It started raining all of a sudden on that particular weekday, as I panicked through the traffic on the crammed morning bus to get to Hong Kong Macau Ferry Pier. Arriving 9:50am just in time to catch the 10:00am ferry; I didn’t really get to calm myself down until I boarded the ferry. It’s a short one hour ride, but the transcending journey from a busy, well to another busy city, can still offer a certain extent of relaxation.
Getting off the ferry being sun kissed by rays of sunshine; the group and I silently screamed with joy for the glamorous weather. Trampling through the crowds waiting to get through their day, we hopped on a shuttle from across the road to Sands; with our actual destination in fact being Grand Lapa Macau.
That’s one of the most amazing things about current Macau; you can literally get anywhere for all the point to point hotel service shuttles that are being offered. After a short 7 minutes trip to what was being hidden like a gem right behind the usual tourist attraction of Sands; we gracefully walked through and entered what I would say, a very different atmosphere of modern Macau.
As a 5 star hotel, the usual of course remains the usual. The venue contained 388 rooms, 28 suites, conference and banqueting facilities, business centers, children’s center, shopping arcade with restaurants and bar. Yet, that is not what Grand Lapa is truly about. The essence, the mesmerizing feature stands within what that has been preserved by the hotel.
Constructed with a wooded interior, a staircase welcome guests straight from the front lobby up towards the second floor. During your walk up, you see a wooden panel. A window replica of one that is five times the size from Portugal; the piece vibrates the place with a strong sense of heritage and history, which Is what this ex Mandarin Oriental managed hotel is all about. Cross referencing aesthetics from the Chinese and the Portuguese culture; the whole hotel runs with an “at sea” theme that is often depicted in Portuguese historical art.
Up the second floor on your left is a meeting area, with one of the world’s only three carpet being hung proudly on the wall. Might have been a detail that could be missed by the common traveler; Grand Lapa does not forsake such material and continues to have them in the hotel to give a sense of authenticity and representation for the history of this hotel.
One of the very few hotels that are not connected with a Casino and instead rents out their space to them as a tenant; the whole vibe of the hotel immediately distinct themselves from the common Macau staying spot. I personally much enjoy such allocation, so that lobbies are no longer bombarded with excited gamblers, and the place just feels so much more fresh and pleasant.
Grand Lapa is also one of the very few hotels around that has their own resort. Exiting through the back of the hotel cross their miniature but well-furnished shopping arcade; a government own garden hacks in between, welcoming you into their cozy resort that is built on land that once stood the sea.
With a very charismatic pool that fits behind the 15, 000 square meters resort; a gym as well as other fitness and beauty activities occur in the space.
With also a Kids Co. supervised children center and a park area surrounding the facility; it might be the first time I think having a kid along on a trip might be extra enjoyable.
Passing by one of their three restaurants along the way, Naam; the group and I went back into the hotel to enjoy our very first meal of the day.
Their signature restaurant, for both locals and tourists, is the second floor resting Café Bela Vista.
With natural sunlight seaming in from the authentic Portuguese style architectural windows; the tiled floor inspired from the Rocky Road tingles the heart with a holiday exoticness.
Named after the first hotel that the Mandarin Oriental Group had in Macau; the restaurant evidently triggers a Chinese x Portuguese feeling. Filled literally every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; locals come in for their buffets and travelers return with their children for their signature cakes.
Growing up with the hotel, their staff and the travelers hold a close bonding. Rarely seen anywhere else, as we live in such a commercialized world; this family welcoming restaurant is one of the hubs for people to gather and return for a sense of abroad familiarity.
Their signature dishes can go on, but we got the chance to sample out a few of the chef’s recommendations. Serving not only Portuguese and Macanese cuisine, the café also has Malaysian chefs at work, so a twist from the scrumptious Malay is inevitable. Their key Hainan chicken wrapped around the tongue with a soft texture, adding in a sprinkle of tingle with the ginger and onion paste; the dish is one that is favored by the old and the young.
My personal favorite has got to be their coffee cup served Mushroom Cappuccino. Unique to the venue, a creamy mushroom soup fills the bite size tea cup, sending off a strong aroma of the vegetable with a lovely creaming on the top lip as you sip on that demands a second lick.
As the group chit chats and laugh over our serving of mixed berries smoothie; the chef surprises us again with quite the biggest assortment of desserts I have ever had after a full on meal. Their cake shop is one of the biggest highlight of the hotel, let alone the restaurant. With 12 signature cakes always on the go; there’s also a monthly special for their pastry chefs to test out. All offered at really limited quantities, it’s not surprising that they say a queue lines up during the mornings for these delicacies. With their highlighted cake being the Grand Lapa cheese cake, I myself will have to surrender to their chocolate cake as my personal favorite.
As the group dismisses for free time, our photographer and I took a walk around the area once again. Finding ourselves fitting into the hotel almost immediately, without having to be prepared to show our ids for crossing the casino nor be constantly flashed by spectacular furnishings and adornments that at times scream cheesiness; each couch in the Grand Lapa retains a sort of ‘realness’, a scent of history that to us, means more than anything for the devouring of a pleasant and relaxing trip.
Grand Lapa Macau
956-1110 Avenida da Amizade, Macau
Written by Joyce Tsang