Posted by James K.
Nov 12, 2015

INTRODUCTION

There are three flags hanging outside the front of the Four Seasons, and you tell me which one doesn't belong: a Macau flag, a Chinese flag, and a Canadian flag. Looking up at the familiar red and white maple leaf, I was kind of puzzled to see anything from Canada in Macau. An online search later revealed that the Four Seasons is actually a Canadian company, based out of Toronto, something I had no idea of before, even though I lived there most of my life. Well I say good for the Four Seasons and good for Canada too because it's one of the world's most successful and well run international hotel chains, synonomous with culture, class, luxury and largesse, all at the same time.

The Las Vegas Sands runs the hotel's tiny Plaza casino, which features some of the highest table limits in town, aiming for a quiet more discerning crowd.

 

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LOCATION

The Four Seasons is connected to the Venetian via the Shoppes at Four Seasons, their brash and bourgeouis upmarket boutique mall.

 

CASINO

When you put it all together, the Plaza casino is one of the best ones in all of Macau. First off, in terms of food and drink service, it's unrivaled. As far as I know, it's the only casino in Macau that serves free alcoholic beverages &mdahsh; and they're not just any alcoholic beverages — it's Remy Martin VSOP, it's Hennessey VSOP, it's some of the best glasses of house wine you'll ever have. In addition to the drinks, there's also free food. In the Paiza club section where the stage used to be there's a small buffet offering noodles, fried chicken, dumplings and soup. For a free buffet I found the quality to be very high. We're easily talking about the same sort of stuff you buy in other casino restaurants for $35 to $50 a plate. I have seen free food before at the Grand Lisboa (free small sausage bun) and Taipa Square (free sweet bun) but what you get at the Plaza just blows them away, especially when you're chasing everything down with a free $50 glass of cognac.

I would like to admit at this point that in previous reviews, I may have been a little remiss on the drink front. It just never occurred to me that any casino in Macau served free drinks before because I never saw anyone drinking. The only reason I knew the Plaza did is because the Wizard wrote about it in a previous review. For the record, the only free drinks I've ever seen anywhere are water, juice, pop, coffee or tea. After my revealation at the Plaza, I checked the Venetian and the City of Dreams, and none of them serve free booze, but it's possible MGM, the Sands, and the Wynn do. As for the smaller casinos - and especially SJM casinos &mdahsh; I would strongly suspect they all stay dry.

What's the cost of all this excellent service at the Plaza then? High limits, that's what. Originally conceived of as the Venetian's high limit quarter, the vast majority of Plaza tables are $500, $1000 and $2000. Low bets for Roulette ($200), Sic Bo ($300), and Craps ($100 for a pass line bet) are double the usual rates, while Caribbean Stud Poker is the only game around average ($300). The 160 slots all over $1 are also very high for Macau, with exact machine numbers $1, $2, $5, and $10.

Very similar in appearances to the elegant Venetian, the one room 34 table Plaza casino has the same elaborately done up pillars, ceilings and chandeliers you'll find next door. Two VIP clubs operate in the back of the room, both requiring buy ins of $100,000. SIS returns 1.15%, while Century Oriental gives a more generous 1.19%. Both clubs have 10 tables each, with table minimums $2000 and $3000 at SIS, and $2000, $3000, and $10000 at Century Oriental.

In addition to gaming, the Plaza Casino also has one restaurant and one bar. Diplomats Bar has an extensive drink menu, with all your favorites accounted for, including cognac ($60-$125), champagne ($45-$130), wine ($50-$90), cocktails ($50), hard shots ($45-$80) and beer ($40). Coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks are also available for $30 to $40. Ping, the restaurant, is open 24 hours and serves main Cantonese fare for $48 to $168, along with rice, noodles and barbecue meat for $45 to $88.

