Hotel Review+ Back
Studio City

 

Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau
Tel: (853) 8865 8888
Fax: (853) 8869 8888
www.studiocity-macau.com
 

No of Rooms and Suites: 1600
No of Tables: 160
No of Slots: 892

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The best entertainment in Macau, headlined by the House of Magic, 4D Batman Dark Knight ride, and Golden Reel.

 

The best nightclub in town, Pacha Macau.

 

Macau's largest and best Kids Zone and Playground - the fully integrated Warner Bros Fun Zone.

 

Neat shopping quarter, where visitors get transported to Times Square and Beverly Hills.


INTRODUCTION


Lights, camera, action!  Melco Crown’s much anticipated sequel to the City of Dreams debuted on October 27, 2015 with appearances by Hollywood A-listers Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, along with a concert by 90’s diva Mariah Carey.  Branded as Macau’s entertainment epicentre, Studio City flaunts the same passion, moxie, energy and youth as the City of Dreams, but only on a much larger scale.  The building itself is an attempt to portray what would happen if a meteor crashed through it, while the same type of over the top movie magic is re-created indoors, with various replications of Gotham City, Times Square and Beverly Hills.

 

Studio City Golden Reel ferris wheel at night main lobby of Studio City Macau golden statue outside of Studio City Macau large screen and Studio City sign at Studio City shopping quarter

 

It’s all right here, right now.  Studio City turns fantasy into reality, and ordinary people into stars.  Have a glamorous day! 

 
STUDIO CITY CASINO 

The Studio City casino is one God awful attempt at something and I don’t know what it is.  Garish and gaudy, red and raging, it’s completely over the top and unnecessary.  The centrepiece of the casino is - and I am not making this up - a golden collection of teapot and coffeepots.  No, that is not a misprint.

Let's just say that the City of Dreams casino definitely executed their excess in a much more exquisite and pleasing manner.

As for the nuts and bolts, the main casino floor is divided in two, with 160 tables on one side and 768 slots on the other, with most minimums $300.  An adjacent room for high rollers, the Signature Club, is composed of 52 tables, all with lows in the $1000’s, along with another 134 slots.  For electronic gamers, there’s $25 Big Wheel, $10 Roulette and $30 Sic Bo, while $50 Live Baccarat and $10 Roulette and Sic Bo are also available. 

 

If you ask me, Studio City's casino doesn't do anything new, making it rather redundant.  It would only be useful for guests staying at the hotel, which as you'll read later, I don't think anyone should do.

GAMES

The games at Studio City are very similar to what’s offered at the City of Dreams, except there is no Craps and Texas Hold ‘Em. 

Baccarat - Minimum bet is $2000, only available in the Signature Club. 

Commission Free Baccarat - Players win only 50% on a won Banker bet that totals 6.  Minimum bet is $500.

Blackjack - Minimum bet is $300.  Also has a side bet called Over, Under 13 where you bet on the sum of your first two cards.  Aces count as 1.  I don’t recommend this bet, but bet the over if you play it.

Caribbean Stud Poker - Minimum bet is $300. 

Roulette - Minimum bets of $50 Inside and $200 Outside.

Sic Bo - Big/Small minimums are a pricy $300.

Slot Machines - Around 900 slot machines, lows from 5 cents to a $1. 

Three Card Poker - $300 minimums.

PROMOTIONS

The worst thing about writing these casino reviews are the casino promotions, because they always change and most of them really don’t apply to the recreational gamer who is in Macau for only a couple of days.  Fortunately this information is starting to be made available online so just follow the links for more information:  Studio City Promotions and City Club Membership Rewards       
HOTEL

 

Studio City has 1600 rooms divided between the Star and Celebrity Towers.  For the general public, only rooms in the Star Tower are available for sale, with current rates as follows.

 



Don’t forget to add another 15% for tax and service charges.

