Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

January 23, 2006

Photos: Macau, Wynn Changes, The Mirage and More!

Posted by Hunter

Howdy folks, back from Las Vegas with a photo update. I'll follow this with a written opinion piece as soon as I can.

Before we get to Vegas though, let's look at Macau. Our man on the scene Chris has written in with some fresh photos of Wynn Macau, The Venetian, Galaxy Starworld, Grand Emperor and more. Thanks again to Chris for keeping us westerners up to date.

The Macau photos are located here, the new ones are on that second page and the third as well. Enjoy.

On the Vegas side of things, the pictures include the updated Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas, Kokomo's, STACK and Fin at The Mirage, and some great shots from MIX at the top of THEHotel. Some of the shots, especially of STACK, didn't come out very well. I included them because unfortunately that was the best I have and I know you guys wanted to see what it looks like.

Generally, some really exciting changes at The Mirage and even Wynn. I'll save the bulk of this for my other post but we did eat at STACK and loved it, plus we spent an evening at Tryst, Wynn's re-born nightclub, formerly known as La Bete. The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time. Anyway, more on that when I write my report. For now, enjoy the photos:

Update (Monday Eve.): I've been working on my other article but I found that I'm writing more than I thought so it's going a bit slow. Looking like it will be published tomorrow morning instead of tonight. Enjoy the pictures in the meantime.

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Read archived comments (6 so far)
January 24, 2006 4:06 AM Posted by mike_ch

So far, all the stuff going up in Macau from our favorite resort companies looks like a smaller effort at the same kind of tone being struck in Las Vegas right now: unthemed luxury hotels. This is rather understandable, considering the land situation and that the top-tier players are the most profitable.

But is there a door for mid-range tourism or even an old scorned upon Vegas profile, family tourism? I ask because of the recent appearance of the Macau Fisherman's Wharf, which is expected to draw 15 million people every year. That projection would make it bigger than many other non-gambling tourist destinations in the area, such as Hong Kong's new Disney park.

Do you know about this attraction, and how far away is it from the city's casino district?

January 24, 2006 6:33 AM Posted by Chris

Its going to take a long time before Macau develops any sort of "family" image. The image of Macau in most people's minds in Asia is of a sleazy, decrepit, unseemly place with loads of hookers, massage parlours and smokey casinos - in short, its a place where Asian men go to get away from the wife and kids.

Fisherman's Wharf is right next to the HK-Macau ferry terminal. The order of attractions heading west from the ferry terminal along the main road (Avenida de Amizade) is: Fisherman's Wharf, Sands Macau, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (looking a bit tired), Galaxy Waldo (across the avenue on north side of Mandarin), the so-called "Macau World Trade Centre", the Pharaoh's Palace / Landmark, then Galaxy Starworld / Wynn construction sites on the south of the avenue and the refurbished President / Kampek Casino and Lisboa on the north side. There are various smaller casinos/hotels off side streets (such as Galaxy Rio that is about to open). That stretch takes about 10-15 minutes to walk so it is all quite close (everything is quite close in Macau).

Fisherman's Wharf is clearly aiming at Chinese tourists - most westerners will chuckle at some of the buildings. See for yourself on their website - The kids attractions (small-scale roller coasters etc) are very few and are quite lame. In fact, one of them was shut down in the first week because someone was badly injured. Then again, I haven't been to HK Disney but all the people I know that have been have said it is tiny and doesn't have many attractions either.

Sands is a bit of an indicator of how non-family Macau will probably continue to be for a while - it has no hotel rooms (just a small number of suites for its VIP gamblers), very few restaurants (that nobody goes to anyway) and almost non-existent entertainment - and certainly nothing in terms of pools / outdoor areas. Steve Wynn wasn't too far off the mark when he called it a box of baccarat. As someone that spends a bit of time in Macau, I can only hope that Wynn Macau has some of the quality non-gaming features that Wynn LV has.

The only "family" place at the moment is the Westin resort at the south side of Coloane, which is popular particularly with HK families looking to get away from the grind of HK but without having to travel too far. All the rooms at the Westin have terraces overlooking the sea / beach and on a warm evening it is extremely pleasant sitting on the terrace having a quiet drink or ten.

January 24, 2006 6:42 AM Posted by detroit1051

"The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time."

Hunter, I'm looking forward to more information on this in your report. It's amazing the changes since I was in Las Vegas at Thanksgiving. Corsa Cucina looks very inviting as does Fin at The Mirage. Based on the photos, I'm disappointed in Kokomo's and Stack. The carpeting at Mirage looks "MGM Generic" to me.

Chris' photos of Macau are very interesting. Fisherman's Wharf is very appealing, and Venetian is really progressing. It may just take getting used to, but Wynn Macau's lower height than Wynn Las Vegas makes the property look less imposing and dramatic. Does Galaxy Starworld look as unusual in person as in the photos?

January 24, 2006 7:11 AM Posted by Chris

Galaxy Starworld is certainly unusual. For one thing, it towers above Wynn. I haven't really captured it in the photos, but it is at least 10 floors higher than Wynn. I actually like the way it leans out over the road - almost as if they are deliberately trying to block people from noticing that Wynn is behind it (most people arriving in Macau will be heading west along the main road and will see Galaxy Starworld first).

January 24, 2006 3:31 PM Posted by Hunter

Sorry that I haven't posted my write up yet... It's coming, I just got caught up in a few things (thanks for lunch Mike!)

January 25, 2006 1:46 AM Posted by Mike E

Haha, no problem. Santa Barbara is one gorgeous city and like Las Vegas, I think I've got a routine of the places I'm going hit up each time I come around (lunch at Cava being one of them!). It was good seeing you again and nice to meet Carlos as well!