Macau Budget Hotels (Never Again)
(Last updated: October 12, 2023)
The following 7 hotels are off my radar completely, and should be off yours too.
Date Visited: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour by Praca Preta Square Price: $385
When I first walked into Macau Home I thought it was actually a whorehouse in disguise like the notorious Vo Peng on the Street of Happiness, but I was wrong.
Whatever those girls get up to happens outside the hotel, and I never saw or heard anything that suggested otherwise doing my stay.
Check in consisted of one word English utterances from an older Chinese lady who definitely could have been more pleasant, but at least she was nice enough to return my iPod after I accidentally left it beside the front desk.
Very similar to Tin Lai, the rooms at Macau Home are small but clean, and there isn’t anything you can really point to for criticism, other than the size.
I killed some kind of huge bug that jumped onto the bed and maybe bit my foot, and when I swatted it, the blood spray was quite impressive for an insect of that size.
I thought bugs had green or brown blood too, so where did all that red come from? Anyway, I knocked the cleanliness down to 3 because of that grisly encounter, but there were no more unwanted visitors after that.
Free water amounted to one bottle from the Grandview Hotel, which is super strange considering it’s way down in Taipa and I doubt they have any affiliation. The bed was a little bit too hard for my liking, but not a deal breaker by any means.
Macau Home is basically the same as Villa Ka Meng, just more expensive, every day of the week. That’s why it’s down here on this list, but only barely so. It’s not a rip off per se, but you can do far, far better for the same price, by staying at Macau Hotel S, or the East Asia instead.
I got to give kudos to its amazing lobby though, maybe I can do something like that somehow in my apartment???
Location: 3 Check In: 2 Room Size: 1 Bed: 2 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 5 AC: 5 Water: 1 Noise: 5 Bathroom: 3
Date Visited: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 Location: Street of Happiness Price: $360
Villa Universal is another hotel that isn’t totally wretched, just plagued by a few core problems that prevent it from ranking more favorably in this guide.
A nicer version of the San Va, the rooms are much larger and come with private bathrooms and good air conditioning.
Unfortunately they also have the same paper thin walls that allow you to hear everything going on outside. The beds are also super hard, the hardest of all the hotels in this guide, and I had to sleep on top of some extra blankets just to make it more comfortable. If you’re used to soft comfy beds, then the Villa Universal becomes Villa Unlivable.
A couple of other things also bothered me, mostly related to the hotel being unnecessarily cheap. There was no free water given, nor are towels provided in the bathroom, although they’ll give you a small one at the front desk if you ask. For a Westerner, it’s closer in size to a facecloth, but you take what you can get in that situation.
If the Villa Universal were $100 Mops cheaper, then maybe I could look past its shortcomings and recommend it over the San Va, but it’s priced itself out of relevancy. Macau Hotel S is just down the road and costs about the same thing, so why would you ever consider staying here?
Location: 5 Check In: 3 Room Size: 3 Bed: 1 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 5 AC: 4 Water: 0 Noise: 2 Bathroom: 3
Date Visited: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour by Praca Preta Square Price: $440
If the Macau Masters were a person, it’d definitely have a split personality, because it’s either great or grotesque, sickly or stunning. Starting with the room decoration, elements of skid row exist, in the rude casino like carpet, old shoddy cabinet and extremely questionable chairs.
At the same time, the wooden tables were in great shape, the TV was new, and the bed extremely comfortable. Even the wallpaper was sort of styling and that’s not something that I write about wallpaper very often, if ever.
Being a green hotel, no smoking is allowed anywhere on the premises, which I totally commend, while the room had two special features seldom found in budget hotels. The first was a fully operational fridge in great condition and the second was a nifty high tech smartphone that can be taken around town, so that you’ll always have Wifi.
As for negatives, the two worst things about the hotel were the front desk staff and in room Wifi. Check in was atrocious, super slow, their English levels virtually non-existent. The Masters is quite a large hotel and it was maddening to wait in line watching them leisurely walk around, fiddle with papers, and have all the urgency of someone laid out in a hot tub drinking champagne with a babe. I mean, I’ve literally seen middle aged women at afternoon tea who had more intensity than that lot. Check out the next day which was exactly more of the same, just slower and worse!
The Wifi was just brutal too, cutting out for hours before coming back online for 10 minutes, before disappearing again. I would have phoned the front desk to ask them to reset it, except they wouldn’t have understood a word I said. Anyway, the experience with the Wifi was by far the worst of all the hotels in this guide.
Look, the Masters might be onto something if they tighten everything up and address their shortcomings, but I’m not going to hold my breath (or stay there again) waiting for that to happen. Somehow less than the sum of its parts, it doesn’t check enough boxes for me.
