No wonder Mainland Chinese bridal couples choose to be photographed by the pool of Banyan Tree Macau – it is a sign of having arrived. What an amazing place this is.
On the second floor terrace, above the casino that is the cash-cow of Galaxy Macau (Banyan Tree is just one of its three hotels) are three hotel-specific pools plus a shared wave pool that is largest in Asia. All this is flanked by two 32-floor golden towers, both topped by three helicopter-sized open gold balls (24-carat gold, since you ask).
Banyan Tree’s private villas are out of this world, with private pools. My Filipino butler, Jonathan, had arranged a delicate fresh fruit and juices welcome. It could have been eating and drinking non-stop during my stay.
We dined in Belon, the rooftop dining complex that seems to stretch forever. You glide elegantly down 21 dark blue glass steps into a fashion-show area that is white, bright and fun.
You come to the mixologist’s nest, where Gabriele is busy making his signature champagne-caviar cocktails, Perrier-Jouët with caper-sized liquor-filled blue balls – you only start drinking when they rise to the surface.
Take your drink and pass the busily-manned oyster-shucking table, past a duo and a grand piano, and into the dining area through a triumphant avenue of what looks like 15-foot-high standing up wishbones.
At its end you can see the main live cooking area, behind which is the wine store, where flights of Latour and Screaming Eagle are about to be stored. We tour around, to the cigar room, with its Monte Cristo-filled humidor and Macau’s best trolley of Caribbean rums.
The food is steakhouse meets El Bulli (chef Matias Martinez is Catalan). We choose an oyster selection, and US prime steaks, which arrive simply, on slates, with our choice of Laguiole knives. The sommelier suggests Quinto de Carno 2005
Breakfast is another wow, in Saffron, the all-day Thai restaurant. I am brought one of the best cups of breakfast coffee in months – Illy beans, WMF machine. A waiter circulates with trays of test-tubes of Bellinis, each held upright in a black rubber base. I help myself to well-labelled fresh juices, eschew the two sparkling wines.
An adjacent room holds the buffets and show kitchen. I breakfast off masses of fresh berries (strawberries already halved) and a prune-filled Ferme des Peupliers yoghurt. Already-sliced home-made seed-filled rye bread is toasted (medium or well?), and brought with Beurre Echiré butter wraps. Only the best for this luxury Macau resort.