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September 26, 2013

Insider Exclusive: Troy Hickox

One of the youngest GMs worldwide, with over 20 years of experience from Australia to New York to Hong Kong, Conrad Macao’s dynamic and dashing General Manager Troy Hickox is shaking things up in Macao and around the globe with fashion collaborations, eco-innovations, charitable initiatives and more. We sit down with Mr. Hickox in one of the hotel’s jaw-dropping suites to find out his favourite places to play and what indulgences he can’t live without.  From local foodie finds to enchanting history filled streets, take a ride with this @HIPHOTELIER as he puts the top down and lets us in on a few of Macao’s best kept secrets…

What are your top picks for an “only in Macao” experience? 
1. Explore the town on foot and discover ‘your own’ Macao. Hidden squares and back alleys abound near St Paul’s ruins that offer you vignettes of old Macao.
2. Eat egg tarts at Margaret Café de Nata. Just as nice – but some would claim even better, than those at the more famous Lord Stowe’s.
3. Catch a Macanese sunset from the Northwest corner of Fortress Hill – perhaps with egg-tarts from Margaret Café!
4. Go to a concert or event at the enormous Cotai Arena – but make a night or a weekend of it. There is nowhere in Hong Kong that compares as a venue, when you consider the pre/post show experience of The Venetian Macao right outside.

What are your favourite spots for local Macanese fare?
1. A Petisqueira (+853 2882 5354) in the quiet lane behind the central Cunha Street in Old Taipa Village. It has only a handful of tables, but it’s where you’ll find the chef’s and food and beverage professionals from around town getting their garlic prawns, tripe and clams.
2. Sun Yick  (+853 2848 1046 ) in Mong Ha is another favourite, if you aren’t uncomfortable to sit on stools and eat on disposable plastic table covers. The must-eat dish here is the whole chicken in curry, encased inside an enormous bread roll, and served with scissors – so you can trim, and dunk.
3. Henri’s Galley (+853 2855 6251) at Sai Van Lake – nice quiet neighborhood restaurant, with alfresco seating and views over the lake.
4. A Vencedora (+853 2835 5460) on Rua de Campo. A local-style corner shop that serves true-blue Macanese. It’s been there forever, the tourists still don’t know of it, and it’s packed to the gills with local regulars.

What would you say is a “must see” for first time visitors to Macao?
1. Macao’s UNESCO world heritage listed sights – the Historic Centre of Macao. While the main attractions are on the right of Avenida Almedo Riberio, our Chief Concierge, Edmund, always advises not to miss those on the left – neighborhoods such as St Augustine and The Barra are nicely ‘lived-in’ and have just as many important sights – but only a fraction of the crowds.
2. The original strip – Go back in time and see the more traditional casino’s, some of the fading palaces clearly have more interesting stories than some of the flashy and new.
3. The Venetian Macao - for its sheer awesome size and multitude of attractions, – now connected by the bridge of stars to the equally massive Sands Cotai Central across the street. You could fill more than a couple of days just exploring these anchor resorts on Cotai without ever leaving the comfort of air-conditioning.
4. Nightlife - to suit your own curiosity. Our concierge can get you into the upper tier of “members only” clubs, as well as guide those looking to find the more infamous and ‘vibrant’ spots.

Where are your favourite places to play?
1. Coloane – It’s so close, yet so far from the over-whelming action of the city centre or Cotai. Hiking around Coloane Hill, and walking the sea cliffs at the southern end of the island is a great little escape.
2. Macao Golf and Country Club  – Whacking ‘floaters’ from the driving range out to sea is great fun. I feel for the poor chap in the little boat with his helmet trying collect all the balls.
3. Sheraton’s Jaya Pool Deck is good for a chilled out evening drink.
4. Brunch at the Four Seasons Belcanção or Lunch at Portofino at The Venetian Macao.
5. A treatment at the Conrad’s Bodhi Spa is a must, it truly does have some of the city’s best therapists, but plan to go in the mornings – from the afternoon till late evening it’s extremely popular and hard to get in.

How do you think Macao differs from HK? 
I call both cities home on different days of the week. One might say that everyone takes everything too seriously in Hong Kong, whereas nobody really takes anything too seriously in Macao. I think Hong Kong definitely wins on ‘global-vibe’, but Macao has a more distinct cultural identity of its own – and that is kind of nice.

What are your necessary indulgences?
Time – too often, life is a rush, I need to take a moment here and there to just…enjoy it. I absolutely must travel, must eat well – and must drive a convertible!

Conrad® Macao, Cotai Central
Sands® Cotai Central
Cotai Strip, Taipa, Macao SAR
+853 2882 9000

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