 

I stayed at Studio City a month after it opened and was pretty disappointed with the whole experience.  It started at check in which is either done at the Celebrity Tower or Star Tower, but I didn’t know which desk to go to.  For group bookings or those who went through travel agencies to buy rooms, you should try the Celebrity Tower desk, while all others should be in the Star Tower.  I didn’t know that at the time though and went to the Celebrity Tower first, since I’d booked the cheapest room online and the Star Tower sounded far too posh for a $1480 Mop a night room.  After waiting for about 25 minutes in a ridiculously long line at the Celebrity Tower, I finally got to the front desk and was politely informed that I was in the wrong place.  The gentleman behind the desk said I could still check in there though so we got straight to it. 

I had booked online using a credit card which the hotel did not charge until I got there.  The problem with that is that I can’t make purchases in Macau with a credit card because the correct passcode that I input is always rejected.  The general situation with booking rooms in Macau is that when you do it online the purchase goes through automatically so it’s already paid for by the time you get to the desk.  At Studio City however this isn’t the case and I ended up very short of cash.  I asked him to just charge the room to my card on the computer without using the passcode but he said it wasn’t possible.  That led me to having to pay both the room and deposit with all the money I had left and it was barely enough.  I paid the deposit first which was $1000 and the room fee of $1487 with my last three $1000 bills.  And then for some reason the man at the desk didn’t want to give me back any change!  Now I had serious business that night with my friend Wang Ping Ping who I was taking to dinner and I needed every Pataca back to show her a good time.  He said that he wanted to retain the balance in case I made purchases later on inside my room.  To that I replied, leaning in over the desk, in a not so friendly tone, then what was the $1000 deposit for?  Why was I paying twice?  Why won’t you give me my change?  Another co-worker came over and sorted it out rather quickly but I thought the situation was completely ridiculous from the outset.  The checkout procedure the following day was also very slow and one of the doormen said it was because the cleaning crew was understaffed and so both check in and check out usually take a long time.

After check in I proceeded to my room on the 16th floor.  Maybe some of the “Ritz Effect” was in play here because I didn’t think much of it at all.  (By Ritz Effect I mean that when the last hotel you stayed in was the Ritz Carlton Macau, then the next hotel you stay in is going to seem far far worse no matter how good it is.)  For one, they call it a suite and it’s not a suite.  It’s one room and one room only, with none of the luxury or flash appeal that typical suites should have.   At least it wasn’t priced like a suite, but why are they even calling it in the first place? 

 

Star Premier King Suite at Studio City Macau TV and sofa in Star Premier King Suite at Studio City Macau Star Premier King Suite bathroom at Studio City Macau Star Premier King Suite bathtub at Studio City Macau


The biggest problem with the room is that half of it is a bathroom and I don’t know anyone who would need one that big.  The bed is also separated from the TV by a couch which I didn’t get at all, nor did I like the dark heavy colour scheme, which made the room seem a lot older than it actually was.  It honestly looked five years old when it was closer to five weeks old.

I also heard a strange mechanical sound coming into my room which too which I attributed to the giant Golden Reel attraction outside.  it sounded like a part was stuck somewhere and not getting enough grease.  Of all the things to happen when I already didn’t like the room, that was the icing on the cake. 

All in all, I had a pretty disappointing stay at Studio City and wouldn’t recommend it as a living option.  I don’t see how it’s better than the Holiday Inn at the Sands Cotai Central and rooms there are $500 cheaper. 

POOL

After the Galaxy’s fantastic Grand Resort Deck, not many pools in Macau will impress and that is also the case at Studio City.  The shame of it is that there’s definitely enough space for 4 or 5 more of them but they decided to build a “Gala Garden” and “Event Garden” instead.  That means there is exactly 1 outdoor pool for a 1600 room hotel, and that math just doesn’t add up. 

 

tropical statue decorations outside the pool at Studio City Macau 

 

Beside the pool, there’s also a small Riverscape Ride that children might enjoy, so not all is lost. 


Star Tower guests, finally, can make use of an indoor pool that’s also located on the 3rd floor.

RESTAURANTS

A property branded for the stars needs celebrity chefs and Studio City boasts an impressive roster of industry giants.  They include Alain Ducasse, owner of 19 Michelin stars worldwide: the world renowned master of Hawaiian cuisine, Alan Wong: the “Picasso of Pastry”, Chef Patissier Pierre Herme, as well as Japanese sensation Hide Yamamoto and Cantonese whirlwind Tam Kwok Fung.  Early returns though haven’t revealed a star restaurant among the bunch yet, but maybe that will change when Ducasse and Wong finally open their places sometime in 2016.

