Est.: Aug. 28, 2007
Updated: May 23, 2012

Galaxy Review

Last update: May 5, 2012

















































































INTRODUCTION

Galaxy Entertainment's sixth foray into the Macau gaming market is their most ambitious venture to date. Constructed at a cost of over 1.9 billion dollars, the 550,000 square meter Galaxy Macau opened on May 15, 2011, aiming to be the only mega-resort in Macau that provides a uniquely Asian experience, something they call "World Class Asian Heart." Now I don't know how much of that mumbo jumbo marketing speak I buy, but with three hotels, over 50 restaurants, Macau's largest pool, and one of the city's best casinos, Galaxy is going to be a force on the Cotai strip for years to come.

LOCATION

Galaxy Macau is the newest addition to the Cotai Strip, situated between the Venetian and another Galaxy property, the Grand Waldo.

CASINO

While I think the biggest mass gaming casino in terms of size belongs to the Venetian, there's no doubt that Galaxy has the city's longest casino. That's all it is, one long glorious rectangular room that never seems to end, starting from the main lobby and stopping at Galaxy's back door, out by where you catch the buses. In between are tables and tables and more tables, around 250 in all, most of them in the $300 to $500 range. All the major casino games are accounted for, except 3 card Baccarat, 3 card Poker and Pai Gow, while there is no poker anywhere at all. There was never a Poker room to begin with and the Seven's Wild Plus Joker's Double and Raise Draw Joker Wild video poker machines were removed some time in the past 6 months.

Slot lovers will feel right at home at Galaxy, with their army of machines, probably around 1,200 at least. Minimums range from $.02 to $1, with the most expensive slots found in an enclosed section in the middle of the floor close to the stage. 50 machines populate that high limit area with lows from $1 to $10. Electronic game players won't be disappointed either as Galaxy has Craps ($5), Blackjack ($10), Baccarat ($30), Roulette ($30) and Sic Bo ($30) machines scattered among the slots. Interestingly they used to have $10 Yee Hah Hi (Fish Prawn Crab) games, but they were gone the last time I was there in mid January.

As for how the casino looks, my full compliments go out to the design team. It's pretty clear they outright copied the best parts of the Wynn floor, by using the same chandelier, curtain and wood partition arrangement, but they had enough sense to do what should be done at the Wynn, and that is blow it all up. What I mean is that the Galaxy casino is open, bright and very white, with only a few parts of the room divided into mini sections decorated by curtains and red chandeliers. The nicest part of the casino is one of these mini sections, the high limit Golden Pavilion, located in the middle of the room. It looks very much like a traditional Chinese pavilion, slightly elevated and surrounded by wooden rails, but gets away from that theme a little bit with its gorgeous crystal chandelier and colorful stained glass ceiling. Galaxy's most expensive tables are all found there with 23 Baccarat ($500-$2000), 2 Roulette (Inside $100, Outside $500), 1 Blackjack ($500) and 1 Caribbean Stud Poker ($300).

Non-smokers have two options at Galaxy, one is to be banished to the far back of the room by the bus lobby doors, and the other is to play in the only elevated and enclosed section on that end of the floor. Both prohibit smoking and offer slots and tables at similar minimums to the rest of the casino. That's always a nice thing as I've noticed some places like to stick it to non-smokers by only giving them expensive tables. Drink service is another plus at Galaxy, waitresses are easy to get and serve free water, tea, coffee and soft drinks.

A number of restaurants are all accessible via the casino floor while there is one bar located close to the main lobby entrance. Pearl Lounge offers drinks at very low prices with beer $25 to $45, wine $50 to $120 and most hard fare $30 to $70. The bar is also where you'll find the casino's performance stage, and some of the hottest dancers this side of the Grand Lisboa's Crazy Paris show. Unfortunately there's nothing to eat there, nor is it open 24 hours, only from 12 pm to 4 am daily.

GAMES

For being Galaxy's flagship property, I kind of expected a couple more games, and some video poker at least.

  • Baccarat
  • Commission Free Baccarat — Won Dealer bets totalling 6 pay 50%.
  • Big Wheel — AKA Money Wheel, Lucky Wheel, Wheel of Fortune. Minimum bet is $100.
  • Blackjack
  • Caribbean Stud Poker — Proper 100-1 payout on a Royal Flush.
  • Craps — Table is 5-5-5 odds, tying the City of Dreams for highest in the city. Minimum pass line bet is $100.
  • Fan Tan — Fan, Nim, Kwok bets are $100, Nga Tan $200 and Sheh Sam Hong $300.
  • Roulette
  • Sic Bo — 10 bets available, minimum bet is $100.
  • Slot Machines — Around 1200 slots with lows from .02 to $10.
  • War

GALAXY PROMOTIONS

Galaxy Macau come up aces in this department, offering a player card, a ton of promotions in addition to a dead chip program for high rollers.

