Hotel Review+ Back
Sands Cotai


Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n,
Taipa, Macao SAR, P.R. China
Tel: (853) 2886 6888


Himalaya Casino
No. of Tables: 169
No. of Slots: 600

Pacifica Casino
No. of Tables: 153
No of Slots Around 600

(Last updated: February 3, 2018)



For more pictures of Sands Cotai, please follow the link here: Sands Cotai Photobook




The world's second largest Holiday Inn, offering good cheap accommodation on the Cotai Strip.



Sands Cotai Central Macau Paradise Gardens statueThe Cotai Strip was on one hell of a roll.  The arrival of the Venetian in 2007 ushered in a new golden age of Macau gaming, the City of Dreams turned it into a party in 2009, and then Galaxy went up and built the Palace of Asia in 2011.  For awhile, it seemed all anyone had to do in Cotai was build something, and they'd be rewarded with a game changing awe inspiring world class resort.  With the unveiling of Sands Cotai though in May 2012, all of that momentum stopped completely, and instead of raising the bar with something innovative and inspiring, Las Vegas Sands went backward with a property that’s boring, bland, banal and oh so played.  It's the kind of hotel that would have looked great on the Macau peninsula in 2007, but to stick out on the Cotai Strip these days you need to rise above your competitors and do something extraordinary.  Sands Cotai, unfortunately, does nothing.  From the hotel exterior to the lobbies, the shopping to the pools, the entertainment to the nightlife, there's not one aspect of the resort that's memorable or groundbreaking.  It's a bust. 

I wrote that way back in 2012 about two weeks after Sands Cotai first opened.  Truer words have never been spoken, and Sands Resorts has finally gotten the message this year.  Like the poor horse you shoot when it breaks a leg to put it out of its misery, Sands Cotai is going to be no more.  The whole resort is going to be turned into the Londoner Macao, with conversion work slated to begin in 2019.  Incorporating themes from England’s biggest and most beloved city, principal design features announced so far include Buckingham Palace guards, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, double decker buses and those iconic red telephone booths.  Who knows, there might even be a few horse drawn carriages galloping down the Strip.  The restoration will be done in phases so as to minimize disruption to hotel guests, with the biggest bother the closing down of the 1224 room Holiday Inn, in November or December of this year.

With this new venture, here’s hoping that Sands can produce another winner in the spirit of the Parisian and Venetian.  I may even start drinking tea and watching cricket to celebrate its coming in 2020, while my secret crushes on Susanna Reid and Hazel Irvine keep on keeping on.  (Seriously, how were both of those ladies born in the 60's???)  Till then, tally ho ladies and gents!



Sands Cotai has two casinos, the Himalaya and the Pacifica. 

Himalaya Casino

All it takes is one look of the Himalaya casino to know it's a Sands casino.  Organized very well and extremely straightforward, all games are neatly grouped according to type, with signs above clearly stating what they are.  The 8 games offered are all staple Sands selections, pretty much identical to what's found at the Sands and the Venetian.  As for how it looks, the Himalaya casino takes a page from the latter casino, only on a much smaller scale, using the same type of decorative pillars and exquisite chandeliers.

Most games at the Himalaya go for $300 while the majority of Commission Free Baccarat tables are $500 plus.  The 600 or so slots in the casino mostly stay under a dollar, while Live Gaming Baccarat, Roulette and Sic all start from $50 apiece.  As for electronic games, there are plenty of options, which include Roulette ($10), Sic Bo ($10), Big Wheel ($25), Baccarat ($50) and Craps ($50).      

Drink service in the casino is pretty quick, although no alcohol is served.  In total, I counted 169 tables in the casino, down from 227 earlier in the year.  The reason for the reduction is that Sands had to move some of them over to the Pacifica, which opened on September 20th, 2012.

Pacifica Casino

For some strange reason, the Pacifica casino looks nothing like its name might suggest.  At the very least, I was expecting something tropical, a motif built around palm trees, waterfalls, and a lot of light, like how their shopping quarter is.  At most, there'd be sun streaming in through a huge sunlight dome, dancing shows conducted by hula girls shaking their thing, tribal drum music, and of course, cocktail waitresses working it in short skirts and leis serving Pina Coladas.  It'd be just like being in Hawaii, but only better, since you can gamble too. 

