Macau Travel Guide
MGM Resorts International is planning their second property in China, this time it's a massive resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China's answer to Las Vegas. Except Macau is bigger and wealthier and way more intense when it comes to gambling.
In a quarterly earnings call yesterday, Jim Murren dished on a few details for the property, which is about halfway through the excavation stage.* The property will have an atrium three times the size of the Bellagio's and it will feature its own "over the top" Mansion.
If you don't know what The Mansion is, allow us to educate you. The Mansion is a super secretive hotel within the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Most people, including those who work for MGM, have never seen it. Others don't believe it exists. However, it's real. We saw it with our own eyes last month. We even went to the bathroom there.
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Only one month away from its grand opening, the Sheraton Macao is set to become the largest hotel in Macao, as well as the largest property in Starwood's already-sizeable portfolio. With 3,863 rooms built inside two separate towers (dubbed, appropriately, 'Sky' and 'Earth'), the hotel is going out of its way to help guests make the most of their Macao stay.
How? Well, for starters, Sheraton launched new website earlier this month that helps guests navigate the "wide variety of experiences" available on the Cotai Strip. To do this, they've assembled a cast of four "themed" proto-guests, who each offer a different perspective on the city: food, heritage, adventure, and shopping. So even though you're likely to spend hours wandering the halls trying to re-locate your own room, at least you'll know how to maximize the rest of your time.
Just like he did in Las Vegas, Steve Wynn has opened Encore Macau today to accompany its sister resort Wynn Macau. But the big difference here is that Encore Macau is not an identical twin. The building is actually an all-suites boutique hotel that is connected to the Wynn Macau. But rest assured all the swank, sometimes over the top, interiors you've come to expect from Wynn will be in place.
Accommodations at Encore include 414 suites and villas that offer tasteful elegance in a comfortable, residential setting. Encore introduces two new restaurants to the Wynn dining family, and Bar Cristal's jewel-box décor turns a classic lobby bar into a work of art. The serene Spa at Encore offers treatments in eight private therapy suites, each with its own steam room, sauna and aroma-hydrotherapy bath and shower. The Shopping Esplanade is home to three signature stores—Cartier, Chanel and Piaget—showcasing the finest selections, including limited-edition pieces unique to Encore.
Room rates for stays Sunday-Thursday start at around $335. Room rates over the weekends are a little higher at around $385. See? It is just like Vegas.
Now, what's next for Macau? A heck of a lot:
Hotels are due to be built belonging to the Sheraton, St. Regis, Hilton, Traders, Conrad, Raffles, Swiss Hotel, Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Cosmopolitan Fairmont and Shangri-La hotel chains, which will be in operation in 2010 with a total of 20,000 rooms.
A pinnacle of capitalism -- the world's largest casino -- is now located in the world's largest communist country, China.
On September 1, the Venetian Macau resort/hotel/casino/manmade city, opened its doors. The complex houses more than 350 shops along its faux Venetian rivers, 30 restaurants, 3,000 rooms starting at about $203 a night, and more than a million square feet of meeting space. Oh yeah, and there's a 15,000-seat arena. Further, The Los Angeles Times has this to say about the casino:
The Venetian Macao's casino is three times larger than the biggest one in Vegas. It has 150 V.I.P. tables in 50 private gaming suites and lounges, occupying a total space three times larger than a similar area at the Venetian in Vegas. Minimum bets at these salons start at $2,500, 100 times more than in the main casino.
Somewhere in Beijing, Mao Zedong rolls over in his mausoleum.
· Vegas of the Far East [LA Times]
[Photo: Sydney Morning Herald]
The Amazing Racers took a trip over to the Las Vegas of the Far East--Macau. As usual, Jaunted has the in-depth wrap-up while we focus on hotels.
Naturally, the big hotel pick for Macau would be the Wynn but we wanted to take a look at what else is going on over there. Surprisingly, there's a lot to choose from--Hyatt, Westin, and even a Holiday Inn. Unfortunately, we've heard a bit of complaints about Macau in general. Namely, that the air is extremely dirty and that it's got a long way to go if it wants to live up Las Vegas standards.
For the people who expect best of the best service from Mandarin Oriental, they may be disappointed. But for the people who know the average quality of service in Macau hotel, you'd be impressed.
