Casinos, Filles de joie and Gondolas!
MY job as The Travelling Gourmet, a well known Travel, Food & Wine Writer/Editor, takes me to many different international locales. I just read your TripAdvisor's dirtiest hotels update which inspired me to write this comment.
Recently, I was in Macau, the Special Administrative Region of China. I had made reservations way in advance, but when I arrived after a long international flight and a Hydrofoil boat from Hong Kong, plus a shuttle bus transfer to the Venetian Macau....lo and behold, there was NO reservation for me! There was also a long queue of unruly people which constituted a tour group from mainland China.
At first, I was taken aback as I had not expected this but then, on further enquiries, my suprise turned to annoyance and some irritation followed by anger. After wasting a lot of time and numerous phone calls to various Managers who were not very helpful, I was finally checked in and taken to my suite as this is an all suite hotel.
It was adequate but I have stayed in nicer suites before, notably at the Four Seasons George V in Paris where you can be sure that such mistakes NEVER occur.
I went down to the Reception Desk to find out more details of what I could do in terms of food, etc. When I arrived on level 1, I found a very pretty young girl in a mini skirt sitting in one of two chairs by the lift lobby. She smiled at me so I , of course smiled back and went to Reception. I thought nothing of it but later on my way back to my suite she was still there sitting on the chair. Later about an hour after my first sojourn, I went down to explore the hotel's facilities and Casino.
Oh! La! La! she was there again. She looked about 19 years old. Being a man of the world, I started to think something was not quite right somewhere?? On my way back to my suite after buying some nice gourmet chocolates to munch, she was there again. This time she propositioned me and asked in Mandarin, "Ni yao ma?" which can be translated as "Would you like to have me?" I declined politely with a wry smile a la James Coburn as "Our man Flint" and finally confirmed my suspicions that she was a "fille de joie" or "fille de la nuit" as they say in Paris, except that it was 4pm in the afternoon! There are at least 2 security guards in bright Disney World style canary yellow jackets that are supposed to check the guest's key card before letting him or her in to the lift lobby ,but these young and pretty girs seem to be able to bypass them all the time. I saw many such ladies during my stay. Strange, isn't it?
I told my partner and she was not amused. "What kind of hotel is this? I thought it was a high class place!"
I replied, a la Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca", 1942, " I was misinformed."
The next day I dined at the Canton Chinese restaurant which is the only one run by the Venetian. Alas, the food was mediocre with no unique dishes, plus my wne was served at the wrong temperature. Yes, I checked with my CIA thermometer. I am after all, a CIA trained Chef.
The staff here are mainly Chinese from the mainland and they can hardly speak English though they try. Their standard of English is so poor that you can only understand maybe 15% of what they are trying to tell you! My friendly Filipino room service waiter told me in confidence, "They are retrenching a lot of staff because business in the hotel and casino has dropped since China changed the Visa rules. They could come once a month to gamble but now they are only allowed to come once in 3 months! I hope I can keep my job." i know from highly reliable sources that the real reason China changed the Visa rules for their citizens is because so many Communist Party officials have been embezzling party funds to go and gamble in Macau and have lost millions! Chairman Mao must be rolling over in his grave, the commie twerp. In addition, get this, the Gondolas were made by Italian craftsmen BUT they have little hidden propellers and motors, Ha! Ha! If you visit Macau, I recommend the Four Seasons hotel, very much nicer with very good food in Windows, Belcancao and their Chinese restaurant plus superb service by very well trained staff, and....NO "filles de joie" By Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet who is an international Travel, Food & Wine Writer/Editor