Player Card — The Galaxy player card is good to use at both Galaxy Macau and its sister casino, Starworld. There are three different cards available, the introductory Gold card, the Platinum Grey and the Diamond Black. In order to move up the ranks, players must amass 1,500 points in one year to earn the Grey card and then another 15000 points within 12 months to reach the Black.

Points can be accumulated through table play at the following rate: cash bets averaging $100 over an hour earn 1 point, cash bets averaging $200 earn 2 points, cash bets averaging $500 earn 5 points etc. Slot players meanwhile earn 1 point for every $400 bet on the machines. Points can also be accumulated when buying rooms in the hotel or F&B in Galaxy and Starworld's restaurants and bars, with every $100 spent earning one point.

Not much seperates the three cards when it comes to perks though. The most obvious one is that Gold members are eligible for 10% discounts in Galaxy and Starworld restaurants and bars, while Grey members receive 15% and Black members 20%. Apart from that all three cardholders receive benefits from the Affinity Program, which cover different hotel, leisure, beauty and shopping comps. The majority of them, whether it be discounts at the Stanford Hotel in Hong Kong, or when buying tickets at Macau Tower or clothes at Karen Millen or Nine West, give all three cardholders the same 10% off.

Points accumulated on the card can be redeemed for a nice array of prizes found inside Galaxy's Privilege Rewards Brochure. Examples of prizes and required points include:

Liquor and Wine
Louis XIII Remy Martin Cognac - 17,388 points
Glenmorangie 1.5 L Original Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 3,838 points
Gold Sake - 328 points

Lifestyle and Technology
Ipad 3G (64GB) — 7,188 points
Iphone 4 (32GB) — 7,088 points
MacBook Air 13 inch — 10,888 points
Panasonic HD Twin Memory Camcorder — 9,888 points

Premium Accessories
Folli Follie Silver Jewellery Set D — 2,288 points
Folli Follie Watch — 3,938 points
S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Diamonds Lighter — 13,188 points
S.T. Dupont Black Diamond Box Buckle With Belt — 3,933 points

Gold
Lucky Money Tree — 1,888 points
Golden Dragon with Fortune — 1,088 points
Unicorn — 728 points

Players can also redeem their points straight up for Match Play Vouchers or F&B in Galaxy Restaurants with 1 point equalling $1 HKD or $1 MOP.

Current Promotions

Galaxy is currently running 5 promotions.

Millionaire a Month — Promotion has seperate Daily Draw and Grand Draw components.

Daily Draw — Every five points earned in a 24 hour period can be turned into one Draw ticket. Hotel guests can also redeem one ticket per each night stayed in a Galaxy hotel, as can visitors who spend over $200 in selected F&B outlets.

There are three draws daily, with each winner receiving a $1,000 Match Play Voucher.

Grand Draw — Gamers have one month to amass 100 points. Every 100 points amassed is good for one Draw Ticket. Ticket is entered into a draw where the grand winner takes home $500,000 HKD in cash and a $500,000 Golden Dragon. The 2nd and 3rd place winners both receive $38,888 in cash.

Winners Night — Brochure is a little unclear about the details, but it proudly proclaims Everyone's a winner! Every second Friday gamers who have accumulated 388 points over the previous two weeks time are eligible to win guaranteed prizes worth over $3,888,888 HK dollars. Five different winning combos are listed with cash prizes of $38,000, $10,000, $6,000, $4,000 and $2,000 respectively. It seems too good to be true that they're guaranteed to win at least $2,000, so there must be a slew of smaller prizes not listed.

Strike Your Power Motor — Gamers who play the slot machine Power Racer have a shot to win an Italian Ducati Superbike.

Pull and Win — Hmm, this sounds like something I do every night. Galaxy's version is a little different though, as newly joined card members and passengers on any bus to Galaxy Macau both receive one game card. After opening the game card, they'll win a prize that ranges from a $500 or $100 Match Play voucher down to Galaxy Macau souveniers and Saturday night Lucky Draw Tickets.

Fantastic 6 Special Privileges — Sweet deals found here as members have 24 hours to accumulate enough points to claim the following prizes.

  • 8 points — Pack of playing cards or Galaxy Macau umbrella
  • 12 points — 1 Macau to Hong Kong Cotai Jet Boat Ticket
  • 28 points — $100 MOP food voucher (Applicable at 3 restaurants)
  • 38 points — $100 MOP food voucher (Applicable at 2 restaurants)
  • 48 points — 1 Exclusive Package Privileges
  • 138 points — One night accomodation at Galaxy Macau.
Jinmen Club Premium Program — Jinmen club members can play on the 39th floor at Starworld or in the Jinmen Premium area at Galaxy located just off the main casino floor. I think they also have a few tables in the G lounge Sky Casino on Galaxy Hotel's 33rd floor.

Rather disappointingly, Galaxy's dead chip program doesn't even break 1%. Gamers also only have seven days to roll the minimum amount required, which in this case is $250,000.

Galaxy Dead Chip Program
Buy in Cash back Complimentary Allowance
$250,000 0.60% 0.15%
$500,000 0.70% 0.15%
$1,000,000 0.80% 0.10%

Free F&B, ferry tickets, and rooms are also available subject to amount rolled. VIP CASINOS One thing I like about Galaxy is that the mass gaming and VIP sections are clearly divided. There's no overlap between the two. According to the hotel map, there are 4 clubs operating in rooms beside the main casino floor, 6 clubs in VIP east, and another 3 clubs in VIP West. There are also two Sky Casinos, one named Banyan Club located on the 32nd floor of Banyan Tree Hotel and the other called G Lounge, found on the 33th floor of the Galaxy hotel. Both places feature 9 private salons and 18 tables a piece. I didn't appreciate the looks I got from staff at either place so I didn't hang around long enough to get any more information than that, which is fine by me. I've personally had it with VIP clubs in general in Macau. For every one that treats you well, another treats you like garbage and a third just kind of tolerates your presence. When I went to Galaxy the first time in June I made it a point to go to all the clubs that were open at the time, but by the time New Year rolled around, I'd had enough. That's why I only list five clubs and their cash back rates.

Assume a minimum buy in of $100,000 unless otherwise stated.

  • Sun City VIP — 1.05% + 0.05% comp allowance.
  • Galaxy Guangdong VIP Club — 1.1%. (0.9% immediately)
  • Wang Li Club — 1.19%. (0.9% immediately)
  • Tak Chun Group — 1.15%. Minimum buy in of $10000.
  • Hung Lei VIP Club — 1.1% + 0.045% comp allowance.
Hung Lei also offers rooms in the hotel at discounted rates. Maybe all of the other VIP clubs do as well, but Hung Lei is the only one that had the rates listed outside their membership window. I am not certain of the exact Hotel Okura suite grades, since they were all written in the more difficult traditional Chinese characters, which I really have no idea how to read. (Hell even the simplified characters get me half the time.)

Galaxy Hotel Room Rates
Room Grade Sun-Thu Fri-Sat
Deluxe Room $1100 $1650
Studio $1700 $2250
Galaxy Suite $2000 $2550
Premier Suite $2800 $3050

Hotel Okura Room Rates
Room Grade Sun-Thu Fri-Sat
Deluxe Room $1800 $2100
Superior Room $2000 $2300
Suite 1 $2500 $2800
Suite 2 $3200 $3500
Suite 3 $4700 $5000
Suite 4 $13600 $14200

Banyan Tree Hotel Room Rates
Room Grade Sun-Thu Fri-Sat
Grand Cotai Suite $2500 $3200
Spa Suite $4100 $4800
Sky Villa $4900 $5600

GALAXY RESORT OVERVIEW

Of all the casinos I went to in Macau last year, Galaxy was by far the most enjoyable one to review. I spent a great two days there in mid June, back when the property was barely a month old and everything was still brand new. Staff was everywhere and radiant, smiling, willing to chat and answer questions, let me write down menus, let me into pools etc. The service was exceptional and I thank them for that.

I think another reason why I liked Galaxy so much is because it's such a guest friendly resort. Getting your head around the place (as well as getting around it too) is a breeze. All anyone probably needs is one look at the hotel map to be able to figure everything out.

The left tower is taken up by the Galaxy hotel while the right tower is split between the Japanese chain Hotel Okura and Thai brand Banyan Tree Hotel. Banyan Tree Hotel is the resort's luxury abode, featuring only suites as well as ultra exclusive Pool Villas, located outside on the 2nd floor. Since all three hotels are in one collective structure, there's not a whole lot of difference between them visually speaking. When you walk from one hotel to the other, you still feel like you're in the same hotel, if that makes any sense. It's not like the City of Dreams where the Hard Rock is clearly the Hard Rock and Crown Towers is Crown Towers.

Gym and spa facilites at the three hotels are all fairly interchangeable as well so I didn't specifically mention them. All three places offer steam, sauna and jacuzzi as well as large modern gyms. It must be noted that Hotel Okura's fitness centre only utilizes a Kinesis wall, with next to no traditional heavy lifting equipment. Banyan Tree's gym and spa facilities are a step above Galaxy's and Hotel Okura's, which shouldn't be surprising considering it's the most expensive hotel.

The crown jewel of Galaxy is the stunning 52,000 square meter Grand Resort Deck which features a 4,000 square meter Wave Pool and a 350 ton white sand beach. Very obviously the largest pool in Macau, it's capable of making waves as high as 1.5 meters. In the morning, you can even take surfing lessons! The outdoor setup comes complete with palm trees, cabanas, waterfalls and gardens, although I think they could use a bit more flora out there. It's a little too bare and open in some places for my liking. Regardless, guests of all three hotels are free to use the Grand Resort Deck which opens from 8 am to 10 pm daily.