This is my fourth times to stay there for couple days. In-room decoration is very "Mandarin Oriental" style in old days. Size is spacious. The most impressive I found is the cleanness of room. I did not find any stains, smoking smell at the room. Also, it has very good air-cond system. I did not need to adjust it in the mid-night.
I did not find any large groups of tourist at the lobby, it was quite, clean and not crowded.
The downsides seem to be that it's far away from downtown and the taxis are impossible to get. And depending on whether you like to shop or not the hotel's lobby is filled with shops. On the bright side you can probably snag a room here for about $200 USD a night.
· Mandarin Oriental Macau reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Amazing Race All-Stars: The Tyrant Makes Charla Jump [Jaunted]
Former Portuguese colony, Macau, is emerging as one of Asia's new tourism hotspots. Gamblers can't get enough of this new Vegas, and when the Wynn Las Vegas clone, Wynn Macau opened last fall we figured we would be hearing plenty of tips, reviews, and scuttlebutt about the Wynn clone.
Alas, like most clones it appears that Wynn Macau is lacking a fully formed soul. Of course, it is visually stunning, just like the original and offers all the requisite luxury hardware you would expect, but it is the software that gets people griping. Early complaints we hear include, but are not limited to: the lack of a dedicated Wynn shuttle from the ferry building, the lobby bar shutting down at 10pm., and the overall level of service.
Nothing that the Wynn hotel maestros can't fix, after all the shell is there, sounds like this place just needs a dose of Steve Wynn himself. After all the benevolent, yet pedantic, dictator who loathes split infinitives surely despises long waits in hotel shuttle lines just as much.
The Google Earth shot above was obviously taken during the construction phase of Wynn Macau. It just reminded us so much of the early second Death Star shots from Return of the Jedi that we felt like sharing the irony. Yes, we know, these days Wynn Macau is fully operational.
Don't worry, Steve Wynn doesn't bite. Feel free to let the world know what you think of Wynn Macau in the comments.
Since Macau is doing everything they possibly can to recreate the Las Vegas strip on their own Cotai Strip, it's no surprise that a Hard Rock Hotel will open there as part of the City of Dreams complex. What is surprising is this Hydropolis trend might have legs:
The City of Dreams development is planned to feature an underwater- themed casino and four luxurious hotels, including Hard Rock Hotel, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and the Crown Towers, among other features. The development is planned to open in two phases, with the first phase (which is planned to include the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Macau), expected to be opened late 2008.
Ok, so it's not actually an underwater hotel but we're guessing the City of Dreams will have lots of fish tanks around.
As for the Hard Rock, plan on seeing approximately 380 rooms all designed by "Hard Rock designers", probably like Ashlee Simpson and Carmen Electra, including two "Rock Star" mega-suites. LIke the other Hard Rock properties there will be a live menu venue, a Hard Rock restaurant, a VIP nightclub, and a pool area. No word on whether or not you can have sex in the pool there.
· Hard Rock International Announces Signing of Definitive Agreements for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Macau [Yahoo! Biz]
· Ashlee and Carmen: Suite Designers [HotelChatter]
Reuters reported today that Steve Wynn is now planning on opening a second resort in Macau next to the recently opened Wynn Macau. He is currently building his second resort next to the Wynn Las Vegas, which will be called, Victory.
Wynn Macau opened its first phase of the hotel in September and is continuing to finish up the rest of the $1.2 billion project. However the new Wynn building in Macau may or may not be called Victory as well:
The company did not disclose how much the new project will cost, saying the budgeting for the resort is expected to be done in the second quarter of next year. It added that financing for the project was yet to be arranged.
Perhaps that whole Picasso-slashing incident forced Steve Wynn to make some more money. Although we're not sure how much Wynn we can take. Luckily, Macau is like far far far away from here.
Steve Wynn opened up his Wynn Macau last week and one YouTuber was on hand to catch the grand opening on tape. The spectacular fireworks show by Wynn is pretty impressive, but is he trying to tell us something in song when the music plays a piece of the "Mission Impossible" theme?
Plenty more Wynn Macau grand opening videos, including a water fountain show, can be found here on YouTube.
Here's an advertisment for Steve Wynn's Chinese hotel-casino in Macau which is trying to be the Asian Las Vegas. This hotel is scheduled to open September 6, 2006 and will have 600 rooms and suites and six restaurants. Hmmm...we're sensing a pattern here.
Image via Gkpics/Flickr
· Vegas Pool Scene: Wynn is for Classy Nude High Rollers [HotelChatter]