In a bit of a disappointment, the stage behind Diplomats Bar that used to have live piano music in the evening has been replaced by Paiza Club tables, which is also where you'll find the buffet. In total there are five tables outside, four Baccarat (minimum bets of $3000 or $10000) and one Blackjack ($2000), and two more $10000 Baccarat tables in private rooms. In order to play in the private rooms, gamers are required to gamble at least 3 million HKD.

 

GAMES

Las Vegas Sands casinos always have a good range of games, even in a smaller place like the Plaza.

  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack — Pricy $500 minimums.
  • Commission Free Baccarat — Players are paid only 50% on won Dealer bets that total 6.
  • Craps — One table paying 3-4-5 odds, with a minimum Pass line bet of $100. The table only opens on Fridays and Saturdays. The City of Dreams next door pays 5 times odds so yeah, you know what to do and where to go.
  • Roulette — Minimum bet of $200 for Red/Black, Even/Odd.
  • Sands Stud Poker — Variant of Caribbean Stud Poker, with the only changes being you can bet more on the side bet. Check out the Venetian review for more information. Standard Las Vegas Sands sheninigans with the royal flush only paying 50-1.
  • Sic Bo — 10 different bets. Minimum bet of $300 for Big/Small... wow.
  • Slot Machines — 160 machines with minimums of $1, $2, $5 and $10.

PROMOTIONS

I didn't see any promotions which were specific to the Plaza casino itself. Instead the player card and dead chip program are the same as what's offered at the Sands and the Venetian.

 

HOTEL

Macau's 19 story, 360 room Four Seasons hotel is a shining example of the critically acclaimed and world renowned Four Seasons brand. Just over three years old, the hotel still looks as good as it did when it opened in August of 2008. While listed rates are ridiculously high, with a standard room midweek going for $6770, don't let that dissuade you. Take one of their competitively priced packages instead, among which include:

 

  • Macau Getaway Package — Except for the room rate being slashed by 60%, not much else is included in this deal. Guests also get two free one way ferry tickets, from Hong Kong to Macau, for their next trip back, which must be used 30 days after the visit.

     

  • Stay and Play Package — Includes buffet breakfast for 2 at Belcancao. $300 Match play voucher. Two 1 way ferry tickets from Macau. Two 1 way ferry tickets from Hong Kong, which must be used within 30 days.

     

  • Spa Indulgence Package — Afternoon tea for two at Windows Restaurant. A private shopping experience at The Shoppes at Four Seasons. Free assortment of Bvlgari amenities. 60-minute massage for two (choice of aromatherapy, classic Swedish, Balinese, jet lag revival, tui na or reflexology.) Two 1 way ferry tickets from Hong Kong, which must be used within 30 days.

     

  • Suite Delight — Complimentary second night for each night paid. $250 spa voucher per day. Executive club access which includes free breakfast, all day refreshments and evening cocktails .

     

Sunday to Thursday rates in Hong Kong dollars for the aforementioned packages are as follows:

Four Seasons — Sunday to Thursday Rates
Room Type Getaway Package Stay and Play Spa Indulgence Suite Delight
Superior Room $2288 NA NA NA
Deluxe Room King NA $2488 $3600 NA
Deluxe Room Twin $2488 $2688 $3800 NA
Premier Room $3000 $3288 $4310 NA
Junior Suite $3400 $3688 $4710 NA(?!)
Executive Suite King $4600 $4988 $5710 $6200*
Executive Suite Twin NA $5188 $5910 $6200*
Ambassador Suite $9000 NA NA $11700*
Royal Suite NA NA NA $18200*
Presidential Suite NA NA NA $40000*

Add another 15% for taxes and service fees.

*Total price for 2 nights. Rates identical for the weekend as well.

On the whole, the Stay and Play Package looks like the way to go. $300 in gambling chips and $416 worth of value from the Belcancao breakfast buffet for two is worth it alone.

As for the weekend, Superior and Deluxe Rooms are usually sold out. If you luck out and get one, they'll be around $400 more expensive than from Sunday to Thursday. Suite Delight rates are same price as above, so I didn't include them.

