A 3-bedroom unfurnished apartment in the new Windsor Arch property that has been transformed into an elegant, cozy home.
The vast 10-tower Windsor Arch, located on Estrada Gov. Albano de Oliveira on the opposite side of road to the Macau Jockey Club, is slowly but surely filling up with tenants and owner-occupiers. For those with discerning tastes looking for new, ‘luxury-living’, open views and convenience to Taipa and Cotai it’s the hip place to be moving to these days.
Australian Glyn Scott, a First Officer with Air Macau, came originally to Macau in December 2016 with companion Andrew Smith for a look-see. “We felt that there were opportunities for me as a pilot in the region” he explains, “so we went on an exploratory visit to Hong Kong and part of the reason we looked into Macau was because Dad used to compete in the Grand Prix – he was the factory team driver for Mitsubishi, in 1987 and 1988. We fell in love with the area; I applied to all potential employers and was soon contacted by Air Macau and I got the job!
Air Macau flies routes to a lot of cities in Mainland China, to Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea”, so the two of them have plenty of opportunity to further explore the region. With Macau being so well positioned to many different Asian destinations, this is especially relevant to Andrew’s business. A graphic and digital designer for a large Australian company, Andrew also runs a side business called The Luxury Traveller (the-luxurytraveller.com) which involves producing video tours of hotels.
“I was initially provided with temporary accommodation whilst I was going through the 8 months training process”, says Glyn, “so I know the Grandview hotel like the back of my hand!”
Then when it came to choosing a more permanent home, “a lot of friends went to One Oasis – the attraction there is that the sizes of the apartments are good and they are good value. But we wanted to feel an authentic experience. We liked Windsor Arch because it has a unique vibe to it – a fusion of East and West.”
Andrew adds that they appreciate “the higher attention to detail in the apartments’ design elements”. Some examples of this are the ceiling recessed and reverse cycle air-conditioned units (both rare perks to have in Macau), excellent sound proofing (padded wall surfaces), built in wardrobes, ovens and dishwashers, several feature walls that are either padded or wall-papered, large, square (unusual) black-wood engineered floor tiles in the guest bedrooms, and more commonly used rectangular floor tiles in the master bedroom, all of which soften and warm the spaces and break up the stone that is everywhere else. “And for the 3 bedroom units there are no common walls with other apartments.”
“Yes, and the location is practical for work”, says Glyn. “It feels very accessible; public transport is good, supermarkets are within walking distance, with Grandmart being a favourite. And we’ve discovered some online deliveries apps – bluBasket and Goodees, so it’s all so convenient”.
The public areas of Windsor Arch are opulent and ornate, a multitude of marble designs and bling, but the helpfulness and warmth of the staff helps offset any potential coldness. “The staff makes the place very special. It’s a Taiwanese management company, so quite a few of the staff are Taiwanese and more than half speak effective English.”
“It’s also a well run building; during the Typhoon Hato all our windows stayed intact and we lost power and water for a shorter time than the buildings around us.”
Expecting to have a steady stream of guests Glyn and Andrew settled on having a slightly larger unit than they first thought they’d need which enables them to have a dedicated guest room and a study. At first they looked into furnished places but soon decided that they’d prefer to furnish themselves. It’s obvious that they’ve thoroughly enjoyed the exercise!
Their attention to detail starts at the front door. First impressions are always lasting, and as one enters this home there is an evocative scent that lingers in the air which Glyn explains is Shanghai Tang’s Ginger Flower room spray. Plus there’s a lit scented Cire Trudon candle set in a gold candle holder (from Lane Crawford), “our favourite is the Morrocan blend of cinnamon and mint.”
The living dining area is open plan and there are fresh flower arrangements on the dining table; large bowl of deep purple orchids drooping under the weight of so many flowers. To the left is the kitchen, and directly ahead are the sleeping quarters; three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.
The apartment is light and bright with a balcony overlooking the Jockey Club race track in front, Cotai and HengQin island beyond, and from the window seats in the dining room and study, an open green view of little Taipa hill, stretching over the tops of the Lisboa Garden and Ocean Gardens complexes, the new Peak building and out towards the Macau Tower and central Macau skyline. “On fireworks nights sometimes displays are going off both in Macau and on Cotai and we run from one side to the other!
The kitchen is small but functional. Stone countertops and a stainless steel backsplash are practical and gives a commercial modern look which blends well with the top quality German designed Miele appliances. The coffee maker and kettle are from KitchenAid and the cake stand was a gift from Andrew’s mother when she was visiting recently. The housekeeper’s room off the kitchen is useful storage space.
From Hong Kong’s Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau, the royal blue sofa and TV consul comes from Indigo Living, (www.indigo-living.com) and the rugs from AREAHOME, (www.areahome.com.hk), owned by well-known Macau personality and designer Ronnie Chan. “He’s been so wonderful, helping with shipping to Macau”.
In the study, the floral gold and silver wall paper is toned down with use of solid colours; a pale blue sofa, dark blue desk from ‘good ol’ IKEA and a brown leather swivel chair from Indigo gives the room a simple elegance.
For the dining table and chairs, “we saw something we really liked in Lane Crawford and then looked online and found almost identical on Alibaba, which we could customize in terms of size and colour.” Likewise the 2 pale blue arm chairs, and side table which by absolute luck has legs that match the dining table, all came from Tao Bao, as do the wall light sconces. Undeterred that neither of them read Chinese making ordering from Tao Bao a challenge, “we use Google Translate, copy and paste! We’ve had a few failures”, Andrew admits, “but on the whole it’s worked fine for us.”
Macau-sourced items were the beds which came from Ou Mei on the McDonald’s roundabout in Taipa (“you want to be able to feel and test a mattress before you buy: they are a costly investment so buying on line was not an option”). The bedding was generously sent over from Australia by Glyn’s mother Fiona. The futuristic-looking wireless 350-degree BeoSound system from Bang and Olufsen came from their store in One Central and the 4’ tall planter vase was discovered in a plant shop at the 3Lamps ParkNShop entrance. The pendent ceiling lights in the living and dining room came from Pro Lighting (28210683) in Macau. In the guest bathroom, there were stunning blue and pink Hydrangea heads in a tall vase found in local store Commune (https://www.facebook.com/communehome/
Some personal items complete this lovely home; the framed sketch by Kate Furnell, “mother of our best friend Rohan” and on the dining room glass shelves, a little jadeite Buddha and a metal dragon, bought by Glyn’s father Gary Scott from Hollywood Road in Hong Kong, “to look after us”.
On days off Glyn and Andrew love delving down little streets and alley-ways in the older areas of Macau-side, discovering treasures. “Macau is a contrast of two worlds – the glitzy luxury of the hotel casinos and the beautiful old parts”, enthuses Andrew. “Yes, adds Glyn, “Whilst we enjoy Hong Kong, Macau can take a bit more time to reveal itself so we adore exploring the shops down tiny lanes. I urge other expats to keep venturing out and exploring. I don’t understand people who say that there’s nothing to do here. Macau is like a ball of string, it keeps unraveling and we get a real buzz from the adventure of it all!”
A favourite haunt is design store Signum, a little gem located on the inner harbor which sells items from an eclectic mix of international designers. From here they’ve bought some lamps and Royalty range body products by Tom Dixon.
Do they miss anything being in Macau? “Yes, we of course miss proximity to family”, says Glyn. “My sister Amber Scott is a Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet – and I feel so guilty not being able to attend more of her performances.” As for Andrew, “I miss the true Australian breakfasts and coffee culture – being able to go out before 11.00am and have a really wonderful breakfast!”