Macau Budget Hotels (The Worst)
(Last updated: October 12, 2023)
Now we are starting to get to hotels that are disgusting and/or distasteful in some way, and I wouldn’t be caught dead staying in them again, even if they were free.
(Well knowing me I probably still would, but you get the point.)
DORMY BOUTIQUE HOSTEL
Date Visited: September 11, 2023 Location: No 12 Calcade da Rocha (Between St. Paul’s and Senado Square) Price: $360
I’ve had a few bad stays during this budget guide, but the Dormy Boutique Hostel probably takes the cake.
Picture this. You’ve booked a stay online at this hotel, and have also written your name down correctly on the booking form. Because hey, you’re not in kindergarten anymore so you know how to do it right. And then when you get to the front desk, a woman who can’t speak English sticks an iPad in your face with a solitary English sentence that reads “Contact your booking website to change your name because it’s different than what’s on your passport.”
It’s 10 pm, girl. Why don’t you just look at my passport photo, compare the faces, the first and last names, and then give me my key? You know, like how it’s done in every single place in Macau? I mean, not even on the mainland would they have the audacity to pull a stunt like that.
What if for some reason you can’t connect to the hotel Wifi? What if your phone couldn’t make phone calls, since you’d need a Macau SIM card and how many people ever have one of those on their trip, especially before they’ve checked in? What if the said booking site, I don’t know, took an hour to get back to you? What if they didn’t get back to you at all?
This situation not only happened to me but to an Asian American woman in front of me. Probably in her 30s she absolutely lost it and showed the world what an adult 2 year old child looks like, continually screaming in full throat: “Call the police! This is discrimination! This is illegal! You will lose your job! Give me the key now!!” It would have made for grand theatre except I would shortly be in the same boat as her.
So as Crazy Woman continued yelling, I said, it’s time to check me in, which the front desk girl refused to do. You see, she had heard us speaking English in line together and just assumed we were together, even though we both told her we weren’t. She said, “I’m not checking you in, your friend here wants to call the police and we will wait for the police.” And then she smiled to a Chinese guy who was behind me, and just like that, two minutes later he had his key.
Eventually the police actually did come to sort the situation out. Before that, we spoke to someone on the phone who could speak English and might have been the hotel manager. Her explanation was they had to be this strict or how else could they know who we really were? Because passports have pictures too, you dumb ass.
The whole check in process took over an hour and I indeed had to contact C Trip to change the name on my booking. The issue was my passport had a middle name, while my booking reservation did not. For the record, that has never happened to me another place in Macau or the mainland and I’ve been around these parts since 2002. Draw your own conclusions about why the hotel staff were so difficult when they didn’t have to be.
I know I’ve made my mind up. They don’t like us, and they don’t want us there. Simple as that. Who cares about the rest of the review? Unless you’re Chinese, stay far far away from the Dormy Boutique Hostel.
Location: 1 Check In: (-5) Room Size: 4 Bed: 2 Cleanliness: 5 Wifi: 5 AC: 5 Water: 3 Noise: 5 Bathroom: 4
Date Visited: Wednesday, January 16, 2020 Location: Street of Happiness Price: $540
$540 for a room at the Hong Thai is straight out stealing, so don’t be an active participant in your own victim hood. This hotel is bogus, they know it and my whole stay there was disappointing from beginning to end. It started right at check in which sounded like a construction site, as they were in the middle of a renovation. Even up on the 4th floor the drilling and work could sometimes be heard, which no traveler should have to put up with.
The first room they gave me stunk of cigarette smoke, even though it was supposed to be non-smoking. The cleaning lady came by and tried to spray some freshener but I said that wasn’t going to cut it. After complaining to the front desk, I was given another room on the same floor which was smaller and not as nice, but at least had fresh air.
Just as Jules in Pulp Fiction would say, not only is Hong Thai not in the same league, it’s not even the same sport.
Granted, they do some things reasonably well, in that everything was clean, the bed nice and the bathroom spotless, but it’s barely worth spending more than $400 for, let alone $500.
To top it off, I’m pretty sure I left my pajama top in the room too, but when I returned a week later to get it, the desk man just shrugged his shoulders and said nope, we’ve got nothing here, sorry. Yeah whatever, we both know you probably threw it out two seconds after I checked out.
Location: 4 Check In: 1 Room Size: 2 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 5 Wifi: 5 AC: 4 Water: 3 Noise: 2 Bathroom: 4
Date Visited: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 Location: Street of Happiness Price: $430
For years I’d always been under the impression that the Man Va is a nice hotel – it’s not. The rooms are outfitted with cheap throwaway wood furnishings and one weird metal chair that came straight from an interrogation room somewhere.
How they can charge $430 per night is beyond me, given the appalling dearth of comfort and clear commitment to customer disservice.
Every part of the Man Va is in serious need of a facelift, from the hallways to the elevator, the lobby to the wretched worn out rooms. The only bright spot was the bathroom, which actually wasn’t half bad.
Everything else though? Just yuck.
