Maven Meter: Altira Macau Casino & Hotel
(Last Updated: August 23, 2023)
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 gambling action limited to jut 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, along with one amazing bathroom and hot tub, it’s probably the best hotel in Macau that you’ve never heard of, particularly at its price point.
ALTIRA MACAU PHOTO GALLERY
ALTIRA MACAU GAMES
For the first time in a decade, Altira Macau has actually added games, with the recent introduction of Blackjack, Roulette and Sic Bo. How long they’ll be able to last though is another question.
Baccarat – I didn’t see any Baccarat tables in the mass gaming area. If there are any, they’d be upstairs in the Qi Long club. Expect minimums to start from $1000 if so.
Commission Free Baccarat – Won Banker bets totalling 6 pay 50%. Minimum bet is $300.
Blackjack – Minimum bet of $300.
Also has a Lucky 7 side bet for $50 that pays if you get either suited or unsuited pairs of 7s. Although I’m not sure, I’ve been told the house edge on that sucker bet is 19.95%.
Over/Under 13 is another side wager that can be made, also for $50. Bet the Over if you do, as that has a lower house edge than the Under bet, 6.55% vs 10.07%.
All Melco casinos offer an inferior Blackjack game, as players lose both bets when doubling on 11 versus a Dealer Blackjack. This disadvantageous rule increases the house edge by a disgusting 0.08%.
Roulette – Inside/Outside minimums of $25 and $100. That’s the lowest you’ll find Roulette in town.
Sic Bo – Big, Small minimums are $200.
Slot Machines – All of the slots at Alitra are found in the Mocha Slots hall. I had to count the machines about six times for some reason, but I think I finally got the number right. All told there are 80 machines, with minimums that range from 5 cents to $10. There’s also one electronic Sic Bo game for $30.
Live Gaming Baccarat can be found on the ground floor of the Altira casino, with $50 and $100 minimums.
ALTIRA MACAU PROMOTIONS
VIP program – For years, Altira always had the same VIP rolling program as the City of Dreams. Times have changed though.
Players enrolled in the program game in the Qi Long club, located on the first floor. All in all, the program is substandard, with higher cash backs given at smaller casinos like Grand Dragon and Grandview.
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 years of 2008 to 2014 . 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, at least on weekdays.
Rates below are in Macau Mops inclusive of all tax and service charges.
Those Saturday prices are straight up whack though, has to be said.
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, a little cheaper than 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 deck side 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 centre – from 7 am to 10 pm daily.
ALTIRA MACAU DINING
Altira has one Italian 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 decent rates. Appetizers run $68 to $188, while barbecue is $138 to $328 and soup $128 to $1388. As expected, the most expensive fare is abalone ($468 to $14,888), seafood ($368 to $428), and meat ($208 to 688), while poultry ($138 to 398), vegetables ($98 to $238) and rice and noodles ($108 to 288) are all affordably priced.
At lunch, a 7 course dim sum runs $588, with most individual choices off of the a la carte menu $58 to $108.
In the evening, an 8 course Michelin set costs $1238 per person, with a minimum requirement of 2 diners.
For a review of my meal there, please click here: Ying.
Located on the 11th floor, Ying serves lunch from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, and dinner from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Tenmasa – Tenmasa is the king of set meals, offering 5 of them at lunch that range in price from $260 to $380. If you want to spend a little more cash, one Tempura set is pricier, running $880, with sake tasting an additional $520. At night, two sets are available: Tempura ($1080) and Omakase ($1980).
The rest of the menu is a la carte, featuring options like delicacies ($100 to $680), grilled ($180 to $1480), and hot dishes ($85 to $280). A huge list of tempura runs $30 to $650, while 3 pieces of sashimi range in price from $180 to $1480. The rest of the menu is composed of salad for $150 to $380, while rice and noodles are $80 to $480 and dessert $60 to $260.
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 on Saturday and Sunday, and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Thursdays to Tuesdays.
Aurora – Altira’s only Western restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine. Set meals at lunch are $198 (2 course) and $268 (3 course), while a 4 course sharing lunch for 2 people is just $308. In the evening, they go up in price a bit, costing $488 (3 courses) and $568 (4 courses).
As for a la carte, it’s composed of appetizers ($188 to $288), oysters ($48 to $88), pasta and risotto ($198 to $308), mains ($298 to $1588), and pizza ($148 to $188).
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. It’s closed on Tuesdays.
Monsoon – Located on the third floor, Monsoon is open daily from 8:00 am to 12:00 am, serving mostly Asian eats and a hot pot buffet.
The menu is extremely comprehensive, starting with three different breakfast sets for $98 to $108, while morning favourites off of the a la carte menu are $38 to $108. One 2 course set lunch runs $128 and is available from noon to 5:30 pm. An appealing all you can eat hot pot takes over from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm at night, running $368 for adults, and $138 for children aged 6 to 11. It also comes with free flow beer, soft drinks and Chinese herbal drinks.
If you prefer a la carte instead, it’s composed of live seafood ($298 to $1288), barbecue ($128 to $268), snacks ($58 to $88), soup ($68 to $288), and dim sum ($58 to $68). For more specific regional fare, they also offer Cantonese specialties for $158 to $398, while Sichuan, Hunan, and Shandong eats are $138 to $238, and Southeast Asian favorites $128 to $138. The rest of them menu is rounded off by simple inexpensive fare like vegetables ($88 to $108), rice ($98 to $168), and noodles ($108) to ($128).
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 to 150 minutes) 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 $1680, 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).
If you really want to take it to the next level, you can even get a ride to and back from the spa in a chauffeured limousine for $600 return.
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 $198/$250, and glasses of wine $80 to $198. 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 $98 to $198.
Located on the 38th floor beside the front desk, 38 Lounge opens from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am Tuesday to Sundays.
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.