adjoins the Venetian looks chic with a majoe set of duty-free shoppes.

The ferry terminal at Macau runs ferries to Hong Kong every 15 minutes. If you are taking one to the airport my one strong advice would be to be early or on time!!! Because otherwise you’ll need to take the Air-shuttle that takes you on a 15 min helicopter ride from Macau to Hong Kong. Pretty neat though!

On our way back we stopped in Hong Kong to make a dash to the Victoria Peak. The peak tram is an experience in itself. Built by the British it is one of the remnants that gives you a slice of history and takes you up to the Victoria Peak in a tram in about 8 min. The beauty is that the tram inclines almost to 30 degrees at its steepest and is absolutely crazy. For a second I wondered if trams can actually do that. Well apparently they can. And the fact that it opened in 1888 makes it marvellous. The tram chugs you up to the Sky Peak that looks down to the Victoria Harbor on one side and the South China Sea on the other. The weather was stunning and the views breathtaking. The skyscrapers on one side and the beep blue sea meeting the cludy skies on the other side were scintillating. Like travel always does this time too I found an insight. Standing on the peak looking out at the sea I thought that no amount of reading about places (am not underestimating its charm though) can give you the feeling of the place, the wind in your hair and tingling in your skin. And unknowingly I was then bitten by the wanderlust!

The Madame Tussauds am sure will make the trip worth your while at the Peak. We opted for a our very own wax hand unison instead of paying homage to the wax statues. Then as we tried holding on to our fragile hands we dashed on to the airport. The drive from Central Hong Kong to the airport is pretty long and picturesque. Crossing two suspension bridges the airport in on reclaimed land on a different island. The airport is huge with a plethora of dining options giving it the laude of the best Dining options in the World. After eating running to the gate and buying from the Disney shop it was finally time to go home. Landing in Singapore and getting home marked the end of an amazing trip to what I will definitely remember as the Las Vegas of the East.



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