What is it? Looking over the western end of the Macau Jockey Club, and within spitting distance of the waterway separating Taipa from Hengqin Island, the US$2 billion, 12-storey Roosevelt could well be taken for the ultimate grandstand. There are no other hotels in the immediate vicinity, and certainly none in the whole city better suited to accommodating racing aficionados.
Opened at the end of July, the hotel’s cut from a very different cloth to its five-star rivals, with a distinct emphasis on thought-provoking modern design thanks to Iceland-born, Los Angeles-based architect Gulla Jónsdóttir, who redesigned the Hollywood Roosevelt in 2007 and whom press releases refer to as a “Glamazon”.
The property will be complete by the end of the year, but in the meantime – starting with the artificial garden worked into the wall and ceiling of the lobby – this is a hotel that, like its sister property in California, fairly fizzes with entertaining surprises.
What are the rooms like? Even if guests feel the horses are a personal no-no, quite the best of the Roosevelt’s 368 rooms and suites face the racecourse, each with a balcony that puts the “Oh!” in panorama.
There’s no traditional Macau, fortune-favouring red-n-gold décor here, rather ebony-lacquered burnt-wood floors, burnished bronze and carved Italian marble. The walls are black, the curtains grey, and the outside of each guestroom door is engraved with a cat’s eye motif.
The suites include wide cushioned window seats, which encourage lolling and the taking in the view. While the bathrooms aren’t huge, they’re well laid out, and many have a deep-soaking tub as well as a shower.
The Roosevelt’s top-floor presidential suite – with the working title of “Marilyn” – is still under construction, but predicted to be as stunning as its namesake.
What is there to eat and drink? The Roosevelt’s Japanese restaurant has yet to open. No matter. The very international Casa Roosevelt occupies much of the third floor, looking onto the pool deck and thereafter the racecourse. Two elements – a large square bar at one end and an open kitchen at the other – grant much to the restaurant’s character, which is spiced up by brightly coloured leather seating and plenty of space – no cluttered tables here.
The Chinese restaurant is slightly more traditional. As a name, Opulence Taipa Fishing Village doesn’t quite trip off the tongue. However, nobody’s taste buds will quarrel with its take on seafood and similar dishes.
What is there for guests to do? It would be perfectly forgivable (weather permitting) to do nothing except hunker down on the pool deck, where an infinity pool and a bevy of loungers offer a helpful antidote to the chrome+perspiration of the adjacent hi-tech fitness centre. There’s also a private lounge at the back of the deck, which guests can book for karaoke or a more normal party.
Executives will be happy to note that the Roosevelt’s conference rooms include a capacious wine fridge. One floor below, a multi-purpose function room started out in a theme it intends to continue, with an exhibition by Macau artists.
A casino, the sine qua non of Macau hotels, lurks next to the lobby, but does not impinge.
Off property, the variegated delights of the Cotai Strip and the rather more sane attractions of Taipa village lie more or less equidistant from the main entrance. When (if) the city’s Light Rail Transit starts running, guests will be able to hop on and off at the station a short way from the front entrance.
What’s the bottom line? Room rates start at 1,500 patacas per night, but rise to 1,600 patacas on Fridays and 1,800 patacas on Saturdays. All rates include breakfast for two. For more details, go to themacauroosevelt.com.