Checking In – facts and first impressions
The 1,224-room hotel (website) opened in April and is the largest Holiday Inn in the world.
Mixed first impressions – I thought the exterior looked decidedly odd and then my travelling companion, who had worked on the project which houses the hotel, explained that the Mongol-style exterior of the Holiday Inn, Conrad and Sheraton, is to represent the East in counter to the West, represented by The Venetian, which is directly across the road.
The lobby is suitably impressive, although I found the check-in area with its black-ropes/poles found in banks etc to be stylishly off-putting, but I guess it is the best way to service guests when there are a lot of people checking in at the same time.
Love, love, LOVE, the 16-foot gold and bronze God of Fortune statue, which is fabulously tacky and impressive at the same time; it overlooks the casino area. Unfortunately I had camera issues so no pic.
What’s the room like?
We stayed in a Deluxe room. Clean and comfortable, especially the bed. The smallish-room is not going to win any awards for luxury and amenities but it is perfectly fine if the majority of your stay will be spent exploring, otherwise it might feel a little enclosed.
How’s the food?
The dining options are limited, especially given the size of the hotel, but with a number of restaurants within the integrated resort (Sands Cotai Central) diners have multiple options just beyond the hotel. Within the hotel itself is a choice of the lobby lounge or pool (or in-room), we went with the Pool Cafe. From the menu of salads, snacks, pasta, grilled items and sweets, we had crispy chicken wings with Thai dipping sauce, an okay Caesar salad with shrimp, and a decent nasi goreng. The meal filled a hole, and would suffice when needing something to munch on in-between swims, but there was nothing truly memorable about the food… maybe I should have ordered the classic beef burger. The handful of tables is matched by the equally small number of beers available — an uninspired selection.
Our room stay included breakfast, which is served in a restaurant in the shopping area between hotels, a good five-minute walk from the lobby area. The ambience of a Chinese restaurant, but an impressive and varied selection of international breakfast fare — cuisines for all tastes covered. The pastry selection particularly good.
Amenities: top pick
The five outdoor pools, which means kids and adults congregate in different pools, always a plus.
Just a general one to all hotels that include tea and coffee-making facilities, which I appreciate, but why oh why serve Nescafe instant, it is truly awful. It is so bad it is a crime against coffee.
Checking Out – verdict
Despite its size the hotel is easy to navigate and the casino can be ignored totally. Would I stay here again… depends on what I was looking for: not for an indulgent, uber pampering mini-break, but certainly if I was looking for a home-away-from-home for one or two nights.
Click on images for a larger view.