An Empire Suite at St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central // © 2016 The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central
Feature image (above): There is no shortage of luxury accommodation options for clients visiting Macau. // © 2016 Sands China Ltd.
are a beautiful reminder of its former days as a Portuguese colony.
If you thought Macau's hotel-building boom had run its course because of China’s slowing economy, think again. New openings continue nearly nonstop, with an emphasis on luxury and over-the-top design, services and amenities. The result, of course, is that when booking a Macau trip, there's never a problem with accommodations, whether your client is part of an FIT, a tour group or a MICE event.
At the center of much of the development activity in Macau is Sands China Ltd. As most travel agents know, the firm headed by billionaire Sheldon Adelson brought the first Las Vegas-style hotel-casino to Macau 12 years ago with Sands Macao, located on the peninsula. Now, the booming Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao portfolio consists of seven properties (including Sands Macao): The Venetian Macao, with 3,000 suites; Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, with 636 guestrooms and suites; Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central, with 1,224 rooms and suites; Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, with 4,001 rooms and suites, making it Macau's largest property and the largest in the Sheraton organization; Four Seasons Hotel Macao, with 360 suites and five outdoor swimming pools; and the $450 million The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central, opened this past December, with 400 rooms, two dining options and butler service. Coming later this year is what Sands calls its “crown jewel” — The Parisian Macao, its eighth property in the portfolio. The $3 billion property boasts a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, along with 3,000 rooms and suites.
At the end of last year, the $3.2 billion Studio City opened as a "Hollywood-inspired, cinematically-themed" integrated resort with 1,600 rooms and suites. Its most distinctive features are its twin towers and the Golden Reel, which it claims is the world's highest figure-eight ferris wheel.
To accommodate live theatrical and sporting events and concerts, Studio City has a 5,000-seat entertainment center. Proof that the property is out to make its name as Macau's center for big-name entertainers, the center hosted Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour in late February. Her two performances there sold out. For television reality- and game-show production, the hotel offers Studio 8, a 300-seat live audience broadcast studio. Other family attractions include a Warner Bros. Batman-themed ride; the Warner Bros. Fun Zone with themed play areas inspired by DC Comics' characters; and a magic theater.
Another Las Vegas veteran who continues to bet on Macau is Steve Wynn. His second property on Cotai will be the 28-story, $4.1 billion Wynn Palace Cotai. The hotel, which will offer 1,700 rooms and suites, is scheduled to open this summer. In addition to the usual amenities of a Wynn property, the new hotel will feature an 8-acre Performance Lake that will feature a water show. Guests can also view the spectacle from overhead by traveling in cable cars called Sky Cabs.
When it comes to being over the top, however, the Louis XIII hotel slated to open this year on the Cotai Strip is hard to beat, even by Macau standards. It's billed as a “boutique” property, but there's nothing modest about it. In fact, its Hong Kong-based owners claim it will be “the world’s most luxurious and extravagant hotel and casino.”
Louis XIII will offer its well-heeled patrons just 230 deluxe suites and 16 villas. The guest suites will start at approximately 2,000 square feet each, in a duplex configuration, while 15 of the villas will measure about 5,000 square feet. Then there's the 20,000-square-foot Royal Villa. Its nightly rate is expected to be $130,000. To transport guests in style, the owners have ordered 30 Rolls-Royce Phantoms.
"It is a very exciting time in Macao,” said Al Merschen, general manager for the U.S. for the Macau Government Tourist Office. "All these new hotel developments will provide a significant increase in capacity and will offer exciting new options for visitors as Macao continues to be a hub for luxury entertainment, shopping, recreation, historic visitation and so much more."