Est.: Aug. 28, 2007
Pharaoh's Palace — Macau
Last update: March 10, 2011Review by James K. • March 10, 2011
The two tower Landmark Hotel opened up fourteen years ago in 1997, which is a lifetime in Macau. Its casino, Pharoah's Palace, is no spring chicken either, having began operation in 2003. The gaming industry in general doesn't treat older venues very well and in this case neither Landmark nor Pharoah's Palace have escaped its wrath. They're pretty far down the list now when one thinks of premium Macau properties.
Proceeding into Macau's downtown from the Ferry Terminal, Pharoah's Palace signals the beginning of the western part of the Amizade strip. The President is its closest neighbour on the right while Starworld is just across the street.
PHAROAH'S PALACE CASINO
Phoaroah's Palace has an excellent range of games given its size. I think it's a good example of what more Macau gaming houses should be. It's fine to have most of the tables be Baccarat, but at least offer a nice selection of games on the other tables. In too many Macau places it's Baccarat or bust, which gets very boring after awhile.
A lot smaller than I expected, the gaming at Pharoah's Palace is limited to a single, albeit fairly large room, located on the third floor. The casino resembles the inside of a pyramid, with the main point of attraction being the large statue of a Phaoroah King and Queen facing the entrance doors. Sitting nobly the royal pair tower above the casino floor, keeping watch over their kingdom of loyal gamers, looking slightly bemused at the sight of it all. Elsewhere the walls are brown and bricked, made to look intentionally old while five or six huge beams rise from the floor to the ceiling, apparently acting as the room's main supports. Colorful murals of Egyptians and their sacred animals adorn the walls as do rows of hieroglyphics. I think I saw some that said, "Our mathmeticians had it worked out years ago man, always bet the dealer in Baccarat! Or you'll be deader than Tut!"
The casino has a roomy relaxed feel to it, with 65 tables neatly grouped according to game and adequately spaced. Minimums are uniformly low with no tables on the main floor exceeding $500 and many at $100. There's a slot section on the right hand side composed of 54 slot machines with limits ranging from 2¢ to $1. Another slot area to the left of the Phaorah King and Queen is currently closed for renovations so I couldn't get their numbers.
The Premium Club is the Pharoah Palace's high limit quarter with five $1,000 tables and one table at $2,000. The elevated roped off area under the Pharoah King and Queen is another haven for high rollers with three $1,000 tables.
A non smoking section of six Baccarat tables can be found beside the slot section. Minimums for these tables are all $100.
In and around Pharoah's Palace are two VIP Baccarat clubs and one Orbit slot machine lounge. I don't think they're affiliated with Pharoah's Palace but I'll include their information anyway.
Mingjun — seven-table VIP lounge. Inside is done up similarly to Pharoah's Palace. Tables go from $1000-$3000.
Club Elegance — nine-table VIP lounge. Minimums of $1,000/$2,000/$5,000/$10,000. Also has a bar and a small three-table net lounge. Inside is better looking than Mingjun's.
Orbit Slot Lounge — About 160 slots with machines ranging from 5¢ to $5. Electronic Roulette, Sic Bo and Baccarat are available for $5, $10, and $30. Also has a interesting looking large screen animated horse race game called Royal Grand Prix Derby.
PHAROAH'S PALACE GAMESA nice selection of games is available at Pharoah's Palace.
Unless otherwise stated, normal Macau rules and payouts apply to all games.
Player Card — The Pharoah's Palace player card is a glorified shopping card only good for 10% discounts in Macau restaurants and shops. There's no way to accumulate points on it through gaming, nor is it related to casino promotions in any way. It's still important to have however because you can't get into the casino without it.
VIP Card — Staff told me there is a Pharoah's Palace VIP card but one has to gamble for two hours first at $5,000 per hand to be eligible for it. Getting information about what happens after you have the VIP card was like pulling teeth. I do know that card holders are eligible for free rooms at the Landmark as well as food vouchers and massage coupons. But I don't know how much they have to bet, or for how long, to score those comps.
Landmark is a large two tower hotel complex with guest rooms in both wings found between floors 7 and 22. Floors 19 to 22 in the West Wing are classified as Noble Club Floors. Guests staying there enjoy priority check in as well as use of the Noble Club Lounge, which includes complimentary food and drink perks. All told the hotel has 451 rooms and suites.
Room rates in the winter season are as follows:
As you can see, it's very affordably priced for being such a large place. Rates fall right in between budget places like the Fortuna and President ($650 Sun-Thu) and more expensive nearby mega properties like the Grand Lisboa and Starworld ($1700+ Sun-Thu).
Landmark's pool is located is the fifth floor Recreation Area. Although not very large, the pool is indoor and heated, so it's open all year round. The deck area is swank and styling, with a good color scheme and smart design. The plants on the side are a nice touch too.