 

Four Seasons — Weekend Rates
Room Type Getaway Package Stay and Play Spa Indulgence
Superior Room NA NA NA
Deluxe Room King NA NA NA
Deluxe Room Twin NA NA NA
Premier Room $3200 $3488 $4510
Junior Suite $3600 $3888 $4910
Executive Suite King $4800 $5118 $5910
Executive Suite Twin $4800 $5388 $6110
Ambassador Suite NA NA NA
Royal Suite NA NA NA
Presidential Suite NA NA NA

Guest quarters are located from floors 6 to 19.

 

POOL

While the largest pool in Macau easily belongs to the Galaxy, I think the best pool belongs to the Four Seasons. Or make that pools, because there are five of them in total. Similar in layout and design to the ones at the Venetian, the pools at the Plaza look just a bit nicer and will always have a lot less people in them, given the size differential of the two hotels. The pools at the Four Seasons are also a lot easier to get to, conveniently located behind the lobby. Stocked with a lot of cabanas, palm trees and secluded spots, it all gets an A plus from me. (Except in winter. In winter, there's only one pool that's heated while the other four are tarped up.)

Pool hours are from 8 am to 8 pm daily.

 

RESTAURANTS

There's nice variety in the Four Seasons four restaurants.

 

  • Zi Yat Heen — Zi Yat Heen is pushing hard for that third Michelin star, as it is, they've been stuck on two stars for two years now. When I asked what good three stars were, they should be gunning for five, go all in or go home, I was politely informed that Michelin rates to three stars only. Shows what I know about fine dining!

     

    Zi Yat Heen serves Cantonese food at prices that are very respectable, given how highly acclaimed their food is. Birds nest, sharks fin and abalone go from $180 to $780, while main meat dishes and barbecue stay in the $80 to $280 range. Chicken ($140-$460) and seafood ($180-$580) are some of their more pricier selections while more common rice, noodles, and vegetables are $80 to $250.

    I was going to try one of the set meals, but decided to gamble at the Plaza instead when I saw they were either $1288 or $2388 for one. As it turned out, I should have stayed at Zi Yat Heen instead.

    The restaurant recommends patrons make reservation in advance, while the dress code is smart casual. For larger groups, four private dining rooms are also available.

    Zi Yat Heen is located on the lobby floor and opens from 12 pm to 2:30 pm in the afternoon, and from 6 pm to 10:30 pm at night. On Sundays, lunch is extended by an hour, from 11:30 am to 3 pm.

     

  • Belcancao — Macau's priciest buffet can be found at Belcancao with breakfast rates($208), lunch ($295) and dinner ($388). When I took a look at the evening selection, I wasn't really overally impressed, but maybe appearances are deceiving. Belcancao serves a mix of Macaunese and Portuguese favorites, including a fair bit of lobster and seafood.

     

    Located on the lobby floor, Belcancao keeps the same hours as Zi Yat Heen, except Sunday brunch hours are from 12 pm to 3 pm.

     

  • Windows Restaurant — Windows Restaurant's small menu is a mix of Eastern and Western fare. Asian specialties run $155 to $185, while foreign eats are $140 to $200. Afternoon tea which includes free coffee costs $220 and runs daily from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

     

    Windows is located on the lobby floor and opens daily from 10:30 am to 10 pm.

     

  • Splash — Splash is situated outside by the pool and has the same menu as Windows Restaurant, minus the afternoon tea. Only open in the summer, hours then are from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm daily.

     

    HEALTH CLUB/SPA

    The gym and spa facilities at the Four Seasons are both impeccable.

    Large and state of the art, the Four Seasons fitness centre is one of the better ones around. Featuring a full range of modern equipment, they also have an advanced Kinesis wall and a Yoga studio. Friendly and knowledgeable trainers are on duty too to assist if needed.

    Located on the 4th floor, the gym is open 24 hours. Just use your room key to get in after hours.

