The Maven Meter: Ponte 16 Casino & Sofitel Hotel
(Last updated: August 23, 2023)
The Sofitel is one of the most complete hotels in town, far outclassing similarly priced options such as Grand Emperor, Fortuna, and Broadway Macau. It’s one of those properties you know is just managed right, from the friendly engaging manner of the onsite staff to the overall cleanliness and condition of the rooms, from the painstaking detail they put into their myriad promotions to the above average bars, spas and children’s Play Zone. They don’t cut corners anywhere and have reached a standard that few mid-range hotels in Macau can match, with the Artyzen Grand Lapa perhaps the only one.
The Ponte 16 casino is run just as well, featuring some absolutely phenomenal limits, in particular the $100 Blackjack, Sic Bo and Commission Free Baccarat. There’s always a ton of promotions on the go as well, extremely rare for a casino of this size.
SOFITEL MACAU PHOTO GALLERY
PONTE 16 CASINO GAMES
Ponte 16 is the place to go for $100 Blackjack. It seems they know there’s a hell of a market for it, and they’re capitalizing on it big time, with about 7 or 8 tables usually open at once.
Baccarat – Minimum bet of just $300.
Commission Free Baccarat – Minimum bet is $100.
Blackjack – Sweet minimum bet of $100, the lowest in town. A shocking 9 tables are on the floor as well, an amount I’ve never seen in any Macau casino before.
Fan Tan – Pricy bets for Fan Tan with Fan, Nim and Kwok are $300, while Nga Tan is $400 and Sheh Sam Hong $600.
Nga Tan and She Sam Hong carry the lowest house edge of these five bets, both at 1.25%.
Pai Gow – The banking option is not given, meaning play is conducted all times versus the dealer. Minimum bet is $200.
Sic Bo – Minimum bet is $100.
Slots – Around 80 machines spread over the ground and first floor, with lows of 5 and 10 cents. There’s also Electronic versions of Sic Bo ($50), Baccarat ($30), and Roulette ($10).
Three Card Baccarat – 1 table, minimum bet is $300.
PONTE 16 VIP GAMING
Ponte 16 has a small VIP gaming section on the 1st floor composed of 6 Baccarat tables. Amounts rolled between $5000 and $1,000,000 return 1% cash back. For amounts rolled over $1,000,000, they kick it up to 1.1%.
I don’t believe free rooms at the Sofitel can be secured with a cash buy in anymore. In the past those numbers had $60,000 from Sunday to Thursday and $80,000 on Friday and Saturday.
Free rooms can still be had via point deduction from the Sofitel card though, with the magic numbers 20 for one night and 38 for two.
SOFITEL MACAU HOTEL
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sofitel, seeing as it’s the only hotel casino located on the Inner Harbour, one of Macau’s most historic areas. Two important streets are nearby, the Street of Happiness and Fifth of October Street, while the maze of roads that twist and turn from the water back toward Senado Square and Mount Fortress are severely underrated points of interest for tourists, totally fit to wander around and get lost in for a couple of hours.
The Sofitel, of course, is the only 5 star hotel in the area, an abode of luxury and largesse in a sea of crumbling buildings, abandoned lots and dreary grey structures. Highlighted by a sweet spacious lobby, their commitment toward splendour and high station is apparent no matter what floor you’re on, and is especially evident in the Mansion, the property’s private luxury quarter, located on the east side of the building.
If you’re looking to spend around $1000 per night for a hotel room in Macau, the Sofitel simply must be on your short list.
Prices above are in Macau Mops and inclusive of all tax and service charges.
Never book directly through the Sofitel site though, as they’re usually $200 to $300 more expensive.
SOFITEL MACAU HOTEL ROOM
I’ve stayed in the Superior Rooms a few times over the past 5 years. Large and comfortable, with nice furnishings and a good view of the Inner Harbour, they come highly recommended!
SOFITEL MACAU POOL
The Sofitel has a good outdoor pool overlooking Zhuhai and the Inner Harbour. Although it’s unheated, it does stay open all year round.