Unfortunately, the Pacifica casino is none of those things, and is fact, a lot worse.  With wavy contoured ceilings, cheap plastic space age design, and a lot of blue, pink, and red lights, it looks just like some bad projection from the 1960's about what the future might look like.  More accurately, it's probably just a failed rip off of the City of Dreams, but the effect fails at Pacifica because they don't reinforce the cutting edge theme with enough secondary decorations.  Of course none of that has anything to do with the Pacific, which makes me wonder why they called the casino that in the first place.  In my opinion, it should be called the Pluto instead, because everything inside is just that way out there.

As for the actual gaming, it's basically the same as at the Himalaya, except the limits are a little higher, they offer Casino War, and there is no Craps.      



Please note that the Himalayan offers Craps, and War is found at the Pacifica.

Baccarat - Minimum bet of $3000.

Commission Free Baccarat - Minimum bet of $300.  Won Banker bets totaling 6 get paid 50%.

Blackjack - Ridiculous $500 minimums.  Players may only split up to 3 times, instead of the usual 4.


Craps - 3-4-5 odds, minimum pass line bet is $300.

Roulette - Outside/Inside minimums of $25 and $50.


Sands Stud Poker - Minimums of $200.  Kudos to the Sands for now giving the proper 100-1 payout on the Royal flush. 


For information on how Sands Stud Poker differs from Caribbean Stud Poker, please check the Sands or Venetian reviews.

Sic Bo - Big/Small low is $200.

Slot machines - Minimums from 2 cents to $10.
Three Card Poker - Minimums of $200.

War - Minimum bet of $200.


The Venetian dead chip program is identical in all five Sands casinos.  



With 6000 rooms in total, Sands Cotai is the largest hotel in Cotai, and the sixth largest one in the world.  Its composed of four hotels: the Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Conrad and St. Regis.  The Sheraton holds the distinction of being the biggest Sheraton in the world, with 3824 rooms, while the Holiday Inn used to be the largest Holiday Inn in the world, before being overtaken by one in Saudi Arabia in 2015.  As you’d expect, the St. Regis is the luxury quarter, featuring 400 discerning suites, all of which come with butler service, which is something I need to experience once in my life before I die.

I stayed at both the Conrad and Holiday Inn hotels soon after Sands Cotai opened in May 2012.  I guess uneventful properties lead guests to have uneventful stays because I don't have one good story to tell about my time there.  What disappointed me most was just how dead the place felt.  In no way was it like the Galaxy a month after it debuted when it felt like the opening day party was still on.  Sands Cotai, on the other hand, felt like it had been opened for 10 years already. 

In terms of my stay, everything was handled by the staff at both hotels in a very professional and business like manner.  The Conrad had the nicer and much more comfortable room, with the bathroom, in particular, being very large and luxurious.  Due to a special at the time, the Conrad room cost $1613 and the Holiday Inn, $848, all taxes included.  I thought I was getting a deal on the Conrad room, but I thought I was getting a deal on the Conrad room, but they’re about $300 cheaper now.

Current rates for all hotels are as follows, including all tax and service charges:



Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad Deluxe Room Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad Deluxe Room bed Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad Deluxe Room bathroom Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad Deluxe Room toilet and shower Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad Deluxe Room bathtub and jacuzzi


Holiday Inn  



Sands Cotai Central Macau Holiday Inn Superior room Sands Cotai Central Macau Holiday Inn Superior room twin beds Sands Cotai Central Macau Holiday Inn Superior room bathroom Sands Cotai Central Macau Holiday Inn Superior room toilet and bathtub




St Regis



If it were me, my choice would come down to Holiday Inn versus the St. Regis, depending on the price point I could afford.  The difference in the Conrad and Holiday Inn rooms, in my view, is rather negligible and not worth paying an extra $400 for on weekdays. 


