Grand Designs: It’s All About the Fine Details At Palazzo Versace Macau

We checked into the newly opened Palazzo Versace Macau and discovered that great hotel design lies in the little details.
Palazzo Versace Macau

The entrance of Palazzo Versace Macau

A family of four walks into the hotel lobby of where I’m staying. They look just like any other young family on holiday, except that they’re decked in head-to-toe Versace.

I have checked into the Palazzo Versace Macau, the first ever of its kind in Asia. Located within three towers of the sprawling Grand Lisboa Palace, here, you’re expected to live luxuriously, and yes, that means dressing the kids in Versace.

As its name suggests, this is no mere hotel, it’s a Palazzo. Inspired by Versace’s Milanese heritage, the hotel serves as a testament to the House’s craftsmanship, design and distinctive style. The moment you step into the expansive lobby, you’re greeted with a striking rendition of Versace’s home in Milan, the Palazzo at Via Gesù, made out of over 80, 000 hand- laid enamel mosaic tiles.

The lobby area.

Gaze down, and you’ll see a giant Medusa head, the Greek mythological figure and the house’s legendary symbol, laid out on the floor in mosaic, a nod to the moment when the late Gianni Versace first unearthed the mythical symbol in the ruins of Reggio Calabria where he played as a child.

My stay coincided with the grand opening of the hotel, and the staff were busy darting to and fro, prepping the place for the arrival of the diva herself, Donatella Versace and a host of other celebrities. Here, every single detail matters, which can be said of the feat of craftsmanship that went behind the beautifully detailed interiors and architecture.

There is a fine line between kitsch and lavishness and designing a hotel as elaborate as this requires knowing when you’ve crossed the line. Yet, there is not one area of this entire property where the design team had communicated a lack of refinement. From the ornate Versace branding to the subtle oriental influences of the chrysanthemum flower and dragon symbols, the designers also managed to weave local Chinese custom with Italian, Baroque and ancient Greek cultural motifs in a harmonious way.

Subtle oriental influences can be seen in the interiors.

The mosaics and terrazzo flooring throughout the property were handcrafted by Fantini Mosaici—a fourth-generation Milanese artisan who is known to the Versace House—adding an authentic touch to this new property. Using materials cut by hand, only two to three feet of mosaic pattern could be completed each day, and there’s a lot of area to cover. The lobby area itself includes over a million marble mosaic tiles. Remarkable!

Palazzo Versace Macau

Chinese custom and Italian baroque elements are weaved into the design of the rooms.

The terrazzo flooring is a whole other feat of craftsmanship. In the Palazzo’s suites, the white background terrazzo contains six colours of marble, with over 100,000 pieces of marble, each laid by hand into each guestroom’s floor.

Palazzo Versace Macau

The indoor pool.

If there were a piece de resistance to the entire property, it would probably be the 27-metre temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool with the signature dragon motif, which would not look amiss in a James Bond villain’s lair. There’s also an outdoor version for the summer months.

I made my way to The Spa, which boasts seven treatment suites, thermal suites with a Crystal Steam Room, a Sauna, and an Italian-inspired Turkish Hammam. Here, Mediterranean rituals are offered combined with holistic principles. After my massage, I dropped by the little Roman bath to unwind. The spa areas take on a more classical design compared to the other areas of the hotel, with Versace’s Tresor de la Mer prints rendered in two mosaic colour interpretations.

Palazzo Versace Macau

The spa.

Then there’s the dining. The Palazzo houses two Italian restaurants on-site, one being the family-owned Michelin- starred Don Alfonso 1890 and La Scala del Palazzo. The former represents Southern Italy’s classic fare with a cosy cocktail area and an open kitchen. The truffle risotto is an absolute dream.

Palazzo Versace Macau

Dom Alfonso 1890.

Downstairs is La Scala where you can sample a taste of Italy’s well-known coffee culture and classic Italian cuisine. Expect all your meals to be served in Versace Meets Rosenthal porcelain and Versace homeware, adorned in collection prints.

I asked one of the employees if the people that come here look for an escape from the ordinary world? “People come here to live out their alter ego,” he tells me, because life’s too short not to bask in luxurious self-indulgence every now and then.

This story was first published in The Peak Malaysia June 2024 Issue.

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