In order to get around Galaxy you're main throughfare will be the East and West Promenades which link the three hotels on the ground floor. That's also where you'll find the bulk of the resort's restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

GALAXY HOTEL

The main Galaxy lobby acts as the main entrance for the whole resort. Always alive with action, it's where the Diamond of Fortune show takes place as well as where all the tall Galaxy girls hang out. In another month or so, another layer of intrigue will be added when the doors to the ultra exclusive China Rouge club finally open up.

By far the largest of the three hotels with 1,500 rooms and suites, Galaxy is also the cheapest, with weekday rates as low as $1380. They also a have an attractive Stay and Play package that's worth looking into if you're coming from Hong Kong.

Rates in Macau patacas including all tax and service fees are as follows:

Galaxy Hotel Room Rates
Room type Sun-Wed Thursday Friday Saturday
King Room $1380-$1725 $1610-$1725 $2174 $2530
Twin Room $1380-$1725 $1610-$1725 $2174 $2530
Deluxe Room $1380-$1725 $1610-$1725 $2174 $2530
Deluxe Twin Room $1380-$1725 $1610-$1725 $2174 $2530
Studio $2415 $2415 $2875 $3335
Galaxy Suite $2415 $2415 $2933 $3393
Royal Suite $2473 $2473 $2990 $3450
Premier Suite $3370 $3370 $3715 $4715

Rates aren't exact as they change often. Expect flactuations of about $100 to $200. Guest quarters are located on floors 6 to 32.

Galaxy Pool Galaxy has one heated pool located outside beside the Grand Resort Deck.

Galaxy Restaurants Both Galaxy restaurants serve world cuisine.

Oasis — Casual dining at Oasis. Some tables are conveniently located outside, right beside the huge pool. Salad and appetizers
Pizza: $88-$108
(ie Vietnamese paper rolls, Pastas: $88-$135
fritos & Greek salad): $60-$90
Asian specialties: $85-$105
Soups: $70-$78
Desserts: $55-$65
Sandwiches, burgers: $95-$128

In the evening, they also have live Latin music performed by a hot Asian trio.

Oasis is located on the 2nd floor and keeps hours from 11 am to 11 pm.

Terrazza — Dig around the back of your closet for some proper attire, because Terrazza has a strict dress code. No T-Shirts, shorts, flip flops or casual sportswear allowed. Only smart apparel will do, like ties and jackets. Terrazza serves fine Mediterranean cuisine.

Appetizers: $60-$210
Soup: $78-$108
Homemade pasta: $138-$208
Pizza: $120-$145
Main course (ie lamb, steak, chicken, squid): $198-$378
Spit roast, chicken, lamb, pork: $208-$538

Terrazza is also found on the 2nd floor and is only open at night from 6 pm to 11 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Galaxy Bars

Galaxy has a lobby lounge as well as a terrific Whisky Bar.

Cascades — Fairly large lobby bar serves food, drinks and afternoon tea.

Beer: $30-$40
Wine: $65-$145 (glass)
Wine: $280-$720 (bottle)
Hard stuff: $40-$70
Fast-food bar fare: $60-$65
High Tea: $94/$188
Non-alcoholic beverages: $28-$45

Cascades is located in the Galaxy lobby and keeps hours from 10 am to 1 am.

Macallan Whisky Bar and Lounge — When I walked into Macallan's, I immediately thought of my uncle's dingy basement, which became "Mens Town" every Football Sunday. He had a 48 inch screen TV, Sunday ticket, and another two TVs he moved down there so we could watch all three of our teams lose at the same time. Incredibly small, the basement was packed full of records, authentic Canadian wilderness prints and twenty year old furniture. From what I can remember (and it ain't much), his basement also had next to no natural light. In other words, it was the perfect place to drink off a Sunday morning hangover.

Mens Town was run with an iron fist by my uncle, who brought his proclaimations from high on down, aided greatly by the bottle of whisky in his left hand. He abhored the presence of women on Sundays (unless they were upstairs cooking for us or cleaning up our mess) while it was secretly understood that everyone in Mens Town had to drink. The higher the alcoholic content, the more cred, and even though my Dad stuck to his wimpy Molson Golden (4.7%) week after week, we looked the other way. After all he had made great contributions to the cause in his younger days, not the least of which was having a hand in making me.

Anyway what does all of this have to do with Macallan Whisky Bar? Not much, except it could make for a great Men's Town in lieu of my uncle's basement. Full of dark brown wood and big man sofa chairs, the Whisky Bar doesn't waste time with gimmicks or pretension. They also seem to know their whisky too. Shots of Canadian club (which is a bit of joke back home) are $50, while Crown Royal, the beast, is a more appropriately priced $135.

