I’ve been to Macau many times, but this is the first time that I have visited Mandarin’s House. What a delightful surprise!Covering nearly 4000 square metres, this complex is still the largest private residence in Macau. Designated by Macau Government as heritage, it features both oriental and western architectural influence, and is the epitome of traditional Guangdong dwelling.
It resonates with me deeply as many features of the House are just like the old house in Guangzhou where I once resided in, such as the big square brick flooring, the tile roofing and the exterior wood door. Mandarin’s House dated back to 1869, with subsequent expansions by Zheng Guanying, a legendary figure and a celebrity in late Qing Dynasty who has written the masterpiece Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity in this house. Zheng’s fourth son, Zheng Jingkang, is the first generation of photographers in Communist China. The Mao Zedong portrait hanging at the Tiananmen Square is his work.
What we see of Mandarin’s House today is a result of conservation and renovation by Macau Government. The House was largely destroyed around the middle of last century when Zheng’s descendants moved out, leaving it occupied by many tenants and hence in a state of negligence and destitution. As visitor, you are asked to make online reservation in advance. My advice is, this is not a popular spot so it is not necessary.
Macau is not new to me. But in my latest visit to this gambling mecca, I had a bit of new experience.
I went to its highest revolving restaurant “cafe 360” in Macau Tower (338m high) for buffet dinner. The food was fine for MOP 328, not something that I will rave about. It is the view from the restaurant and the overall ambience that has impressed me. From the restaurant there is a really stunning view of the city lights and landscape.By the way, I waited for half an hour for a bus going to Macau Tower. Taking taxis may be the best way to get to the Tower.
The place I like best in Macau is Coloane, a former island with a elegant touch of its own.
Nearby there is a bakery famous for Portuguese egg tarts, the Lord Stow’s Bakery (1 Rua de Tassara, Coloane Town Square). Don’t miss it. For Macau government’s tourist office’s introduction about the bakery, see here.
How to get there:
Take bus No. 26, 26A, 25, 21A, 15. All buses go to Coloane town square.
It is the best, because it has a serene setting, away from the casinos seen everywhere in Macau. It is the best also because the hotel is unique in space design and elegantly decorated. Every hotel room has a balcony, a separate living room, a bedroom as well as bathroom. The hotel is actually the tourism school in Macau. So the service is offered by the school students, who are friendly and eager to help.
You will get a welcome drink and a small box of chocolates upon arrival. The hotel also offers shuttle bus service three times a day to the major the spots in the city from the hotel.
The breakfast is fresh, served in a restaurant nicely decked out. It is quite everywhere in the hotel, including over the breakfast. I totally enjoyed the breakfast and the ambience when I was there.
It costs MOP640 for a room from Sunday to Thursday. The other days of the week will be slightly more expensive.
How to get there:
The only disadvantage about the hotel is its location – hard to find.
It is better just to take taxi from the ferry pier, costing about MOP40 and taking about 15 minutes. The hotel website has details of its location and provides direction in Chinese for you to print out to show to the taxi driver.
If you want to take bus, take No 12 from the pier. The fare is MOP3.4. Get off at TDM (Macau’s TV station). There is a crossroad ahead. Turn left and walk straight to (about) the second street on the left. You will see a garbage collection point, behind which is a small hill. Walk up the stairs of the small hill and you will find the hotel.