As December looms and people’s thoughts turn to shiny new toys and vacations in far-flung ski resorts, one of Macau’s biggest luxury resort developers has prepared a series of festive delights right in the heart of the Cotai Strip.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Sands Resorts Macao, which has whipped up a 52-day extravaganza for the public at its two most famous resorts: The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao.
Classic European styling aside, there’s nothing quite like either resort in all of the city. The Parisian Macao houses around 13,000 hotel rooms and suites, including the new Champagne Suites (decked out in the titular hue). Meanwhile, The Venetian Macao has overhauled all its rooms, including the Premio Suites, just in time to welcome guests for Christmas getaways.
This year, guests and members of the public can expect the Sands Resorts – already exciting enough for most of the year, with their dizzyingly endless array of dining, shopping and entertainment options – to transform into a glorious winter wonderland.
With gigantic Christmas trees, snowy outdoor Ice Rink and pop-up cafes serving seasonal delicacies, visitors are bound to make many fond new memories by the time 2018 comes to a close.
WHAT TO SEE
>Venice and Paris are two of Europe’s most romantic cities, but those unable to visit this year can experience the magic of an Italian or French Christmas at Sands Resorts without ever having to leave the SAR.
The Venetian Macao’s famous outdoor lagoon – as well as every inch of the resort’s lampposts, arches and pillars – will be draped in boughs of holly, including a Christmas-themed steam train encircling Santa Claus, his elves and the grotto where he builds his toys. Right in the middle of St Mark’s Square will sit a magnificent 48-foot Christmas tree brought to the public by this year’s sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Longines.
Alternatively, say Joyeux Noel to your loved ones at The Venetian Macao’s sister resort. With the countless twinkling fairy lights streaming across the Forecourt, and the reindeer and pine trees lining the halls, the Parisian Macao resembles a classic French village in the snow.
While both European resorts have their charms and visitors may be loath to pick favourites, The Parisian Macao might just have a slight leg up with its winter light shows. The Parisian Macao’s Eiffel Tower will sparkle from top to bottom for a song every 15 minutes, this time as part of the Christmas edition of the Grand Illumination Show – set to seminal Christmas classics like ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ – from November 15, 2018 to January 6, 2019.
Shoppers will delight in the dazzling 3D light and sound spectacular La Magie de Noel, which will project colourful images on the sky ceiling of the Place Vendôme at Shoppes at Parisian every 30 minutes from 12.00 to 9.00 p.m. daily. Arguably, the highlight of the event will be the debut of an inverted Christmas tree, dripping with ornaments, at The Parisian Macao’s lobby – just like the original at Galeries Lafayette Paris.
WHAT TO DO
>Winter Olympics fans or not, skaters from all walks of life will find something to love about the outdoor ice skating rink at the seventh-floor observation deck at the Eiffel Tower. Open from November 15, 2018 to January 6, 2019 from 4.00 to 10.00pm daily – with a modest fee of MOP50 per half hour – skaters can cruise the area, swing by the seasonal café serving up Christmas treats, and bask in the holiday atmosphere.
In keeping with the spirit of giving, there will also be a Charity Christmas Fair in the area on December 8, 2018. The charity event features 20 to 30 booths run by the International Ladies Club of Macau, plus dedicated areas for dining, children’s craft workshops and activities such as making gingerbread. (Take heart in knowing that proceeds go to a good cause!)
Mandopop and Cantopop fans have even more reason to celebrate this Christmas at The Venetian Macao: the Cotai Arena will bring in Leehom Wang, Jay Chou and Aaron Kwok concerts for the winter months. Wang and Chou will perform on December 1 and December 14 to 17, 2018 respectively; Kwok’s turn will come a little later on January 18 to 19, 2019.
For a night of family fun with a side of death-defying motorcycle stunts, families will want to sign up for the extended run of ‘La Parisienne Cabaret Francais’ at The Parisian Theatre. Perfect for the holidays, the multifaceted variety show stars a world-class cast of almost 40 stuntmen, illusionists, skaters, models and dancers.
On the cultural front, keep an eye out for other exciting festivities that showcase the best of all things Made in Maca0: the mouth-watering Macau Food Festival (November 9 to 25), the adrenaline-pumping races at the Macau Grand Prix (November 15 to 18), the Macao Light Festival (December 2 to 31) and the Macao International Parade (December 16).
Come New Year’s Eve, say auld lang syne to 2018 with Sands Resorts Macao’s countdowns along the Cotai Strip, which are set to be two of the biggest shows this side of the Pearl River Delta. Ring in the new year at The Venetian Macao Lagoon and The Parisian Macao Le Jardin with live music, festive food and drinks, lucky draws and a show of glittering midnight fireworks.
