Maven Meter: Altira Macau Casino & Hotel
(Last Updated: May 20, 2020)
ALTIRA MACAU INTRODUCTION
Commencing operations in May 2007, Altira Macau was Melco Entertainment’s first foray into the Macau gaming market. Initially named the Crown Hotel, it reached gaming nirvana less than one year later, when it became the busiest casino in the world in terms of betting volume, with rolling turnover exceeding $6 billion US dollars a month.
It turns out they weren’t doing anything special – just giving outrageous VIP commissions, far above the going market rate. In July 2008 the Macau government ended the madness by capping VIP commissions at 1.25% city wide, thereby leveling the playing field and bringing Altira back in line with everyone else.
Nowadays the casino is focusing more on the premium mass market, with most action limited to the ground and first floors. Upstairs it’s a ghost town in comparison, with VIP room after VIP room either closed or or 75% empty, shells of their former selves.
The hotel though is another story and I’m behind it with everything I got, especially for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Rocking large lavish rooms with killer views of the old Peninsula, and one amazing bathroom and hot tub, it’s probably the best hotel in Macau that you’ve never heard about, particularly at its price point.
ALTIRA MACAU PHOTO GALLERY
ALTIRA MACAU GAMES
Altira’s casino has always been too expensive for my blood.
Baccarat – Minimum bet is $3000.
Commission Free Baccarat – Won Banker bets totaling 6 pay 50%. Minimum bet is $500.
Slot Machines – 21 slots belong to Altira, with $1 to $10 minimums. Those can be found upstairs on the 1st Floor.
Live Gaming Baccarat can be found on the ground floor, with $50 minimums.
Upstairs, there’s also a small Mocha Slots Hall with a slew of cheaper machines that start from 10 cents. $30 Electronic Sic Bo and $30 Roulette are also available.
ALTIRA MACAU PROMOTIONS
VIP program – For years, Altira always had the same VIP rolling program as the City of Dreams. Times have changed though.
For a casino run VIP program in a nice hotel like Altira, getting 1.2% for rolling $3,000,000 plus isn’t a bad deal at all.
Alternatively, gamers can also choose to play upstairs on the 17th floor Li Ying club, which uses the same rolling program as at the City of Dreams and Studio City.
Player Card – For more information related to the Melco Club Player Card and Promotions, please check the website here: Melco Club
ALTIRA MACAU HOTEL
Altira is probably the best hotel in Macau that you’ve never heard about, familiar only to high rollers and VIPs who routinely took the place over back in the glory days of Macau gaming. It used to be impossible to get a room there during weekends, while weekday rates were so out of whack that they cost about as much as the Wynn or MGM. With all due respect to Altira, it’s always been a nice hotel, but not that nice….
Which brings us to the present day. The whales have all set sail for other destinations, leaving Altira a ghost town most of the time. Put it on the Cotai Strip and I’m sure it could do a great business, but it’s really hurt by its odd location in Taipa, especially for first time visitors or those unfamiliar with bus routes and the most efficient ways to get around.
At the same time however, those who don’t mind living in Taipa will be rewarded by one of Macau’s most luxurious and cost-effective properties.
Reservations made 7 days in advance ensure the lowest prices, which are the ones I’ve used below.
Rates are in Macau Mops inclusive of all tax and service charges.
Altira Macau Hotel Room
I stayed for one night in a Waterfront King room on October 18, 2017. It ran $1299 Mops at the time, very similar to the current price. Check in was unbearably slow even though there was no line and I was the only one there. Why it took her so long to get my passport sorted and the room prepared was totally beyond me.
I tried asking for a free upgrade, a tactic my friend who works at the Harbourview Hotel front desk at Fisherman’s Wharf told me about. She said they hand them out all the time, almost like it was standard practice, so keep that in mind if you ever stay there.
However, such requests won’t fly at Altira for a very good reason – the hotel only has 200 rooms and 3 different room grades, so there’s not a lot of opportunity to move up to something better.