    The Four Seasons spa is another highlight of the hotel. Guests get free entry into the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, as well as access to a lounge type relaxation room. In lieu of a cold pool, there's an ice fountain, which is basically just a big stack of ice. What makes the Plaza's facilities top notch is that they're actually located inside the spa, not in some change room beside a pool, as they are in many Macau hotels. Saunas and jacuzzis in change rooms are always dicey affairs. They'll do if you're the only one using them, but they tend to get crowded pretty fast.

    The Four Seasons spa also has a comprehensive menu full of guiltless pleasures, which include 60 and 90 minute massage ($980-$2380), body therapy ($780/$1480), facials ($480-$1680) and anti-aging therapy ($1480-$2880). 14 private spa suites, including 5 double rooms equipped with steam, shower and a private bathroom, are also available for couples and for longer treatments, which last 2 to 3 hours and cost between $1680 and $4880. Other services at the spa include manicure ($450) and pedicure ($500).

    Also located on the 4th floor, the spa keeps hours from 9 am to 10 pm daily.

     

    ENTERTAINMENT

    The good news about the entertainment at the Four Seasons is that the Venetian is right next door. Consider that your go to, because the stage in the Plaza where the pianist used to play is now Paiza club tables.

     

    BARS

    Only one bar at the Four Seasons, but in Macau, that's probably one too many.

    Bar Azul — Drinks are a little on the high side at Bar Azul with glasses of white wine $80 to $110, red wine $65 to $130, and martinis $85. Cocktails are double the going rate, priced at $120 while other harder fare is a more reasonable $40 to $80, with some premium selections over $100. Bar Azul also serves food like burgers, chicken and club sandwiches for $125 to $300, while desserts are $85 or $165.

    Located on the lobby floor, Bar Azul is open daily from 7 pm to 1 am.

     

    SHOPPING

    I'm not going to lie to you. I never really noticed or paid attention to malls before or how they look. That changed quite a bit though when I did this work, seeing as I had to take pictures of the inside. That forced me to pay attention to what I was shooting, and through that I realized that mall design and store appearances are well thought out affairs. At the Four Seasons though they take it a step further and it's no exaggeration to say that some parts of the Shoppes had more work put into them than the lobbies of some four and five star Macau hotels.

    Leave the sportscar at home and back the SUV up when you go there to shop though, because the mall is home to 72 stores and over 160 luxury and designer brands.

     

    SUMMARY

    For my money, the Four Seasons is the best hotel on Taipa island. It's the Wynn of the Cotai Strip. They do nothing halfway and it shows in every part of the property, from the lavish high class rooms to the beautiful outdoor pools, from the delectable dining selection to the exquisite spa. Of course it's also very expensive, with a midweek room running $2841 HKD if you take the Stay and Play Package. Although that sounds like a lot, the package returns over $1300 in value between the boat tickets ($550), breakfast for two ($478), and free gambling voucher ($300). Assuming you can use the boat tickets, Plaza rooms for $1513 are absolute steals. If you're not coming and going from Hong Kong though, it might be a better idea to stay next door at the Venetian.

    While the Plaza casino is one of the best casinos in Macau, it's probably only useful for Sands Rewards members with deeper pockets, as most tables are $500 plus. If you can afford that action though then I say make the Plaza your Las Vegas Sands property of choice. It's certainly a lot nicer than the Sands and a lot more cosy and charming than the Venetian. When you add in their unparalleled city wide first rate drink service and free buffet, the Plaza is probably the most player friendly casino in town.

     

    QUICK FACTS

    • Four Seasons Hotel
    • Estrada da Baia de N. Senhora da Esperança, S/N
    • Taipa, Macau, China
    • Telephone: (853) 2881-8888
    • Guest fax: (853) 2881-8899
    • Website: www.fourseasons.com/macau
    • Room reservations: (853) 2881-8881
    • No of Rooms: 276
    • No of Suites: 84
    • No of Tables: 34 (mass gaming only)
    • No of Slots: 160
    • Plaza Casino run by Las Vegas Sands.

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