Deciding where to stay in Macau isn’t easy, especially for first-time visitors.
Located across the sea from Hong Kong, this autonomous region covers a peninsula, two islands, and a strip of reclaimed land.
It was a Portuguese territory until about 20 years ago and is connected to the mainland of China, giving it a unique mix of influences. Macau is now one of the best travel destinations in China, offering world-class gambling, food, and relaxation.
Thanks to its sudden and rapid development, the city has become known as the ‘Vegas of Asia’. While you could stay at one of the lavish resorts along the strip, the rest of Macau still offers plenty to see and do.
You can stroll around large public squares surrounded by an assortment of architectural styles. Or, with a trip to the southern island, you could spend your days outdoors, on the beach, or hiking the trails.
Not sure where to find a hotel? Start searching for accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Macau…
Where to stay in Macau: The best areas & neighbourhoods
The combination of Portuguese and Cantonese cuisines, dialects, and architecture creates one of the most unique destinations in the Chinese region. It’s also divided into four unique districts.
You’ll find most of the action located inside the Macau peninsula. It’s also called Macau Centre and includes the entire city of Macau.
Macau Centre is a densely populated area and home to several important churches, temples, and other historic attractions.
The remaining three districts are south of Macau Centre, connected via three bridges. These areas offer up their own distinct vibe with a mix of residential neighbourhoods, scenic parks, hiking trails, and luxury resorts.
The downtown area used to draw the most tourists in the region until the development of the strip between the two islands. Today, some of the best areas to stay in Macau include:
- Macau Centre
✔ Best area to stay for shopping and historic sightseeing
Macau Centre includes the downtown and harbour areas of the peninsula. This is the heart of the city and contains the most history.
Macau Centre remains the most diverse district in Macau and the first place that most tourists want to explore.
If you’re trying to visit all the historic sights on your Macau itinerary, staying in the downtown area makes the most sense. The hotels in this area place you closer to the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul and other old attractions.
The peninsula includes 25 culturally and historically significant buildings and sites including Chinese temples, Catholic churches, and old administrative buildings.
Along with the historic sites, Macau centre still offers modern living. The area has several casinos and a couple of main streets lined with high-end shopping and dining establishments.
While the Macau peninsula has several smaller neighbourhoods including the old town, the inner harbour, and the outer harbour, the entire area is small and easy to travel.
You can get around the entire peninsula on foot. Macau is one of the most walkable cities in the world, thanks to wide sidewalks and large public squares.
Recommended hotels in Macau Centre
Macau has a wide range of hotels from three-star accommodations to massive resorts with casinos. No matter where you stay, you’ll get to explore the downtown and harbour areas or cross the bridge into Taipa.
- Grand Lapa Macau: Located near Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, the Grand Prix Museum, and several casinos, this hotel is near some of the more interesting sites. It’s a five-star hotel with convenient rates and plenty of dining options. Choose from five different on-site shops along with pastries from the hotel’s Cake Shop.
- Macau Hotel S – Formerly Macau Hotel Sun Sun: This hotel is on the eastern side of the city near some of the historic attractions, narrow streets, and boutique shops. It’s also got its own bar and restaurant when you don’t want to walk any more.
- Sofitel Macau At Ponte 16: Located just north of the previous hotel, this option gives you access to a free fitness centre and rejuvenating spa treatments. You can also enjoy the picturesque views of the waterfront from your hotel room or the outdoor pool.
✔ Best area to stay for shopping and museums
When flying into Macau, you’ll likely arrive at Macau International Airport in Taipa, the closest district to the city centre. If you start on the peninsula, you’ll need to cross one of the three bridges to the island.
Taipa was one of the more rural areas of Macau. In recent years, massive development has transformed the landscape.
As with other parts of Macau, you’ll find casinos, resorts, and shopping malls. It’s become the getaway for those wanting to escape the crowded downtown area.
It’s got a few connections to the history of the region. If you stay in Taipa, you can visit the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History or the Taipa Houses Museum. The latter contains a row of colonial houses built in the early 20th century.
The island also has two hills that provide the perfect chance for hiking or cycling. On the larger hill near the airport, you can travel along unpaved hiking trails. The smaller hill has paved roads for cycling and running.
Overall, Taipa offers an assortment of things to see and do. You can hike, bike, gamble, and shop until you drop.
Recommended hotels in Taipa
Taipa has its own mixture of hotels, resorts, and casinos. The best spots include the smaller three-star and four-star hotels, providing a great combination of comfortable rooms and views of the surrounding region.
- Altira Macau: This hotel sits at the bottom of the larger hill and east of the main streets of Taipa. Whether you want to hike or shop, you won’t need to spend much time walking. You can also see the rest of Macau from your hotel room. You also get great views from the four on-site restaurants and rooftop lounge.
- Inn Hotel Macau: If you plan to cross the bridges to the peninsula, this hotel puts you closer. It’s near the northern edge of the island, close to some of the public parks and monuments. Besides a great location, the hotel has an indoor swimming pool and an on-site restaurant serving local Macau cuisine.
- Grandview Hotel Macau: Located near the centre of the island, this hotel places you near some of the main attractions in Taipa. You can easily walk to Taipa Central Park or the nearby museums. The four-star hotel also includes spacious rooms with their own minibars and coffee makers.
✔ Best area to stay for gambling and entertainment
Cotai includes some of the best hotels in Macau. This strip of reclaimed land is where you’ll find the casinos and resorts that people now associate with Macau.
Before the creation of this land, Taipa and Coloane were separate islands off the eastern coast of Hengqin Island. Macau filled the land between the island, creating Cotai.
Also called the Cotai Strip, this area includes over $50 billion in recent developments including several hotels, golf courses, casinos, and sports facilities.
While this modern strip doesn’t have any historic sites, it’s got plenty of entertainment to keep you busy.
You could spend your days gambling at The Venetian, which is the largest casino in the world. You could also zip around a go-kart track, go bowling, or explore some of the numerous dining establishments.
Prepare yourself to take a bus, shuttle, or taxi to most destinations. While Cotai isn’t very big, the roads separating the casinos and resorts are sparse and long. It’s the least pedestrian-friendly district in Macau.
Luckily, you’ll probably spend most of your time inside the resort or casino that you choose. These accommodations have everything from dining to shopping to gambling covered.
Recommended hotels in Cotai
If you’re going to stay in Cotai, you’ll likely stay at a resort with a casino. Almost all the options on this reclaimed land are modern developments with gambling and entertainment. They feature all the amenities you need to never set foot outside.
- The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel: Boasting the largest casino in the world, this spot is one of the most popular resorts in Macau. The exterior is a spectacle with its massive tower standing in front of a mini-city and a multi-storey hotel. Get lost as you explore numerous swimming pools, restaurants, and shops.
- Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel: Spacious rooms and access to a variety of shops are just a couple of the highlights of this resort. You can also travel to different buildings and hotels via connected walkways or easily walk to downtown Taipa.
- Four Seasons Hotel Macao: This five-star resort has five outdoor pools to keep you cool and large 42-inch TVs in the rooms to help you relax. It’s just a five-minute drive from the airport and a short walk from Taipa or Coloane.
✔ Best area to stay for hiking and relaxation
While most of the top things to see & do in Macau are in the other three districts, Coloane has its own advantages. The southernmost district has one of the best beaches in Macau.
This district really has two beaches but Bamboo Bay has clearer waters and cleaner sand. It’s a well-maintained public beach with an area cordoned off for swimmers.
Coloane is also the most mountainous region of Macau, making it the least developed. As it’s further from the rest of the action, you’ll tend to enjoy a little more peace and quiet in Coloane.
In the middle of the island, you’ll come across the quiet streets of Coloane Village. The area includes narrow pedestrian-only roads lined with pastel-coloured homes and small shops.
The island also provides a few opportunities for hiking. You can explore the scenic Seac Pai Van Park or hike the unpaved trails that take you through the mountainous terrain.
You’ll still get to admire a few historic sites on the island. Visit a couple of old Chinese temples or the cultural village built around the 20-metre A-Ma Statue.
Recommended hotels in Coloane
Coloane only has three hotels on the entire island, limiting your options but making it easier to choose accommodations. These three options are located on different sides of the island so choose the one closest to the sites that you want to explore.
- Grand Coloane Resort: Located at the northern end of the larger public beach, this hotel gives you convenient access to swimming and other water activities. This sprawling resort also has its own collection of outdoor swimming pools, bars, and restaurants.
- Pousada de Coloane Boutique Hotel: This hotel is on the southern end of the island near the small, beautiful Bamboo Bay beach. It’s more secluded and offers everything you need to feel at home. Enjoy the peace and quiet as you relax in the outdoor pool or on your private balcony.
- The 13 Hotel: Located on the western end of the island, this hotel places you closer to the streets of Coloane. It’s a decent three-star hotel with its own swimming pool, fitness centre, and bar to help you unwind.