Casino review / Sands Macau
Las Vegas Sands
01 Jan 2004
The Sands Macau was opened in May 2004, after it was built for $240 million. It belongs to the well-known Las Vegas Sands group, who are known for their casino hotels in Nevada. You might therefore expect to find all the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas in this establishment as well, but this is not really the case here, as the only purpose of the establishment seems to be the games. Although other activities are offered, there are not many and they are not very exciting either.
The Sands Macau is located southeast of the Macau peninsula, opposite the Fisherman's Wharf theme park, and about fifteen minutes walk from the main street with the casinos, the Avenue D'Amizade. Despite this relatively secluded location, the establishment is not the only one there, as the JiMei, the Grand Lapa and the Waldo Hotels are nearby.
Let us now look at the services the establishment has to offer.
Slots with low stakes and tables for high rollers
The main attraction of the Sands Macau are certainly the games. Everything else seems almost just like decoration. The casino is definitely the priority, and players and are well served here. In fact, the game room is spread over four different floors and offers:
- the ground floor that is non-smoking,
- huge first and second floors,
- the third floor that is called Paiza Club which is reserved for VIP players and offers tables with minimum bets of $1000 to $10.000 and some higher value tables (I even found a baccarat table with at least $80,000 stake per game).
However, it is surprising that a casino of this size has no poker room.
The slot machines
The Sands Macau slot machines are spread over the four floors of the casino, and seem to mainly target players with lower budgets. Most games accept mostly 1, 2, 5 or 10 cents, and only a few machines accept higher denominations.
The casino offers no less than 1,200 slot machines, but only 6 video poker devices each offering 5 different variations (jacks or better, double bonus poker, double double bonus poker, deuces wild and joker poker).
The table games
The traditional games of the establishment are an extreme contrast to the slot machines, as they seem to mainly target high rollers. The minimum bets in the Paiza Club are incredibly high, and it is surprising that $100 minimum tables are very difficult to find, those for $300 seem to be the norm.
Overall, the Sands Macau offers more than 700 table games:
- 3 card baccarat,
- no tax baccarat,
- Caribbean poker,
- casino war,
- fan tan,
- 3 card poker,
- european roulette,
- sic bo.
A small hotel, only a few restaurants and some entertainment
I have already mentioned this a few times, but I will repeat it again: the games seem to be the main concern of the Sands Macau. However, the establishment also has a small hotel, a few restaurants and various related activities.
Only 51 rooms
Yes, this is not a joke, the establishment offers a hotel with a very disappointing lobby that has nothing to suggest that we are indeed in a five star hotel. The hotel is also incredibly small, as it only has 51 rooms, classed into two different types. There are:
- deluxe suites of 60 m²,
- executive suites of 120 m².
Each room offers exactly what you expect for the price. I do not think that anyone would be very disappointed, but some details may be a little disappointing. For example, there is a certain lack of free products. Everything in the bathroom is usually available, even in a 3-star hotel, and the only additional element that is complimentary is a simple fruit basket.
In any case, the rooms are clean, comfortable and nicely furnished, which is the main importance. Some rooms also offer a nice view of the dock and the Chinese Sea.
The bedding is great and not too hard, unlike many other places in China. The marble bathrooms are also well lit and well-equipped with a shower and a beautiful Jacuzzi tub.
Only 6 restaurants
The low number of the hotel rooms in the Sands Macau may surprise some people, and the same goes for the restaurants, as there are only 6 restaurants offering:
- two Chinese restaurants (Golden Court and Moonlight Noodle House),
- one Japanese restaurant (Edo),
- one Asian restaurant (888 Food Court) dedicated to Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean cuisine,
- a steakhouse (Copa),
- an international all you can eat buffet (888 Buffet).
I enjoyed the great variety of prices in the different restaurants, and they are even very nice inside, which makes it easy for everyone to enjoy a good restaurant.
In addition, there is also a McDonald's and a KFC hidden in the back of the complex, which are nowhere mentioned, not on the website, nor inside the hotel.
Some additional activities
Aside from the great casino, the Sands Macau also offers various entertainment activities, but there are not many, and they are not very interesting. You can find:
- a small swimming pool,
- a superb spa which is rather small,
- three bars (Xanadu, Winners Circle and The Playboy Club),
- a theatre.
In short, it is neither for the hotel, nor the restaurants or the entertainment that the Sands Macau manages to attract customers. The establishment is not bad in these areas, but still shows that there is a certain lack of ambition.
However, it is a different story at the casino. The games room is huge, and offers a comprehensive selection of games. But having said that, there is a strong inconsistency with the low denominations of the slots and the high minimum bets at the traditional game tables.
The Sands Macau is therefore not necessarily my favourite resort in Macau, and I don't go there very often, as it is a bit out of the way, and does not really offer any special attractions. Nevertheless, as a whole it is very enjoyable, and the casino is a great success, which is still the most important factor, don't you think?