Travel Back In Time To The Newly Opened Parisian Macao
I only got a glimpse of the Parisian Macao’s beautiful French facade, when we first entered the Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, a complex of many resorts located in the Cotai section of Macao. I got another one from a window in the evening. It was September 12, and still a day to go before the grand unveiling of this new property. But, until then, I kept on revisiting it in my head—its luminous blue circular windows enveloped by pillars and balconies, winged statues of gods and mystical creatures and their unearthly evening glow. What’s subtle beige in the day is, thanks to the lights, a royal golden in the evening.
The Parisian Macao serves as, in fact, the realisation of a dream envisioned by Sheldon G. Adelson, one of the world’s most prominent gaming and hospitality magnates and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. In 1999, Macao gained independence from Portugal. Its prosperous history of tourism and gaming coupled with its newfound freedom suddenly positioned it as a sought-after destination. Adelson’s vision, therefore, was ambitious—to establish the Cotai Strip here, based on the Las Vegas Strip (known for its massive concentration of hotels and casinos). So, the next decade was spent building resorts, casinos, attractions, walkways and theme parks— an entire resort world. And now, with the Parisian Macao, the strip is finally complete and the CEO’s vision realised.
Today, there are over 13,000 rooms spread across seven resorts, 3,000 of which constitute the Parisian’s guestrooms and suites, more than 850 retail shops, numerous restaurants, entertainment facilities, millions of square feet of area, over 30,000 staff members and over 5,200 square metres of MICE spaces. The Parisian Macao doesn’t just boast of a splendid facade—its half-size recreation of the Eiffel Tower, literally, stands out. Positioned right in front of the facade and far eclipsing the many resorts, this modern Eiffel Tower was built using over 2,800 tonnes of steel. As per Charles Lee, the chief architect, great care was taken to ensure its similarity to the original tower.
On the night of the opening, guests and media-persons witnessed the Tower embellished in its 6,600 lights that together made for a spectacular light show. The Tower is connected to the Parisian by the Love Lock Bridge, which captures the spirit of the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris where people would attach love-locks onto the railing and toss their keys into the water below. La Chine, the Chinese-French themed restaurant, is located inside the Tower.
On the night of the opening, a massive stage was set up in front of the recreation. Here, a few visually spectacular performances were accompanied by a fireworks show—of proportions that, at least I, have never seen before. Jets of colours spurted out of both the roof of The Parisian and the Sheraton Macao. And yes, fireworks spurted out of the tower itself, much in sync with the electronic sound. It was a fantastic sight, truly capturing the spirit of Paris as the city of lights. Opposite the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe dc l’Etoile attraction commemorates the original arc located in Paris. Move a little ahead and you arrive at Le Bassin D’Apollo, built at the foot of the Tower.
Modelled after the original, it is based on the Greek god Apollo emerging from the sea in a chariot pulled by four horses. But all this is dwarfed once you take the elevator up to the 37th floor observation deck—the top—of the tower, where the 360° view is splendid and the wind bracing. The rest of the Parisian Macao is equally breathtaking. You step inside and the first thing you spot is a humungous fountain, modelled after the famed Fontaines de la Concorde. What I found even more impressive was the dome above—a replica of the dome of L’Hotel National des Invalides in Paris, with its stunning murals and breathtaking aesthetics.
Lee told us, “We chose 1900 Paris as our theme, because we realised that all of the city’s signature elements are represented in that era, whether it’s the fountains, streets or the performers.” As far as the streets were concerned, some of Paris’s most famous were right there at the Parisian Macao, namely—Avenue Montaigne, Place Vendome, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and Avenue des Champs-Elysees. They were quite fairytale—the Paris-style three-headed street lamps, pillars acting as a facade to railings, and the finer details—paintings of silhouetted men and women as they’d appear from the street, the many neoclassical design pieces and carts right out of an early 20th century painting, the countless mimes, gentlemen, ladies, men on stilts, street performers, puppeteers and the artificial ceiling of the Place Vendome made to project everything from a cloudy morning to a starry night sky.
These streets are also home to so many brands, many of which I hadn’t even heard of. As far as entertainment options are concerned, the Parisian has that covered too. Qube Kingdom is a massive play area for children. I found its carousel, right out of an old Parisian carnival, just so inviting. The Aqua World and hotel pool has a set of picturesque attractions as well. The 1,200-seater Parisian Theatre is quite the highlight. Catch the world renowned West-End play, Thriller Live, here starting 30th September. Le SPA’tique, the 1,264 square-metre luxury spa, takes inspiration from 1800s Paris and is a must visit for those seeking relaxation and comfort.
At Le Buffet, a Paris-themed restaurant at The Parisian Macao, we enjoyed some great breakfast. Everything was wonderfully done—the fruit was elegantly cut and laid, cheddar, comte and brie were evenly laid out and the barbecue pork buns and beef dumplings were ravishing. I stayed in a spacious deluxe room. It had a red theme—symbolic of both the French flag and Chinese culture. The bathrooms are neat and well-equipped, and yes, all the rooms have a tub. The two suites I saw—the Familie Room and the Lyon Suite—were quite impressive.
The family room has a rather cute children’s bunk bed and an artfully decorated wall. The Lyon Suite is huge, with its separate living area. The Parisian’s grand opening was quite an affair, and all throughout, I got this feeling of being a part of something ‘large’. We were about nine Indian media-persons in a sea of over 400 others, numerous VIPs and many guests. Yet, we felt that we were one-in-a-million to experience the realisation of Adelson’s vision—the creation of a Vegas in Macao, with a Paris-themed cherry on top.