New ‘Super Six’ hotels expected to offer world’s rich and MICE delegates the perfect excuse to splurge in Macau
Upcoming glitzy openings expected to draw big spenders and diversify city’s reliance on casinos and shopping
In recent years, glitzy hotels opening in Macau caused the industry to sit up and take notice, but the next 12 months could cut a new template with the arrival of “The Super Six”.
The new properties are split between Taipa, the Cotai Strip and the re-emergent Fisherman’s Wharf, which welcomed the 223-room Legend Palace Hotel last month.
Next up is the Macau Roosevelt Hotel, with 368 balconied rooms and suites, which opens on Taipa this spring, taking Hollywood as its theme.
The playfully constructed 1,500-room MGM Cotai property is already being compared to an outsize jewellery box and will complement the group’s existing hotel on Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen.
Adding a hefty dollop of the X-factor to luxury, billionaire Stephen Hung’s The 13 – containing 200 “villas” – at the southern end of the strip is billing itself as the world’s most expensive hotel.
On present planning, early 2018 will see the advent of the 780-room, twin-towered Morpheus – featuring an arresting design by the late Anglo-Iraqi architect Zara Hadid – which will add another jewel to the crown of the City of Dreams complex. And next to the East Asian Games Dome, the designer-label Lisboa Palace, with around 2,000 keys, represents the most ambitious expansion yet to Stanley Ho Hung Sun’s empire, combining three hotels in one, with two branded by Versace and
The prospect of more than 5,000 extra bedrooms comes at a time when Macau’s accommodation business – which operates cheek by jowl with the gaming trade – is looking healthier. Last year, the city registered about 12 million overnight guests, according to ggrasia.com, which monitors Asia’s casino industry.
Average occupancy was measured at well above 80 per cent, and mean nightly rates hovered just under 1,300 patacas. Analysts have pointed to the need for hotels and casinos to broaden their appeal beyond “chips and shopping” to attract a greater proportion of the mass market.
The radical increase in Macau’s hotels – especially the larger ones with added facilities – has spelled good news for associated business, such as meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).
“The Cotai Strip today has the largest concentration of integrated resorts in Asia,” says Bruno Simões, managing director of DOC DMC, which specialises in destination management, meeting and events planning and congress organisation.
“Cotai also has the largest hotel and meeting capacity in the region. In just one mile, we have 16,000 hotel rooms.”
DOC DMC’s allied company, Small World Experience, runs corporate team-building exercises, focused on Macau’s traditional attractions such as its casinos and food and beverage offerings.
“We run a casino theme party, recreating the true environment of a casino, but with no money involved, serving gourmet items such as wines, cheeses, beers, chocolates, spirits, and teas,” says Cody Cao, the company’s senior project manager.
“And guests love the opportunity to exchange ideas and tips with our professional croupiers and dealers.”
MICE events brought in nearly half a million visitors to Macau in the last quarter of 2016, and are valuable to the city’s hotels as they fill beds, tables and venues in bulk.
While the mass market provides a large volume of revenue for Macanese hotels, there is also a very definite trend to appeal to the upper end of the luxury sector, as The 13 and Lisboa Palace show.
The 13, the brainchild of Hong Kong billionaire Stephen Hung, has already hit the headlines with the delivery of its limousine fleet – 30 red, extended-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms piloted by specially trained chauffeurs – chefs imported from Paris’ multistarred L’Ambroisie, and an invitation-only atelier featuring one-of-a-kind products from the world’s foremost brands.
“We are striving to establish a new standard for luxury hotels by seeking to recapture the values of a golden age when all luxury was bespoke, artisanal and personalised,” Hung explains.
Macau’s wealthier visitors will also find more than a little food for thought in hailing distance of The 13 at the Lisboa Palace, which will contain two boutique properties conjured up by celebrated international designers.
Palazzo Versace will be the third edition – following on from Dubai and the Gold Coast – of the Donatella Versace-inspired hotel, with nightly room rates likely to be in excess of US$400, while its sibling will be the world’s first hotel entirely designed by the octogenarian Lagerfeld.