The last thing worth mentioning is Darling Sauna, which is run by an independent operator on the 3rd floor. I first came to know Darling Sauna when it was at Jai Alai before that whole complex got detonated and restored. The same exact setup is at play at the Masters – the first thing you do is come to a large room with about 25 girls sitting in the middle, barely wearing anything at all. The manager said it was $1600 for a Vietnamese girl, $1800 for a mainlander and $2120 for a Chinese model, but I didn’t see any big difference between a model and a normal girl. In fact, the best looking one was also the cheapest, a smoking hot babe hailing from Vietnam rocking a bikini like few women have ever rocked one before.
I wouldn’t pay $1600 for her though, I wouldn’t pay $6. The way I look at it, that money should be coming my way….
Location: 3 Check In: 1 Room Size: 4 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 0 AC: 5 Water: 3 Noise: 2 Bathroom: 4
HOTEL CINCO OCEANUS
Date Visited: June 23, 2023 Location: Inner Harbour by Praca Preta Square Price: $511
Hotel Cinco Oceanus (AKA Five Oceans) sounds like a prequel to Oceans Eleven, except there’s no way George Clooney and his crew are ever frequenting this farce. Although it opened recently in 2020, the cracks have started to form already, beginning with the rather obvious one in the bathroom sink. Where I come from, rust never sleeps and over here you can replace that with mould, and its grisly infestation was starting to hang over the room like dark clouds.
Mark my words, Cinco Oceanus isn’t going to hold up over the long haul, and the fact that it’s already in this condition just three years after opening, does not indicate much of a future.
The bed was also too hard for my liking, while sound proofing was an issue as well, with the occasional sound of cars and motorbikes filtering in from the big road below. On the flip side, the air conditioning was strong and the Wifi excellent, but almost every hotel in this budget guide gets those two things right.
Check in was interesting as the front desk girl couldn’t figure out how to scan my passport page, stumbling and bumbling around for what seemed like a good two minutes. The problem was that she was actually scanning my Chinese visa from over three years ago which just goes to show how many Western guests they usually get. After I pointed out the issue she quickly found the right page, then we were able to talk and joke from there. So while there will certainly be no English coming from them, at the least our interaction was far more friendly and amusing than it normally is.
While waiting at the front desk I spotted some sort of breakfast menu that was all in Chinese, with most selections ranging from $32 to $48. Given the overall state of the hotel, I wouldn’t touch anything on it with a ten foot pole.
Location: 3 Check In: 4 Room Size: 4 Bed: 3 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 5 AC: 5 Water: 3 Noise: 3 Bathroom: 3
Date Visited: June 24, 2023 Location: Rua de Santa Filomena, No 20 (Between St. Paul’s and Senado Square) Price: $440
Pensao Elegante currently has two hotels in Macau, with a third one scheduled to open on the Street of Happiness. I stayed at the one right around Mariazinha, just off the main road that links Senado Square to St. Paul’s.
There was no English at the front desk, but they let us check in two hours early and gave us the biggest room to boot (#304). So while they are definitely nice people and I’d like to thank them for that, communication will be extremely limited if you don’t know Chinese.
Pensao Elegante is yet another hotel where the bed is like a slab of stone. Obviously it’s not quite that bad and I’m exaggerating a little, but the vast majority of Western guests probably have no idea just how hard a Chinese bed can get. It is also a bit of a steep walk to get up to the hotel, which is only made worse with luggage.
As I said before, if you live in #304 you’ve hit the jackpot as it’s easily the biggest one in the whole hotel. I was able to sneak a few peaks at adjoining rooms and they all looked half the size. I would normally say if you snag that room you’ve hit it big, but that bed is a huge disqualifier for me. The AC also wasn’t exactly turning the room into a fridge, while no free water was given, only a kettle.
Overall, I’d say that even Pensao Elegante’s best room isn’t good enough. Even though the Wifi was great and everything inside spotless, that bed is just too much to overcome.
Location: 1 Check In: 4 Room Size: 2 or 5 Bed: 1 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 5 AC: 3 Water: 0 Noise: 4 Bathroom: 5
PERFECT FAMILY HOTEL
Date Visited: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour, 30號 R. da Ribeira do Patane Price: $330
I was reading about cancer the other night, how genetics can cause it, and the reasons why some people are more susceptible to the disease. One of its more terrible expressions is a process called a lethal recessive mutation, which is when gene copying goes so horribly wrong that it ends up killing the organism. It’s death and destruction derived purely from within, and no matter how strong or healthy the entity otherwise is, its fate is forever sealed.
Just like living things, I think that hotels can have lethal recessive mutations too, when one aspect of the property is so deficient that it doesn’t matter how good the rest of it is. The Perfect Family suffers from such a condition, and that condition has to do with NOISE. It’s right on one of Macau’s busiest roads, Run da Patane, the main thoroughfare that runs along the Inner Harbour. Given that the hotel building is probably well over 50 years old, and there’s clearly no proper soundproof insulation, your stay there is certain to be affected by it.
