INTRODUCTION TO BANYAN TREE MACAU
Banyan Tree Macau takes a new approach to the gambling mecca, offering a more relaxed environment (immediately noticeable upon entering the lobby), with a focus on wellness and stunning private pool suites and villas. Of course, a casino is just a short walk away (but not directly below the hotel).
Date of stay: February 2016
Room: Signature Pool Suite
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOY LAD
WHAT I LOVED
- Location and ambiance. For those headed to Macau to relax, this is probably the place to do it. While you can never really escape Macau’s madness, Banyan Tree offers a convenient enough location (in Cotai within the “Galaxy” complex) with easy access all the major landmarks and sights and sounds, but in itself is a (relatively) relaxing hotel with no direct casino access. The ambiance changes as soon as you enter the hotel complex, revealing a more soothing atmosphere.
- Rooms. Some of Macau’s most generously sized rooms, with the entry level Cotai Pool Suite starting at 100 sqm/1,075 sqft, and each room category in the hotel furnished with your very own private pool. Although listed as a suite and possessing a separate living space, the room plans for the entry level rooms are open with no closed doors. There are a series of suites with differences in layout, style (including a spa suite) and pool size. There are also villas with larger private pools and oversized outdoor decks, multi-bedroom villas as well as the penthouse Presidential Suite. In most rooms, the bathrooms feature a circular wooden tub. There’s no doubt that the rooms themselves are absolutely stunning, especially for a hotel in Macau.
- Facilities and spa. With only a limited amount of time, and with a private pool, we didn’t feel the need to try out some of the facilities, but there are indoor and outdoor pools, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, as well as a fully operational Banyan Tree spa. As far as facilities go for a smaller Macau hotel, the hotel really excels here.
POINTS TO NOTE
It speaks volumes to the quality (or dearth) of luxury hotels in Macau when this is one of the city’s leading hotels. The bells and whistles are all there (it’s always nice to have a private pool at a resort, nevermind at a city [that is perhaps trying to be a resort…]), but it’s the softer side that severely seems to be lacking.
- Service. While I wasn’t expecting world class service in Macau’s crazy array of massive hotels with a serious focus on casinos, I did expect better from a (relatively) small hotel such as Banyan Tree Macau, where the focus is decidedly not on the casino. Check-in and check-out were smooth, but there were several service-related failures:
- Pool. Staying in February, it was pretty cold outside. With no central heating, you can feel the frigidness in Macau and Hong Kong during this period, even indoors. We were told the pool was a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, but we found it far too cold to have a comfortable plunge in for long periods of time. When we called for assistance, we were told the pool temperature could not be increased any further. Short of pulling out a thermometre (I don’t usually carry one around on holiday…), there’s no way we could have proved it was well below 27-degrees, especially considering the frigidness inside the rooms. Either way, there seems to be no way to change the temperature to what you need it to be. Having a private pool suite is great, but it’s no use if you can’t actually use it (much).
- Breakfast: Our rate included complimentary daily breakfast. When we went down to Saffron, one of the Banyan Tree’s restaurants, for breakfast, there was a huge queue (we were told it would take more than 45 minutes for seating and admittedly we were a bit late to breakfast, arriving half an hour before it was scheduled to end). We asked if we could have our breakfast in-room instead, as we do not wish to wait more than 45 minutes, and our request was bizarrely declined, saying that any breakfast in room would be charged accordingly. After several request and eventually chatting with senior management, they did have this decision overturned.
- Inflexibility. On the whole, several incidents with regards to the service side showcased inflexibility in making any changes.
- Food. While we didn’t sample the generous array of food on offer at Banyan Tree Macau (both Belon and Saffron are fairly well known and highly regarded), the breakfast we had in-room was considerably subpar, with the bacon and sausages both being listless and the eggs being overcooked. The pastry selection was also nothing to write home about. It didn’t inspire confidence enough to give the other restaurants a try.
- Maintenance. While decent on the whole, the maintenance could improve as we saw several chipped edges on wooden furnishings.
- Most hotels in Macau, including Banyan Tree, offer complimentary shared (bus) pick-up and drop-offs from both major ferry terminals. Banyan Tree Macau is 15-minutes from the Taipa Ferry Terminal.
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Macau S.A.R., China
- OPENED: 2011
- HOTEL ROOMS: 246
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: N/A
- RATES FROM: USD 250/night++
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