Well I'm pretty sure I've found it. New Century is, without a doubt, the worst hotel in Macau. It's old, run-down, and with travel groups and junket players taking up the bulk of their business, they seemed to have lost all interest in providing any type of acceptable hotel experience. The prevailing attitude around the property seems to be: We don't have to care, and it shows.
The most impressive part of New Century, and some may say its only impressive part, is its lobby. A feast for the eyes, it's a magnificent mix of murals, pillars and fountains, highlighted by a grand marble staircase that leads upwards to a statue of the man himself — Zeus, who sits knowing he's the all powerful seer he is, holding three lightning bolts in hand.
As for the casino, the SJM run Greek Mythology, it's predominantly VIP gaming.
Part of the reason for my low opinion of this hotel stems from its location. Situated on the Northeast part of Taipa island, there just isn't much around it. The charming little Kun Iam Monastary is just down the road, while the beautiful Altira is right beside it. The most direct way to get there is via the Macau Taipa Bridge, located beside the Wynn and MGM. Turn left off the bridge and the road will wind around to New Century very quickly.
Like its neighbour, Altira, Greek Mythology is easy to review because it's just a lot of VIP gaming. VIP gaming is not something that has to be explained in Macau. Think Baccarat tables and table minimums in the thousands, most commonly somewhere between $1000 and $20000. Greek Mythology's 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors all fit this description, and high rollers actually have a reason to go up there. The numerous junket companies that occupy these levels all give returns somewhere between 1% to 1.25%, as well as offer rooms at New Century at discounted rates, at numbers I will describe later. The decoration on these three floors is very similar to the VIP area at the Lisboa, which isn't a good thing. It's like going back to 1980, and really, in terms of style and fashion (and music), does anyone really want to do that?
Mass gamers in comparison are even worse off, if that's possible. Given its location on Taipa island, and really, in the middle of nowhere on Taipa island, I wasn't expecting much, but the ground floor mass gaming casino still managed to disappoint me. There's ragged brown carpet on the floor, ugly brown chairs, an overwhelming feeling of space, and no real ambience at all. It looks more like a renovated warehouse with a bunch of tables thrown in than it does a proper casino. Before there used to be a stage and Russian dancing performances and the place could move pretty well, but those days have long since been cosigned to the dead, delivered cruelly and aptly by the realities of multi concessionaire competition and the Cotai Strip.
All told, Greek Mythology's ground floor holds 22 tables, 92 slots, and 56 Live Game Baccarat machines. Minumums are expectedly low, with most tables $100 to $300, slots .05 to .20 cents and Live Baccarat $20. Electronic versions of Baccarat ($10), Roulette ($5) and Sic Bo ($10) are also available for play among the slots, which no longer include the long since removed 9/6 Video Poker Machines. Table games consist of Macau's standard 3 - Baccarat ($100-$3000), Sic Bo ($100), and Blackjack ($100), while 3 card Baccarat ($100) makes an appearance as well.
No part of the casino is smoke free, and while the drink service is surprisingly good, everything's served in styrofoam cups. Maybe that's another reason why the place reminds me of a warehouse.
Greek Mythology offers a very standard assortment of games.
Greek Mythology does not offer a player card for table games, nor does it run any standard casino promotions. They have a newly introduced slot card that I wanted to sign up for, but the desk was unmanned at the time. When I went a second time three months later, there was nobody there again.
As I mentioned before, the VIP floors have a number of VIP companies returning cash back of 1% to 1.25%, with most buy ins that start at $100,000. Most of the VIP counters have New Century rooms listed at the following rates:
|New Century VIP Room Rates|
|Standard Room (7,8,9 F)||$800||$1000|
|Standard Room (10,11 F)||$1200||$1500|
|Standard Room (12F)||$1500||$2000|
|Standard Room (13F)||$2400||$3000|
It seems pretty ridiculous to me that a standard room on the 13 F is three times more expensive than the same room four floors down. $800 or $1000 is a great deal, whereas $2400 and $3000 are egregious overpays. Never in this lifetime should anyone pay that much to stay at New Century.
I don't actually stay at these hotels so I often search the online reviews to get a feel for what actual guests have said. Most of the time the feedback for Macau hotels tends to be very positive, with just a few negative reviews thrown in here and there. I tend to let the occasional griping slide and won't let it influence my opinion about what I'm going to write. I've been in enough hotels to know that people sometimes like grinding axes where there are no axes to grind. With New Century, however, the overwhemingly negative reviews can't make me look the other way.
A lot of former guests speak of cockroaches, cigarette stained rooms, thin walls, indifferent staff and just a lot of general dirtiness and discontent. And from what I saw when walking around the hotel, I tend to believe it. There's a lot of ripped carpet in the hallways, and many areas on the lower floors are roped off and just being used for storage, like they're in the middle of a renovation, but nothing is getting fixed. When I was checking things out on the 14th F stairwell it looked like something out of a crack tenement, minus the drug paraphenelia of course, but you get the point. It seems pretty obvious to me that they've turned the place over to tour groups and junket operators and said to hell with it. Why put in an effort if you don't have to?
