The Venetian Macao is the flagship casino resort on Macau’s bustling Cotai Strip. Modeled on its sister property in Las Vegas, the Venetian Macau is themed on the romantic streets and canals of Venice, as the name suggests. Naturally, some of the romance is lost through the 3,000-odd slot machines constantly flashing at you, but the gondola rides and replica St. Marks Square are almost as jaw-dropping as the real thing.
Set on China's southern coast about 37 miles west of Hong Kong, Macau was a Portuguese colony from 1557-1999, when it was transferred to Chinese rule. Today it's a special administrative region of China, with its glittering casino scene, beaches, and historic old center drawing about 30 million tourists annually. Many arriving via the ferry from Hong Kong, an hour-long ride.
Get Lost in One of the World's Biggest Casinos
The Venetian Macao is one of the biggest casinos in the world. Full stop. Forget those pretenders in Vegas and Atlantic City, the Venetian Macao has 550,000 square meters of dedicated gaming space. That means more than 500 gaming tables featuring everything from poker to fan-tan and 2,000 slot machines—known locally as hungry tigers.
Visit the Playboy Bunnies
After escaping their hutch at the late Hugh Hefner’s former mansion in Los Angeles, the Playboy Bunnies have made it to Asia and the Venetian Macao. The Bellini Lounge doubles as the Playboy Club and offers rocket-fuelled cocktails, a house band, and a string of live events. If you’re thinking this sounds like a tacky strip club, don’t; this is a classy lounge where the saxophone player is as important as the bunnies.
Rent a Cabana
Don’t settle for a deckchair. For a truly swank experience, the Venetian Macao offers luxury poolside cabanas that can host up to four people in semi-private settings. Each cabana features a mini-fridge for drinks, an AC unit, and a cable-ready 42 inch TV—allowing you to take a dip in the pool and then return to flick the channels from the comfort of your very own sofa chairs. Prices start at HK$600 for a full day's rent.
Spend it Like Beckham
While the Manchester United Experience would actually be better named the Manchester United shop, there are a couple of reasons to visit if you’re a soccer fan. Amidst the Manchester United cookie jars and teapots for sale, you’ll also find some genuine Old Trafford memorabilia, and in the fanatic zone you can show off your silky foot skills in a number of interactive games. The Venetian Macao has a long association with Manchester United and the team was officially the resort’s first guests.
Be Serenaded by Real Gondoliers
The blockbuster attraction at the Venetian is its network of canals. Just like the canals at the original property in Las Vegas (or indeed in Venice itself), these are patrolled by gondolas manned by gondoliers warbling out tunes like "Amore" and "Volare" from the old country. Literally: The Venetian lays claim to authentic Italian gondoliers shipped in from Venice. Gondola rides run daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at the Boutique di Gondola and Emporio di Gondola at the Sand Shoppes at the Venetian.
Eat a Fat Burger
There are plenty of high-end dining options inside the Venetian, hands down. But the juicy 16-ounce Fatburger shouldn’t be missed. One of the signature fast food outfits from Southern California, L.A.'s favorite beef in a bun comes custom-built and cooked to order.
Shop Like the Stars
Nowhere in Asia are there more luxury shops crammed into a single space than the Sands Shoppes, the largest indoor mall in Macau. You'll want to pack the platinum card to go shopping here, with a red carpet line up that includes Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Tiffany. The prices are expensive and there are few bargains, but window shopping can be top-notch.
See the Sky
Among the most unique features of the Venetian Macau, the painted sky above the canals is truly breathtaking, so much so that many visitors are surprised that it’s not actually real. Artist Karen Kristin used 250 gallons of water-based acrylic paint in creating the 105,000-square-feet faux sky. Yes, of course, you could just go outside and see the actual sky but indoors you can also enjoy air conditioning.