Even if the hotel was dead silent, I still wouldn’t recommend it. The Grand Harbour is right across the road and costs about the same, but has much larger rooms that come with bathtubs.
While the Perfect Family room is definitely prettier and a lot nicer to look at, the Happy Family by the Grand Lisboa has the exact same decor and the much superior location. Bottom line? The rooms are extremely nice and everything inside is kept very clean, but no traveler should have to put up the sounds of cars, buses and motorbikes 24-7.
A Perfect Hotel it is not!
Location: 2 Check In: 5 Room Size: 1 Bed: 3 Cleanliness: 5 Wifi: 5 AC: 5 Water: 0 Noise: 0 Bathroom: 2
Date Visited: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour by Praca Preta Square Price: $445
The London is no better than Villa Ka Meng or Tin Lai, yet they have the audacity to charge $100 more. That’s basically all you need to know in one sentence or less, but I will go into a little more detail.
Starting with the good, the London doesn’t require a deposit and provides 4 free bottles of water, double what most hotels give. The positives end there though, as rooms are extremely small and basic, consisting of just one bed, one desk, and one chair.
The bathroom is also nothing special, although it is kept exceptionally clean.
Located right beside Macau Hotel S, if you find yourself dragging your suitcase into the London, then you’ve made a rather large mistake. One is a legitimate hotel, the other a well maintained semi-hovel that often costs $70 more a night.
Location: 3 Check In: 4 Room Size: 1 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 5 AC: 2 Water: 5 Noise: 2 Bathroom: 3
ASIA BOUTIQUE INN
Date Visited: Tuesday, January 15, 2020 Location: Taipa Village Price: $450
The Asia Boutique Inn is the only hotel in Taipa Village, and even if my whole trip to Macau revolved around being in Taipa Village, I would live somewhere else.
That’s a pretty big slap in the face I know, but the Asia Boutique deserves everything it’s going to get. Outside of the Wifi which scored a 5, every other important category was in the 1 to 3 range, as in mediocre at best. Check in was predictably cold, but she did drop the deposit down from $200 to $100, as well as give me a room with one King bed.
Decidedly blah, I wasn’t impressed with the cheap plastic chair or small TV, while the homely green wallpaper needed to go ASAP as well.
Mould was beginning to grow along parts of the wall which is always disgusting, but at least the bathroom was kept very clean, and was the best part of the room.
The bed was a disaster, super hard with springs starting to come out the top, which did not lead to a very good night’s steep. That was only exacerbated by the road outside, which is the main one in Taipa Village, and always humming with the sounds of cars, bikes and buses. At least it did quiet down a bit at night.
Far too simple and basic, the Asia Boutique Hotel only suits travelers with business in Taipa Village, but even then I’d give it a pass. The Regency Art Hotel is the easy call even though it’s 15 to 20 minutes away by foot. Macau buses work pretty good too, and hopefully so do your two legs, so choose the superior option by far. And when you’re kicking it outside by those pools or spread out like a saint in the hot tub, you’ll know you’ve made the right choice.
Location: 3 Check In: 3 Room Size: 2 Bed: 1 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 5 AC: 4 Water: 3 Noise: 3 Bathroom: 4
Date Visited: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Location: Street of Happiness Price: $555
The Kou Va rooms look like the final desperation hangouts of bank robbers on the lam, who get apprehended somewhere in the American Midwest by federal authorities.
Straddling the line between shoddy and just okay, they feel unbelievably cold and sterile, like you’ve entered a place where dreams have died, where bad intentions go belly up.
In no way whatsoever do they justify the price – a whopping $555? – given that the carpet is super dodgy, the furnishings lackluster, and how cold it gets in there in winter. In the middle of December, I literally had to sleep under three blankets just to feel warm, and winter hadn’t really even arrived yet!
Wifi was also unstable, occasionally cutting out, while no water of any kind was provided – just the standard Chinese kettle. And as my super high maintenance friend used to say to her lap dog boyfriend whenever he did something she didn’t like: Um no Kou Va… I wanted bottles of water.
In terms of positives, the room is super huge and the shower could totally accommodate three people at once, if you’re into that kind of thing.
At the same time, it had all the charm of those found next to public swimming pools or beaches, where brute force functionality takes precedence over all else. I guess the Kou Va is just incapable of giving their guests anything nice.
$555 is very close to what rooms at the Sintra or Royal cost, provided you snag a big enough deal at the right time. As such, the Kou Va is ridiculously overpriced and no option of any kind, particularly for travellers who value comfort, warmth and money.
Location: 5 Check In: 4 Room Size: 5 Bed: 3 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 3 AC: 4 Water: 0 Noise: 4 Bathroom: 4