The whisky menu is huge, with every kind of whisky from every place imaginable. Prices vary according to the age and quality, with most between $50 and $200. Other alcoholic fare includes beer ($40-$50), rum ($40-$100), cognac ($60-$100), gin and vodka ($50-$85) and cocktails ($60). Wine (if you're a woman) goes for $60 to $170 a glass, while bottles range from $280 to $480.

If you get hungry, Macallen has a small food menu with popular snack fare like pizza, hamburgers, and bruschetti for $88 to $138.

Every Wednesday from 7 pm to 9 pm, Macallen runs a 50% off all whiskies promotion.

Closed on Sundays, hours are from 5 pm to 1 am Monday through Thursday and from 5 pm to 2 am Fridays and Saturdays. It's located on the 2nd floor beside Terrazza.

Galaxy Hotel Quick Facts

  • Galaxy Hotel
  • Avenida de Cotai, Cotai City, Macau
  • Galaxy Hotel General Inquires: (853) 2888 0888
  • Hotel Reservations: (853) 2888 0888
  • Restaurant Inquires: (853) 2888 0888
  • Email: reservations "at" galaxymacau.com
  • Website: www.galaxymacau.com
  • Number of Hotel Rooms & Suites: 1500
  • Number of Tables: Around 250 (mass gaming only)
  • Number of Slots: Around 1200

HOTEL OKURA

Popular Japanese chain Hotel Okura has a sweet smelling lobby full of super friendly staff. I met a lovely girl from Japan there who gave me a resort map. She just whipped it out of a secret compartment in her kimono like it was nothing. It's amazing the things they can fit in there.

Hotel Okura has 488 rooms and suites at prices similar to the City of Dreams. If you book 30 days in advance, room rates get slashed by 20%. Reservations made two weeks prior meanwhile receive 10% discounts.

Rates including all taxes and fees are as follows:

Hotel Okura Room Rates
Room type Sun-Thu Friday Saturday
Deluxe Room $1955 $2185 $2875
Superior Room $2185 $2415 $3105
Okura Deluxe Room $2415 $2645 $3335
Okura Superior Room $2645 $2875 $3565
Junior Suite $3680 $3910 $4600
Superior Suite $5865 $6095 $6785
Royal Suite $7705 $7935 $8625

Guest lodgings are found on floors 7 to 27.

Hotel Okura Pool

Located on the 29th floor, the worst hotel pool belongs to Hotel Okura. Very plain and not very large, the best thing you can say is that it's indoors. Come winter, it should have Galaxy's outdoor pool beat at least.

Hotel Okura Restaurants

Okura has one Japanese and one World restarant.

Yamazato — Set meals are very pricy, while food on the a la carte menu is more affordable.

Set meals: $1680/$1380
Rice/noodles: $130-$280
Sushi and Tempura set meals: $980/$780/$450
Other selections: $100-$250

Located on the 2nd floor Yamazato has its own elevator accessible via the right hand side of the main Galaxy lobby. Hours are from 12 pm to 11 pm daily.

Terrace Restaurant — Decently priced joint serves World Cuisine. Set lunch meal from all parts of the world
(Macau, Portugal, Tokyo etc): $190-$235
Set evening meals for 10: $2888/$3588/$4888
Appetizers: $65-$120
Main dish world cuisine: $105-$775

Terrace is also found on the 2nd floor and is open from 7 am to 1 am.

Hotel Okura Bars

The most bars at Galaxy are found at Hotel Okura.

Nagomi Lobby Bar and Lounge — More lounge than anything else, Nagomi has beer for $45, cocktails for $60 and non alcoholic beverages for $40. A Wagashki and Tea set deal that comes with salmon sandwiches and finger treats is $280. They also have a small latte menu.

Located in the Hotel Okura lobby, hours are from 10 am to 11 pm daily.

Sake Bar — At 15% to 17% sake is not for the faint of liver.

The small six table Sake Bar has a wide range of sake available with most glasses $80 to $150. Some special deals for $250 allow you to sample 8 different kinds. There's warm sake, cold sake, Sweet, Dry, Barrell as well as many other famous brands. If you want to really have a good time, full bottles are $700 to $1000.

Located on the 2nd floor, the Sake Bar is open from 3 pm to 11 pm.

The Sake Bar's very charming Fu Fu explained the bar and a little bit about sake to me. Originally from Taiwan, she actually went to Japan to study it. That's a course I wouldn't mind taking, four years sitting in a bar. Wait, come to think of it, that's all my university days were!

The Crystal Piano — Trendy and upscale piano bar is surprisingly cheap. Beer is $45, hard stuff $45 to $56, and cocktails $60 to $70. If you prefer wine, some bottles are as low as $240. They also have a cigar and cigarette menu with most selections under $240.