The pool is on the 6th floor and is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm.
SOFITEL MACAU DINING
Sofitel’s three restaurants serve International, French and Chinese cuisine, respectively.
Mistral – Mistral’s main show is its large international buffet. Prices are pretty decent, with breakfast running $168, Lunch $248 and Dinner $428. If you’re a hotel guest, the breakfast buffet only costs $128.
Mistral’s a la carte menu is a lot larger than before. Selections include appetizers and salad ($88 to $128), soup ($88/$128), pizza and pasta ($138 to $168), sandwiches and burgers ($138/$148) and main meat favourites ($128 to $488). Cantonese and Asian selections are also available for $98 to $168.
Mistral is located on the 6th floor and is open daily from 7:00 am to 11:00 am, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, and 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Prive – Sofitel takes their stab at fine French dining with Prive, a ridiculously small 6 or 7 table joint located on the 6th floor. It used to be great but now it’s totally in the toilet, and will continue to stay there until they bring a proper chef in.
Only open for dinner, they don’t even have an a la carte menu, just 2 sets that are bound to disappoint. One is good for 2 to 4 people and costs $988 while the second one is 6 courses for $1288.
For a review of my horrible dinner there, please click here: Prive.
Prive is open from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Fridays through Mondays.
Le Chinois Cantonese Restaurant – 18th floor Chinese restaurant looks real upscale but the prices don’t match. There are 7 plates that are “Chef’s Signature Creations” that go for a reasonable $88 to $388, while one roasted Beijing duck is $398, or $228 for half. Appetizers go for $48 to $108, while soup runs $48 to $108, and rice and noodles $108 to $128. Abalone and dried seafood will have you reaching for your wallet (as they always do) with prices $188 to $588, while seafood is just $98 to $248 and meat mains $128 to $158.
Other things on the menu include barbecue ($98 to $268), casserole ($108 to $188), and vegetarian selections ($88 to $138).
Dim sum is the star of the show at lunch with most selections $42 to $58.
Le Chinois keeps hours from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in the afternoon and again from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at night.
SOFITAL MACAU SPA
The Sofitel has two spas, including one that stays open all night.
Sofitel Spa – Sofitel Spa scrapped their stupid Peak and Off Peak prices in favour of a single one that’s good 7 days a week.
Massages runs either $850 (60 mins) or $1150 to $1250 (90 mins), while 60 minute facials are $850 and 45 minute body wraps and scrubs $500. They also offer more comprehensive 60 to 180 minute treatments that are $950 to $1850 while one for couples lasts three hours and costs $2850.
A second package for couples is a Champagne and Jacuzzi bath for 45 minutes, which runs $400. That’s not bad, considering how much a glass of champagne usually costs by itself.
Spa guests may arrive thirty minutes before their session to enjoy the steam room and relaxation area, as well as hang out there afterwards for up to an hour once their treatment is over.
Guests staying at the Sofitel can get a complimentary 100 Mop spa voucher while those staying in Club rooms receive 20% off.
The 16 Foot Massage – I thought the 16 Foot Massage was legit for years, before finding out they dabble in some badness with the $578 massages, which are actually hand jobs in disguise. Other treatments used to elevate all the way to full service too, but they ended with Covid.
The rest of the spa menu is totally legit, with prices as follows:
45 minute foot massage: $338
45 minute body massage: $408
90 minute body massage: $578
30 minute ear cleaning: $338
30 minute manicure or pedicure: $338
30 minute leg massage: $368
The best part about the 16 Foot Massage is the door pass, which allows you to stay in there overnight. Costing only $290, it’s cheaper than almost every hotel in town, especially on weekends. You’ll have to sleep in a public space on one of those big reclining chairs that people use when they get foot massages, but it never gets too loud and I’ve never felt disturbed when staying there.
Alternatively, you can choose any massage treatment and they’ll waive the door pass and let you stay 12 hours all the same, which the way better deal by far.