The Landmark Hotel, with its West and East towers, is a bit of a pain to get around in. Finding these restaurants wasn't easy, as I was constantly going from tower to tower. It didn't help either that some elevators went to some floors while others did not. At least two or three times I could say I was legitimately lost.
Landmark's four restaurants have a good mix of Western and Eastern dining. Prices are pretty standard in the two eateries on Level one, but their two compatriots on the higher floors will have you reaching for your wallet.
Varanda — Varanda does Portuguese and Macaunese fare on the western side of Level one. Snack, sandwich and soup dishes are all $50 to $80 while main course meals are over $100. Hours are from 7 am to 1 am.
Royal Orchid Chinese Restaurant — Located in the eastern part of Level one, Royal Orchid Chinese Restaurant serves Shanghai style food. Seafood is expensive but most meat and vegetable dishes settle into the $68 to $78 range. Simply decorated, its menu is huge. Hours from 11 am to 3 pm, and 6 pm to 11 pm.
King of Kings Restaurant — King of Kings is right outside the Pharoah's Palace casino on Level 3. Small small place it has a wide variety of different styled cuisine with meals done in Shanghai, Cantonese, Chaozhou, and Western style.
Kiwato Japanese Restaurant, which used to be on the first floor, know operates out of King of Kings, so that's why half the menu is Japanese. Most meals on both menus go from $88 to $128.
Petrus Restaurant — Serving Cantonese fare, Petrus breaks the bank with set meals going for $638, $688, and $888. Main dishes meanwhile are $100 to $300. Located on the 5th floor.
Landmark Bakery — Located on the ground floor, Landmark Bakery serves sandwiches and sweets at very reasonable prices. Sandwiches are $16 while slices of cake only go for $12. I tried a doughnut for $6 that tasted like it was a day old, but had a better experience with the the $7 strawberry danish, which was fresh and fine.
The Landmark doesn't have any free spa amenities. Access to the 5th floor sauna, steam room, hot tub and jacuzzi require payment, even for hotel guests. The only facilities guests may use on the house are the pool and gym.
Landmark's gym is more than acceptable with a good selection of cardio equipment and heavy duty weight machines. The room is also three or four times larger than many other gyms found in Macau hotels. Getting a full workout there won't be a problem.
The gym is found in the 5th floor Recreation Area.
I should note that the Recreation Area also includes a putting green and a children's arcade, but neither are free. The putting green, which is way too flat, is $23 for 30 minutes while arcade games start at $2 per play. A Golf Simulator machine was broken and unavailable for use at the time of my visit.
For being called the Vegas of the East, entertainment in Macau is sorely lacking, and the Landmark is no exception. There's not a single venue anywhere in the building that has a stage, and we're talking about a 451 room hotel here.
Landmark has two bars for your drinking pleasure.
The Cave — Located in the basement, you can access The Cave through Landmark's lobby. Dark, cool and damp the bar is decorated just as its name suggests, like the inside of a cave. Beers start from $38 while cocktails are a little bit more expensive, going for $45 to $65. A fast food snack menu has about 15 different things with most priced between $58 and $64. Cuban cigars are also available for $178 to $328. Open from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.
Poolside Bar — Situated on the fifth floor, Poolside Bar is a bit of a misnomer. The only alcoholic thing on the menu is a Pinocoloda, going for $52. Other drinks offered are tea, coffee, and juice. If you're hungry, fast food bar fare like wings and fries is available for around $50. Also serves desserts like cake and ice cream. Business hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m..
Landmark has quite a large shopping arcade with luxury stores found on three floors in all. Patek Phillippe, Hugo Boss, Rado, Omega, Piaget, Franck Muller, and more peddle their high end watches, bags, shoes and clothes. I went into Hugo Boss and was blown away by the price of a simple sweater and jacket combo, with the price tag a whopping 20,000 patacas. Without the Hugo Boss label, I wonder if they could even get 2,000 for it?
Despite its age Landmark is clearly one of the better deals in town. Its shopping selection and restaurant choices are both excellent, while the pool and gym facilities outshine many found in more expensive hotels. (Think Starworld, Grand Emperor or L'Arc) The only point of criticism is in the lack of free spa facilities, but for $1,200 a night Sunday to Thursday, you can't really complain too much.
Pharoah's Palace is a good little casino that's perfect for low limit gamers who don't play that often. There's good variety in the games while the blackjack rules are the best in Macau. More serious players or high junket rollers should look elsewhere though, because Pharoah's Palace is doing next to nothing in terms of comps or with their dead chip program. It's too bad, because if they took care of their players a little better, then they'd probably have more of them. That goes double for staff working the membership information desk. It's like no one told them that gambling is a service industry.
Link to the official Landmark web site.