In the evening from 9 pm until midnight there's a jazz trio making excellent use of the bar's pretty crystal piano.

Crystal Piano is located on the 28th floor and is open from 5 pm to 1 am.

Hotel Okura Quick Facts

  • Hotel Okura
  • Avenida de Cotai, Cotai City, Macau
  • Hotel Okura Macau General Inquiries: (853) 8883 8883
  • General Information Fax: (853) 8883 2345
  • Hotel Reservations: (853) 8883 3838
  • Hotel Reservations Fax: (853) 8883 5905
  • Email: reservations "at" hotelokuramacau.com
  • Website: www.hotelokuramacau.com
  • No of Rooms and Suites: 488

BANYAN TREE HOTEL

Banyan Tree Hotel is Galaxy's most opulant hotel by a very fair margin. Taking a look at some of the room grades they offer is like going to a viewing of a mansion you know you'll never afford. You're just there to drop your jaw and see how the other half live. Grand Cotai and Grand Macau suites (which never seem to be listed online) are the cheapest rooms available and they're not unlike suites found in other high end hotels, except all of them have in room Relaxation Pools.

From the Spa Suite on though, the Wow Factor really starts to set in. Spa suites are "spa destinations in themselves" as the website says, featuring luxury Jacuzzi baths and two Massage beds. While that might not sound like much, the pictures on the site tell another story. If Spa Suites aren't good enough for you, may I introduce the Pool Villa, 450 square meters of scrumptious love, each complete with private swimming pool, spa room and garden. And if that hasn't got your attention yet, maybe the Sanctuary Pool Villas will. These 950 square meter havens of excess each come outfitted with a gourmet kitchen, spa treatment room, private pool, garden and Resort Host.

Wow. It looks like these Thais really know how to live.

Guest quarters at Banyan Tree Hotel are found on floors 7 to 29. Both pool type villas are found on the 2nd floor while the Presidential Suite has floor 30 all to itself.

Rates in Macau Patacas are as follows:

Banyan Tree Room Rates
Room type Sun-Thu Friday Saturday
Grand Cotai Suite $2517 $3206 $3436
Spa Suite $4588 $4988 $4988
Sky Villa $4816 $6656 $6886
Pool Villa $22824 $23344 $23344
Sanctuary Pool Villa $34384 $34384 $34384

Banyan Tree Pool

Banyan Tree offers two pools, one big one outside on the 2nd floor beside all the cabanas and another one inside on the 31st floor.

Banyan Tree Restaurants

A mix of Western and Eastern is available in Banyan Tree's two restaurants.

Safron — Thai joint does international breakfast buffet in the morning and a la carte the rest of the day.

Breakfast buffet: $198 (adults), $99 (children 4-12)
Curry: $119/$170
Appetizers: $119-$251
Soup: $97/$108
Vegetables: $97-$108
Main meat course: $130-$251
Set meal for 2: $398

Safron is located in the Banyan Tree lobby is open from 7 am to 11 pm daily.

Belon — No children below 8 allowed at Belon and I say good for them. This is fine French dining, not a nursery.

Cold appetizers: $98-$498
6 course vegetarian meal: $381
Hot appetizers: $128/$188
Grilled: $228-$1198
Seafood: $298-$588
Dessert: $30-$250
Vegetables: $88-$128

Belon is only open in the evenings from 6 pm to 11 pm Wednesdays through Monday. You can find it on the 31st floor, beside the gym and pool.

Banyan Tree Spa

Banyan Tree Spa is not free for Banyan Tree guests, instead it's meant to serve guests from all three hotels (and private citizens too). Just like the Encore Spa at Wynn, Banyan Tree Spa offers treatments only. There's no door pass and you only get what you pay for - if you order a massage, for example, you can't stay longer afterwards and use the steam or sauna. When it's done, so are you.

To that end, many of the treatments are a mix and match of massage, baths, scrubs and facials. Most are between 120 and 150 minutes and cost between $1,600 and $2,800. The longest treatment lasts all day, 450 sweet minutes and runs $4,000, which includes a 90-minute lunch. Other services include straight up massage for 90 or 120 minutes ($600-$1500), facials ($1,200-$2,200) and beauty treatments like manicures, pedicures and waxing ($120-$650). Hair services are also available in the Hair Salon for $200 to $600.

The excellent people at Banyan Tree Spa let me have a look at the different treatment rooms and they are all superb, each equipped with steam, shower and bathtub. 6 rooms are designated as Deluxe Rooms and another 6 as Royal Rooms.

Banyan Tree Spa is located on the 2nd floor and keeps hours from 10 am to 11 pm daily.

Banyan Tree Bars

I believe they also have a Cabana bar outside, but their pool wasn't open yet when I went there in June.

