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Why Macao Is the Hidden Gem You Need to See Next

With fascinating history and art, multicultural cuisine, and several new hotels, this bustling city in Asia makes for a rewarding dream trip.

Why Macao Is the Hidden Gem You Need to See Next

The Macau Tower

An alluring place where East meets West, Macao is the result of more than 400 years of cultural exchange between Europe and China. In this melting pot of a city—located off the coast of Southern China, just 40-minutes from Hong Kong—Portuguese plazas sit next to Buddhist temples, brightly colored villas house traditional Chinese gardens, and cobblestone streets lead to vibrant outdoor markets.

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Macanese Cuisine

This UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy also boasts unique cuisine that blends Portuguese and Chinese influences, along with African, Indian, Malaysian, and Brazilian flavors. Visitors eager for a taste flock to the city in November for the annual Macao Food Festival, when stalls hawking local delicacies fill the rotunda opposite the Macau Tower.

Equally exciting are other events like Chinese New Year with its lion dancers and floating lanterns; the Macao Arts Festival in the summer, when both local and international artists show off their latest masterpieces; and the yearly Feast of Buddha, highlighting a more spiritual side of Macao. Whenever you visit, however, you’ll find something to love about this special place. Read on for even more reasons to make Macao your first trip when you’re ready to travel again.

The city is embracing the new normal

Thanks to a swift response, the pandemic situation has been stable in Macao for several months. Since March, the majority of local businesses have reopened, and hotels and resorts have implemented multiple preventative measures—from temperature screenings and social distancing, to disinfecting room keys with UV sterilizers—to keep travelers as safe as possible. The city has also imposed strict measures to prevent future community outbreaks. In this way, Macao has proven itself more than capable of battling the spread.

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The Ruins of St. Paul’s

History and art are always on display

In 2020, Macao celebrated the 15th anniversary of the inclusion of its historic center on the World Heritage List. Among the World Heritage Sites to visit, the Sir Robert Ho Tung Library and Mandarin’s House showcase the city’s history.

Travelers can get a feel for Macao’s captivating heritage by visiting attractions like the Guia Fortress lighthouse, Senado Square, and the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Macao is also a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, ensuring that its cultural heritage will be managed and preserved in the best way possible going forward.

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Infinite Crystal Universe by teamLab SuperNature

For art enthusiasts, teamLab SuperNature debuted at The Venetian Macao in summer 2020. The brainchild of an art collective of Japanese “ultratechnologists” known for their wildly popular, Instagram-worthy installations, the permanent, immersive art space features enormous works of digital art that explore new perceptions of the world, as well as the connection between humans and nature. Visitors to the venue can experience works like The Infinite Crystal Universe, where light points create a 3D world that spreads infinitely in all directions, and Valley of Flowers and People, which features video installations of flowers blooming and fading away to represent the changing seasons.

The Taipa Village Art Space boasts marvelous displays and events all year long, like a photographic exhibit by Luso-American artist Hugo Teixeira called “Involuntary Landscapes.” Through his collage-like images, Teixeira takes viewers on a journey across Portugal and California, exploring two different cultural identities and the memories that were lost when his family emigrated to the United States in the 1970s.

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MGM Cotai

New hotels boast impressive food, art, and design

Opened in March 2019, the Mansion at MGM Cotai features long-waited luxury VIP accommodation, hidden away within MGM Cotai. The Mansion, together with MGM Cotai, includes 16 plush Skylofts and 27 ultra-luxurious Mansion Villas sharing space with the world’s largest indoor art garden. At the complex’s M Tower, the exhibit “The Spectacle” features 25 LED screens displaying digital works by the world’s top artists. And 10 food and beverage outlets, like Grill 58, run by two-Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco, provide plentiful dining options. The hotel is also home to MGM Theater, the first “dynamic theater” of its kind in Asia, which can seat up to 2,000 people, has the world’s largest hi-def LED screen, and uses technology for a multisensory experience.

Another eagerly awaited addition to the hotel scene, the Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau opened in late July 2021. The property houses the Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macao, and the Karl Lagerfeld Hotel, plus Michelin-starred restaurants, a shopping mall, and various entertainment options.

The Lisboeta Macao also launched some of its facilities in July, including a 1,273-foot zipline, the first in the Asia Pacific region to overlook the center of a city, the first indoor skydiving operation in South China, the first IMAX theater in Macao, and a night market.

Last but far from least, The Londoner Macao, a British-inspired reinterpretation of the Sands Cotai Central resort, opened over 2020 and 2021. It showcases recreations of iconic British locales like Bond Street and Mayfair (Big Ben is coming soon), as well as four hotel brands, including one with suites designed by David Beckham, 20 dining options, more than 150 stores, several spas, and health clubs.

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