When choosing a hotel, consider the surroundings. In pulsating downtown Macau (or in the Outer Harbour, connected to downtown via frequent casino shuttles), historic and cultural sites, casinos, and restaurants are all within walking distance. Hotels in more residential Taipa, just a short bus- or taxi-ride away, often have incomparable sea and bright-lights views. And if you spring for the Altira Macau, you can enjoy the many top-rate facilities within walking distance of Taipa Village. The Cotai Strip offers one-stop sleeping, shopping, eating, and gambling; outside the resorts, however, it's still a construction field, with new, glitzy hotels opening frequently. The peaceful Inner Harbour has excellent sea views, but for true otherworldly quiet, head to Coloane, where you can hit the beach and hiking trails.

For discounted rates in the grand hotels, book a package through a Hong Kong travel agency. If your tastes are more modest, agents at the Macau hydrofoil terminal can get you a room in a three- to four-star property for a reduced price, subject to availability. Macau hotels are busiest during the Grand Prix (mid- to late November) and all official Chinese holidays. Book at least a couple of weeks in advance at these times. Year-round, weekends fill up fast and walk-ins can be prohibitively expensive. Visit on a weekday to avoid crowds and inflated prices.

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