A luxury hotel that is also the worlds biggest exoskeleton – We go inside the Morpheus hotel in Macau


The newly opened Zaha Hadid-designed hotel, with its stunning architecture, complete with a hole in the middle, and refined interiors is a breath of fresh air

Macau’s Cotai Strip is a mass of gargantuan hotels, each trying to outdo each other in terms of size, glitter and mass-consumer kitsch, with few exceptions.

If not for China’s clampdown on capital outflows from the mainland, the success of these hotels would face no limits as they pile in tourists and gamblers – and not necessarily in that order.

The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, the so-called “high roller hotels”, sit discreetly by design in the shadow of louder and bigger properties such as the Venetian and Galaxy.

Yet this is what makes the newly opened Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus such a breath of fresh air in Cotai.

In true Hadid style, the curved lines of the hotel – the latest addition to City of Dreams – rise proudly at the forefront of Cotai.

There is no missing it: the hole in the middle makes it look as if a meteor has exploded through the 28,000 tonnes of structural steel and 48,000 square metres (516,700 square feet) of glass.

Morpheus hotel’s eye-catching architecture, including the huge hole through the centre of the building, stands out among the other hotels on Macau’s Cotai Strip.

The fact sheet lays claim to the hotel being the “world’s first free-form, exoskeleton-bound, high-rise architectural composition”.

The architecture is truly unique, although the downside is that the glass needs constant cleaning, which is no easy feat.

Morpheus’ Chinese restaurant, Yi, offers regional cuisine that is served from a set menu, omakase-style.

Inside, the expansive lobby is clean, even a little stark, with no seating areas and a discreet reception area to the left and the domed Pierre Hermé Lounge to the right. The interior by Peter Remedios is a seamless extension of Hadid’s architecture with the same meticulous attention to detail and finish.

“THERE IS NO MISSING THE MORPHEUS: THE HOLE IN THE MIDDLE MAKES IT LOOK AS IF A METEOR HAD EXPLODED THROUGH THE STEEL AND GLASS BUILDING”

The elegant domed Pierre Hermé Lounge, which is located close to the lobby in Morpheus.

There were no huge crowds when STYLE was there. In fact, there was an air of calm that one rarely encounters in Cotai; with only 770 rooms, suites and villas – many of which are reserved for VIPs – Morpheus is not designed for the Cotai masses.

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The only signs of significant movement are from the red bubble lifts zipping up and down.

The rooms at Morpheus, including this executive suite, are all beautifully designed and tastefully furnished.

Our Club Premier double room extended our delight with the design elements of the hotel.

Given Macau’s track record for less than stellar finishing work, the room is tasteful and polished.

Morpheus has gone big on art, with a whole area dedicated to artworks by international artists such as Jean-Michel Othoniel and Thilo Heinzmann. In the room, a subtle red wavy sculpture is a reminder of that art aspect.

Morpheus’ stunning duplex villa, the interior design of which embraces the curved lines of architect Zaha Hadid’s vision.

With everyone chasing after new technology, the tablet for the room controls is no major surprise. One of our most fun discoveries was a hidden panel for charging sockets that rises from the television shelf at the press of a button.

What we loved was how the furnishings and design maintain the curved lines of Hadid’s architecture. The bed rests are unconventional, as is the layout of the bathroom.

The Alessi plates and cutlery, Hermès toiletries, Dyson hairdryer and the huge irregular bathtub all whisper luxury, like a best-kept secret. Even the rinsing cup is made from Royal Selangor pewter.

The simulated snow garden, which looks like a winter wonderland, in the spa at Morpheus.

It is obvious that Melco Resorts intends to have Morpheus stake a claim on being the place to be, not only because of its design, but also because of what it has to offer.

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The spa is discreet and almost like a winter wonderland with its simulated snow garden; the treatment is equally good.

The pool is a single entity that offers choices of indoor and outdoor sections, although the swimmable part is a little too small by our standards.

Morpheus’ swimming pool, which offers guests the choice of using either indoor or outdoor areas.

In terms of dining, Morpheus has two restaurants by French master chef Alain Ducasse, one of the two most decorated Michelin-star chefs in the world, with restaurants earning a total of 21 stars.

At Morpheus, Ducasse is overseeing the more casual bar and restaurant, Voyages, as well as the fine-dining Alain Ducasse at Morpheus, which has a stunning design.

The beautifully designed fine-dining restaurant, Alain Ducasse at Morpheus.

The hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Yi, is also another visually impressive establishment, with tables enveloped by curved walls of “dragon scales”.

Yi offers regional Chinese cuisine that is served in a set menu, omakase-style.

“FROM THE EXTERNAL LINES OF THE ARCHITECTURE TO THE INTERIOR DESIGN AND SUBTLE TOUCHES OF LUXURY, THE MORPHEUS WILL BE A GOOD SURPRISE FOR THOSE EXPECTING MORE OF THE SAME COTAI EXPERIENCE”

Even the hotel’s retail space pushed the boundaries. Instead of having shops of brands we see everywhere, the main retail areas are open spaces along the main walkway filled with some really cool and innovative design objects of which the late Dame Zaha Hadid would have approved.

The open-plan Morpheus retail mall area, which is filled with innovative and impressive design objects.

If there is one word that describes our experience at Morpheus, it is “unconventional”.

From the external lines of the architecture to the interior design; and from the subtle touches of luxury to the sometimes provocative art, Morpheus will come as a welcome surprise for those expecting more of the same Cotai experience.

Note – This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website with permission.