Altira Macau gives new meaning to the term "quiet luxury." The high-rise hotel is a study in contemporary Asian elegance, from the simple yet striking flower arrangement in the lobby to the circular stone soaking tubs in each guest suite. However, what strikes you first and most constantly about the experience here is how hushed it is.
Even if the hotel is fully booked, it almost feels that you have the place to yourself, but for a few shared elevator rides. The Altira's 216 rooms and suites occupy 16 floors of the 38-story building, making it a rare occurrence that one guest ever passes another in the hall. More unusual still: even though high-limit gambling is the main draw for the largely Chinese clientele, it's possible to stay in the Altira for days without ever knowing it's a gaming hotel. That's because the casino takes up the first five floors of the building, many levels down from the guest rooms and restaurants. Dedicated elevators shuttle guests from the 38th floor lobby down to the casino and street level.
Reception is housed on the 38th floor, along with the sleek white and silver 38 Lounge. The visual presentation that greets guests is stunning: panoramic water and peninsula views from curving floor-to-ceiling windows. From the lobby, one can either go to the guest elevators or into the adjoining lounge. This is a glossy haven by day, but turns into a rather raucous live music bar at night. The spacious outdoor terrace offers even more of those breathtaking skyline views.
Each guest room has similarly stunning views - perhaps not quite so high up, but still floor-to-ceiling. The rooms themselves are spacious and Feng Shui elegant, with glass walls separating the bedroom from the bathroom, and those amazing round bathtubs a full-grown person could almost swim in.
The Altira Spa occupies two floors - one mostly for the fitness center and pools, the other for the treatment rooms. It's a lovely and peaceful place, with the same qualities of silence and privacy that define the rest of the hotel. Even if every one of the 14 treatment rooms is booked, you can lie for an hour on a daybed by the infinity pool and not have to share the pool or the gorgeous sky-and-water views with another soul.
Although the restaurants, too, are tucked onto their own levels where you'll never just stumble across them, it's worth seeking them out. The Altira is second only to the Grand Lisboa in developing and promoting a food and wine scene in Macau. Its restaurants are lavishly decorated, representing a range of world cuisines. At Tokyo import Tenmasa, nothing's on the menu but the finest tempura, and for libations, a full sake bar.
At Michelin-starred Aurora, a seasonal market menu complements the regular menu of gourmet Italian cuisine. With a 600-label wine list, Aurora also hosts many of Macau's consumer and trade wine events, from weekly tastings to occasional launch parties. Ying is the Chinese restaurant, and possibly the most stunning of the bunch, with its red velvet furnishings, gold-colored trim, and curtains around the private booths made of hundreds of gently swinging slender gold cords. Rounding out the fine dining offerings is contemporary Japanese restaurant Kira.