It's really too bad because New Century, at one time, was probably very good. The rooftop used to have a tennis court and the area next to the gym a games room (which is now an office). A KTV accessible via the lobby is similarly closed down. The question, of course, becomes: how do I even know these places once existed? It's because the signs are still up! I mean, no one in the last year, or five, or ten, has bothered to take any of them down. Meanwhile, outside the gym, posters of a prime Micheal Jordan, a sizzling Steffi Graf and another of Michael Chang still hang, probably giving an indication of the last time anyone at New Century still gave a damn. I'd peg that time to be around 1989, and it's been all downhill since then.
Check in time at the former five-star hotel is 3 pm, and 3 pm sharp (never before!), which leads to long lines and a lot of bored people waiting in the lobby from around 2 pm. The second floor buffet restaurant caters to groups only so don't bother going there if you're travelling on your own. The 554 guestrooms are found on floors 4 to 13, with some of them recently redone and others still waiting their turn. Rates courtesy of the front desk (since I couldn't find them online) are as follows:
|New Century Room Rates|
I used to think that New Century has two excellent facilities that outdo what is found in many newly built four-star hotels, with the first one being the large outdoor pool. For a four-star hotel it's absolutely huge and the large deck can no doubt hold up to the demand of a 554 room hotel. Pools in other four-star hotels usually don't exist or are half the size.
And then of course with this being New Century they can't even get that right. Even though the pool looks great and ready to go, the truth is that it's been shut for over five years now! That explains why I never saw anyone in it, even in the summer, and also why there are a lot of "No Trespassing" signs posted around it. For some reason they're deciding not to use it.
The restaurants at New Century actually aren't that bad.
New Century Chinese Restaurant — Very dodgy insides here, with not much really inspiring you to take a seat. The menu consists of Cantonese fare ($48 to $100), Ningbo cuisine ($48 to $90) and standard rice and noodle staples ($58 to $68). Vegetarian fare is a reasonable $50 while live seafood is subject to daily rates. The restaurant is located on the ground floor and is accessible via the lobby.
Caesar Terrace — Caesar Terrace looks a whole lot better than the New Century Chinese Restaurant. Located on the 2nd floor, it has a wide and divergent menu featuring Western eats for under $100, Northeastern ($48 to $88), Sichuan ($48 to $88), Hunan ($68 to $108) and Ningbo ($48 to $198). Most of the selection though is Cantonese fare ($68 to $98) including the very pricy abalone, birds nest and sharks fin ($288 to $3288).
New Century Club — Just found this place the fourth time I went to New Century. Located on the 3rd floor, the staff was none too happy I was writing these prices down and not ordering. That's the secret advantage of being a foreigner when doing this work. Most of the time no one pays any attention to you, and when they do, you can just pretend that don't understand. Sometimes I also like to speak a lot of bad and broken Chinese, just to drive the point home. When it gets to that point, staff invariably tends to just give up.
New Century Club serves a lot of Cantonese delicacies, with abalone, birds nest and sharks fin $380 to $4680 while featured meat selection is $98 to $680. Sashami runs either $1180 or $2680, while cheaper fare runs $38 to $68 for salad, $28 or $48 for dumplings, and $100 to $188 for seafood.
Yes, we've finally come to what I thought was the second highlight of New Century, but is in fact their only highlight — the fitness centre. I talked before about the posters outside the gym being from 1989 and I doubt the equipment has changed since then, but who cares? I don't think there have been extraordinary breakthroughs in the area of dumbbell design or bench configuration since then. New Century's gym is loaded with all of the equipment you'll need for a full workout and best of all, 9 times out of 10 you'll have the place to yourself. The gym is located on the 14th floor and keeps hours daily from 9 am to 10 pm.
As for the New Century spa, it's the shoddiest place I've seen yet with prices to match. Full service runs a mere $1000, while companions of the European variety are $1500. (The latter only show up for work after 8 pm though.) If you don't want any extracurricular fun, the door pass is $230, and is good for 12 hours.
The New Century spa is located in the basement and is open 24 hours.
There were Russian dancers before, but that show's been discontinued. Maybe you can still find a few of them in the bar?
I doubt New Century's Russian Bar ever has more than five people in it at a time. It's a bit of a shame though because the inside actually looks very hip, just as cool as anything you'd find in the City of Dreams or MGM. If the Russian Bar were there instead, I'm sure it could draw, but at New Century, it's just going to go to waste. I did see one hot Russian blonde when I was in there though, and I'd almost wager a guess that customers who go there don't spend a lot of time at the bar anyway, if you know what I mean. Drink prices are all around standard, $40 to $55 for beers while cocktails and harder shots are $55. For more premium fare, it still tends to stay under $100. A small selection of wine is also available. Hours at the Russian Bar are from 8 pm to 5 am.
The lobby is actually pretty large, large enough to fit a convenience store, one ginseng shop and two watch and jewellery stores. If the jewellery stores are anywhere near as overpriced as the convenience store is, then watch out!
Would it be unnecessarily mean to the people who work at New Century to say that everytime I leave the place I want to go home and take a shower? Yeah it probably would be so I'll take that back. Maybe all I need to say is New Century is yet another SJM property that was hurt badly by the influx of foreign investment post 2002. It's clearly the worst hotel out of all the ones with casinos in Macau, so in a word, don't stay there. Just don't do it.
As for the casino, some of the independant operators return 1.25%, which is an excellent deal. Jump all over that if high stakes Baccarat is your game. For everyone else, the mass gaming casino is every bit as battered and decrepit as the ruins in Athens. While I understand Greek Mythology is the name of the place, SJM didn't have to take things that far.