The Maven Meter: Ponte 16 Casino & Sofitel Hotel
(Last updated: May 20, 2020)
Nestled up against the old Inner Harbour, in an area that could be termed Macau’s skid row, resides one of the city’s best looking luxury hotels.
Still fairly new, the Softiel Macau opened its doors on February 1st, 2008, and is generally considered to be one of Macau’s top mid-range options.
Operating under the SJM casino license, the stylish Ponte 16 casino is a partnership between SJM (51%) and Success Universe Group Ltd (49%).
SOFITEL MACAU PHOTO GALLERY
PONTE 16 CASINO GAMES
Baccarat – Minimum bet of $1000. There’s also one $500 table upstairs, hidden in the VIP section, but I don’t think it opens to the general public.
Commission Free Baccarat – Minimum bet is $100.
Blackjack – Sweet low minimum bet of $100.
Fan Tan – Minimum bets for Fan, Nim and Kwok are $200, while Nga Tan is $400 and Sheh Sam Hong $300.
That’s very very weird. Sheh Sam Hong bets across town are always 3 times the amount of Fan, Tim and Kwok bets, except they’re only $100 more here.
FYI, 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 250 machines spread over the ground and first floor, with lows either 5 or 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 PROMOTIONS
I usually don’t bother sharing this kind of information anymore, but Ponte 16 is one of my favorite casinos and I use their free shuttle service and luggage storage so damn often, that I should return the favor somehow.
Let’s start with new member rewards, which revolve around instant draw tickets. One ticket is given just by signing up, a second one after accumulating 2 points (in 1 day), while every 10 points accrued thereafter returns yet another draw ticket.
Prizes up for grabs include a $300 and $1000 HKD promotional chip, and a $50 and $100 F&B voucher.
Here are some other prizes available through point accumulation.
PONTE 16 VIP GAMING
Located in the second floor Bordeaux Room, Ponte 16’s offers two VIP gaming programs.
The first one is more straightforward, returning 1% immediately on buy ins over $5000.
The second one requires much more substantial rolling turnover, but allows for the chips to be traded in for cash, whenever the player wants.
Free rooms at the Sofitel can be secured with a cash buy in of $60,000 from Sunday to Thursday and $80,000 on Friday and Saturday.
Club members can also get rooms at the Sofitel for $1,100 Sunday to Thursday and $1,400 Friday and Saturday. However, unlike before, you need to gamble “for awhile” to qualify for the offer, which isn’t even a good one anymore. You can probably get the rooms cheaper yourself going through travel agents or on booking websites like Ctrip or Agoda.
Kim Fung VIP – Ponte 16 has one private VIP club located on the 3rd floor. Kim Fung returns 1.1% (monthly) or 0.9% (immediate) on amounts rolled in excess of $100,000.
SOFITEL MACAU HOTEL
As mentioned above, booking rooms through online travel sites will probably save you around $200 to $300 Mops, which is the price I’ve used below.
They’re also inclusive of all tax and service charges.
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 as follows.
Children under 4 eat for free.
Mistral’s a la carte menu is a lot larger than before. Selections include appetizers and salad ($88 to $148), soup ($108/$128), pizza and pasta ($138 to $168), sandwiches and burgers ($168/$188) and grilled or pan seared ($198 to $398). Cantonese and Asian selections are also available for $158 to $178.
Mistral is located on the 6th floor and is open daily from 7 am to 10 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, their 2 page menu features starters for $108 to $148, main course fish and meat for $168 to $328 while dessert is $78. Set meals come and go according to the season, but mostly cost around $500 per person.
For a review of my horrible dinner there, please click here: Prive.
Prive is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Le Chinois Cantonese Restaurant – 18th floor Chinese restaurant looks real upscale but the prices don’t match. Appetizers go for $48 to $128, while soup runs $42 to $168, and rice and noodles $108 to $168. Abalone and dried seafood will have you reaching for your wallet (as they always do) with prices $128 to $588, while seafood is just $148 to $168 and meat mains $98 to $108. Other things on the menu include barbecue ($128 to $268), casserole ($128 to $188), and vegetarian selections ($108 to $148).
Dim sum is the star of the show at lunch with most selections $32 to $48.
There’s also a very attractive 2 course set available for $488, which includes some big name premium fare.
Le Chinois keeps hours from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm in the afternoon and again from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm at night.
SOFITAL MACAU SPA
The Sofitel has two spas, including one that stays open all night.
So Spa – The So Spa scrapped their stupid Peak and Off Peak prices in favor of a single one that’s good 7 days a week.
Massages runs either $850 to $980 (60 mins) or $1150 to $1250 (90 mins), while 60 minute facials are $850 and body wraps and scrubs $300 to $750. They also offer more comprehensive 120 to 160 minute treatments that are $988 to $1500 while one for couples lasts three hours and costs $2850.
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 can get 20% off.
The 16 Foot Massage – I thought the 16 Foot Massage was legit for years, before finding out their Prostate Massages are actually hand jobs ($520) in disguise, while happy ending massages run $890 and full service $1500.
Apart from that I’d still like to recommend it, simply because the door pass allows you to stay in there overnight. Costing only $230, 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.
45 minute massage goes for $258 to $558, while 90 minute massage is $588 to $687 and 120 minute varieties $808. There’s also some basic hand and ear care available for $230 to $258.
Located on the 3rd floor, the 16 Foot Massage never closes.
SOFITEL MACAU GYM
The gym at Sofitel continues to be very disappointing. It’s basically just a bunch of free weights and cardio machines, with next to no heavy duty lifting equipment. For a luxury hotel, that’s not going to cut it.
On the bright side, the men and women’s change rooms do come equipped with sauna and steam rooms, free for all guests to use.
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.
They have a huge wine list with labels from all over the world, including New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and of course, France and Italy. Most bottles stay under $500, while single glasses stay between $54 and $198.
Beer is an inexpensive $48 to $52, while cocktails are $78 to $98 and most hard stuff $62 to $110.
Current special is Buy 1 Get 1 free from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Afternoon tea, meanwhile runs $198 per person.
The bar also serves food like soup ($88), sandwiches/burgers/pasta ($108 to $148), steak ($160/$180) and Asian selections ($118 to $148).
Rendezvous is located in the lobby and keeps hours daily from 11 am to 1 am.
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 $98 to $138. Main course meat selections cost $88 to $188 while rice dishes are available for $68 to $88 and standard bar snacks $35 to $65. A few different dinner sets run $128/$158/$188 while a delicious looking sausage platter costs $198.
MJ Cafe also serves a lot of drinks, including lattes ($28 to $38), cocktails ($68), wine ($68 to $78), beer ($78), and hard stuff like cognac, whisky and gin ($58 to $80). A half liter of Sangria finally is $78.
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 wine on offer.
Hours at the MJ Cafe are from 11 am to 1 pm daily.
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.