This weekend I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience Macau's first "six star" hotel; so they [Crown Macau] claim. I had not heard of Crown hotels in the past. Apparently they have a sister property in Melbourne, Australia. The one in Macau is own and operated by Stanley Ho's eldest son, Lawrence Ho's Melco PBL Entertainment. It is just one of three properties development this company has in progress or plan for Macau.
One can see many of the details that went into designing Crown Macau, like a power outlet in the room safe, to the iHome alarm clock to dock your own iPod do for your music entertainment and alarm clock function.
Unfortunately, there are also many flaws in the design of the hotel; especially for a "self proclaimed" six star hotel.
In the suites; by the way every room in the hotel has a magnificent view of Macau and are junior suites, almost everything in the room are power operated, including the blinds for the see through window to the shower and bath facilities. Strangely enough, the heavy curtains are not power operated, but there was enough thought put in, to ensure the curtains are thick enough so that when they are close, there is really no way of know what time of day it is without the in room clock on the iHome.
The telephone system are all digital supplied by Cisco Systems, again it is strange to find that there are two high tech Cisco IP Phone set in the bedroom area that are approximately 8 feet apart, but no extension in the, "huge", bathroom accept in the separate toilet closet.
With the various power assisted functions, one is always struggling to figure out which switch operates a particular function in the room. Due to the layout of the room many of the switches are situated in strange locations in relation to the functions they operate.
The main bathroom, the Shower/Bath, the bed and lounge areas all have dimmer switches for the light controls, but they do not have off switches. One also have to cycle through each of the levels before reaching the last one which turns off the corresponding lights.
Unlike most modern energy conscious hotel rooms there is no one mast switches that turn on or off all the main lights when one enter or leave the room. So, each time one enters and exist a room one has to first figure out which switch is for which and then wait there for the dimmers to cycle either directions.
The TV is also digital, supplied by a company called NxTV or Los Angeles. It has great claims on its web site, but my 4 hours experience is that it only worked 50% of the time. When it does not work, the controls on screen menu just does not respond to any control or when it does it is so slow that it is impossible to choose anything. The problem is that there is no way to get to the regular TV function of the TV without going through the on screen menu.
For the business traveler, you will be happy to know that "broadband" Internet connection (supplied by a local carrier CTM) is free; at least for now. That is fortunate, since the so called "broadband" only achieved 1Mbps or less performance. Which in both Macau and Asian standards is extremely slow, and would not be classified as modern day broadband service. May be that is the reason the service is currently free. In either case, I hope the speed will improve and the price stays the same.
Every elevator I went into, one of the doors on the elevator will have large scratch marks from it scrapping against the sides of the elevator when the door opens and closes. This is only after a month of opening, how could that have happened? Speaking of the elevators, the lighting insides are way too dark and one would always struggle to find button for the floor they need on the panel.
Now for the main attraction of the facility, the casino. It design is quite strange, as it is spread out onto 4 floors unlike most casino where it is usually spread out on one floor. The problem with this design is that if you are the type of player that jump from games to games you will have to traverse different floors to get to your game. In the different occasions that I was in the casino areas, I did not see the same crowds as in other casinos in Macau or elsewhere. This last point may be a plus for players, but definitely not for the house.
[Update: August 26] After writing the above review, I decided to go checkout the pool personally. The pool was situated about the hotel Spa at the 16th floor and occupying both 16th and 18th floor. The design of the pool is one of those infinity pool, but in this case in stead of feeling you are swimming the in blue sea, you feel that you are not swimming in the Macau harbour, which is a fortunate thing, since the harbour's water is very muddy and has a brown colour throughout.
The Change room was well equipped. All I had to do with bring my swimming trunks. When I arrived I was handed a locker key. In the locker I found a fresh towel, comb, hair brush, plastic bag for my wet shorts later and a mess bag for my valuables.
The one thing they seem to have forgotten was to provide benches for you to change on and hooks to temporary hang your clothes while you change. There are also no hangers in the locker or anything else to hang your clothes on.
I am 5'8", which in Hong Kong and Macau is an average height, but they gave me a locker where I can barely reach the top shelf. So I did not bother putting anything there.
The stone tiled floor around (2 sides) the pool was very slippery. When I was there I saw three people slip on the floor and one of them was a kid who fell flat on his face. This is significant, because, including myself there were a total of 9 people who used the pool during the time I was there. I too almost fell.
So in my opinion this hotel was heavily designed, but there are many many areas that needs improvements and fixing.
All in all this is a very nice hotel that does not have enough guess to take advantage of it.