These New Hotels Prove Macau Is the Flashiest Place on Earth
Macau might be touted as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” but in reality, the gaming mecca is in a league of its own, dwarfing its American counterpart sevenfold. Located on the southern edge of China, the special administrative region pulled in more than $45 billion in casino revenues at its peak in 2013.
An influx of luxurious accommodations has followed China’s big-spending baccarat enthusiasts to Macau’s Cotai Strip, a hub of gaming and entertainment. The list of opulent addresses already includes lots of familiar American faces, such as Wynn and MGM. Coming up next? The Morpheus, a sinuous work by the late Zaha Hadid; The 13, a gold-dipped hotbed of indulgences; and Grand Lisboa Palace, a homegrown Macau mega brand.
Here’s everything you need to know about the latest and greatest Macau hotels — each more glamorous than the next.
One of the final buildings designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the Morpheus — named after the Greek god of dreams — is set to open on June 15, 2018. The hotel will add another 780 hotel rooms and villas to City of Dreams, a massive 1,400-room integrated resort complex on the Cotai Strip.
But it’s unlike anything else in the resort’s portfolio. The curvaceous, ambitious mega-sculpture will be the world’s first free-form exoskeleton high rise. Wearing a shell-like steel and aluminum cladding much like a suit of armor, the mesmerizing monolith comprises two sky bridges, an 114-foot-high atrium, 12 glass lifts, a 40th-floor infinity pool, and a series of top-floor villas (three of which feature private indoor pools).
With an aim to be a foodie destination, the hotel will include an entire floor of culinary goodness from Alain Ducasse. The celebrated French chef plans to open two restaurants and a bar: One restaurant will be a fine-dining address serving up the chef’s haute cuisine in an exclusive environment, while the second — dubbed Voyages by Alain Ducasse — will be a completely new concept inspired by Asian cuisine.
Grand Lisboa Palace
When the original Grand Lisboa hotel opened in 2008, it exuded unapologetic opulence. The dramatic domed ceiling houses three-Michelin-starred Robuchon au Dome and the suites have private Jacuzzis, kitted out with Hermes toiletries. Next year, the Lisboa legacy continues at the 2,000-room Grand Lisboa Palace, which will sit in Cotai right beside the Macau East Asian Games Dome.
It’s an adult playground, housing three luxury hotel towers under one roof: Grand Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macau and Karl Lagerfeld Hotel (marking the first hotel entirely designed by Lagerfeld and carrying his name). The two designers have creative control of their respective aesthetic and interiors, and all three hotels will have their own dedicated pool, gym, spa and restaurants.
Apparently one MGM in Macau just isn’t enough. The American brand is expanding with a 1,390-room resort on the Cotai Strip. Designed to look like a jewelry box, the MGM Cotai facade comprises a stack of shimmering bronze, gold and silver blocks.
The towering address is home a diverse mix of accommodations, skipping from more standard rooms and suites to exclusive Skylofts and mansions. An idea borrowed from MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel property, the duplex Skylofts come with digital pool tables and Andy Warhol artwork. Even more spacious are the 27 Mansions, sequestered in a corner of the hotel with an invite-only restaurant called The Dining Room.
When it comes to entertainment, MGM is even more ambitious than usual: The 2,000-person MGM Theater boasts the world’s largest permanent indoor LED screen (clocking in at nearly 10,000 square feet). The Spectacle, another entertainment zone, is equally as impressive with the world’s largest interior art garden and a four-story-high LED screen display — used to tell the story of China’s natural beauty and UNESCO heritage sites.
Channeling 1950s Hollywood glamor, the Macau Roosevelt recently opened on the western side of the Taipa peninsula, overlooking the lush Macau Jockey Club grounds and the South China Sea. L.A.-based designer Gulla Jónsdóttir brought the “all-day playground” to life, drawing from a mix of dark metals, concrete, and wood to create an urban-jungle aesthetic.
In the lobby, wood-slatted walls and vertical gardens set the tone for what feels like a see-and-be-seen style of urban retreat. The abundant greenery continues outside onto the Gaudi-inspired tiled swimming deck, where palm trees and romantic hanging gardens shade private cabanas and chaise lounges.
The 368 rooms, meanwhile, combine east and west accents, featuring clean lines, mosaic walls, and lotus flower motifs. The largest room is the Marilyn Penthouse, a two-story room that delivers ample sex appeal. Taking the party outside? The Tropicana Suite, on the pool deck, is the place for celebrations. There’s outdoor seating for 40 people, a private bar, bartender, butler, and direct pool access.
The Wynn Palace is one of the latest additions to Macau’s Cotai Strip. If it looks enormous, that’s because it is: The hotel is the most expensive hotel built in Macau to date, ringing up a US$4.2 billion tab.
Following in the footsteps of Wynn Macau, which opened on the main peninsula back in 2006, the opulent address comprises 1,706 rooms and 4.8 million square feet. Each floor comes peppered with antiques and artwork (including a massive Tulips sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons), floral art installations, and an 8-acre Performance Lake that comes alive every 20 minutes with 1,000 plumes of water, LED lights and music.
The guest rooms are awash in a fashionable mustard decor, alongside marble bathrooms and gold-colored toothbrushes. Wynn Palace is also home to invite-only villas, where VIP guests can unwind with their own private gym, spa suite, pool table, grand piano and 45-meter-long swimming pool.
Even the restaurants and bars seem to be designed for royalty: Wing Lei Palace, for example, resembles a jewelry box with oversized vases and jade motifs. But if you really want to feel like a Queen, the “Empress” treatment at the Wynn Spa will spoil you from head to toe — the experience begins with a milk bath, body polish, body mask, and full-body massage, then it’s onto hair and makeup.
The Parisian Macao
If you’re a fan of the larger-than-life Venetian hotels, then you’ll love little sister The Parisian Macao, which opened at the end of 2016. Of course, “little” is only relative. The resort is home to nearly 3,000 rooms and a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower. The tower’s not just for show, either: Inside, travelers can sit down for contemporary Chinese cuisine at the La Chine restaurant or visit one of the two observation decks (on levels seven and 37) to survey the Cotai Strip’s collection of glitzy hotels and casinos.
The entire property has been construed as an homage to the City of Light, so you can expect grand staircases, marble balconies and a neck-craning domed lobby that would feel completely at home inside the Palace of Versailles. While the hotel’s gilded common places would impress even King Louis XVIII, the rooms are comparatively pared back (if not a little drab), featuring marble bathrooms and Parisian-themed wallpaper. Elsewhere around the grounds, a massive pool deck welcomes sunseekers with a Moulin Rouge-inspired windmill, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées shopping mall promises more than 170 luxury brands, and an enormous Aqua World park (kitted out with water slides and pirate ships) should keep little ones occupied for days.