Conrad Hotel Quick Facts


International Call: 853 8113 6000
China: 4001 200 988
Hong Kong: 800 906 976
India: 000800 320 1536
Number of Rooms and Suites: 600


Holiday Inn Quick Facts


International Call: 853 8113 9000
China: 4001 200 892
Hong Kong: 800 906 970
India: 000800 320 1530
Number of Rooms and Suites: 1224


Sheraton Hotel Quick Facts


China: 4001 693 388
Hong Kong: 3051 2898
Macau: 6029 9088
Number of Rooms and Suites: 3896


St. Regis Macao Quick Facts


International Tel: 853 6262 5250
China Toll Free: 4001 208 891
Hong Kong Toll Free: 852 3051 2764
Fax: 853 2882 8890
Number of Suites: 400


Dining at the Sands Cotai is a definite lowlight.  There's not restaurant that carries superior billing or has any kind of reputation around town.  When compared to their compatriots on the Cotai Strip, Sands Cotai is a stiff on the dining scene.


Bene - I can’t stand franchise restaurants.  You can eat at a Bene Italian in Sheratons around the world for crying out loud, including the ends of the Earth Hohhot in China’s Inner Mongolia province.  You can do much better in Macau. 

Appetizers: $52 to $158                  Meat: $178 to $488
Oysters $238                                  Pasta: $138 to $248
Seafood Platter: $538 to $999         Fish: $238 to $398
Salad: $88 to $148                         Pizza: $108 to $198
Soup: $68 to $128                          Desserts: $48 to $118

In addition to the a la carte menu, Bene also has a set lunch promotion from Monday to Friday for $138 person.  On Saturdays the lunch gets expanded and the price goes up to $228 and includes selections like Iberico pork, Australian wagyu, spring chicken and more.

On Sundays, brunch goes for $468 (adults) and $100 (children aged 6 to 12) from 12 pm to 3 pm.

There’s also a Bene Food and Wine Mercato special dinner the last Friday and Saturday of every month.  A region of Italy is selected and a wine pairing is put together to explore the food, wine and cooking tradition of that region.  Offering unlimited food, wine and drinks, it costs $488 for adults and $200 for children aged 6 to 12. 

Bene is located in the shopping quarter on Level 1 and keeps hours daily from 11 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm.  On weekends, lunch is on from 12 pm to 3 pm.               

Dynasty 8
- Apparently they have a two star Michelin chef.  I wouldn't have guessed that after eating there.

Appetizers: $52 to $158                                    Seafood: $168 to $438
Abalone, bird's nest, sharks fin: $288 to $6888   Home Style Cooking: $108 to $188
Signature Dishes: $128 to $588                         Meat: $138 to $488
Barbecue: $88 to $398                                      Vegetable: $98 to $168
Soup: $68 to $1288                                          Rice and noodles: $98 to $168

Dim sum is the star of the show at lunch, with most selections $48 to $78.  There’s also a 6 course dim sum set lunch for only $168 a person, which if nothing else, looks like a great deal.

Dynasty 8 is open daily from 11 am to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm at night.  On weekends, they open for lunch an hour earlier.

Here's a review of my dinner there: Dynasty 8.

Feast - The World of Flavours restaurant offers just that in their international buffet, available 3 times a day.  Prices for adults and children are as follows:

Breakfast: $228 (adults) / $100 (children 6 to 12)
Lunch: $248/$100
Dinner: $418/$200
Seafood Dinner Buffet: $458/$200 (Friday and Saturday)

The seafood dinner buffet also has a free flow rose wine option for $198 a person, with time limited to 2 hours.

Hours daily are from 6:30 am to 11 pm.

Grand Orbit - International buffet for your dining pleasure.  Prices aren't too bad, with rates as follows: breakfast ($208 adult/$104 child), lunch ($238/$119), and dinner ($388/$194).  For drinks, flee flow beer and pop is an additional $88 per person while free flow wine is $148.

Here's a review of an evening dinner buffet I had there: Grand Orbit.

Hours are from 6:30 to midnight daily.

Koufu – Koufu is the Sands Cotai food court, located on the 3rd floor.  Composed of about 20 different fast food restaurants, most dishes are in the $55 to $85 range.