Banyan Lounge — Banyan Lounge is a serious drinking establishment with a substantial drink menu, featuring a lot of wine. They also have five different afternoon tea sets for either $188 or $198. Afternoon tea time is from 3 pm to 6 pm daily.

Beer: $40-$50
Vodka: $55-$75
Cocktails: $70
Rum: $50
Martinis: $160
Brandy: $65-$150
White wine: $50-$160
Gin: $50-$55
Whisky: $50-$160

Located beside Seflon in the Banyan Tree lobby, Banyan Lounge is open from 9 am to 12 am daily.

Banyan Tree Shopping

Banyan Tree Gallery, located in the lobby, is full of things women would love. Incense, lavendar, body lotions and shampoos are on sale in addition to purses, bags and jewellery. Nice looking ceramic figures and vases along with skilfully done sculpture pieces that double as candleholders are also available for around $650. Many of the goods at Banyan Tree Gallery stay under $1500 with the two most expensive items being the necklace and earrings for $5525 and $9250.

Banyan Tree Quick Facts

  • Banyan Tree Hotel
  • Avenida de Cotai, Cotai City, Macau
  • Banyan Tree Macau General Inquires: (853) 8883 6888
  • Hotel Reservations: (853) 8883 8833
  • Fax: (853) 8883 6108
  • Email: macau "at" banyantree.com
  • Website: www.banyantree.com/en/macau
  • No of Suites & Villas: 250

GALAXY RESORT RESTAURANTS

Not much fine dining at Galaxy, it's mostly all affordably priced.

China Rouge — Man if this is what 1930's Shanghai was like, then I came to China at the wrong time. China Rouge is set to open in February and when it does I'm going there - if I can. I've heard whispers that it might be a private membership club so I'll probably get turned away at the door, numerous times. It's too bad because I haven't seen a better looking restaurant anywhere else in China, let alone Macau. No idea of the prices or what they serve, but if the food is anywhere as good as the vibe, then you won't be disappointed.

Festiva — One of Galaxy's larger restaurants serves Western and Asian favorites.

Appetizers: $60-$110
Soup: $55-$70
Sandwiches: $70-$120
Simply Grilled: $140-$440
Asian favorites: $60-$120
Pizza: $85-$110
Pasta: $80-$90

Open 7 am to 11 pm daily. Located in the East Promenade.

Gosto — Portuguese dining establishment.

Appetizers: $48-$98
Salads: $68-$98
Soup: $35-$42
Seafood: $118-$228
Codfish: $108-$138
Chicken: $98-$138
Rice: $88-$98
Dessert: $28-$48

Open from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm at night. Located in the East Promenade.

Laurel — Another larger restaurant, Laurel does Cantonese food.

Rice: $38-$88
Soup: $33-$48
Appetizers: $38-$68
Main Dishes: $68-$198
Barbecue: $48-$110
Dim Sum: $20-$28

Hours Monday to Friday are from 11 am to 11 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays Laurel opens an hour earlier. Located on the right hand side of the main lobby.

Lugang Cafe — I was told it was Taiwanese food, except they don't have much Taiwanese on the menu.

Signature dishes: $98-$128
Appetizers: $28-$48
Noodles: $48-$68
Vegetarian: $45-$48
Pork, beef, chicken: $68-$108
Desserts: $28

Open 24 hours. Located directly on your left after you enter the casino from the main lobby.

Myung Ga — Korean food, when done right, is stunning. Fully recommend it. Set menu (2): $558/$638
Appetizers: $98-$220
Set menu (4): $1088/$1288
Hotpot: $110-$280
Barbecue: $168-$218
Rice: $100-$150

Open from 11 am to 11 pm. Located in the East Promenade.

Pak Loh Chiu Chow — A ton of Dim Sum on the menu, along with simple Chinese dishes. For Westerners who may not know what Dim Sum is, it's translated from the Chinese Dian Xin, which means cake. Dim Sum is a type of sweet dessert. Dim Sum: $23-$38
Congee, Noodles, Rice: $48-$198
Soup: $58-$288
Assorted Snacks: $48-$88

Open from 11 am to 11 pm, Pak Loh is located on the right hand side of the casino down by the bus lobby exit.

Spaghetti House — All you need to know is in the name of the restaurant. Appetizers: $30-$88
Pasta: $82-$98
Spaghetti: $85-$92
Pizza: $110-$175
Risotto: $85-$105
Dessert: $32

Located in the East Promenade.

Spice Garden — Northern Indian Cuisine. Appetizers: $35-$45
Main Courses: $55-$90
Hot Appetizers: $75-$95
Spice Garden Curries: $75-$98
Vegetables: $42-$48
Vegetable Curries: $55-$75
Tandoori Nazxane: $80-$108
Tandoori Nazra: $60-$150
Soup: $30-$35

Hours are from 12 pm to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 12 am at night. Located in the East Promenade.