Location: 5 Check In: 2 Room Size: 2 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 1 Wifi: 3 AC: 3 Water: 0 Noise: 3 Bathroom: 4
POUSADA MARINA INFANTE
Date Visited: Thursday, November 7, 2019 Location: Cotai, beside Galaxy and Broadway Macau Price: $450
The Pousada Marina Infante has two things going for it: location and price, given that it’s the cheapest place to stay in Cotai. Rooms fluctuate between $425 and $475 in the low season, which is about $300 to $400 cheaper than Broadway Macau. Even other nearby budget options that aren’t in Cotai (Grand Dragon and Grandview) cost about $100 to $150 more, and they’re a good 10 minutes away on foot.
Other than the location being (somewhat) great, PMI is a dump, and I almost wanted to take a shower after staying there.
Reminiscent of 2 and 3 star hovels on the mainland, the rooms are throw up rude, with shoddy wood furnishings, homely drapes and nasty brown carpeting that looks a million years old.
The Wifi is very unreliable the closer you move away from the door, and I spent most of my stay sitting on the floor wedged between the wall and the closet, wondering why I couldn’t be relaxing on the bed like a normal person.
After walking around the property, it’s clear that no one really cares about anything, with the men’s changing room on the 1st floor the best proof of that. Tarped up from one side to the other, perhaps you can make the case that they are currently renovating, but I bet it’s been in that sorry condition for 5 years now.
The sauna, which I couldn’t wait to use, was naturally out of order, and probably has been since 2012.
Chinese check-ins are really starting to bother me too, probably because I’m finally tiring of China, 15 years in. Would it kill staff to smile, say please or thank you, and just generally look like they’re happy to see you? Their rigid assembly line manner is as boring as it is predictable, and not the kind of interaction anyone wants to start a stay with.
As for positives, the rooms are very big, with fairly good bathrooms that have bathtubs. A fridge is also provided, although it doesn’t have any free drinks inside. The first floor has a small indoor pool along with a small gym, the only hotel in this budget guide other than the Regency Art and Inn Hotel that offers those two amenities.
Even though PMI is the cheapest place to stay in Cotai by a good margin, I’ll never return. I’d rather pay the extra cash and stay at Grand Dragon or Grandview instead, two hotels down the road that actually give a damn.
Location: 5 Check In: 2 Room Size: 5 Bed: 3 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 1 AC: 5 Water: 3 Noise: 5 Bathroom: 5
VILLA TONG KENG
Date Visited: Thursday, November 21, 2019 Location: By the Street of Happiness Price: $400
I actually dropped in on the Villa Tong Keng before staying there, just to make sure it was worth staying at. I sprinted up to the 2nd floor around lunch, took a quick look at two or three empty rooms and decided to give it a go next time I was in town.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was actually at Vila Universal instead, and that Vila Tong Keng was one floor up. Had I gone to the right place there’s no way that I would have booked the hotel later on, given the grim insipid malaise that grips the guesthouse, in particular, the dreary destitute rooms.
Check in was handled as you’d expect it to, in that he looked at my passport like it came from Mars and quickly handed it back, asking for the booking number instead. Of course I never know what it is, and had to rifle through a bunch of my emails to find it first, an inconvenience I always find extremely annoying.
Rooms are pretty gross, outfitted with cheap furnishings and basically no space. The only positives were that it was pretty clean, and the bed unbelievably comfortable, just the right mix of firm and soft.
All through the afternoon a ton of noise leaked in from the street outside, whether it came from cars, machinery, people moving things, or just good, old fashioned bird call Cantonese. The AC did a fine job, as did the Wifi, which mostly kept me online uninterrupted, while I wasn’t as lucky with free drinking water, as none was provided.
The worst part of the room was the bathroom, a sorry space that was far too small, which made showering, and almost everything else too, difficult to do.
The Villa Tong Keng is not any kind of proper hotel, nor is it much of a guesthouse either. It still bothers me to this day that I paid $400 for it.
Location: 4 Check In: 1 Room Size: 1 Bed: 5 Cleanliness: 4 Wifi: 4 AC: 4 Water: 0 Noise: 1 Bathroom: 1
Date Visited: Friday, September 27, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour by Praca Preta Square Price: $415*
The Hou Kong bathrooms are straight up rude, and I doubt anyone who ventures into that bathtub comes out alive.
The bleak coffin shaped rooms are no better, decidedly dark and depressing, outfitted with atrocious wall tiling and sickly floor patterns. Sleep definitely came with special comfort that night though, simply because my eyes were shut and I didn’t have to look at any of it anymore.
Noise might be an issue due to fairly thin walls, while the bed is super hard, made for the Chinese audience in mind. There’s also no free water provided of any kind, which is completely unacceptable, given you can’t drink it from the tap.
As for positives, the AC unit is super strong, the Wifi never quit, and the desk staff spoke good English, even lending me a charger to juice up my iPad.
*Hou Kong’s price was a little inflated because it was a Friday night, in normal circumstances, expect it to be in the $350 to 370 range. You’d be crazy to consider it though.