North – They also have a branch in the Venetian with the same menu and prices.

Chef's Selections: $180 to $450
Soup: $45 to $68
Cold Dishes: $48 to $88
Hot Dishes: $52 to $290
Dumplings: $56 to $62
Noodles: $78 

North keeps hours daily from 11 am to 11 pm.  On Fridays and Saturdays they close at 1 am.

Xin - Xin does a seafood and hotpot buffet, which means you're going to spend a lot and still be hungry.  Buffet prices are $248 for lunch, and $398 for dinner Monday to Friday.  On Sunday, an all you can eat dim sum brunch is $188 while a Friday and Saturday night Seafood buffet is $438.  For children 4 to 12, prices are slashed in half while toddlers 3 and under eat for free.  They also do a la carte, with prices as follows:

Barbecue: $68-$138                        Noodles and rice: $58-$88
Dim Sum Set: $198/$288/$358       Vegetables: $48-$88
Other Dim Sum: $38-$68                Clay Pot and rice: $58-$198

Open daily from 11:30 am to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm.


Sands Cotai Central Macau Conrad hotel poolsThe Holiday Inn, surprisingly, has better pools than the ones at the Conrad.  The Conrad pools are small in comparison and the deck is nothing to write home about.  The pools' position between two hotels makes the area seem a little confined, and there aren't any views of the Cotai Strip.  With only a few plants and trees present beside the cabanas, it's a little like relaxing in a concrete jungle.     


Sands Cotai Central Macau Holiday Inn poolsWho'd have thought the Holiday Inn would offer the best pools?  With almost the same layout and design as the ones at the Sheraton, the Holiday Inn pools get the nod due to their bitching views of the Venetian, particularly at night.





Sands Cotai Central Macau Sheraton poolsThe pools at the Sheraton will do just fine.  No complaints here.


They also have a poolside cafe named Sala that offers a Portuguese barbecue buffet on Friday and Saturday for $488 a person.  Selections include suckling pig, rib eye beef steak, clams and sausages.  I got to admit that sounds pretty good.




Sands Cotai Central Macau St. Regis poolsAs expected, the St. Regis has the largest and best pools.








In terms of the fitness centres, all four hotels offer large, modern, and comprehensive gyms.


Anyone who’s read this site at all knows I’m a big fan of free spa facilities.  Any hotel that bills itself as 5 stars needs to give guests free access to a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, or else….   Sands Cotai has heeded the call and provide all of those things, no matter if you’re hanging at the Holiday Inn or pimping at the St. Regis.

If you want spa treatments, there are three options open to the public, offering standard five star massage and beauty packages at expensive rates.  Usage of the facilities is not free, even for hotel guests.  Everyone needs to pay for a procedure first.

Bodhi Spa is located in the Conrad.  Weekday rates are as follows:

Facials:  $1260 to $1450                   Ritual Elements: $1900 to $3600
Massage:  $990 to $2100                   Waxing: $260 to $520
Wraps and Scrubs:  $310 to $1440    Hands and Feet: $300 to $800

(Weekend rates are fairly similar with most treatments less than $100 more).

The Sheraton offers the same sorts of treatments in their Shine spa.

Speciality Therapies: $950 to $1650      Shine Packages:  $1600 to $3600
Massage:  $950 to $1650                     Skin Care: $1200 to $1300
Body Wraps:  $1110                             Hands and Feet:  $600 and $800

(Like the Bodhi spa, weekend rates are a touch higher.)

Iridium Spa is located in the the St. Regis.  It breaks the bank, as you’d expect, but reviews of it are highly positive.

Iridium Journeys: $2200 to $3060           Body Care: $1100 to $1150
Signature Massage: $1280 to $1580        Skin Care: $1580 to $2200
Traditional Massage: $1280 to $1600      Hands and Feet: $480 to $850


Once upon a time, Sands Cotai used to be the best resort in Macau for children, thanks to their successful collaboration with Dreamworks Entertainment.  There were lively parades in the shopping promenade, Shrekfest breakfasts where kids could do meet and greets, along with Kung Fu Panda Academies and other fun games and activities.  Sadly that’s all gone now and there’s not much left.  Monkey King is a large scale show, but it’s all BS and bluster, while Planet J remains a work in progress.

