Travel: Viva Las Vegas...of Asia

Macau has cemented its position as the Asian nerve-centre for glamour gambling with a slew of mega-resort hotel developments, mimicking the flagship temples in Las Vegas. All of the big brands have rolled into town with their bright lights and bling. Think the Venetian, MGM Grand, Sands and Wynn's. Wynn's has even replicated the world-famous Bellagio dancing fountain, synchronised to soundtracks and sparkling lights.

Another glitzy stop is the homegrown Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino. The original establishment harks back to Macau's colonial period and the area's emergence as a visitor destination.

In the past few years, the Grand Lisboa has received a futuristic skyscraper extension which is an engineering masterpiece. The building design has been stylised as a glittering Lotus reaching for the heavens, and it sets the spangled skyline on fire at night. Quite the marvel.

With so many cultural delights to admire in Macau, I didn't spend much time inside the casino halls, but it would be churlish not to at least have a cursory spin on the roulette table.

As an antidote to Macau's sensory head-rush, refresh yourself in a casino-free hotel.

The recently opened Mandarin Oriental is an oasis of understated splendour, crowning the waterfront, with views across the city and the Pearl River.

The Mandarin Oriental staff go out of their way to improve your stay and the spacious rooms offer panoramic views across Macau and the Pearl River. It remains one of my favourite international hotels.

- Hamilton News

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