Location: 3 Check In: 5 Room Size: 2 Bed: 2 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 5 AC: 5 Water: 0 Noise: 3 Bathroom: 1
Date Visited: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Location: By Kiang Wu Hospital Price: $370
The Holiday Hotel was very disappointing, as I was kind of under the impression that it was a bona fide hotel, like the Grand Harbour. What I got unfortunately was a room that was super small and not even as nice as the ones at Tin Lai or Macau Home. Mold was starting to do its dirty work on the walls, spreading its filth out to all four corners, while furnishings amounted to one miniature TV and a set of wooden numbers that have seen better days.
No water of any kind was provided and the AC unit didn’t seem like it had much juice, toiling to keep the room at 25 degrees. For my visit, it didn’t really matter that much, but it could be a serious issue come summer.
Old and obviously old, the Holiday Hotel doesn’t give guests any incentive to stay there. Make your holiday plans elsewhere!
Location: 2 Check In: 4 Room Size: 1 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 2 Wifi: 4 AC: 3 Water: 0 Noise: 5 Bathroom: 3
TOWNS WELL MOTEL
Date Visited: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 Location: Close to Senado Square, off the “Shoe Street” Price: $375
The Towns Well Motel carries the distinction of being the most disgusting hotel on this list, and it’s not particularly close. One step out of the elevator and I was instantly engulfed by the thick stale stench of old cigarette smoke, something I hadn’t smelled in 30 years. It instantly reminded me of visiting my Grandmother in the 1980’s, a woman wasting away in a tiny wretched shack drinking out the last days of her life. In fact, I still do not know and am not aware of the circumstances surrounding her death, that’s how close we all were.
Anyway, the Towns Well Motel is foul and really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of accommodation in Macau. The wooden table and chair need immediate replacing and belong in a dumpster somewhere, being of such condition and quality that not even the homeless would use them. The carpet looked 20 years old and had holes in it, while the AC was a cheap unit that had trouble keeping the temperature at 25 degrees Celsius. One bed was fine while the other one was on its last legs, its springs starting to misbehave and come out the top. Luckily for me there were two of them so I just slept on the good one.
Check in was conducted via translation software, as in he typed what he wanted to say then showed it to me. Obviously that’s not a glaring indictment, just don’t expect much in the way of help or small talk if you live there. He did let me pay $200 for the deposit, instead of $300, which was appreciated.
The only good things about the room were the Wifi, which always worked, and the bathroom, which was large and relatively clean.
Location: 4 Check In: 1 Room Size: 3 Bed: 1 Cleanliness: 0 Wifi: 5 AC: 2 Water: 3 Noise: 4 Bathroom: 4
Date Visited: Thursday, October 17, 2019 Location: Inner Harbour, 86 Haibian Street Price: $348
Usually when you check in at these kinds of small hotels you can do so early, without any issue. At Deluxe Hostel I was expecting the same treatment, as I could see rooms were clearly empty and there was hardly anyone there. Arriving at 1 pm, I was all ready to get my key when the desk staff told me there was no chance and that I’d have to come back at 3 pm, because those were “the rules”. In fact, if I wanted to check in early then I would have to pay more money.
I quickly said no to that, and asked if I could sit by the front desk in one of the chairs and wait until 3 pm, so I could use the Wifi and do some work on my computer. She immediately shook her head and motioned me back toward the stairs, telling me to go outside and do some “sightseeing.”
Okay, I think you can see where this is going. Deluxe Hostel is a joke and it’s not even the real name of the hotel; it’s actually called Vila Hou Va instead. (I mean, I’m sure that never causes any confusion for travelers.) Besides that, just look at the building – how can anything “deluxe” ever come of that??
True to form, rooms were barely adequate with super small bathrooms that made showering difficult, given the limited space to move around. It was also hard to keep the water from seeping out under the door, although I did notice that the shampoo and body wash were of unusually good quality.
There was no free water, the Wifi was super slow, and noise was always an issue, whether it came from the TV at the front desk, persistent drilling from somewhere, or passing cars and motorcycles outside.
The “Deluxe Hostel” it certainly is not, and I can’t think of one good reason to stay there, given its price, poor location and rude POS unfriendly staff.
Location: 1 Check In: 0 Room Size: 1 Bed: 4 Cleanliness: 3 Wifi: 2 AC: 2 Water: 0 Noise: 0 Bathroom: 1
Normally these four hotels would qualify for this guide but I’ve decided not to waste my time or money staying there.
Billion Family Hotel
I’ve already reviewed two of the “Family” hotels in Macau and don’t see the need for Round 3, especially when the Billion Family is always the most expensive. The Happy Family should be a good enough option for most people, provided they’re finished renovating, of course.
Coffin sized rooms on the website aren’t getting me too excited for this new hotel that opened in 2023. My sixth sense is flashing in hot neon lights with this one, beaming two words out into the vast vacuous ether: “RIP OFF”.
6 or 7 years ago it was common for the Forson lobby to be filled with smoking young mainland babes, monetizing their youth in the most vulgar way. While that action is no longer available now, the hotel remains as questionable as ever. I did a walk in to check out the rooms and they’re pathetic, no better than a Man Va or Holiday Hotel… on a good day.
Like the Forson, I did some advance recon at the Pension Florida and it’s a hole, thoroughly nasty in every way.