Where is it? In the City of Light Entertainment rather than the City of Light. Nearly four years – and US$2.7 billion – in the making, The Parisian Macao is the latest gaming resort to explode onto the Estrada do Istmo. It would be a sizeable landmark even without the half-size replica Eiffel Tower out front. It makes a fairly glamorous Gallic bookend to the western side of the Cotai Strip, where it joins The Venetian and The Plaza, both – like The Parisian – owned by American squillionaire Sheldon Adelson, the man who puts the “Oh!” into casino mogul. Some effort has gone into duplicating French architecture – the Parisian-style Mansard roofs are a prime example – and it would be a very jaded traveller/gambler/gawker who didn’t do some sort of double take on entering the super-sized lobby rotunda, with its marble balconies, painted ceiling and fountain modelled on the Place de la Concorde.
What’s the accommodation like? As in so many casino hotels, where you rest your weary head seems to cede priority to the smorgasbord of fun and games laid out for guests’ delectation elsewhere on the property. Suffice to say there are 3,000 (gasp!) rooms and suites, about a third of which have an Eiffel Tower view. Famille rooms are designed for parents with children in tow, while the Lyon Suites clock in at 72 square metres. A 55-inch television screen is standard, ditto complimentary Wi-fi and Frenchified contemporary design.
And the food? “Du gateau” is French for no-brainer, and there are no prizes for guessing The Parisian champions Chinese and a certain European cuisine, under the overall direction of South African executive chef Alex Gaspar. La Chine, on the sixth floor of the tower, dashes off fusion with a flourish while Lotus Palace serves Chinese cuisine, pure and simple, and really very good. The all-day Brasserie does what it says on the sign, while Le Buffet is a more international eatery. Cafe Express gives Macanese food a look-in and the 24-hour noodles at Market Bistro are aimed squarely at a specific market niche.
Will we be kept entertained? Plans are in hand to run tours of the resort’s architectural heritage, explaining the provenance of the copy obelisk (based on the one in the Place Vendôme) and the way the ceiling “paintings” were printed onto vinyl and glued in place. Otherwise – assuming immunity to the lure of baccarat, poker, etcetera – the obvious first ports of call are the viewing decks on the seventh and 37th floors of that 150-metre-high erection, as well as the nightly son et lumiere, which is visible from ground level. The retail mall (a bonsai Champs-Élysées) is home to 150 boutiques, and spouses and similar bag-carriers may be amused to learn it’s patrolled by buskers, mimes and other street entertainers. The Michael Jackson tribute show, Thriller Live, takes to the boards at the 1,200-seat Parisian Theatre at the end of this month. The gardens are extensive, and entry to the Aqua World water park is kinda expensive. Other chilling zones include Le SPA’tique, which runs to such exotica as apple stem cell facials, and the health club, which by time-honoured tradition has to be described as “state-of-the-art”.
What’s the bottom line? Opening package rates – including accommodation for two in a Deluxe King room, breakfast or lunch for two, and admission to the Eiffel Tower observation deck – start at HK$1,398, plus 15 per cent tax and service charges. For more details, browse the resort website at parisianmacao.com.