Macau is known for many attractions: gambling, bars, nightlife, more gambling… but family-friendly activities? It’s not usually the first thing that springs to mind! While new developments and casinos are slowly but surely taking over the city, it’s still early days yet. You’d be surprised how much fun you can have with little ones in tow as you navigate the culture, food and tourist attractions in this old European settlement. We wanted to enjoy a family staycation away from the casinos and chaos of the main strip, and the Grand Coloane Beach Resort seemed like the perfect escape to explore the ‘other side’ of Macau.
Covering an expansive plot of land on the eastern tip of Coloane Island in Macau, the Grand Coloane Resort (formerly Westin Resort Macau) is a serene escape from the bustling city centre. It’s the only resort of its kind in Macau, and its prime location on Hac Sa Beach combined with family-friendly facilities make it an ideal destination for visiting Macau with the kids!
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were shown into our guest room, one of 208 available on the property, each boasting a private balcony. The hotel is 12 years old, but the rooms have been newly renovated. We found our guest room both comfortable and modern, despite other areas of the hotel showing a bit more wear and tear. If you’re traveling with the family, I would recommend booking the Deluxe Suite, which has a separate living room and bedroom. The rooms are bright and airy, and with the accompanying balcony and view out to the South China Sea, you feel world’s away from the hustle-bustle of the main drag.
After settling in, we were given a thorough tour of the grounds, which took a good portion of the hour as there was so much to cover! The hotel is chock full of activities for the family and a weekend could be easily spent just hanging by the resort, if you’re looking for a simple and relaxing getaway. We also spotted a bunch of energetic tots running around, a sure sign of the family-oriented facilities and activities on offer.
We arrived on a warm afternoon and most of the guests were lounging by the Crystalline Garden pool complex, cocktail in hand for the grown-ups and rubber duckies for the little ones. There was a good deal of splashing and excited squealing as we took a tour around the pool area, with kids running around the pool, somersaulting into the sparkling blue water and playing games with water guns and floaties. Adults, on the other hand, can soak tired muscles in the indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis (not permitted for children under age 16) or reserve a sun lounger in the shade on a hot day. We also spotted a giant blow-up playhouse on the grass, which is brought out for an hour everyday (10-11am Mon-Fri and 3-4pm Sat-Sun).
For adults, one of the main attractions is the adjoining golf course and driving range. The Macau Golf & Country Club attracts some of the world’s most renowned golfers and is a spectacular setting surrounded by lush greenery – perfect for pops who want to get away and hone their putting skills while the kids roam free on the resort grounds!
Other notable facilities include a fully-equipped fitness studio, no-frills spa for affordable massages and facials, and a Kids Club for juniors to enjoy balloon-making, circus acts, arts and crafts, table tennis and more. The Kids Club is open from 8am-8pm Mon-Sun, and activities change on a daily basis (childcare is available at $100 per hour if Mum and Dad want to go out and explore the city). They even offer special birthday party packages for kids that sound pretty fabulous, featuring junior chef activities, 3-legged races, water balloon pinatas and DIY cookie making…
For dining options, the Grand Coloane has two restaurants (one Chinese and one all-day dining), as well as a lobby lounge for enjoying afternoon tea and drinks. Our first meal was had at the Kwun Hoi Heen Chinese Restaurant, where the chef was serving up dim sum and Cantonese specialties for the afternoon.
While the restaurant decor was nothing to get too excited about (think plain yellow tablecloths and a dimly lit dining room), I was surprised by the quality of food on offer. Every dish we had was truly a treat, from the unique fried bbq pork buns (why hasn’t anyone thought of doing this before?!) to the pork and veg multi-coloured dumplings and more. We were bursting at the seams, but couldn’t resist polishing off the bowl of mango sago pudding that came at the end – a creamy, flavourful bowl that packed a delicious fruity punch.
The impressive culinary streak continued at dinner, where the Café Panorama served up its Saturday night Thai- and Indian-inspired buffet feast. Again, my expectations were exceeded, this time by the freshness and authenticity of the dishes on offer and the sheer volume of choices available for $376 per person ($166 for kids): plate after plate of beautiful, fresh Thai salads, pad thai, snow crab, spring rolls, mussels, fresh shrimp, ribeye, fishcakes and a separate section for Indian curries, biryani and tandoori. We certainly ate our fill and shamelessly joined the juniors in the dessert buffet line for creamy gelato, crepes and homemade cakes.
Café Panorama is also where breakfast is served (although expect a bit of a wait in the mornings with limited seating available), as well as a la carte lunches and snacks. In the afternoon, step over to the adjoining Panorama Lounge, where you can savour afternoon tea while listening to the hotel’s resident pianist.
What I loved most about the Grand Coloane is their focus on providing an enriching, cultural experience in Macau – focusing on the city’s unique heritage and traditions rather than on all the glitz and glam. They offer various guided tours around Coloane Old Town that can be booked in advance, highlighting temples, Chinese relics and old Portuguese architecture. On our tour, we stopped for famous egg tarts from Lord Stow’s (a must in Macau!), visited the ancient Tin Hua Temple, and enjoyed a leisurely seaside stroll through the colourful, quaint fishing village. It was a charming side of Macau I’ve never seen and a vibrant introduction to the local culture and history.
The perfect trip to Macau includes the best of both worlds, and should you choose to take a break from the tranquil, ‘simple-life’ escape of the seaside town and Grand Coloane Resort, the major resorts along the Cotai Strip (Venetian, Grand Galaxy, Sands, Banyan Tree) are only a quick 10-minute cab ride away. With something for everyone (including plenty of kid-friendly activities!), the Grand Coloane Resort is a true family-friendly destination and perfect home base for exploring everything that Macau has to offer.
A complimentary shuttle bus service is available between the resort, Macau Ferry Terminal, Taipa and Cotai Strip, departing every 30 minutes.
Macau Golf & Country Club: $1,350 on weekdays and $2,480 on weekends and public holidays (book tee times in advance)
The Deluxe Suite is recommended for families. For all rooms, a roll-out bed can be added for adult and children (same) pricing at MOP450 per bed, with a baby crib free of charge. Connecting rooms are available for four guests who want to stay closer but have their own privacy.
Grand Coloane, www.grandcoloane.com