Grand Coloane Resort
Our Grand Prix story actually began on Friday morning after Jane and I crossed the Gongbei Border Gate at 11:00 am. We then made the long journey down to Coloane to check into our hotel for the night, the Grand Coloane Resort.
The cheapest way to do it would have been to take a free Sands Cotai bus to the Cotai Strip and then hopped a public bus from there, but we were in a bit of a hurry. Cabs at the Border Gate are easy to get though and we were in one in no time. The ride took about 25 minutes and the fare ran $150, which is just about the most expensive a Macau cab ride can cost.
Probably the most isolated of all Macau hotels, the Grand Coloane is located near Hac Sa Beach on a road that eventually leads to Ka Ho Village, a place that 99.5% of Macau tourists don’t even know exists, let alone ever visits.
The location is either the hotel’s biggest attribute or its biggest knock depending on what you want out of your trip. If you’re looking to sightsee and hit all of Macau’s top sites, then the Grand Coloane is probably too far out. If you just want to get away from it all though with a resort type of experience, then it’s definitely a hotel that you should consider.
Formerly known as the Westin Macau, the Grand Coloane was purchased by the Ho family who took it over sometime in the summer or late spring of 2014. The handover was so fresh that the bus stop out front was still named the Westin and every hotel brochure had the Westin insignia.
Jane and I booked during Grand Prix weekend when rates are always whack, so I’ll just say how much they usually cost during high season in the summer. Generally speaking, the cheapest room goes for about $900 to $1200 from Sunday to Thursday and $1300 to $1450 on the weekend.
These prices are very good when you compare them to the rates at Pousada de Coloane, Grand Coloane’s most natural competitor. The Pousada de Coloane costs about the same even though the Grand Coloane is the far more comprehensive hotel, with much larger rooms and way more amenities.
To start with, the outdoor recreation area is excellent, highlighted by two or three large swimming pools.
There’s also another smaller pool inside, along with a jacuzzi.
The gym is extremely comprehensive with a heavy assortment of cardio and lifting equipment, although most of it seems as old as the hotel.
The outdoor recreation area also has a children’s playground, as well as a small soccer pitch.
Tennis courts are hidden away in a secluded section of the hotel, and come super cheap, with the magic number just $75 per hour. If you require tennis racquet rental, that’s only $35.
In terms of spa facilities, both men and women have saunas and steam rooms in their change room, while a third party operator runs the private Nirvana Day Spa on the 2nd floor. Prices are excellent with facials $650 to $700, 60 minute massage $330 to $700, and other hand and feet care from $200 to $480. Compared to spas on the Cotai Strip, everything is about half price.
Golf is another large draw at the Grand Coloane, since the Macau Golf and Country Club is located right behind the hotel, accessible via the top floor of the resort. A serious golf course played on by professionals each year at the Macau Open Golf Tournament, 18 holes cost $2030 on weekdays and $3140 on weekends. Golf cart rental ($410) and caddy service ($410) are both mandatory, so factor that in as well.
The last thing to note about the hotel and parents should love this, is the Kids Club. Free for in-house guests, it offers toys, books and games suitable for children aged 5 to 12, all conducted under the supervision of friendly Filipino staff. More comprehensive activities like arts and crafts, treasure hunts, face painting, games and sports are also available, with full day programs (6 activities) running $458, and half day programs (3 activities) $258. For any extra activity on top of that, each one costs $100.
Back to the hotel now, the Grand Coloane has been around for decades, and as such, moisture and dampness have done a number on the carpet and hallways of the common areas, but individual rooms are in much better shape. Somewhat surprisingly, they really don’t vary much in quality or appearance as you move up the grades from Superior to Grand to Grand Deluxe to Suites, so I’d just book the cheapest one available and roll with that.
I also don’t think there’s much of a difference between the Garden, Ocean and Beach Views either, since every single room at the Grand Coloane Resort will have a balcony overlooking water.
Jane and I stayed in a Grand Beach King and were both impressed with the size of the room, which checked in at 66 square meters.
Furniture was neither of exceptional quality nor brand new, but was certainly good enough.
While I didn’t see any of the “vibrant, contemporary decor” or “East meets West sensibility” that their website describes, the room was peaceful, pleasant and clean, with zero black marks.
The bathroom was extra big with enough space for a bathtub and stand up shower, although I did have issues getting hot water to have a bath.
When showering though, it wasn’t a problem.
The balcony could have used some sprucing up, whether that be more plants or nicer tables and chairs.
However, the views of Hac Sa Beach more than made up for that, and should be on a postcard somewhere!
Just to show you how similar rooms at the Grand Coloane Resort are, here are four pictures of their Suite that I took while on a short tour of the hotel and its facilities.
Save for the extra living room and bathroom, everything inside was basically the same as what we had in our room.
Between 9 am and midnight, the hotel has a free shuttle service that hits three stops: The Cotai Strip, Taipa and Macau Ferry Terminal. Buses to each destination run twice an hour and you can also hop a bus back to the hotel from those three locales as well. There’s also a second Cotai route that accesses Coloane Village, the Giant Panda Pavilion and Taipa Ferry Terminal, but is only available between Fridays and Sundays, from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm.
For public buses, there are only two: the 15 and the 21A, which go between the isolated Ka Ho settlement and Taipa’s Jockey Club and A Ma Temple respectively. They both cost $6 and have interval times of about 30 minutes. Keep in mind that drivers don’t accept bills and exact change is required.
The last thing I’d like to mention is food. I wouldn’t call dining a strong suit of the hotel (more on that later) so I’d like to recommend good restaurants in the area. If you order the right things, the Portuguese eatery Miramar will do just fine, located just steps away from the hotel. Fernando can be awesome as well over at Hac Sa Beach, while Coloane Village has two more joints worth mentioning in Nga Tim and Espaco Lisboa.
Looking back at it now, Jane and I probably made a mistake by staying at the Grand Coloane, since we had business at the Grand Prix, and didn’t get a chance to enjoy everything the hotel has to offer. It’s the type of resort you could stay in all day and never leave, particularly if you have children. I’m not sure how attractive an option it would be in winter, but in summer it certainly looks very appealing.
We wanted to stay in a hotel that was closer to the race so Jane and I bid farewell to the Grand Coloane Resort on Saturday morning. We hopped the free shuttle bus to the Cotai Strip, then took a City of Dreams bus to Hotel Sintra. From there we walked over to our new hotel for Saturday night, the Royal.