Est.: Aug. 28, 2007
Waldo — Macau
Last update: March 20, 2011Review by James K. • March 20, 2011
The Waldo opened in 2003 and was Galaxy's first venture into the Macau gaming market. By all accounts the project was a strict rush job, with an old warehouse hastily converted into the island's first "boutique hotel." The signs of the building's quick turnaround are still evident in the Waldo's plain exterior today. It's clear Galaxy didn't put a whole lot of thought into either the design or decor.
The Waldo is part of a cluster of casinos in close proximity to each other on the eastern side of the Amizade strip. The Grand Lapa and Sands are right across the road from it while the Golden Dragon is a little further away, closer to the Ferry Terminal.
The Waldo casino has gaming action on four floors in total: the ground floor, first floor, third floor, and fifth floor. As per tradition in Macau, the higher the floor, the higher the stakes. Of the casino's 35 tables, 32 are baccarat, with sic bo, blackjack, and pai gow the only other games going. Minimums for those games start at $20, $50, and $100 respectively, while baccarat starts from $50 and goes as high as $10,000 on the fifth floor. The higher two floors have only 14 tables in total, but there's room for at least another 20 more if Galaxy wants to add them. There's a ton of unused space up there.
On the Waldo hotel website, it proudly proclaims itself to be the first boutique hotel opened in Macau. Maybe they should extend that description to their casino as well, because there's some real style to it, especially on its lower two floors. There, dark red gaming tables contrast with purple chairs in just the right mix of soft and dark light. Long box-shaped chandeliers hang over each table, looking more like hip lampshades. The brown walls are spiffly designed; instead of being flat and even, they're slanted and barred. There's a sense when you're in the casino that things are moving all around you, when of course, nothing really is. The higher two floors are less stylish, but more spacious, done up simply in gold.
Sadly, the ambience of the casino is its only redeeming feature. While the visual part is nailed down, there's basically only baccarat gaming to back it up. With the space they have upstairs they could easily get their table count into the sixties as well as add some new games and slot machines. Waldo could be a smaller, but equally hip Starworld, playing to a younger, less rich crowd. Sadly as it is now, it's just a baccarat house with a swank little floor, but nothing more.
Unless otherwise indicated, normal Macau rules and payouts apply to all games.
The Waldo has no player card, but they do have a promotional chip offer. Buy ins of over $10,000 receive 0.8% cash back. If your buy in is over $40,000, they'll give you a free room. The free room comp is a pretty good deal, returning roughly 3%.
Floors 8 to 18 at the Waldo hold its 164 rooms. In addition to standard deluxe rooms and suites, there are four types of specially designed "theme rooms". Respectively, they are (as I translate roughly from Chinese):
Winter rates at the Waldo are as follows.
If you ask me the Waldo is charging around $400 too much. With no facilities to speak of, they're no better than a budget hotel. But those are a long way from budget hotel rates.
The Waldo has no swimming facilities.
With its plain decoration the second floor Chinese Restaurant looks like it belongs more in a bus station than in a boutique hotel. Appearances aside, it does offer both a Western and Chinese menu for your dining pleasure with quite affordable prices. Most dishes on both menus are between $68 and $98. Closes at 11 pm.
There is a private East Spa Club on the 6th floor, but hotel guests get no use of its facilities without paying. The spa manager wouldn't let me take photos of the posters outside the front door, so I had to go back the next day.
Full service from sweet spa masseueses starts from $1,600.
The Waldo's fitness centre is located in the same place as its pool. Maybe you're noticing a trend here?
The only entertainment at the Waldo are the live bands that sometimes play in the Perle Bar. When I was there enjoying a drink they had a decent guy-girl group doing covers of classic rock tunes like John Lennon's Imagine and Dusty Springfield's Son of a Preacher Man.
The Perle Bar is in the lobby, immediately to the right of the entrance doors. This tiny three table joint has a small stage behind the bar with live music in the evening. Beers are a pretty standard $35 while cocktails are a little pricier, starting at $65. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., patrons get 50% off all drinks. No food is available from the bar itself, but you can order meals down from the 2nd floor Chinese Restaurant instead.
Maybe you should try across the street at the Grand Lapa for its fine selection of upmarket boutiques?
The Waldo Hotel is a boutique hotel without any boutiques. It's trying to sell a new kind of lifestyle, but it has no any modern facilities. In fact, it has no facilities whatsoever, modern or otherwise. There's no pool, no sauna, no steam room. There's not even a dumbbell. For the neighbourhood it's in at the rates it's charging, that's simply not acceptable. Competitors lurk on every corner offering much better services at comparable prices.
The casino has a lot of potential due to its very hip visuals but a tiny game selection limits its overall appeal. If Galaxy ever wished to expand it, I think they could have a very promising casino on their hands.