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Pousada de Mong Ha Hotel review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Much is made of the fact that Pousada de Mong Ha is run by students from the adjacent Institute for Tourism Studies but in truth the real appeal lies in the traditional and understated charm of this Pousada – Portuguese for place of relaxation – that is so at odds with the neon glitz of Macau’s casino resorts. It’s also an absolute bargain.

Set above Macau’s Portuguese old town and built into the foundations of a 17th century fort, Pousada de Mong Ha is a celebration of the city’s mixed Portuguese and Chinese heritage. Instead of forcing the Portuguese influence the theme is subtle, coincidental to the building’s previous existence as a fort with cannons nestled amidst the herb garden and signature azulejos – hand painted Portuguese wall tiles – still decorating the breakfast room.

Essential information

Guest rooms are swept in yellow and white pastorals and in stark contrast to many of the city’s expensively arranged but often characterless luxury rooms; the rough cut teak headboards on the beds and oriental artwork offer simple refinement. While you’ll have to sacrifice some amenities associated with bigger hotels when staying at the Pousada de Mong Ha you will find flat screen TVs, wireless internet and a small gym. There is also a pair of restaurants on site, the Educational Restaurant and the Pousada Restaurant, both are run by the students and serve up Macanese and Portuguese dishes.

Pousada de Mong Ha Hotel out of town

The hill side surroundings of the hotel, up above the town, certainly contribute to its unique character and offer commanding Kodak views over the city and the sea and ample gardens and paths to unwind amidst the silence. Tranquil, yes, but also out of town, and while the irregular shuttle buses can get you in and out the location may not suit everyone.

Pousada de Mong Ha – the hotel run by students

Now, there are some of you out there wondering how students who can barely run a washing machine can run a hotel. You’ll be surprised. The students are in the final year of their course at the adjacent Institute for Tourism Studies and are marked on their practical performance in the hotel. This includes how long they take to check someone in to how long a housekeeping request should take (both of the above are completed within time 99% of the time) and as a result the students are always on their toes.

Apart from looking like the fresh faced members of a boy/girl canto pop band the only thing you’ll notice in the service is that it’s well above average and unfailingly comes with a smile.

Cheap prices at the Pousada de Mong Ha

Of course one of the less romantic reasons the hotel is so popular is the price. Given the high level of service and quality of the rooms the room rates are at least third cheaper than any comparable stay in Macau, helped by the fact that the hotel is a government run scheme so doesn’t need to charge any tax on stays.

This bargain price is one of the reasons the hotel has become so popular and don’t believe the ‘hidden gem’ tagline. Guidebooks and glossy magazines have been labelling the Pousada de Mong Ha a hidden gem for years and the fact that it’s number one in Macau hotels on tripadvisor should tell you all you need to know. With less than two dozen rooms…book early.

Pousada de Mong Ha – the verdict

Bags of character but not bags of money, there is little not to like at the Pousada de Mong Ha. The setting offers a stylish break from the bland design of chain hotels and a tranquil retreat while the students who run the operation are absolutely faultless and likely to leave you demanding more from staff at future hotel stays.

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