Monkey King -  I wasn’t too impressed with Monkey King.  For more information and a review of the show, please follow the link here: Monkey King

Planet J - Marketed as the world’s first live action role play theme park, Planet J gets mixed reviews.  The setting is certainly impressive, but the tasks and activities children are given to do leave a lot to be desired.  If they ever work out the kinks, Planet J could be a very good attraction, but they’re not there yet.

A day pass costs $150 while access to the magic scroll (iPad) costs $150 per hour.  Since the magic scroll is the game device and integral to everything, consider $150 the hourly rate, which certainly isn’t cheap.  Two hours in Planet J would therefore cost $450 ($150 to get in plus two hours with the iPad is another $300.)

Hours are from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 8:30 pm on Saturdays and 9:30 am to 8:00 pm on Sundays.



The St. Regis Bar could be one of the trendiest nightspots in town, but it’s in the wrong city to flourish.  Put it in Manhattan and you’d have a winner, but this is Macau people.

St Regis Bar - There are a ton of specials on the go at St. Regis Bar.  They include “Infusion Hour”, free flow drinks from 6 pm to 8 pm daily for $258; children’s afternoon tea for $148, regular afternoon tea for $348 (2 people), and the “Exemplary Beauty of Wines”, $198 for 3 glasses, from 12 pm to 1 am daily. 

Here’s a small sampling from their food and drink menu.

Food: $68 to $298
Sandwiches: $98 to $198
Dim sum: $58 to $128
Hard stuff: $68 to $108
Beers: $48 / $68

There’s also live music Wednesday to Sunday from 9 pm to midnight. 

The other bars at Sands Cotai are all small lobby lounges. 

Conrad Lounge and Holiday Inn Lounge

Set lunch with 2 courses: $138
Set lunch with 3 courses: $168
Afternoon tea: $228
Bar snacks: $68 to $138
Burgers, Sandwiches, Caesar Salad: $68 to $328

Cocktails: $65 to $75
Beer: $50 to $65
Liqueurs: $60
Hard stuff: most $60 to $80
Martinis: $68
Wine: $55 to $165

Palms is Sheraton’s lobby lounge and is the nicest of the three.

Breakfast menu

Western style: $138
Hong Kong style: $98

Lunch and Dinner

Soup and Noodles: $90 to $118
Curry, Rice, BBQ: $118 to $138

Coffee: $38 to $68
Signature Tea: $78
Premium Chinese Tea: $110 to $120
Fresh Juice: $68
Cocktails: $88
Wine: $78 to $190 (glass)
Beer: $48
Craft Beer: $78 to $108
Hard Stuff: $48 to $248
Whisky: $48 to $238

Afternoon Tea: $228 for 2


Shopping is one of Sands Cotai larger drawing cards, with around 75 shops in all.  Utilizing waterfalls, trees, and natural light, the mall is trying to produce a rainforest effect, but after seeing the Venetian's successful imitation of Italy on their 3rd floor, the effort at Sands Cotai just doesn't register.      

6000 rooms.  That's mind boggling isn't it?  The Venetian only has 3000 for those wondering.  What's more mind boggling is that Macau's largest hotel by a country mile doesn't offer much for their guests to see or do.  They must be counting on their neighbours on the Cotai Strip to provide the attractions, but that's a pretty poor substitute for doing it yourself.  Without any big time entertainment, nightlife or restaurants, I don't see much of a future for Sands Cotai.  It needs to add something ASAP that gives it an identity.

Along the same vein, there’s nothing notable about the two casinos either.  In terms of limits and games, both of them just repeat what's offered at the Sands and Venetian.  If you were to detonate the Pacifica and Himalayan tomorrow, I don't think many people would notice and life would go on.  I think that's a better than fair description of Sands Cotai too as a whole.  It does nothing and is nothing.


You can't miss it.  Sands Cotai is right beside the City of Dreams and across from the Venetian and the Four Seasons.