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August 12, 2015

Reaching a Whole New Galaxy! An Indulgent Macau Escape

Like any good Hong Konger you know that the key to staying sane in this city is escaping from it frequently.  Which explains the passport full of stamps and the fact that the airhostesses at Chek Lap Kok greet you by name.  Recently though the jetlag’s been getting you down and you’ve had enough of having to decant all your beauty products into 100ml bottles. You decided you’d had it with the jetset lifestyle and declared a summer free of immigration queues and bad aeroplane food – you were staying in Hong Kong ‘til autumn.

Then July rolled around, and your Instagram feed started resembling the latest issue of Conde Nast Traveller. As you struggled through yet another sweaty Friday morning commute down the escalator, you got a sudden craving for a fabulous Thai massage on a palm-shaded beach. Before you knew it you were tapping away on your smartphone checking out which airline could get you out of the city the quickest.

Luckily, just before you reached for your credit card, enlightenment hit. You remembered whisperings of massages more knot-meltingly incredible than anything the Thai islands could offer and all just a hop, skip and a short ferry ride from Victoria Harbour. A couple more taps on your smartphone later, and all that was left to be done was to let the office know you were taking the day off before wheeling around and heading back up the hill to scoop up your other half and pack a weekend bag (no pesky 100ml bottle decanting necessary). Within the hour, you’d breezed through the immigration hall at the ferry terminal and were smugly sitting on a Macau-bound Cotai Water Jet.

Smug levels reached an all time high though when by lunchtime you’d been whisked from ferry terminal to hotel lobby by a glossy chauffeur driven car, checked into a sumptuous room, changed into your bikini and were reclining by a turquoise swimming pool in front of your very own private Cabana. The Banyan Tree Macau at Galaxy Macau, your home for the next two nights, certainly knew how to make a stressed out Hong Konger happy. Just as you were thinking life couldn’t get much better, a pina colada with a palm-tree shapped stirrer arrived at your lounger and you declared that this was the only way that Fridays should ever be spent.

The afternoon passed in a sun soaked haze of dips in the myriad of pools, adrenaline-fueled adventures in the the world’s largest Skytop Wave Pool and world’s longest Skytop Adventure River Ride at the Grand Resort Deck napping in the air-conned cocoon of your Banyan Tree Macau Cabana and a couple more of those scrummy cocktails. Aside from the fleet of attentive waiters and a couple of other glam sun worshippers, you pretty much had the Banyan Tree Macau pool to yourself, so even as the sun dipped behind the palm trees you came over all petulant brat and whined that you didn’t want to leave your poolside haven. You eventually saw reason though when your other half pointed out that when you’re staying at an all-suite hotel in which every single suite has an in-room pool, there aren’t many corners of the hotel that don’t constitute a poolside haven. As you floated along the lemongrass scented, low lit corridors back to your suite you decided that the beginning of a Banyan Tree Macau weekend away was as good an excuse as any for popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne. And where better to drink a celebratory glass of weekend fizz than submerged in your in-room relaxation pool gazing out of the floor to ceiling windows at a gold-streaked pink sky.

Brought back to earth with a rumble from your ravenous stomach, you realized it was time to hop out of the pool and get spruced up for dinner. Fortunately the cavernous bathroom was even more romantic than a sunset soak in the relaxation pool, boasting not only a double shower but also a Japanese-inspired wooden tub with matching headrest cushions at either side.

And the romance only ratcheted up a notch when you arrived at the Banyan Tree’s signature Seafood & Grill restaurant, Belon, where your pre-dinner cocktails were shaken-up next to a piano set below glittering chandeliers. When your glasses were drained and the pianist took a well-earned break, you were shown through to the dining room where a candlelit table for two sat overlooking the neon-bright strip below. Dinner was a gourmet feast of seafood, truffle-laced handmade pasta and dry-aged NY Strip served by impeccably attentive waiters who cooked your scallops table-side and removed the silver domes from each course with a flourish. Having sipped on some excellent wines and eaten til you were fit to pop, you resolved that a gentle stroll to neighboring The Ritz-Carlton Macau was in order, based mainly on the fact that you’d heard tales of their legendary gin trolley cart in the Lounge Bar.

On the tipsy wander back to Banyan Tree Macau you happened to find yourself at a Blackjack table. You weren’t sure if it was your jade bangle or just the fact that your luck was well and truly in, but half an hour later you had a pocket full of casino chips and a big grin on your face. At which point your very wise other half persuaded you that you should quit while you were ahead with the dazzling suggestion of spending your winnings in the spa the following morning.

Back in the room the moonlight glinted off the pool and you considered a midnight dip but the football-pitch sized bed beckoned. As you sunk into its marshmallowy mattress and nestled into the crisp white sheets your eyelids became leaden and you’d fallen into the most deliciously deep sleep before your other half had even finished brushing his teeth.

As the next morning dawned you discovered quite how perilous awesome blackout blinds and an insanely comfortable bed can be, when you overslept and came dangerously close to missing your spa appointment. Happily you made it down to the uber-zen Banyan Tree Spa with just enough time to enjoy a pre-treatment ginger tea and a flick through a stack of glossy magazines. When massage o’clock struck, your therapist led you through a serene bamboo garden to a treatment room bigger than your apartment decked out with a pair of massage beds and a huge sunken bath. After an agonizing choice between the myriad treatments on offer you opted for the signature Royal Banyan Treatment – three hours of spa bliss that started with a foot bathing ritual and ended with a soak in a rose petal strewn bath. In the intervening two and a half hours, you were scrubbed to satiny-smooth perfection and then massaged and kneaded under the expert hands of your Thai therapist, intermittently using a herbal pouch dipped in sesame oil to help work out your intricately entangled knots.

Energised by the best night’s sleep you’ve had in months and a morning lying supine on a massage table, you emerged from the spa for an an afternoon of hardcore retail therapy. As luck would have it, just downstairs was The Promenade – the mall of every pro shopper’s dreams. There was nothing for it but to take your credit card for a grueling workout picking up shiny, pretty things in every store that you sashayed through from Jo Malone to Bvlgari and Mulberry to Alexander McQueen.

Having spent your winnings several times over, you sought out the Parisian-chic Ritz Carlton Café for a decadent afternoon tea where you devoured macaroons, madeleines and a whole tin full of other treats all washed down by the sinfully rich house hot chocolate.

After all that exertion you headed back to the pool to spend the rest of the afternoon sprawled out on a sun lounger with a delightfully trashy novel. As the sun started to sink towards the palms you got a sense of de-ja-vu and decided that there was nothing for it but to repeat every last luxurious second of the previous 24 hours, ideally for the rest of your days. Or at the very least at regular intervals whenever Hong Kong’s hecticness got to be a little too much.

 The Banyan Tree Macau

at Galaxy Macau

+853 2888 0888

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