After arriving in my room an attendant came about 10 minutes later, giving me some free welcome tea, a kind gesture that I’d never experienced in Macau before. First impressions of the room were highly positive as I really liked the size, layout and large bathroom that came equipped with one sweet hot tub.
It was clearly the second best place I’ve ever stayed in town, after only the Ritz-Carlton at Galaxy. And considering the room at Altira is sometimes around $3000 cheaper, it’s clearly the more sensible option, and one of the best deals in town. Why people stay at markedly inferior properties like Starworld, L’Arc, or Landmark and spend more money doing so is beyond me, but it shouldn’t be happening.
Okay, location would be the only reason why and while I do harp about it in this review, the rooms at Altira are so nice that it might be worth taking the hit, learning the bus routes and staying on the other side of the water from where all the action is. While no doubt an inconvenience, it’s only a minor one as San Ma Lo and the Amizade Strip are literally only one bus stop away.
Anyway, back to the room. Ten years of business had taken its toll and I noticed quite a bit of damage here and there on the wood furnishings and other fixtures. That should be rectified by now though as they had already started the process of refurbishing when I was there, so everything should be back to peak form starting from 2018.
The highlight was definitely the bathroom, which probably took up 40% of the room, and had a hot tub that I could stay submerged in for the better part of a week. Or a lifetime….
Another extra perk was that everything in the mini bar was free which included a couple cans of beer and soda.
The view onto the old Macau Peninsula was stunning with great views of all three bridges and everything between Macau Tower and the Science Center.
All of the rooms at Altira face out that way so you don’t need to worry about have to pay more for a better view. The TV had a standard assortment of channels which was a little disappointing, as was the Wifi, which tended to be a little spotty. Those two issues along with the slow check in were the only problems of my stay.
The room more than made up for all of that though. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I loved everything about it – the colour scheme, the bed, the layout, the hot tub, the view, and how everything was put together.
It’s the kind of room that you can stay in all day and just enjoy, which basically doesn’t happen in Macau unless you drop more than $2000 a night. Suffice to say, it comes highly recommended, especially when paired with all of the amazing amenities below.
ALTIRA MACAU POOL
Located on the 16th floor, Altira’s pool is a little small for my liking, but it does offer some pretty smoking views of Macau as you do your laps.
Pool Bar is located deckside and serves freshly squeezed juice for $25 or $30, while specialty juice and smoothies are $35. A fruit platter finally goes for $15 or $25.
The pool keeps the same hours as the fitness center – from 7 am to 10 pm daily.
ALTIRA MACAU DINING
Altira has one restaurant that comes highly recommended from yours truly.
Their Japanese buffet restaurant Kira used to be great too, unfortunately it’s closed down now.
Ying – Ying is a 1 star Michelin restaurant that serves Cantonese favourites at above average rates. The lunch menu is composed of appetizers ($68 to $128), specialties ($158 to $228), dim sum ($38 to $88), congee ($32 to $68), and rice and noodles ($128 to $268).
They also have a trio of set meals: A 6 course dim sum set for 2 people ($538) , a 6 course dim sum set for 4 people ($1280). and a 7 course dim sum set for 6 people ($1988).
In the evening, the menu opens up a little offering extra choices like abalone ($368 to $8888), soup ($68 to $288), seafood ($188 to $980), meat ($168 to $398), and vegetables ($88 to $168)
There’s also a 9 course Michelin set menu for 2 diners minimum, which runs $738 per person.
For a review of my meal there, please click here: Ying.
Located on the 11th floor, Ying serves lunch from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, and dinner from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm.
Tenmasa – Tenmasa is the king of set meals, offering 7 of them at lunch at the following rates: Tendon ($338), Unagi Isiyaki ($338), Sashimi ($388), Take Tempura ($538), Matsu ($688) and Winter Tempura ($900).
At night 4 set meals are on offer: Take Tempura ($680), Matsu ($880), Winter Tempura ($1280) and Kohaku Winter Kaiseki ($1880).
