By Lilit Marcus, CNN
The Londoner Macao is a love letter to all things British, from afternoon tea to Premier League football.
Although the property has officially been operational for two years, the city’s strict coronavirus restrictions were finally lifted in early 2023, giving The Londoner the chance to celebrate its grand opening this week, complete with an appearance from David Beckham, who designed high-end suites on the property.
The Londoner includes two all-suite hotels, The Londoner Hotel and Londoner Court. From the replica Big Ben to the sleek wood-paneled bar inspired by Britain’s members-only clubs, no detail is overlooked.
Anglophiles will enjoy the hotel’s naming conventions, which shout out some of the United Kingdom’s most famous people and places.
Guests can begin their stay by entering the gleaming, marble-bedecked Crystal Palace lobby atrium.
This multipurpose space features a replica Elizabeth Tower (best known as the home of clock Big Ben), a full-scale replica of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain and a Shakespeare-inspired three-story atrium designed in the style of the Royal Albert Hall. But its true highlight is the once-a-day Changing of the Guard ceremony that re-creates the one held in front of Buckingham Palace.
From there, guests can hop into a London-style black taxi for a virtual tour of the British capital led by a hologram of Beckham or board a classic red double-decker bus for photo ops.
There’s also a replica of 10 Downing Street, the home of the UK prime minister, complete with a statue of Winston Churchill flashing the V-for-victory sign and a model of beloved pet Larry the Cat.
Other re-created London landmarks include Nelson’s Column from Trafalgar Square, the Abbey Road crossing made iconic by The Beatles and statues of monarchs King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.
But it wouldn’t be a British-inspired hotel without a classic afternoon tea.
Winston’s Table is a Western-style cafe that goes over the top with its cakes, namely its signature confections in the shape of crowns.
By night, the hotel-guests-only The Residence is the place for gin-based cocktails.
While many of The Londoner’s amenities are open to the public, guests can retire to their rooms afterward to keep enjoying the British experience.
The most notable lodgings are the 14 suites designed by football legend David Beckham.
Don’t expect a football theme, though: the suites are decorated in pale blue and gray tones with original photography and the initials “DB” embroidered onto pillows.
Guests can also sample some cigars, foods and whiskeys hand-picked by the star himself.
Other suites, like Mayfair and Windsor, get their names from famous places around the UK.
In-room amenities include massage chairs, Victorian-style marble bathtubs, private powder rooms and pillow menus to guarantee a good night’s sleep.
There are also two heated outdoor swimming pools, each with views of “Big Ben,” which doesn’t just bong to note the hour – on the clock face there’s a mini light show featuring some of London’s famous landmarks.
A changing city
Macao, often called the Las Vegas of Asia, spent nearly three years with some of the strictest pandemic regulations in the world.
Now that it has reopened to global travelers, the former Portuguese colony is trying to rebrand itself as a family-friendly destination with more to offer than just gambling.
An expanding food and beverage scene plus investment in art and new non-gaming attractions is slowly reshaping the way the world looks at Macao.
As the city’s most recent big hotel opening, The Londoner stands as part of that new effort.
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