Ever-booming Macau is stacking the deck to become Asia’s entertainment hub. BY HELEN DALLEY
Published on Dec 4, 2015
MACAU’S GALLOPING rate of expansion continues in earnest, with a parade of new hotels so opulent they put the “bling” in gambling. China’s spirited anti-graft campaign may have thinned out the gaming revenue, but big-name properties are still rolling the dice on Asia’s hottest casino destination. Here, a few gilded additions where travelers will feel like they’ve hit the jackpot regardless of their luck at the baccarat table.
+ Ever been in a figure-eight Ferris wheel? Loop-the-loop at Studio City Macau, one of this year’s most exciting openings. Besides housing the Golden Reel, the city’s first cinematic-themed resort, which debuted in October, boasts a Batman themed flight simulator; three-theater arena The House of Magic curated by magician Franz Harary; and legendary nightclub Pacha imported from Ibiza. Canto-pop legend Aaron Kwok rocked the Studio City Event Center in November, followed by the material girl herself, Madonna, who will play two dates next February.
+ Macau will get its first taste of butler treatment with the arrival of the St. Regis Macao this month, which is targeting well-heeled clients with its time-honored signature rituals of champagne sabering and midnight suppers in addition to an impeccably turned-out team of Jeeveses.
Personal butlers pull out all the stops at St. Regis Macao
+ Integrated resort juggernaut Galaxy Macau opened Galaxy Phase II this May, with three new hotels: JW Marriott Macau, the all-suite Ritz-Carlton Macau, and Broadway Macau, which has a hawker-style street market and a 3,000-seat theater. Other new attractions include the expansion of the Grand Resort Deck featuring the world’s longest Skytop aquatic adventure ride at 575 meters, 10-screen 3D Cineplex and the world’s largest JW Kids’ Club. Galaxy also opened an 8. Otto e Mezzo Bombana in October; famed for its white truffle dishes, its impressive sister restaurant in Hong Kong has three Michelin stars.
A tropical addition to the Grand Resort Deck, Galaxy Macau
+ Soaring in a Skycab over a three-hectare lake just to check in will provide you a bird’s-eye view of how much cash was sprinkled about to make the Wynn Palace, the brand’s third property here, and its most opulent. Opening in early 2016, the US$4.1 billion hotel will literally blossom: its leafy large-scale floral sculptures will be something of a signature, adding a sylvan touch to each of the 1,700 rooms.
+ A half-scale Eiffel Tower, a rooftop garden inspired by Versailles, and a massive shopping mall modeled on the Champs Elysees: the Parisian Macao will have you double-taking which continent you’re visiting in the same way The Venetian transports its guests to Italy with its canals and gondola rides. Developed by Sands China—which also manages the Venetian, Sands and Sands Cotai Central—the 3,000-room hotel will open in 2016.
+ Thirty bespoke, extended wheel-base Rolls Royce Phantoms ordered by Casino Louis XIII make up the world’s single-largest order for the luxury car ever—and are your transport around this luxury lifestyle property. Opening next July, the hotel will feature 200 duplex suites and villas and the only branch of legendary Paris institution L’Ambroisie.
DOWN THE TRACK TWO DESIGN CENTRIC HOTELS SLATED FOR 2017.
Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld is set to bring his sense of style to Macau with his first eponymous hotel, which will be located inside new casino complex Lisboa Palace alongside another fashion-themed hotel, the Palazzo Versace Macau.
+ Designed by Iraqi-British designer Zaha Hadid, The City of Dreams Hotel Tower will incorporate Hadid’s signature exposed exoskeleton mesh structure, with several holes in the middle of the building for good feng shui. It will be the flagship property of the City of Dreams integrated resort, which currently houses a Hard Rock, Grand Hyatt and Crown Towers.