Studio City also has a ton of smaller restaurants located in Cosmos Food Station on Level One and in the Macau Gourmet Walk on Level Two.

 

For now, here is a quick review of their signature eateries.

Shanghai Magic
- Related in some way to the House of Magic show that is located next to the restaurant, Shanghai Magic is supposed to have a few tricks up their sleeves for lucky diners.

Lunch and Morning Dim Sum: $38 to $68
Cold appetisers: $58 to $138
Warm appetisers: $80 to $168
Barbecue: $128 to $328
Premium dishes: $488 to $688
Soup: $68 to $168
Seafood: $158 to $488
Chef’s specials: $168 to $488
Meat: $128 to $288
Poultry: $168 to $228
Vegetarian: $98 to $238
Rice and noodles: $68 to $128

Hours are from 11:30 am to 3 pm, and 5:30 pm to 11 pm daily.

Hide Yamamoto - Global Chef Award winning Hide Yamamoto offers four premium dining experiences daily: teppanyaki, robatayaki, sushi and ramen.

Cold appetisers: $95 to $175
Warm appetisers: $80 to $400
Japanese beef specialities: $325 to $2300
Sushi and sashimi: $45 to $390
Teppanyaki: $120 to $420
Sushi set: $1050 (3 course)
Teppanyaki set: $1150 to $2350 (3 course)

Hours daily are from 11:30 am to 3 pm, and from 5:30 pm to 11 pm.

Trattoria Il Mulino - Trattoria Il Mulino has a flagship restaurant in New York, but I doubt this one will be as good.  Franchise restaurants never are, especially when they’re located in shopping malls.

Appetizer: $118 to $148
Pizza: $128 to $168
Salad: $98
Soup: $68
Pasta: $158 to $188
Grilled: $228 to $288
Main meat: $228 to $348

Hours daily are from 12 pm to 11 pm on Mondays through Fridays.  On the weekend, opening hours are from 11 am to midnight on Saturday and until 10:30 pm on Sundays.

Pearl Dragon - Michelin starred chef Tam Kwok Fung oversees Studio City’s signature Chinese restaurant.

Dumplings: $38 to $78
Dim Sum: $48 to $68
Appetizers: $78 to $168
Barbecue: $198 to $768
Soup: $238 to $1380
Seafood and Bird’s Nest: $388 to $1480
Seafood: $108 to $328
Meat: $108 to $338
Poultry: $168 to $328
Rice/Noodles: $188 to $268

Hours from Monday to Friday are between 12 pm and 3 pm in the afternoon, and from 6 pm to 11 pm at night.  On the weekend, lunch starts an hour earlier at 11 am.

Spotlight -  Studio City’s buffet restaurant is located on Level 2 in the Celebrity Tower.  Rates for children and adults are as follows:


Buffet times are from 6:30 am to 10:30 am (breakfast), 11:30 am to 3 pm (lunch) an 6 pm to 10:30 pm (dinner).

HEALTH CLUB/SPA

Studio City has two fitness centres, one for Celebrity Tower guests and the other for Star Tower guests.  The Celebrity Tower gym is an embarrassment with very little to no heavy lifting equipment.  It’s basically all cardio, so you can’t say now that celebrities never get the shaft.  The Star Tower gym meanwhile is very comprehensive and worthy of actually being called a fitness centre.  Both are located on the 3rd floor and stay open 24 hours.  Just bring your room key to get in.

Zensa Spa - Studio City’s lone spa offers a ton of different packages with various 90 to 210 minute treatments costing between $1780 and $2280.  60 to 90 minute massage runs $980 to $1480 while 30 or 60 minute body treatments are $580 to $880.  Facials finally run $980 to $1580 for 60 to 75 minutes.  Studio City guests get no free access to spa facilities and must pay a $280 door fee to get in, just like everyone else.

Zensa Spa is located on the 3rd floor and keeps hours from 11 am to 12 am daily.

ENTERTAINMENT

Studio City boasts the best entertainment in Macau right now, and will probably be the main reason why you’ll want to check the place out.  I loved the House of Magic in particular and would rate it as a must see attraction.