Tastes of Asia Food Court — Tastes of Asia features Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Singaporean cuisine, among others. Most of the small fast food fare is inexpensive, under $50.

Located in the East Promenade, beside the theaters. Hours are from 10 am to 10 pm.

Tsui Wah Restaurant — Mix of International and Asian cuisine.

Soups, starters, sandwiches: $31-$90
New Zealand: $68-$95
Vegetarian: $62-$68
Malaysian curry: $65-$119
Noodles, rice: $75-$86
Hainan Chicken Rice: $75
Barbecue: $88 - $438
King Prawn Noodles: $97

Open 24 hours, Tsui Wah is loceated in the East Promenade.

Xia Mian Guan — Inexpensive Chinese eats at Xia Mian Guan.

Shanghai noodles: $78-$158
Appetizers: $28-$68
Rice: $48-$58
Soup: $58
Vegetarian: $38-$58
Dim Sum: $28-$36

Open 24 hours, located in the East Promenade.

GALAXY RESORT ENTERTAINMENT

I'm a little surprised Galaxy doesn't do more here. With no top notch show or signature attraction, they have nothing to rival what's found at the City of Dreams or Venetian. Basically all they have is a 3D theatre, dancing performances in the casino and hot women patrolling the lobby.

UA Galaxy Cinemas — Galaxy's nine screen 3-D movie theatre opened in December. Standard tickets are $65 for normal movies and $95 for 3-D. If you want to sit in the Director's Club instead, which comes with premium dining, a lounge with wait staff, and self adjustable reclining sofa seats, tickets are $175. When I went there they had 11 different movies showing, including one late night feature I was surprised to see, the soft core porn 3D Sex and Zen. This is the fourth installment of the series, but I don't think any of them can beat the first Sex and Zen, released in 1991. That includes 1996's Sex and Zen 2 which launched the career of my favorite Chinese actress and dream girl Shu Qi. Now only known for doing serious roles, she's proven to be much more than a pretty face (and smoking body.)

Dancing Performances — Excellent excellent dancers in the Galaxy casino, I mean some of these ladies are spectacular. The best part is after they're done onstage they come down to the floor for a much appreciated close up. The Grand Lisboa can have its Crazy Paris show, I'll take this.

Another performance I love is Galaxy's whack dancing troupe G6. Wearing space suits, white wigs, big sunglasses and with IPad's protruding from their chests, these six move like machines, doing amazingly authentic robot gyrations. All the while the IPads are displaying ads for the hotel and other Galaxy information, which I think is a brilliant idea. Of the 2 guys and 4 girls, I'd say one of the guys is clearly the best, he has the moves down just a little better than the other 5. Regardless, I always enjoy watching their performance and joining in too, if they let me!

Smaller Attractions — Galaxy's lobby always has at least two or three tall international beauties doing meet and greet. If you want to take photos of or with them, they're always happy to oblige.

Rows of ladies dressed up as dolls, mermaids or goddesses also have occasional shows in the lobby, if you can call them that. Most of the time they just stand there in bikinis or dresses looking hot while bathed in dark red, blue or yellow light.

Although I've never seen it myself, a Thai puppet show is known to happen in the retail promenades. I've only seen the performers walking by though.

There's also the Diamond of Fortune, which is a rip off of what happens at the Wynn with their Dragon and Tree of Prosperity shows. The same thing happens in the Galaxy lobby except it's a large shining diamond that emerges from the floor.

GALAXY RESORT SHOPPING

I count 21 shops listed on the Galaxy map, most of them found in the East Promenade. Don't expect a lot of high end boutiques though because the stores mostly deal in watches and jewellery. For expensive clothes and fashion accessories, try down the road at the Shoppes at Four Seasons or the City of Dreams.

SUMMARY

By not doing anything big in the entertainment department I think Galaxy is making a mistake. With nothing to answer the Venetian's Zaia or the City of Dreams House of Dancing Water they're not giving themselves a chance to be the best hotel on the Cotai Strip. I think for that reason most people will continue to put the Venetian and the City of Dreams ahead of them in some order at 1 and 2, and then rank Galaxy third. Aside from the lack of a big show though, they're probably every bit as good as the other two places.

In terms of the casino, I can't think of one complaint. Perhaps the absence of video poker and a poker room may turn some off, but in Asia, it's not that big of a deal. Open and bright, the casino is home to a ton of games and slots as well as dancers that will knock your socks off. Galaxy also does a great job with their player card and promotions too, and I must admit they've almost won me over. I'm still debating whether to make them or the City of Dreams my main casino of choice from now on.


The Wizard's other sites: Wizard of Vegas, Wizard of Odds, Las Apuestas, Math Problems   ©2007-14 by Michael Shackleford   Donate