Rubber meets the road on 11-12 November and again on 16-19 November, when the city hosts the 70th iteration of the Macau Grand Prix.
This year, the iconic motorsport event will feature the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA Formula 3 World Cup; Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup; Macau Guia Race-TCR World Tour Final; 55th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix; Macau Touring Car Cup; and the Macau 70th Anniversary Challenge.
Tickets are now on sale and cost anywhere from 100 to 1,000 patacas depending on the date and the spectator stand.
All races take place around the challenging 6.2-kilometre Guia Circuit, which has been described as “Monaco on steroids.” With six bends – including the notorious Lisboa Bend, and the Melco Bend at just 7 metres wide – the track has lured some of the top names in motorsport. From Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher to Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, many Formula 1 champions have raced in Macao when they were competing in the Formula 3 category.
Dotted around the track are a number of hotels, which naturally lure race fans at this time of year: it’s like having your own trackside VIP lounge. There’s plenty of choice, from modest mid-range properties to five-star luxury. Not all rooms overlook the action, so check with the respective hotel before making a booking – and don’t forget to pack earplugs.
Artyzen Grand Lapa Macau
This 426-room property puts you closest to the chequered flag, pits and paddocks. Many rooms have views of the sea – lovely for enjoying the sunrise, but not for watching the races – so be sure to ask for a city-facing room, overlooking the Avenida da Amizade.
The hotel bills itself as a city-centre resort: once the racing day is done, there are plenty of ways to wind down, including a landscaped pool, a well-equipped gym, three restaurants and a bar. You’ll also find a smattering of posh boutiques and a gallery specialising in artists from Portuguese-speaking countries.
Besides its obvious location advantage for the Grand Prix, the hotel is situated within walking distance of the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, with covered footbridges spanning much of the way.
Also on the Avenida da Amizade, the slick StarWorld Hotel is situated after the Guia Circuit’s Mandarin Bend but before the infamous Lisboa Bend. This long straight means that Formula 3 and GT cars will be roaring past the hotel at speeds in excess of 280 kilometres per hour. Nail-biting stuff.
Accommodation ranges from the 36-square-metre deluxe rooms to the 108-square-metre StarWorld Suite. There’s a sizable choice of Chinese and international restaurants, including the two-Michelin-star Feng Wei Ju, a patisserie by Gérard Dubois and a highly-rated whisky bar. You’ll also find an outdoor infinity pool and spacious fitness centre.
Also on the straight is this property of more than 1,000 rooms. Wynn proudly flaunts its motorsport colours – both this hotel and its sister property in Cotai, Wynn Palace, are the sites of an exhibition of stunning hypercars that runs until the end of November. When you’re done with the Grand Prix, you can drool over the likes of the GT McLaren Speedtail, the Bugatti Chiron and one of only 20 Pagani Huayra BCs ever made.
Accommodation is in two towers and includes one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites as well as the Encore deluxe and grand salon suites. Gourmands are spoiled for choice, with a two-Michelin-star Chinese restaurant and a two-Michelin-star Japanese restaurant to choose from, as well as at least half a dozen other outlets. There’s also an arcade of top brand-name boutiques, a gorgeous poolside with cabanas, a spa and a gym.
Not many hotels have a spectator stand or course feature named after them, but the existence of the Lisboa Bend and the Lisboa Stand gives you a clue as to just how close to the action this hotel is.
For the uninitiated, the Lisboa Bend is the most infamous part of the Guia Circuit. Race cars and motorbikes approach it full throttle after a long straight, but must pull up quickly for a right-angled turn.
As Swedish racer Felix Rosenqvist explains, both F3 and GT cars “will approach the braking area for the 90-degree right-hand Lisboa Bend at the same speed – above 280 kmh. You can get to the 100-metre mark before you brake in an F3 car. The GT car, with its greater mass, will need double that braking distance.”
Unsurprisingly, seats at the Lisboa stand are the Grand Prix’s most expensive. The hotel itself is correspondingly plush, with five restaurants (including a branch of Portugal’s Michelin-starred Fortaleza do Guincho), a shopping arcade, an indoor pool, a fitness centre and a salon.
Situated opposite the Artyzen Grand Lapa (see above), the Waldo offers similar proximity to the start of the course, but at a cheaper price than that of its swanky neighbour. It markets itself to the racing crowd as a “perfect choice for the Macau Grand Prix,” complete with excellent views, “head-turning excitement” and “the high-pitched whine of racing engines” in constant earshot. If that isn’t enough, it’s also just a short walk from the Grand Prix Museum.
Rooms are basic but comfortable. There isn’t much in the way of amenities, however, so be prepared to explore the neighbourhood at mealtimes.
Located at an elevated spot by the Maternity Bend – the start of an intense series of twists and turns on the Guia Circuit – the mid-range Hotel Guia bills itself as a place to “conveniently watch the annual racing event.” It’s also the only hotel in the leafy conservation area around the iconic Guia Lighthouse, chapel and fortress.
The Hotel Guia offers just 90 rooms, so book ahead if you want to enjoy its lofty views of the track, as well as its sunny roof terrace, with its terracotta tiling and shaded tables. There’s an onsite restaurant serving both Chinese and Western food and regular shuttle buses connect guests to the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and Border Gate.
Besides the Grand Prix, there’s a wide range of sporting events taking place in Macao at any time of year. Consult the MGTO’s Events Guide when planning your trip.