Viva La Venetian
Whatever the weather outside, be it rain or shine, at The Venetian Macau you can shop to your heart’s content. With one million square feet at its disposal, The Venetian decided to do something never before seen in Asia; it created three canals each 490 feet long and lined them with over 300 speciality shops, 30 fine-dining restaurants and a one thousand-seat international food court.
The Grand Canal Shoppes is a truly world-class retail experience that has no other equal in the region. Designed to look and feel like Venice, the mall even has a blue sky complete with clouds, which as you amble along and look it seem as if they are actually moving. As night falls outside, so the lights that light up the Venetian sky dim just a little. The three canal routes that span almost the entire hotel are named the Grand District, Marco Polo District and San Luca District.
Kicking off our day at the leisurely time of 10:30, we headed to the cavernous international food court for a brunch that spanned three continents; burgers from American, noodles from Japan, and Italian coffee. Slowly devouring our delicious food, we decided to plan our day ahead in the shopping centre and thanks to the map provided by the hotel we were able to divide our day accordingly. First we would tour the ladies’ fashion shops; after all, respectfully it is ladies before gentlemen and then we would head off to the men’s and mixed fashions.
With our plan now firmly in place we headed off to St. Mark Square and the Grand District to begin our shopping odyssey. St. Marks Square is an eye opening sight for those who have never experienced the real thing in Venice and most shoppers spend a few minutes here taking photos and watching the Artiste Del Arte or Streetmosphere programme. These hourly performances add a touch of Italy to any shopping trip and we took in several excellent performances.
Taking a clockwise route, we soon arrived at Castella Square in the Marco Polo District where you’ll find a breathtaking selection of jewellery, watches and other beautiful gifts. Nobody has to window shop in The Grand Canal Shoppes as most of the shops have open doors and are quite happy to show you their products whenever you ask. The Marco Polo District is also home to Carnival Square and Castella Square, two excellent locations to take a break and grab a drink while your energy levels stabilise.
In total, there are 51 authentic Italian gondolas that ply the three canals that encompass the shopping district and each has its very own singing gondolier. Take a little time out from your shopping trip to be serenely rowed and serenaded along a canal. We took a ride along the San Luca Canal, before doubling back and taking in the remaining stores in the Grand Canal Shoppes complex.
But we hadn’t finished our shopping spree just yet, however. In the San Luca District is a walkway to more extravagant stores that can only be found here and nowhere else in Macau. The Shoppes at Four Seasons present shoppers with perhaps the finest selection of stores found in the Asia region and it is all so easy to find yourself making a purchase.
As it was now late afternoon, we headed back to St. Marks Square and a restaurant we had spotted around lunchtime. Macau is famous for its Portuguese cuisine so we decided to drop our shopping bags and experience some of the best Portuguese food in town. The Madeira Portuguese Restaurant offers the finest food, best quality wines and superb value for money.
After we had finished our lazy early evening meal, we again strolled through the impressive St. Marks Square and to our surprise discovered more street performers. We were treated to musical delights by a Venetian trio serenade, who made our time spent discovering the wonders of the Grand Canal Shoppes one that will remain with us for many years to come.