The World's Most 5-Star-Awarded Destination Is Where...?

17 February 2015
Read Time: 1.8 mins

"Where...?" is generally the response you're met with when you announce you're going to Macau, but a recent announcement suggests the so-called 'Vegas of the East' is set to be on more discerning travellers' radars – not to mention shake its rep as a Las Vegas spin-off.

While the Chinese Special Administrative Region has long been known for its mixture of glitzy casinos and colonial Portuguese architecture, it's now also home to the world's largest concentration of five-star properties.

 The world's most 5-star-awarded destination, Macau (Image: Getty)

Forbes Travel Guide – said to be the creator of five-star ratings – has awarded five stars to eight of the region's hotels, nine of its restaurants and six spas. For the first time in Forbes' 57 years of awarding stars, an unprecedented quintuple five-star rating has been presented to the Wynn Macau hotel.

 The scintillating 5-star Wynn Macau hotel (Image: Wynn Macau)

Macau's high-rolling casino trade rakes in six times more revenue than Vegas, with the majority of its annual visitors flocking from mainland China.

However, if the idea of having a flutter at the world's largest casino – the Venetian Macao – doesn't appeal, perhaps the enticing Macanese cuisine might.

The national spread draws influences from Portuguese roots, blended to Cantonese tastes. New five-star acclaimed restaurants range from Banyan Tree's Belon to IlTeatro at Wynn Macau, joining the likes of Jade Dragon and The Tasting Room at Crown Towers.


Want to know more about 'Macao'?


 Exquisite eats at the Grand Lisboa (Image: grandlisboa.com)

In addition for Forbes' five-star restaurants, Robuchon Au Dôme and The Eight (both taking residence at the Grand Lisboa) hold prestige as Macau's only three-Michelin-star restaurants.

If your budget doesn't quite stretch to the 43rd floor of the Grand Lisboa, you can easily admire the incredible lotus flower-inspired, gilded tower from afar. In fact, you can't miss it.

 The unmissable Grand Lisboa (Image: grandlisboa.com)

While cities like Paris and Tokyo immediately spring to mind as fine-dining capitals, Macau's palate is arguably as highly developed. The region is home to an impressive 11 Michelin-starred restaurants and 13 Bib Gourmand restaurants, which offer exceptional cuisine will ensuring your bank account remains in the black.

On the topic of cheap eats, any visit to Macau is incomplete without sampling a traditional Portuguese egg tart (pasteis de nata). Lord Stow's Bakery in the Coloane Town Square is the best place to get your hands on a box of these custardy, flaky delights – trust me, you will want a box.

 The Macau Sky Tower looms large (Image: Getty)

2015 could well be the year of Macau, with Lonely Planet naming it as one of the Top 10 Regions to visit this year thanks to its melange of 'new world glamour and old world grit'. Given its proximity, only 65-kilometres west of Hong Kong, and the fact it's accessible by ferry, a day-trip or overnighter in Macau is very doable.

Between its crumbling Portuguese ruins, luxury brand-name shopping and a staggering 25 World Heritage sites squeezed into the peninsula, there are plenty of reasons to add Macau to your next Asian escape (and splurge on a five-star hotel stay while you're at it!).

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg