Thomas Bywater checks into the Sofitel Macau, Ponte 16

Getting there:

Nowhere is difficult to get to in Macau, but the Sofitel on the edge of the old town is particularly easy to reach from the ferry port.

Check-in experience: Seamless. Check-in was on the seventh floor, which was far more relaxing than trying to negotiate terms over the reception desks in the bustling casino foyer.


Room: Superior King, room 1513 on the 15th floor.

Price: $721 per night

What's so good about this place? The Sofitel is accented in predictable French style, but has also embraced all things Macau and Cantonese — particularly the food. If you can get a riverside room, do. Looking out over sampans on the Pearl River into mainland China is a thrill, and added special context to the location.

And the bad? Macau is big into its gaming. However, the Sofitel casino is geared more towards its, predominantly, Chinese audience. Learning mah-jong or sic bo here may be a long and expensive process.

What's in the neighbourhood? The maze-like back passages of old town Macau. It's perfect for a morning walk among the tai chi practitioners in the Luis de Camoes Garden and less than 10 minutes by foot from the ruins of St Paul's and Senado Square.

Toiletries and bathroom: L'Occitane miniature toiletries continue the French theme. The floor-length window into the bedroom allows for plenty of natural light.

Food and drink: Western fare and French continental breakfast is available, but I would recommend the king dumplings and dim sum as a great way to start the day.

The bed: Welcomingly comfortable, with a huge choice of pillows by firmness.

Wi-Fi? Free and reliable. A great addition was a complimentary mobile to take out on my adventures, with free calls throughout Macau.

Exercise facilities: The gym and outdoor swimming pool were out of order during the stay. The rose-petal-shaped pool looked extremely tempting from floor 15.

Perfect for: A quick stopover from Hong Kong, Sofitel is ideal for a lone traveller or couple keen to soak up some of the old town and a Macau beer or two. The bright lights of the Strip are not far away.

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