The times we have gone to Macau have always been day trips thru the Cotai Jet fast-craft from the port of HongKong. Being a gambling mecca, I thought that there weren’t many things my kids can do. Ages 21 and below are not admitted inside the casinos, after all.
We’ve done the Heritage tours on previous visits, as well. Unbeknownst to gambling fans, who go for the glitz of the numerous casinos, Macao is also a Unesco World Heritage site. Being a Portuguese colony for a multitude of years, they have charmingly unique colonial buildings and mosaic cobblestone streets. They have preserved their rich history like the Ruins of St. Paul, the Largo de Senado, the Temple of the Goddess of the Sea, and the Ama (temple). That being said, doing the same tour again, was not met with much enthusiasm by my 3 kids, especially the youngest.
My husband had a convention, and he wanted us to tag-along. For the first time ever, we finally entered and left Macau through their own airport. Everything was a breeze in there because they’re so used to handling hordes of tourists on a daily basis.
We stayed in Galaxy Hotel, which is a five star enclave in the Galaxy complex. The opulence of the giant crystal display at the main lobby is an attraction in itself drawing walk-in tourists. What looks like a normal pretty gargantuan chandelier filling-up the cavernous lobby, actually turns into a must-see show called, the Fortune Diamond. A diamond appears from underground, accompanied by music, fancy lights, water, and dancers. It’s about 5-10 minutes long and done every hour.
Aside from the casinos and high end shops like Givenchy, LV, YSL, Gucci, and the like, Galaxy has a Grand Resort Deck on its roof deck on the 2nd floor of the main building. It is about 75,000 square meters, with beautifully landscaped tropical gardens and inviting azure pools that offer a wide array of water activities for all ages.
The highlights, aside from the standard leisure pools and gardens, are the following:
The Skytop Wave Pool is one of the biggest attractions. With waves so strong, they actually rent surfboards/or boogie boards and challenge guests to give them a try. It is nicely set by a long stretch of white sand beach. Yes, you read that right! They have a man-made beach right there in the middle of the complex.
The Skytop Adventure Rapids is more like a long leisurely lazy river “cruise” guests can enjoy while lounging on top of giant buoys or by donning life vests. Guests pass along several areas that splash them in their faces or dumps water on their heads. The most amazing part is a certain portion is made up of “glass”. Selfie junkies will surely enjoy taking their photos here. My children and I had the most fun in this area. It is definitely not like white-water rafting (which our hometown in Cagayan De Oro offers as an attraction). The rapids’ current is more of a gentle push to keep people moving forward.
The Skytop Water Slide conceals three tube water slides in a mini “stone mountain”, soaring about 9-meters in height. There are 3 color-coded slides, with varying degrees of speed: purple, green, and orange. All of them dump guests in a portion of the rapids. The green is the most mild. The other 2 have fast speeds, which the most courageous guests can take. A certain portion of the last two, which snakes around the mountain, are comprised of transparent slides that add to the thrill. They tell guest to cross their legs and arms while going through the tunnels. If you’re not the dare-devil sort and claustrophobic, it might be best to stay away from this. I know I did!
The Kids Island is a dream place for younger kids with spray loops, aqua dome, foaming geysers, and more. There are two sections: one features cute mushrooms and the other section has a mini mountain. My 4 year old had the most fun stomping around in this area.
Overall, it was a great experience! They provide lifevests and buoys so need to bring your own. It was actually affordable at around P12,000 per night. Shangrila in Cebu is even more expensive. I would not mind coming back here at all!