The Cotai Strip is Asia's new mega-playground of fun, casinos and upscale hotels. It is a wonder of luxury, opulence and grandeur, where, seemingly, everyone in Asia wants to come on vacation or long weekends. As a result, Cotai Strip event venues, restaurants and attractions are extremely popular.
Ease of access is provided both via flights into Macau International Airport (MFM), which is on an artificial island next to Cotai and has recently expanded to service the incredible demand. There are no direct flights to it from North America, but there are to Hong Kong, which is connected to Macau via high-speed ferries that have a journey time of 55 minutes to or from Kowloon and 60 minutes to or from Hong Kong Island, with departures every 15 minutes.
Chief among convention venues in the Cotai Strip, the 3,000-room
Venetian, the world's sixth-largest building, contains the Cotai Strip Exposition & Convention Center, which has more than 11148 square meters of convention space, as well as the 15,000-seat Cotai Arena and the 1,800-seat Zaia Coliseum, which houses a permanent Cirque du Soleil acrobatic show.
Other hotel venues in the Cotai Strip able to host meetings – large meetings – include four hotels managed by Sands that all have function space in their own hotels but also can negotiate favorable accommodation-conference rates at the sibling Cotai Strip Exposition & Convention Center at the Venetian – the
Four Seasons, which has 360 rooms and also includes the Lotus and Peony ballrooms each able to host 400 persons; the world's largest Holiday Inn Macau Cotai Central, which has 1,124 rooms; the world’s largest Conrad Macau, Cotai Central, which has 636 rooms; and the world’s largest Sheraton, which has 3,896 rooms. One other hotel is the Hard Rock Macau, which has 322 rooms and is connected to the City of Dreams entertainment and meetings complex. Also coming soon to the Cotai Strip are the 439-room St. Regis hotel and a Steve Wynn property (2015) and a MGM Resorts property that will cover more than 18 acres and have 1,600 rooms (2016).
There are a few unique attractions and gathering spots for functions in the Cotai Strip, but as this was a purpose-built area – literally from the sea floor up – most are connected with the hotels listed above, and others. The latter include the Macau East Asian Sports/Games Dome, which covers more than 13006 square meters of space and has 7,087 arena seats, a theater with 1,042 seats and 2787 square meters of exhibition space able to cater to 2,000 persons; the Galaxy Macau, which contains the 1,500-room
Galaxy Hotel, the 253-suite
Banyan Tree Macau and the 488-room
Okura Macau (which has the Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge, which has more than 400 whiskies on offer). At the City of Dreams, dream choices include the Vquarium, an underwater world that even has swimming mermaids and where sections can be roped off; and the R Bar, which is at the entrance of the
Hard Rock Hotel. Finally, the Venetian contains the Bellini Lounge, which has a stage, can be transformed for gala dinners and other events and puts on regular live entertainment.
The Cotai Strip does not lack for excellent restaurants, but yet again they exist almost entirely in the mega-hotels. Choose between Saffron at the Banyan Tree Macau, which has bright green carpeting and walls, tablecloths, napkins and appurtenances in shades of orange, brown and beige, sumptuous Thai dishes and impeccable service;
Pink Grill, a surf n’ turf spot in the central corridor of the Sands Cotai Central; the celebrated Xin, an authentic Chinese restaurant that specializes in seafood at the Sheraton and has 110 seats; the very stylish, modern, swirling Cafe Deco, which can host 2,500 persons and often puts on famous international acts, at the Venetian; and, at the Four Seasons,
Zi Yat Heen, the only two-starred Michelin restaurant in Macau.