WHAT TO EAT
>What winter celebrationis complete without hot food to warm one’s heart and belly at night? Macau’s new and richly deserved title of UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy means that at Sands properties, guests have vast and diverse offerings on food and beverage.
At Sands Cotai Central, the most stunning addition is Chiado, offering a genuine taste of Portuguese cuisine and ambience.
Named after a historical neighbourhood in the heart of Lisbon, Chiado, developed in partnership with celebrity chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, is a modern, casual fine-dining concept emphasising traditional dishes. Top quality ingredients are beautifully prepared and elegantly presented, complemented by an extensive Portuguese wine cellar and friendly, warm service which are essential features in the Winter season.
Sands Resorts Macao boasts over 150 dining options, ranging from street food to Michelin-starred gourmet restaurants. Check in for a Saturday Italian Brunch Extravaganza at The Venetian Macao’s Portofino or hearty seafood hotpot at The Parisian Macao’s Lotus Palace; those craving something a little more adventurous this Christmas may want to try French-influenced Chinese cuisine at The Parisian Macao’s La Chine. Finish off with a crowd-pleasing dessert of egg tarts – a noted favourite of David Beckham.
WHAT TO BUY
Haven’t bought gifts for the family? Don’t panic. If you’re rushing for last-minute Christmas shopping, Sands Shoppes have your back. Sands Resorts Macao’s famous interconnected retail labyrinth – linking Shoppes at Venetian, Shoppes at Four Seasons, Shoppes at Cotai Central and Shoppes at Parisian – is the largest luxury shopping experience in Macau, with more than 850 global brands across two million opulent square feet.
For shoppers with not enough time to navigate the whole retail maze, make a beeline for the expanded Shoppes at Cotai Central, which has just added a 100,000-square foot wing with more than 25 shops, including an official Apple store. Cost-conscious parents and high rollers alike will be sure to find toys and gifts for all tastes and budgets, though Apple aficionados in particular may want to stuff their Christmas stockings with the new iPhone XS or Series 4 Watch.
Pigsy and Sandy
Pigsy and Sandy
Journey to the West
Journey to the
>While Chinese winters typically involve family time and lavish feasts – with plenty of tong yün, or glutinous rice balls, for Cantonese families – the end of 2018 will see a timeless fantasy come alive once more in Sands Cotai Central: the mystical tale of the Journey to the West.
The Monkey King – China Show is a faithful yet modern retelling of one of the Tang Dynasty’s most enduring folktales. This latest stage adaptation depicts the journey of the monk Xuanzang, who travels to India with his three disciples Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy in search of sacred Buddhist sutras. In this heartwarming story of comedy, redemption and magic, the four must traverse hostile environments, complete divine challenges and battle fierce demons in order to reach the Promised Land.
Audiences will experience locations straight out of the book’s pages, such as the Flowers and Fruit Mountain – the birthplace of the titular character, depicted by monkeys climbing on poles and jumping on trampolines – as well as a spider’s dark grotto and the Dragon King’s underwater palace.
Beijing-based Huayan Group’s blend of acrobatics, martial arts, dance and even opera brings the rich narrative to life, taking audiences on their own odyssey from the celestial spheres to a humble Buddhist community and even the depths of the ocean. The show’s cutting-edge stage design incorporates multimedia elements such as creative lighting and 3D projections, with awe-inspiring set pieces like a giant Buddha hand and two talons reaching out to grasp the audience.
The Monkey King – China Show is a labor of love for Huayan, which brought in numerous scholars, choreographers and artists – including renowned costume designer Ah Kuan – to bring the 10,000-word script and original score to life over eight years. Its star-studded cast features dancers and martial arts masters from around the world, including National Peking Opera singers and former Cirque du Soleil acrobats. By performing in Macau – a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures – Huayan hopes to bring Chinese culture to a global audience.
The 70-minute show will play at the 1,700-seat Sands Cotai Theatre – a state-of-the-art space built specially for Huayan – at 8:00 p.m. every night except Thursdays. It will be performed in Mandarin with subtitles in English and Chinese. Tickets start from MOP/HKD380 with additional packages available from selected hotels along the Cotai Strip.
Date:Nov 1 – Dec 31
Price (MOP/HKD):$1280, $980, $680, $480, $380
Venue: Sands Cotai Theatre
Venue: Sands Cotai Theatre
More information at www.cotaiticketing.com
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