We asked a Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip ® , to gather the savviest sightseeing suggestions he could find—not just his own but also those of the local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel. Macau was established by Prince Henry the Navigator in 1554. Today, its cobblestone streets, palm trees and crowded markets stand in stark contrast to the Vegas glitz of its Cotai Strip.
Portugal’s colonial influence in Macau extends beyond its quaint churches and Iberian plazas. Sumptuous Portuguese cuisine is served just as in the backstreets of Lisbon or Porto, and is also combined with African and Asian spices to create hybrid Macanese dishes. Locals head to Alfonso III (11 Rua Central) near Largo do Senado for family-style Portuguese fare, such as bacalhau and shellfish soup, and an accompanying glass of Port wine. The beachview patio at Fernando’s (Praia Hac Sa, No 9) is a Coloane Island institution. Long lazy brunches feature homestyle Portuguese dishes, like suckling pig, chorizo and baked clams, washed down with a jug of sangria.
Shopping in Style
Indulge your passion for purchasing at The Shoppes at Four Seasons luxury mall, home to more than 160 boutiques and designer brand stores. Nearby, the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Macau offers upscale shopping landscaped around an indoor Venetian canal with singing gondoliers plying the waters. New Yaohan is an eight-floor department store on Av. Comercial de Macau selling men’s and ladies’ fashions, electronics, cosmetics and toys.
Don’t Miss This
The UNESCO-inscribed old town is where Macau’s Portuguese and Chinese influences co-exist. Narrow cobblestone streets wind up the hill from the dramatic Largo do Senado plaza to the ruined façade of St. Paul’s church. The ramparts of the old fort yield fine views over Mainland China. Now head down Rua dos Mercadores, lined with Chinese pharmacies, to Rua da Felicidade (Happiness Street)—whose bright red doors and balconies indicate its previous life as an after-dark sailors’ hangout. If you have a full day, catch a cab to the Taipa Houses Museum, then grab a bite to eat in one of Taipa’s many excellent Portuguese restaurants.
A Perfect Day
Begin with a leisurely breakfast at Belcancao. Save some room, however, because a leisurely walk through the leafy village of Coloane Island will lead you to Lord Stow’s on the quaint village square, which is revered throughout the region for its delicious Portuguese natas (egg custard tarts, pictured). Then head to the historic centre, to explore the ruins of St. Paul’s Church and Largo do Senado, before a light lunch at Litoral Restaurant Macao. After lunch, visit the A-Ma Temple and the Moorish Barracks on the slopes of Barra Hill and the ancient lighthouse overlooking the peninsula. Take a limousine back to Four Seasons, to prepare for dinner at Zi Yat Heen, followed by The House of Dancing Water show, performed by Franco Dragone.