Acclaimed English actor Michael Caine – recognisable for his broad cockney accent – may not have visited Macao in recent years, but if he called in today, he would surely feel right at home in the new The Londoner Macao, albeit in Hollywood fashion. On the other hand, former football star David Beckham is a regular visitor to his “home hotel” along Macao’s Vegas-style Cotai Strip in the former Portuguese enclave.
So, too, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who has put his signature – and his signature dishes – to a British-influenced watering hole.
Newly opened The Londoner Macao
With plenty of pomp and pageantry, The Londoner opened early 2023, to join other eye-catching Sands Resorts integrated complexes along the strip. These include The Venetian with its gondoliers and The Parisian with its quarter-sized Eiffel Tower.
Gaming in Macao
Macao is a 40-minute drive across the world’s longest over-the-water road bridge from Hong Kong International Airport. It borders China’s southeast province of Guangdong (Canton) and continues to raise eyebrows with its ever-expanding gaming resorts between the connecting islands of Taipa and Coloane. The Londoner is no exception.
Not only is the integrated resort home to large casinos. It boasts five hotel brands – Sheraton, St Regis, Conrad, The Londoner, and The Londoner Court – along with a seemingly endless maze of high-end stores, restaurants, and cafes, including the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill.
The Londoner’s Suites by Beckham
The 400-metre-wide and 40-metre-high façade of The Londoner Macao is modelled on Britain’s Houses of Parliament at Westminster, the chimes from the life-sized Big Ben digitally sounding on the hour.
It’s here that Beckham is an ambassador, and 14 of the Suites by Beckham, on The Londoner hotel’s top two floors, were designed and inspired by the man himself, in collaboration with the award-winning David Collins Studio, the British luxury interior design firm.
By taking a sneak peek we capture a better understanding of Beckham’s ‘discerning British style and sophistication’ inside what are recognised as the first celebrity-designed suites in Macao. Sketches and photos of the renowned footballing celebrity scantily decorate the walls.
From those initial steps inside The Londoner Macao, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the British influences.
A replica of Crystal Palace with an ornate glass atrium is centred by a striking full-scale Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain with Anteros, the Greek god of selfless love, the pinnacle.
London or Macao?
It’s in this palatial setting that The Londoner’s theatrical version of changing of the guards takes centre stage. Twenty artists dressed in costume create a spellbinding, installation spectacle, Scots Guards, heralding trumpeters, and drummers appearing across multiple levels.
Unlike the traditional ceremonies at Buckingham Palace, there are modern twists – special effects, music, and imagery of the guards on 12 moving LED displays across three levels, captivating onlookers.
It’s all theatre which, at dusk, extends outdoors when a changing of lighting is choreographed to British-themed musical scores, including soundtrack of James Bond movie ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.
An original 1966 London double decker bus sits motionless here while bronze reproductions of the two lions from Trafalgar Square are in pride of place along with a 12-metre-high bronze replica of Nelson’s Column.
With 1960s British pop songs piped throughout the integrated resort, we find ourselves walking down memory lane as we uncover other London sights of interest, including the Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing where we have no choice but be photographed to recreate the album cover shot.
Shakespeare’s Hall, modelled on the Royal Albert Hall, is another impressive sight with its three-storeyed domed atrium, while a life-sized statue of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stands outside 10 Downing Street, his wartime pet cat Nelson in the window.
A traditional London black cab with hologram of David Beckham is also spotted along with a larger-than-life teacup presentation, another red-painted double decker bus, and a replica of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee state carriage. Red-painted postal boxes and telephone booths are sprinkled throughout.
Shop till you drop
The Londoner Macao has a shopping plaza created to replicate London’s busy Oxford Street. Popular designer labels are sold in most of the 150 shops.
Wherever I wander I feel I have been transported to the classic streets on the Monopoly board, the chic boutiques of Bond Street, and the upmarket stores of Mayfair, to mention two.
Dining options are 15, Gordon Ramsay’s establishment – popular for its food, in particular the chef’s signature Beef Wellington, well worth sinking the teeth into. Wash it down with a signature cocktail or one of the brews on tap.
In the words of the world-renowned Michelin-starred master chef, “I wanted to preserve the essence of the pubs I love at home while noting the exposed brickwork and subtle nods to the United Kingdom through thoughtful design details, from artwork to furniture, providing a cool, modern Britannia feel.”
Another popular choice for dining is Churchill’s Table, an appealing restaurant with a decor to match classic Victorian food halls. Apart from being heavily booked each day, this restaurant’s colourful trolley is a daily hive of activity, passers-by forming queues to buy tantalising snacks.
Other hot spots to dine at include The Mews, Haidilao Hot Pot, and Huaiyang Garden, awarded a one-star Michelin Guide rating with master chef Zhou Xiaoyan’s Chinese cuisine is presented with a contemporary twist.
The Londoner Macao’s Suites
With 600 suites, The Londoner knows how to spoil its guests. And it’s the little things such as a pillow menu and the complimentary show shine that make the stay more memorable.
The suites – Louis, Victoria, and Windsor – are of classic British design with contemporary features to meet today’s needs. Such is the hotel’s credentials, it has received a five-star rating in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide 2023, a good achievement in its first year.
My suite – 2162 – showcases subtle British accents in patterns, furniture, and art on the walls, and boasts an inviting king-sized bed, buttons to control almost everything from the lights to the drawing of the curtains and a much-appreciated foot massaging machine.
Highlights of the spacious and elegant bathroom is the Victorian-style bathtub and spa, heated button-controlled toilet, and the wide shower head.
At the top end, the Suites by David Beckham were named ‘Best Hotel Suite in Asia Pacific’ at The International Hotel & Property Awards 2021.
What makes me feel at home at The Londoner is the Residence, an exclusive private club. It is difficult to find at first but well worth the effort. The private club is reserved for all guests to relax and indulge in a buffet breakfast, afternoon tea, drinks, and evening cocktails.