Located on the 3rd floor, the 16 Foot Massage never closes.
SOFITEL MACAU GYM
I’ve been down on the Sofitel gym for about a decade until I finally saw there’s actually another room!! That’s where they have all the lifting equipment and machines I never thought they had, but actually did. That’s not to say the room is excessively large and there’s a ton of apparatus, but it’s a lot better than how I described it before. The free weights and cardio machines continue to be outside in plain view, while the secret room is concealed on the right hand side behind what looks to be a mirrored wall.
As for free spa facilities, the men and women’s change rooms both come equipped with sauna and steam rooms, free for all guests to use.
The gym is open 24 hours for in-house guests.
SOFITEL MACAU ENTERTAINMENT
The G Racing Zone is no longer open, probably because it made everyone who went there car sick. That’s okay though, the Angry Birds Play Center is here to save the day.
Angry Birds Play Center – It may come as a shock, but the only Kids Zone/Play Area on the old Peninsula is found at the Sofitel. I don’t know who the Angry Birds are exactly, but they’re by no means central to the venue, just used more as decoration.
Best suited for children aged 5 to 10, the Play Center is 6000 square feet of good old fashioned fun, featuring ball pits, slides, racing cars, inflatable trampolines and castle mazes.
Prices are as follows:
While taking pictures I was drawn into all sorts of dilemmas, intrigues and assorted mischief with half of the children who were there.
Everyone seemed to be having a great time, save for the parents and nannies of course, who were mostly glued to their phones. Such wet socks they were!
Located on the 3rd floor, hours are from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm daily.
SOFITEL MACAU BARS
Both of the bars at Sofitel stand out in their own way.
Rendezvous – Rendezvous is one of the nicer looking bars in town, with its big windows and piano house art.
Beer is an inexpensive $38, while cocktails are $88, and most hard stuff $42 to $188. Their wine list is not as large as it once was, with glasses going for $48 to $188 and full bottles $228 to $998.
Current special is All You Can Drink from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for $288, which is limited to just wine, but also includes select cold cuts and cheese. Afternoon tea, finally, runs $288 for 4 people.
Rendezvous is located in the lobby and keeps hours daily from 3 pm to 10 pm.
MJ Cafe – MJ Cafe is half cafe half bar with the majority of food selections under $100. Specifically, salad runs $62 to $66, while pasta is $58 to $78, and pizza $128 to $138. Main course meat selections cost $88 to $188 while platters are available for $128 to $198 and standard bar snacks $35 to $68.
Current special is a pizza and 2 beers for $198, or $238 if you prefer a bottle of wine. They’re also doing a sausage platter and 2 beers for $238, while it’s $298 with a bottle of wine instead.
MJ Cafe also serves a lot of drinks, including lattes ($28 to $38), cocktails ($68 to $75), wine ($68), beer ($65 to $78), and hard stuff like cognac, whisky and gin ($48 to $65). Bottles of wine, finally, go for $268 to $1180.
Current special is outstanding – as in BEST ONE IN THE CITY – an All You Can Drink offer from 8 pm to 1 pm for $188, with selected beers, sangria and red/white wine on offer.
Hours at the MJ Cafe are from 5 pm to 3 am Monday to Friday. On weekends, it opens up at 1 pm instead.
THE LAST WORD
I love the Sofitel’s location, all isolated and alone on the Inner Harbour, an area I once termed the slum land of Macau. As the years have gone by though, I’ve softened up on the neighbourhood and it’s now one of my favourite ones to explore in the whole city.
Now granted, the Sofitel sticks out like a sore thumb there, being the only development the area has seen in the last 30 years, but as a living option you could definitely do much worse. I’ve been there a few times since I first wrote this review in 2011 and never had a bad stay.
For hotels in its price bracket, the Sofitel is tough to beat.
And so are the Mavenettes….
SOFITEL MACAU LOCATION
The Sofitel is the only casino hotel on the old Macau peninsula that isn’t close to the Amizade Strip, and for more than a few people, that counts as a very good thing.