When we were planning my birthday trip to Macau, I spent hours and hours looking for the “right” hotel room. By “right” I mean it must be reasonably priced, accessible, clean and comfortable.
Initially, I was thinking of going for the popular budget brands like Holiday Inn, Days Inn and the like however whenever I search for “budget friendly room Macau,” Townswell would always be the top choice, with an attractive price that is almost half the price of hotel.
The deciding factor was the number of beds. I was travelling with my husband and my 27-year old daughter, I wanted a room with 3 beds, where all three of us can sleep comfortably and still have space to move around. Most hotels have accommodations for people and then maybe a sofa bed for the additional companion.
When I saw a photo of a room in Townswell, with 3 beds priced at little over 3K I booked it immediately , never mind if it wasn’t located in the main part of town. Never mind if I couldn’t even locate it in the map. My husband couldn’t believe the low cost, and instantly instructed me to book. “Tulugan lang naman, eh,” (we will just use it for sleeping) he said.
Like most tourists, we would be walking around the whole day, and we basically just need a place to rest, nothing fancy.
Of course there were some criticisms as well, but considering the budget-friendly rate, I decided to ignore anything that will ruin our vacation.
I was instructed to print out the directions, if possible include the hotel’s Chinese name to make it easier for cab drivers to find the place.
On the day of our trip, our flight was delayed (as expected) by the time we got to Macau it was raining very hard. Before boarding I made several calls to Agoda to inform them of the delay — the last thing I want is to be homeless in Macau, on my birthday.
There were several suggestions online on how to take the free shuttle from the airport going to our hotel. But because of the bad weather we opted to take a taxi. It was also a wise idea to have my cash changed to Macau currency (Macanese Pataca) at NAIA. While travel sites raved about money changers in the airport, by the time we landed it was late in the evening, and all money changers were closed. At least I had enough cash to pay the taxi.
From the Macau airport I handed the print out that carried the hotel’s Chinese name to the driver. He had to “study” it for a few minutes, before we finally left the airport (he was saying something in Chinese, and of course I couldn’t understand)
We passed the main highway and made several turns until we reached an area with narrow and sloping streets. I felt like we were traversing alleys in between tall buildings. If I am not mistaken the roads can only accommodate one car at a time. I was a little nervous because it was dark and raining. Finally the driver stopped and I saw the familiar Townswell façade. My husband joked that we were in Macau’s version of Binondo.
When I entered the hotel there was a huge “Fully Booked” sign on the front desk. In fact there were some people in the lobby waiting for a room. Thank God we had reservations and were immediately given the keys.
The room was exactly like to one in the photo, but bigger. My daughter loved the huge window, with a nice view of Macau skylight. There were 3 beds but only 2 had sheets and pillows. I called the front desk to ask, why the third bed was not made. I was warned that the hotel staff speaks very “basic” English. As expected they could not understand what I was saying.
I took a photo of the unmade bed, and went to the lobby so I can personally explain my concern. I showed a photo of the 2 beds complete with pillows, and the last bed which was unmade. They understood, made a call, assured me that everything will be settled.
I went back to the room, in a few minutes there was a knock on the door. The lady who brought the pillows and sheets was Filipina! Thank God! And speaks Tagalog too. We were all so happy.
Towns Well is a few minutes walk from all the tourist destinations. It’s a few steps away from the Macau Cathedral also known as the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. For Catholics this is a plus, especially if you happen to be in Macau for the weekend. There are English and tagalog masses as well.
During the day you can walk around Senado Square. It is lined with small shops and eating places. What I like most were the little bakeries that sold the famous Portuguese Egg Tart. You can always buy them by in attractive boxes from popular stores like Lord Stowe, but there is nothing like enjoying it warm, straight out of the oven from small bakeries located in the side streets.
Food is not a problem in this tourist-friendly city, especially around Townswell. If you enjoy noodles and all types pf Chinese cuisine, you will never go hungry while exploring the fun destination. We were able to find some interesting eating places in the area. We tried the Portugese restaurant called Mariazinha and had drinks and light meals Bistro D’ Indochine, Vietnamese restaurant and bar. An interesting piece on Macau eateries will follow soon.
For the not-so-adventurous there is a Jollibee on the main road, right next to Starbucks and BDO (as in Banco de Oro).
Should you wish to visit the new casinos in Cotai, the bus stop is a short walk away. Ask the front desk for a map for easy navigation. Other casinos like MGM, Lisboa and Wynn are all a short walk away. By the way, there is a free shuttle to Galaxy Casino from MGM.