Est.: Aug. 28, 2007
Fortuna Casino — Macau
Last update: March 10, 2011Review by James K. • March 10, 2011
Hotel Fortuna is duking it out with the President for budget traveller business in the western part of the Amizade strip. Much newer than the President, it opened in 1992. Its casino, meanwhile, has been in operation since 2005 and is run by SJM.
Hotel Fortuna is directly between Kam Pek and the President. It's not possible to enter the hotel or its casino from Avenue D'Amizade, so just walk a little ways down the Rua de Canto side street first.
The Fortuna Casino is basically just a whole lot of low stake Baccarat gaming. Minimums start from $50 and stay uniformly low throughout the whole casino, with most tables at $100 or $200. Sic Bo and Blackjack are the only other games available, with a single table each, their minimums at $50 and $100 respectively.
Play takes place in total over three floors, with most of the tables located in the lower two floors. 27 tables make up the basement Baccarat quarters while 11 more are found in the smaller ground floor. The sixth floor is the high level room made up of 10 Baccarat tables. While most minimums are $500, there is also one $1000 and one $2000 table. Compared to the rest of the casino the sixth floor is much more spacious and upbeat. One knock against it though is that there is a small buffet restaurant right beside the gaming floor. One solitary rope seperates the eggs and rice from the chips and tables. For me, its two completely different worlds that should never mix. I don't want to be hard into it gambling at 7 in the morning only to see a guy bent over going to work on a plate of brown beans and sausages. But maybe that's just me.
The Fortuna Casino is in need of a major shakeup on all fronts in order to become even mildly relevant. As it is now, there's no reason for anyone to ever gamble there. First off, and most damning, it has no player card. If a casino is not going to reward its customers with comps, then players should frequent other casinos. Fortunately in Macau, that's not very hard to do.
Secondly, as with most smaller hotel casinos in Macau, the Fortuna isn't really what I'd call a "casino". For me, a casino needs to have at least five or six different games, with each game having at least two or three tables. At The Fortuna, though, the only other gaming options are Blackjack and Sic Bo, but both games only have one table. For that reason, it's more apt to call the the Fortuna a "Baccarat hall" than it is to call it a "casino".
Now I fully understand that Baccarat is the straw that stirs the drink in Macau. I am not criticizing the Fortuna for its limited game selection, but rather for its failure to stand out in any way. The visuals on the casino floor, for example, are very underwhelming. You get the feeling the designers did just enough to make the room look halfway decent, then stopped. Cordoned off in the basement level near the small bar is a relaxation section with three large massage chairs, the kind you see in airports sometimes. There are two other chairs as well more centrally located on the floor. I find it completely ridiculous that not only would the casino charge gamblers for their use, but that the price is 100 HKD for 15 minutes. Gambling is supposed to be a service industry. Why not lend a hand to the patrons you've been pulverizing at the table by giving them 15 minutes of free comfort? Why must everything be a cash grab?
Finally, the Fortuna has no part of its casino which is smoke-free. In this day and age, even for China, that's pretty unacceptable.
I saw no promotions related to the casino or the hotel when I was there.
The Fortuna has 342 rooms spread over nine floors, with guest rooms starting on the 8th and ending on the 19th. Rates will flactuate according to low and high season, but no matter the time of year, they'll be among the cheapest in town. Winter rates are as follows:
Add another 15% for tax and service charges.
Sorry, the Fortuna doesn't have any swimming facilities.
Located next to each other on the 7th floor, Hotel Fortuna has two restaurants.
Abalone Ah Yat Restaurant — You wouldn't know it by looking at the restaurant, but acclaimed "Chef of the Century" Mr. Yeung Koon Yat works here. Maybe he spent all his money decking out his kitchen because he sure didn't put much into the interior decoration. Abalone serves a lot of seafood and other delicacies such as bird nest and shark fin with most prices $300 to $500, while others go into the $1000's. Other traditional meat and vegetable dishes are pricy as well, with most exceeding $100.
Fortuna Court — Fortuna Court does both Eastern and Western food. Some main dishes are very cheap going from $38 to $50 while more expensive ones still mostly stay under $75. Steak and seafood are a reasonable $100 to $200. Fortuna Court does breakfast as well with three different set meals, American ($82), Oriental ($75), and Continental ($66).
Hotel guests are SOL when it comes to free spa facilities and amenities. The hotel does have one private spa though located on the 5th and 6th floor.
Supreme Sauna — All dubious spa establishments in Macau use the same code words to advertise illicit services and for a long time I didn't know what they meant. But thanks to the good people at Supreme Sauna I do now. A Shanghai massage ($788) is a straight massage while a Japanese massage ($1038) is massage with a happy ending. Supreme massage ($1738) moves into full service territory while a Honeymoon massage ($4188) takes the full service and makes it last a night.
The only entertainment going on at the Fortuna is found in its nightclub, which I will explain below.
Fortuna Night Club — Another euphemism in Macau. The Fortuna Night Club is not a night club, but a strip joint, mostly employing Eastern European dancers. Door charge is $400 while most drinks cost around $88. The sign above the night club entrance reads: Foreign Girls Specialty Shop. You got that right! Hours are from 7:30 pm to 3 am.
Lobby Lounge — The small four table Lobby Lounge serves meals, snacks and drinks. Snacks run from $48 to $68 with some interesting examples being "Spicy pork ear" and "Salty duckling tongue." Full meals are a mix of Western and Eastern cuisine with prices ranging from $68 to $98. Beers are $42, but their harder drinks and cocktails only go for $42 to $50, which is a better deal than at many other lobby bars.
The Fortuna's budget hotel status pretty much precludes it from offering any shopping area.
The President is another budget hotel right next to the Fortuna so I think it makes sense to compare the two. Room rates and free hotel amenities are basically the same at both places so they cancel each other out. In terms of the casino, I give the edge to the President simply based on personal preference. Although the President's casino is much smaller than Fortuna's, there's some charm and warmth about it. It also fills a need for Baccarat gamers who don't like large places. The Fortuna, on the other hand, tries to do more with its casino, but ends up doing nothing with it. For restaurants and bars, though, Fortuna gets the big edge. They have four in total while the President only has two. Fortuna also has more entertainment, seedy as it may be, with their nightclub and sauna both engaging in different types of adult service.
To each his own I suppose with these two hotels; it all depends on what you want. If it were me, though, I'd choose neither. I'd fork over the extra 300 patacas (around $40 US) and use my Ji Mei card to get a room for $950 down the road at the Grand Lapa. Why fly economy, my friends, when $40 more gets you first class?