Macau’s Inner Harbor
Macau’s Inner Harbor does not have many casinos like some of the other districts, but many people consider it to be up and coming. The Sofitel’s Ponte 16 casino is pretty classy however, and has a huge museum of Michael Jackson memorabilia in it. That said, you will definitely find a more unrefined, authentic version of what this city must have been like before the major gaming rush. Regular bus tours are available to explore the area’s cultural sites. Also known as the Northern Macau Peninsula, Macau Inner Harbor is one of the regions hoping to see new development in the coming months.
Depending upon your individual preferences, you can either explore the Inner harbor on foot or get into one of the 9-seater buses that look a lot like the buses that plied in London during the 1920s.
Though the other districts of Macau are certainly ahead in terms of urbanization and cosmopolitan nature, the Inner Harbor has it’s offerings for international travelers. There aren’t many gambling sites here but there are bountiful cultural sites in this region. There are sites of religious importance to see. There are a handful of hotels and a resort where you can stay. In addition, the Inner Harbor provides you with a different kind of shopping experience, as compared to the shopping in the Outer Harbor area.
Below, you’ll find detailed information on gambling, sightseeing, hotels and resorts, and shopping in Macau’s Inner Harbor.
There is one major casino that satisfies the desire for an upscale gaming experience in the Macau Inner Harbor and that’s Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16. The hotel is a luxury villa in an oddly underdeveloped part of town to say the least. It’s location however, is made up for by the quality experience one can have gaming here.
The casino at Sofitel practices world-class standards. The total game room floor area measures 270,000 square feet. The floor welcomes you with 109 gaming tables and 307 slot machines. The Ponte 16 casino ensures that you enjoy gambling to the fullest and uphold the principles of responsible gaming.
Hotels and Resorts
Unlike the Outer Harbor area, hotels in Macau’s Inner Harbor are geared more towards the needs of budget travelers. There are multiple hotels and resorts you can choose from in a mid-range budget.
Hotel Royal Macau:
The Hotel Royal Macau is a luxury hotel that occupies a beautiful position at the foot of the Colina da Guia hill. There are 380 elegantly furnished rooms for guests. Apart from offering all the modern-day facilities, the hotel features two pleasant restaurants – Catalpa Garden and Vasco da Gama (not to be confused with the Vasco Da Gama Garden). During your stay at this hotel, you can relish authentic Shanghai, Portuguese and Macanese cuisine. To enjoy a wide variety of cakes and pastries, you should head straight to the Royal Bakery. Follow this link to book your stay at the Hotel Royal Macau.
Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16:
This is a 5-star rated hotel can be found close to multiple historical attractions in the city. It isn’t in the decadent downtown Macau you may expect to find other resorts of it’s status. However, what it lacks in refined environment it makes up for in luxury offerings. Here, you’ll find as many as 408 guest suites, spread over 20 floors. The hotel caters to the requirements of both businessmen and leisure travelers. Apart from a state-of-the-art fitness center and a swimming pool, Sofitel features an on-site casino. There are three restaurants at the hotel to look after your dining needs – Le Chinois, Mistral, and Prive. Rendezvous is a lobby bar that serves 24/7. Follow this link to book your stay at the Ponte 16 Resort.
Ole London Hotel:
This is a stylish boutique hotel, only a couple of steps away from the city center and the Senado Square. It offers 60 rooms designed in the modern style. If you plan to stay at a mid-range hotel in Inner Harbor, the Ole London should be a good option. Just behind the reception of the hotel, you’ll find a lounge where you can enjoy toothsome breakfast. Also, there are multiple cafes and eateries close by. Follow this link to book your stay at the Ole London Hotel.
The hotel is situated at the foot of the Guia fort and lighthouse. A few minute’s drive from the city center, it features a cool and fresh nature-rich ambiance for guests. There are 90 rooms, each of which is opulently furnished for utmost comfort. The Chinese-style restaurant at the hotel serves a wide range of delectable dishes. Follow this link to book your stay at the Hotel Guia.
This is a 4-star rated hotel, just a couple of minutes from the Macau Maritime Terminal. It offers 355 luxurious rooms and suites. One of the most important features of this hotel is its revolving restaurant. There are other restaurants as well for a fine dining experience. During your stay, you can also treat yourself to Chinese therapeutic treatments. Follow this link to book your stay at the Metropark Hotel.
Pousada De Sao Tiago:
This 5-star resort is found at the site of Barra Fort, built into the remnants of the fortress itself. This is one of the finest resorts in the Taipa area and a highly sought after stay. It is somewhat difficult to get a reservation here, as the rooms are rather upscale with several gourmet restaurants inside and a historical value unlike any other hotel in the region. You can follow the link to book your stay at Pousada De Sao Tiago.
If you’re looking to gain some cultural insight, the Inner Harbor has quite a few culture sites and museums for you to observe. During your trip here, you can dig out interesting pieces of history and take in some scenic European architecture. There are some areas still in need of upgrades in terms of development causing a stratification of the sites here. However, there is still a strong sense of history in this region, it is more historical value that drives people to this part of town than the gambling. Popular tourist attractions include –
Guia Fort and Lighthouse:
The fort and the lighthouse are named after the Guia Hill atop which they’re located (pictured to the right). Erected in the year 1865, the fort was built to bolster the defense of the city. If you want to enjoy panoramic views of the city, you can choose to take a cable car ride here. Hiking is another activity that you can indulge in here. The complex has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Church of St. Anthony:
This is the most ancient church in Macau. Constructed between the years 1558 and 1608, the Church of St. Anthony features a neoclassical interior. In the bygone eras, it was quite popular for holding weddings for Portuguese locals.
Lin Fung Temple:
Comprised of a bunch of palaces, the Lin Fung Temple (pictured to the left) was constructed during the reign of the Ming dynasty. Important features of the temple include Lin Zexu Memorial Hall, a model of Chinese war equipment and opium-smoking paraphernalia.
If you’re an art connoisseur, the Ox Warehouse is just the perfect place to be. A much popular art gallery, it regularly features different styles of art work by eminent artists. The group of artists that exhibits here offers workshops too. Here, you’ll also find a library, a cafe and a front yard where you’d love to spend some quality time.
The Barra Fort is a place of great historical value, having seen many reconstructions over it’s centuries of existence. Starting as a cannon bar turned into fortress completed in 1629, it successfully defended the Inner Harbor from the Dutch invasion of 1622. Since then it’s seen it’s existence as a chapel and in modern time the Pousada De Sao Tiago. Check the link to book a room at this 17th century fortified 5-star hotel.
The Casa Garden was once the grand villa of the merchant Manuel Pereira at one time. Afterwards, it also served as the residing place for the high ranking officials of the East India Company. The mansion and the hall of the garden are nice examples of the European architecture. Today, it houses a museum and an art gallery.
As mentioned above, shopping at Macau Inner Harbor is a different experience. If you have spent a good time purchasing high-end, fashion products, the Inner Harbor area of Macau gives you an opportunity to indulge in buying a range of local/regional products that are not very expensive.
Red Market: Located in the midst of buildings reflecting the 20th century architecture, Red Market is just the place to be. As you explore this spot on foot, you can choose to buy green vegetables, cooking ingredients, meat and different types of food items.
Flora Garden: This is where you get to meet local vendors from around the city. Right from electronic gadgets, clothing and jewelry products to cosmetic items, the shops at Flora Garden sell all these.
In case you can’t get over your obsession with luxury products and fashionable items, you should take a walk along the Avenida do Infante Dom Henrique and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro.