Budget hotels and accommodation in Macau is not a happy story. The city and its hoteliers have their eyes firmly on the high rollers who pull up every weekend and most of the city’s new hotels are attached to casinos. While the room rates are fair for what these luxury pads offer, they aren’t cheap. At the bottom end of the market there are also a good number of absolutely bargain bucket guesthouses. You won’t find a website, you won’t find anyone who speaks English and you’re unlikely to find the place has been cleaned since the ill-fated Dutch invasion of the island back in 1622. They can be disturbingly hit and miss.
In between there is a bit of a void. There are a couple of more acceptable guesthouses and hostels, a few of which are geared towards backpackers, and a handful of moderately priced 3 star hotels. The good news is that in the budget accommodation that does exist prices are very, very cheap and there are an increasing number of options, particularly in the 3-star category. Below you’ll find tips on when and where to book and reviews of what’s available in each budget accommodation category.
When to GoCurrently capacity is always high in Macau; the roulette wheels are spinning faster than ever and Chinese tourists frequently book out the city’s budget accommodation options. Weekends are basically block booked, when Hong Kongers wheel into town, so if you can swing a visit during the work week you’ll find more options. Chinese New Year in January/February is a time to avoid as is the Macau GP in October, both of which tend to bring busloads of tourists.
When to BookIt’s no scoop to say it’s best to book early when it comes to accommodation, but as mentioned above, occupancy in Macau is high, especially in budget accommodation, so try and book early. If you are on short notice and on a budget, the massive casino resort hotels may be your only option, although you can always retreat to Hong Kong – less than an hour away by round the clock ferry. When it comes to guesthouses, ideally you need to see the room first, as some are little more than pits. Obviously, this isn’t ideal. Your only other option is to take a look at the properties we mention below and Google the merry hell out if it to be sure the guesthouse is reputable.
Where to BookSeveral of the city’s 3-star hotels are available to book online and you’ll usually find the best rates through booking engines rather than booking direct. Guesthouses are a little tricker and few have an online presence; even there email system can be a hit and mostly miss experience. Phoning is the best option. They should usually be able to rustle up someone who speaks English and you should certainly negotiate the price. Try these sites below for online booking; even if you don’t use them to book, their live rates will give you an idea of how much money you’re playing with.
- Zuji.com – This Asia based, Travelocity powered booking engine features the best of the city’s mid range, three star hotels and there prices and deals are better than the rates offered by the actual properties.