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Introducing Macau’s Grand Lisboa Palace Resort

In Macau, a newly minted integrated resort combines high fashion–inspired global style, the city’s rich cultural heritage, and a tantalizing array of dining venues to deliver an urban lifestyle experience like no other.

Photographs by Zaky Akbar
Styled by Jessica Esther

Loungers beside the indoor swimming pool at THE KARL LAGERFELD MACAU; admiring W. meets E., a painting by Macau and Hong Kong–based artist Konstantin Bessmertny in Grand Lisboa Palace’s East Lobby. Outfit and bag by Celine.
Left to right: Loungers beside the indoor swimming pool at THE KARL LAGERFELD MACAU; admiring W. meets E., a painting by Macau and Hong Kong–based artist Konstantin Bessmertny in Grand Lisboa Palace’s East Lobby. Outfit and bag by Celine.

Looking for a new place to stay in Macau? SJM—a homegrown hospitality and tourism operator that put the city on the map as a leisure destination—has expanded beyond its landmark downtown hotels to the glittering Cotai Strip. Known as Grand Lisboa Palace, the recently opened flagship property encompasses a trio of hotel towers, each with a distinct personality. All three embrace a European-style podium garden named Jardim Secreto, whose manicured lawns and mini-hedge mazes radiate out from a Belle Époque–inspired central dome. The hotel towers are suitably palatial, reaching for the sky in a confection of mansard roofs, cupolas, and semicircular pediments like a high-rise French château. Within its walls, a self-contained universe for the jet-setting luxury traveler is ripe for discovery.

 

Serene Dawn of Tomorrow by Macau born–architect Carlos Marreiros is displayed in Grand Lisboa Palace’s East Lobby; getting ready in a Corner Suite bedroom. Outfit and shoes by Valentino.
Left to right: Serene Dawn of Tomorrow by Macau born–architect Carlos Marreiros is displayed in Grand Lisboa Palace’s East Lobby; getting ready in a Corner Suite bedroom. Outfit and shoes by Valentino.

Grand Lisboa Palace Macau

The centerpiece of SJM’s latest integrated resort impresses from the moment of arrival. With their soaring ceilings and luminous chandeliers, Grand Lisboa Palace’s expansive marbleclad twin lobbies exude a sense of grandeur. Commissioned works by locally based artists add to the visual interest: behind a series of check-in desks, Ung Vai Meng’s Auspicious Stars Shining Over Macao depicts the facade of St. Paul’s in metal linework against a cobblestone backdrop. A longtime local resident, Taiwanese painter Cai Guo Jie’s abstract watercolor landscapes from Macau and Lisbon have been recast as woven tapestries, while Macau Glory is a two-panel installation courtesy of architect Carlos Marreiros, who used azulejo porcelain tiles in deep blue and vibrant red to summarize the city’s 500-year history with a dash of humor.

Just like these unique artworks, the tasteful interiors celebrate the East-meets-West character of Macau. In the 1,350 guest rooms and suites, which start at a generous 60 square meters, blue-and-white patterned cushions on the plush beds and Portuguese tiles are juxtaposed with Chinese elements: intricate gourd-shaped handles on the cabinets, wall lamps in interlocking geometric frames.

Not only do the guest quarters look beautiful; they are functional, too. The dressing area with ample storage space leads into a spacious bathroom featuring double vanities and a tub, as well as a large walk-in shower with bath products by Appelles. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedrooms look out to the Jardim Secreto or the ever-evolving cityscape beyond.

Downstairs, guests can sate their hunger at The Grand Buffet, a bustling venue that dishes up an irresistible smorgasbord of global flavors. The space has no less than a dozen live cooking stations, three of which are dedicated to seafood and roast meats. Alternatively, one might settle into the Lobby Lounge’s cozy armchairs for freshly baked pastries, salads and sandwiches, or heartier options such as Hainanese chicken rice. Single-origin coffees and floral tea cocktails headline the drinks list.

Inside the reception area of The Spa at Grand Lisboa Palace; one of the same hotel’s spacious Corner suites.
Left to right: Inside the reception area of The Spa at Grand Lisboa Palace; one of the same hotel’s spacious Corner suites.

Also noteworthy is Chalou, one of the resort’s signature restaurants, where interior designer Alan Chan has put a playful spin on nostalgic teahouse-inspired decor: think ceiling domes lined with stacks of clay tea cups, crystal chopstick chandeliers, and lanterns emitting soft light through the pages of old Hong Kong cartoons. Chalou specializes in traditional Guangzhou-style dim sum—must-try dishes include abalone-and-spinach siu mai, parcels of glutinous rice with minced chicken steamed in lotus leaf, and deliciously flaky char siu puffs. Be sure to order black sesame rolls, an increasingly rare dessert that’s best washed down with fragrant rose-and-lychee milk tea.

Leisure seekers will not be disappointed by the range of recreational facilities at the third-floor Health Club, where guests can hop between the indoor and outdoor pools and make use of the high-tech fitness training equipment at GLP Gym. The Spa at Grand Lisboa Palace has gender-segregated relaxation lounges, wood-clad saunas, steam rooms, and hydrotherapy pools with massage jets. Here, expert therapists deliver muscle-melting massages in 12 tranquil treatment rooms; the 90-minute Biologique Recherche facials are a real treat for frequent travelers looking to freshen up their skin while on the road. And the pampering doesn’t stop there. Within the wellness center lies a branch of PEDI:MANI:CURE Studio by Bastien Gonzalez for foot rituals and massages. Meanwhile, luxe hair treatments are available at Gentlemen’s Tonic—the Macau outpost of the London-based salon also welcomes women.

When it comes to retail experiences, inveterate shoppers need not leave the premises to satisfy their cravings. The shopping mall at Grand Lisboa Palace, which spans more than 75,000 square meters on the lower levels of the resort, stocks all kinds of luxury goods from fine apparel and watches to skincare creams and fragrances. Travelers seeking out special gifts to bring home should look to Made in Macau, a dedicated space that showcases wares by local creatives. In a similar vein, Macau Memories offers a rotating selection of products from longstanding family-owned businesses, including noodle-making shop Wong Chi Kei; canned-sardine manufacturer Porthos Macau; and Pastelaria Chui Heong, a purveyor of traditional almond biscuits.

 

Karl Lagerfeld’s likeness provides a backdrop to the hotel’s reception desk; The Book Lounge has more than 4,000 design-centric tomes on its shelves. Outfit by Karl Lagerfeld.
Left or right: Karl Lagerfeld’s likeness provides a backdrop to the hotel’s reception desk; The Book Lounge has more than 4,000 design-centric tomes on its shelves. Outfit by Karl Lagerfeld.
The art deco– and Chinoiserie-inspired pool bar at THE KARL LAGERFELD MACAU; a moon gate frames the bedroom of a 97-square-meter Ikonik Suite.
Left to right: The art deco– and Chinoiserie-inspired pool bar at THE KARL LAGERFELD MACAU; a moon gate frames the bedroom of a 97-square-meter Ikonik Suite.

The Karl Lagerfeld Macau

It’s all in the name: this eye-catching property is the world’s only hotel with interiors created by the late and great German fashion designer. The 271 rooms and suites—as well as public areas like the pools and in-house spa—bear the stamp of the legendary figure who spearheaded Chanel’s revival. Imaginative, bold, and chic, The Karl Lagerfeld Macau interprets Chinese culture through Western eyes: the color scheme is predominantly black and gold with pops of red in the door casing, upholstery, and cherry blossom wallpaper. Below the distinctive Terzani chain chandeliers, arc-shaped wall ornaments reference ancient Chinese jade pendants; suites come with oversize porcelain floor vases and room dividers modeled after moon gates.

Right off the lobby, The Book Lounge mirrors the home library of the designer himself, with more than 4,000 tomes on fashion, design, art, and architecture. Afternoon tea sets feature dainty scones with fresh cream and Earl Grey jam, seafood-centric savories, and whimsical bite-size desserts dressed in edible Karl Lagerfeld sunglasses and ties.

Authentic Portuguese flavors meet modern fine-dining elements at Mesa by José Avillez, the celebrated chef’s inaugural outpost in East Asia. Codfish stars in bacalhau à Brás and tempura batter croquettes with creamy centers, while meaty prawns adorn the signature seafood rice in herb-rich stew. Other standouts range from the smoky piri-piri chicken and crispy suckling pig (accompanied by orange sauce and flavorful pork jus) to pastel de nata mille-feuille with coffee ice cream. Aside from creative Macau-inspired cocktails, the drinks list here includes as many as 1,427 labels representing both Old and New World wines.

 

Bespoke scarves adorn the hotel’s hallways. Outfit, shoes, bag, and jewelry by Versace; Versace Home textiles add splashes of color to the opulent guest quarters.
Left to right: Bespoke scarves adorn the hotel’s hallways. Outfit, shoes, bag, and jewelry by Versace; Versace Home textiles add splashes of color to the opulent guest quarters.
Afternoon tea treats are served on Versace tableware at La Scala del Palazzo; the Turkish Hammam room at The Spa at Palazzo Versace Macau.
Left to right: Afternoon tea treats are served on Versace tableware at La Scala del Palazzo; the Turkish Hammam room at The Spa at Palazzo Versace Macau.

Palazzo Versace Macau

A first for Asia, the months-old Palazzo Versace Macau has been fitted out entirely by the high-end fashion house, with fourth-generation Milanese artisans Fantini Mosaici recruited to cover the lobby in more than a million mosaic and terrazzo tiles. No detail or surface has been overlooked: Framed Versace scarves line the hallways, the brand’s iconic Medusa head adorns the tableware and staff uniforms, while Versace Home textiles and lighting fixtures are found in all 271 rooms and suites. The overarching feel is classical Italian with nods to Baroque and ancient Greek aesthetics, but incorporating dragon and chrysanthemum motifs. Downstairs, a glass mosaic dragon runs the length of the indoor pool; the spa features a gorgeously tiled Turkish Hammam room.

Visiting gourmands have two Italian restaurants to try out. La Scala del Palazzo’s teal-hued dining room provides an Insta-ready backdrop for high tea and meals focused on classics such as eggplant parmigiana or mixed pasta with duck ragù and Parmesan fondue. At Don Alfonso 1890, whose namesake venue on Italy’s Sorrento Peninsula holds two Michelin stars, head chef Federico Pucci and his team offer a six-course dégustation menu with thoughtful wine pairings, using ingredients sourced from Don Alfonso’s own Italian estate.

Piedmontese veal and Mediterranean tuna tartare with Kristal caviar tickles the palate, as does cuttlefish “button pasta” stuffed with Sicilian red prawn in a subtly piquant pumpkin broth. The housemade paccheri and local seafood sing in a Tuscan fish stew and red wine reduction, and you’ll want to leave room for the excellent tiramisu semifreddo. To round out the experience, servers wheel out trolleys loaded with cheese, top-quality coffee beans to be ground and brewed tableside, petits fours, and liqueurs like the aromatic Don Alfonso limoncello.

 

Counter seating at Japanese venue Zuicho; a table at Cantonese fine-dining restaurant Palace Garden, whose lavish decor was the work of Hong Kong–based designer Alan Chan.
Left to right: Counter seating at Japanese venue Zuicho; a table at Cantonese fine-dining restaurant Palace Garden, whose lavish decor was the work of Hong Kong–based designer Alan Chan.
Don Alfonso 1890’s Vitello tonnato, a dish of veal and tuna tartare with caviar; inside the birdcage-like dining room at Mesa by José Avillez. Dress by Tory Burch, earrings by Aidan & Ice.
Left to right: Don Alfonso 1890’s Vitello tonnato, a dish of veal and tuna tartare with caviar; inside the birdcage-like dining room at Mesa by José Avillez. Dress by Tory Burch, earrings by Aidan & Ice.
Fine Dining

 

Grand Lisboa Palace is especially strong on the culinary front, which should not surprise given SJM’s history as a pioneer in bringing high-end gastronomy to Macau. Currently, various dining outlets across the complex cater to every taste.

At Palace Garden, an opulent Cantonese fine-diner with stunning interiors by Alan Chan, visitors will be awed by the mural of embroidered chrysanthemums and an undulating glass curtain whose elements resemble raindrops. Tasting menus by head chef Ken Cheong feature delights like wok-fried French blue lobster and roasted goose with Kristal caviar; à la carte options range from signature Peking duck to stewed Canadian beef short rib with wild honey and supreme soy sauce. Oenophiles can depend on an extensive wine list of approximately 1,100 labels.

Gourmands will also want to make reservations at modern Portuguese venue Mesa by José Avillez, Don Alfonso 1890, and dim sum parlor Chalou. If you’re in the mood for Japanese fare, Zuicho presents kappo cuisine with the finest seasonal ingredients: patrons are seated at a counter hewn from a centuries-old Japanese cypress tree, giving them front-row access to head chef Yoshinori Kinomoto. Grand Lisboa Palace is also home to an outlet of Taiwanese hotpot specialist Wulao (the only one so far in Macau), while Hua Ting serves contemporary Shanghainese cuisine in an art deco–style setting. And with more eateries opening on the property over the coming months, repeat guests will find new things to savor each time they return to this veritable dining destination.

An ornate dome marks the center of Jardim Secreto, the rooftop garden at Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau.
An ornate dome marks the center of Jardim Secreto, the rooftop garden at Grand Lisboa Palace Resort Macau.