The rest of the menu is a la carte.
Delicacies: $60 to $420
Japan A5 Wagyu Beef: $680 to $1980
Yakimono: $120 to $320
Hot dishes: $85 to $420
Tempura: $30 to $420
Sashimi: $180 to $880
Rice and Noodles: $100 to $320
For a review of my disappointing lunch there, please click here: Tenmasa.
Tenmasa is on the 11th floor and keeps lunch hours from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and dinner hours from 6 pm to 10:30 pm.
Aurora – Altira’s only Western restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine. Set meals at lunch are $338 (3 course) and $418 (4 course), while a 5 course set dinner is $988 (plus $358/3 glasses or $528/5 glasses, if you want wine).
As for a la carte, appetizers are $188 to $238, soup $138, pasta $138 or $148, seafood $398 to $428, and meat favorites $398 to $1388. There’s also different pizzas available for $138 to $288.
For a review of my splendid lunch there, please click here: Aurora.
Aurora is on the 10th floor and opens at 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm in the afternoon and again in the evening from 6 pm to 10:30 pm.
Monsoon – Monsoon is a 24 hours Asian Cafe located on the 3rd floor, serving both a la carte and hot pot.
A la carte consists of appetizers ($48 to $78), dim sum ($48 to $68), noodles ($78 to $128) and vegetables ($88 to $108). For pricier options, there’s the Monsoon Signature 8 Selections ($168 to $308), Northern Chinese Specialties ($98 to $268) and Signature Cantonese ($118 to $258). Other fare includes barbecue ($118 to $238), soup ($48 to $628) and rice ($98 to $398).
I’m not as clear how much the hot pot costs, but that’s okay – you don’t want it anyway!
ALTIRA MACAU GYM
Located on the 16th floor, Altira’s gym is fully locked and loaded with an impressive array of equipment and machines, all in impeccable condition and working order. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best ones in town.
ALTIRA MACAU SPA
The same goes for the spa as well. Free sauna and steam rooms are available to both men and women on the 16th floor, while treatments are available at the award winning Altira spa on the 15th floor.
The menu is very extensive, highlighted by 4 Signature Treatments (120 mins – 150 mins) that cost between $2680 to $3280, while a range of 60 to 240 minute spa packages are $1880 to $4380.
60 to 90 minute body massage is $1180 to $1880, with the rest of the menu consists of facials ($1480 to $2080), body wraps ($1580), body scrubs ($680 to $880), and treatments designed specifically for men ($1480 to $2380).
The spa keeps hours daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 am.
ALTIRA MACAU BARS
38 Lounge is a pretty cool rooftop bar that is often empty most of the time.
Prices are well above average, with beers $85, most hard stuff $70 to $180, and cocktails $100. Whisky and cognac are between $90 and $980, while glasses of champagne are $158/$258, and glasses of wine $90 to $160. Most bottles of wine, finally, are $450 to $2000.
There’s also a food menu offering typical bar snacks like fries, nachos, cheese platters and wasabi seaweed calamari for $78 to $118.
Live entertainment hits the stage six days a week from 1o:00 pm to 2:00 am, with only Tuesdays dark.
Located on the 38th floor beside the front desk, 38 Lounge opens daily from 6:00 pm to 3:00 am.
THE LAST WORD
For years, I’ve always though that Altira was a very good hotel in a bad location that really precluded it from being an attractive living option. After all, for those interested in tourist type endeavours, nothing is really close. After staying there however I’ve completely reformed my view, and would recommend it wholeheartedly, especially for those who are in town more to relax than get out and sight see.
The rooms are simply marvelous: large, modern, comfortable, and about $1000 cheaper than what they’d cost in Cotai, making Altira one of Macau’s best bargains. The fantastic amenities (the Italian restaurant, spa, gym, pool and bar) are just the icing on the cake.
ALTIRA MACAU LOCATION
Altira is located in the Northeast of Taipa very close to the Regency Art Hotel.