Macau: Cross-Roads of East and West, Tradition and Modernism

Macau, the former Portuguese overseas territory, recently played host to the filming of the final episodes of America’s Next Top Model’s eighteenth season, America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion

The ever-increasing profile of Macau shows no sign of slowing down, with international television show, America’s Next Top Model, selecting the destination as its latest filming location.

Macau American Next Top Model

The former colony has been known for years as a legendary gambling destination, having earned the name “the Monte Carlo of Asia” in the 1850’s and reportedly taking in even more revenue than Las Vegas.There is more to this beautiful coastal location than its spectacularly opulent casinos however, and Macau boasts gorgeous scenery, World-Heritage sights, Michelin-starred dining, numerous cultural and entertainment options, and duty-free luxury shopping at over 600 retail outlets.

Macau shopping

In addition to the charming guest house lodgings in region, the peninsula and islands of Macau offer luxurious accommodation at world-class hotels like the Crown Towers and MGM Macau. The ANTM contestants themselves lodged in the five-star MGM Hotel, which is situated in a prime waterfront location and affords breath-taking views across the peninsula. In addition to its Six Senses Spa, which features Macau’s only flotation salt pool, the hotel also offers twelve signature restaurants such as Grand Imperial Court which serves regional specialties alongside Cantonese cuisine.

MGM Grand Macau

Also appearing in the popular international television series was the Macau Tower. One of the tallest buildings in the world, the tower delivers

Macau Tower fantastic panoramic views from its observation deck, restaurants, shopping and cinemas as well as the thrilling Sky Walk X, a walking tour around the outer rim of the tower. Also on offer at the tower is the “skyjump”. A bungee jump from 233 metres, the Macau Tower skyjump is currently the second highest commercial jump in the world and is a must-see for any fearless adventuress.

As the first and last European colony in Asia, the colonial influence is more visible in Macau than in Hong Kong, and much of the architecture in the old city looks decidedly European. Macanese cuisine is a unique combination of Portuguese and southern Chinese cooking traditions, with significant influences from South-east Asia. Cantonese cuisine is also very popular, and considered by many to be the food of choice in Macau. Some claim that the quality of the seafood and dim sum surpass that of which is available in Hong Kong.

The arrival of the new mega-casinos introduced the pleasures of shopping duty-free for designer goods and luxury brands to the already fascinating array of  options offered by the street stalls, markets, and antique shops found throughout the region. The Shoppes Cotai Central, the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and the Shoppes at Four Seasons promise legions of designer labels amongst an ambience of exclusivity, making Macau an excellent destination for the fashion-savvy traveller.

With its international profile on the rise, Macau shows no signs of slowing down. An intriguing cross-roads where eastern and western traditions and sensibilities meet, this peninsula in South-eastern China possesses old-world charms and an abundance of new-world excitement.

Natalie Rose

Natalie Rose lives and writes in London. She has an MA and BA in film and literature and a keen interest in travel, culture and fine things.