 
House of Magic - The House of Magic is a 90 minute extravaganza featuring some of the best magicians in the world.  I enjoyed it much more than the House of Dancing Water and would recommend people see this show first.  Show times are 5 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm on weekdays, while Saturdays and Sundays also have an earlier performance at 3 pm.  Tickets are $450 for adults, $360 for children and $380 for senior citizens.

 

For a more indepth review, please follow the link to the entertainment section: House of Magic. 

Dark Knight Flight Simulator - The 4D Dark Knight Simulator is very similar to simulation rides available in many large North American amusement parks.  You know the kind where you’re watching a big screen and then get rocked back and forth on your chair according to what’s happening onscreen.  Only about 15 minutes long, some people I know balk at the price ($150 Mops) but I thought it was a lot of fun and would do it again.  Since it is so short, it’s not an major event you can circle on your calendar like the House of Magic is, but more a quick diversion to liven up your day.  Children must be at least 1.2 meters to enter and their tickets cost $120, while senior citizens can get in for $125.  Ride hours are from 12 pm to 8 pm Monday to Friday and from 11 am to 9 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Golden Reel - The Golden Reel looks pretty boss from the outside and is a key feature of Studio’s City’s unique design, but the Ferris Wheel ride itself isn’t that interesting.  The problem is that there isn’t much to see as you make your way up and down, just a view of dour Zhuhai on one side, and an empty piece of Cotai land on the other.  Perhaps it gets a lot better at night when some Cotai Strip lights enter the mix, but even then, I’d take a pass.  Wait until the area around it gets properly built up so that the views get a lot better.  If you book a room at Studio City now, tickets for the Golden Reel usually come free as part of the package.  Walk in visitors meanwhile must pay $100.  Hours are the same as the Batman ride.

Pacha Macau - For more information on what has become one of Macau’s hippest nightclubs, please follow the link here: Pacha Macau

 

Pacha Macau's nightclub is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to 5 am.  From Tuesday to Thursday their outdoor lounge and patio keeps hours from 7 pm to 3 am Tuesday to Thursday and from 7 pm to 5 am Friday to Saturday.  

Warner Brothers Fun Zone - Warner Brothers Fun Zone sounds like Macau’s largest Play Area for children, with 4,000 square meters in all.  It features interactive rides and games along with a chance for children to meet famous characters from DC Comics, Hanna Barbara and Looney Tunes.  The cost is $200 for 2 hours (1 child and 1 adult) while each additional hour afterwards is $100.  If another adult also wants to join the fun, that’s an extra $100 an hour too.

Studio 8 - I’m not sure what Studio 8 is or will be in the future, so keep tuned for more details once they become available.

SHOPPING

The shopping quarter at Studio City might be the coolest one in town.  Regardless of what’s being sold, I love being transported into Times Square while strolling through Beverly Hills isn’t bad either.  All of the cameras overhead make it feel like you’re on a movie set too, which is where I figure I should have been since the age of 3.  Hey man, I just haven’t caught that big break yet!

 

neon Egyptian sign at Studio City Macau Grand Central Station schedule and clock at Studio City Macau Times Square subway stop at Studio City Macau Philipp Plein shop at Studio City Macau  


SUMMARY

Studio City won’t get my return patronage as a hotel guest, simply because there is little incentive to stay there.  The rooms aren’t good enough, and neither are the amenities or service.  The dining is still a work in progress while the casino is just a repeated version of what’s already been done in Macau a million times before.  I’d call Studio City an epic bust but for its entertainment, which currently ranks as Macau’s best right now.  No matter what,  Studio City is going to matter because the House of Magic matters, the Batman ride matters, the Warner Brothers Fun Zone matters, and they will continue to matter even when newer attractions come along.  The shopping quarter is almost worth going to visit on its own as well, just for the hip visuals of Times Square and Grand Central Station.  Even though it's not much of a living option, Studio City should still be a part of your itinerary when in Macau.

LOCATION

Studio City is the southernmost hotel on the Cotai Strip, situated one block away from the Venetian, Four Seasons and Sands Cotai hotels. 

 

 

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