In an age of aerobics and nouvelle cuisine the health and fitness craze is here to stay. At least that is what the Macau tourist authorities have decided as they busily develop and promote the Portuguese colony as a spa center.
Macau has long been the place for Hong Kong people to unwind and recharge their batteries, but today's breed of sports fans are much more demanding in their recreation requirements than their forebears. Hence the opening of the Hyatt Taipa Island resort, which functions as a health club for Macau residents as well as visitors.
With its eau-de-nil washed walls, coral rooftiles and lush greenery the resort has eye appeal. The gardens have been carefully landscaped to provide a garden lake and a number of quiet nooks, enhanced by the presence of songbirds. A free-form pool, a jogging track, playground, putting green and driving range are among the resort's outdoor facilities along with floodlit tennis courts and a multipurpose court for volleyball, badminton, basketball and football.
Two squash courts with the latest panel-well system are found indoors along with a sports shop and health food store. The spa also boasts a sauna, massage room, jacuzzi and steam room along with a beauty clinic which offers packages for narcissists with facials, body massage, body wrap, manicure and pedicure. But the pride and joy of the resorts is the Sports Medicine Centre where serious exercise buffs can have their individual exercise needs and capabilities determined by a resident sports doctor who also carries out stress and fitness consultations, computerized body-composition analysis and cardiac stress testing.
But the authorities have more than the Taipa Island resort in mind for promoting non-casino tourism in Macau. Recently completed were Coloane Park, featuring nature trails, a walk through aviary, lakes and Chinese gardens together with an Olympic-size swimming pool, and a leisure complex at Ha Sac beach. Macau has also set its sights on opening an international airport, introducing flat racing and staging an annual music festival. New beach facilites are also on the drawing board, most significantly a picturesque Algarve-style resort to be developed on the south side of Coloane Island. "We have a little paradise here," boasts Hyatt Taipa Island resort manager Don Bozarth, 'there's nothing like it in Hong Kong'.