Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 23, 2005

Macau Update

Posted by Hunter

We've got some more information on developments in Macau, the former Portuguese colony that allows Las Vegas style gambling in China near Hong Kong.

Thanks to reader Chris, we have some great first hand info as well as pictures. For those that missed them last time, we posted a bunch of his shots here: Some great shots!

This time around we have a couple more photos from Chris and they will be in the Macau group on the above site very soon.

Below, find some more comments from Chris regarding Macau developments (after the jump)...

Thanks again to Chris - he's providing us with a unique insight into Macau development that otherwise we just wouldn't have. Thank you Chris and keep it coming!

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Below is a description of the developments in Macau that are currently underway and / or are proposed to open up in the coming few years. This list is by no means exhaustive (for example, other than the Dorsett development it does not include any of the other Cotai strip developments that LVS signed MOUs with hotel groups to build - many of which have apparently fallen by the wayside due to disagreement over the casino revenue arrangement) and does not include extensions to existing facilities. It is worth looking at Macau using Google Earth because Macau comes out in fairly decent resolution and it allows you to appreciate just how small the place is. To put things into comparison, HK is already a small place but Macau's available land is around 28 square kilometers compared to over 1000 for HK.


Fisherman's Wharf (opening in phases beginning October 2005)

A variety of buildings evoking various places around the world, supposedly to be filled with restaurants, bars, shops, a small hotel and some gaming (100 tables and a slot hall). Most of the buildings are now complete and they are just doing the finishing touches: The volcano is easily bigger than the one outside The Mirage, and will apparently have some sort of roller-coaster ride through it. Although it looks fairly tacky, it is located right next to the HK - Macau ferry terminal and the Sands Macau, so will undoubtedly get plenty of traffic flow.

Emperor Entertainment Hotel (casino opening late 2005, hotel probably 2006)

Near Lisboa and Wynn (if you look on the Wynn location site it is in the block to the immediate north-west of the Lisboa). 60-100 tables, 300 hotel rooms, eight VIP halls and slots. It has been constructed in a fantastically fast and shoddy manner (they had a fire on the roof last week) but Albert Yeung (the owner of the Entertainment Group) runs some of the VIP rooms at the Lisboa and his Emperor group is perhaps the most influential HK / Greater China entertainment conglomerate (Jacky Chan and a host of other canto-pop / local stars are good pals) so even if this place stinks then Albert Yeung should be able to get a fair share of high profile visitors and VIP players.


Galaxy City Club - Rio Hotel / Galaxy City Club - Cotai (both Q1 2006)

These two venues will have 80 tables / 150 slots and 146 tables / 200 slots, respectively. Will operate like Galaxy Waldo - ie, Galaxy won't actually own the hotel but will run the casino operations and share the profits with the hotel owner / operator.

Wynn Macau (August / September 2006)

Can't wait for Wynn to open - will definitely be there for the opening. The main hotel tower has gone up amazingly fast. From March to the topping out on August 30 it went up at the rate of about a floor a week, even during a few weeks of pretty bad tropical rainstorms. Personally I like the look of Wynn Las Vegas and I think Wynn Macau really stands out at the moment (given that most everything else built in Macau to date has been pretty low-grade). Wynn Macau is right in the middle of town and opposite the old Lisboa - and frankly I simply can't fathom why anybody would continue to go to Lisboa after Wynn opens (except for the VIPs from China that get a level of...ahem...service...that Wynn probably won't be willing to match). Then again, by the end of 2007 Galaxy Starworld, Grand Lisboa and MGM Grand Macau will all be open and within 100 metres of Wynn, so unclear who the big winner will be.

Galaxy Starworld

Immediately to the east of Wynn and definitely going to be a much more attractive building than Galaxy Waldo (which was just a quick and dirty refit of an old building). Supposedly a 1H 2006 opening but given that construction appears to be a few months behind Wynn, I would be amazed to see it open before 2H. Proposed to have 200 tables / 300 slots in a 33 storey building with 560 rooms.

Crown Macau (Melco)

Melco has a joint venture with PBL to develop, among other things, Crown Macau and City of Dreams. PBL is run by Kerry Packer, who developed Crown Casino in Melbourne, owns a fair chunk of Australia's media and is a renowned gambler himself. Melco is run by Stanley Ho's son Lawrence. Its website is which has a decent corporate video showing their proposed operations. Crown Macau was originally proposed to be called "Park Hyatt Macau" and be the first 6-star hotel in Macau. It is on Taipa right next to the Hyatt Regency and the Greek Mythology. 200 tables, 256 hotel rooms, 1300 slots. Casino will be operational by late 2006 with the whole thing becoming operational in 2007. The structure is at about the sixth or seventh floor, but a long way to go yet. Will benefit from the cross-branding with Crown Casino in Melbourne, which has been incredibly successful with Asian gamblers.

Grand Lisboa

Right across the road from the old Lisboa. Planned to have 200 tables, 300 hotel rooms, 44 floors and will be shaped like a bright yellow lotus leaf. Supposedly 2H 2006 but I just can't see it opening until 2007 because they are still working on the foundations.


Venetian Macau

Not much to say - work progressing swiftly - going to look more or less like Venetian Las Vegas - should open in 1H 2007.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons will be right next to the Venetian and will be more or less integrated with the Venetian. Venetian is constructing the building so presumably the arrangement with Four Seasons is just a management contract.

MGM Grand Macau

Plenty enough details on this in the MGM investor presentations. Adjacent to Wynn (on the south side). Still working on the foundations so will probably be mid or late 2007 rather than early 2007.

Ponte 16

Theme-park style development on the north-side of Macau facing the mainland. 20 VIP mansions (whatever that means), 150 tables, 5 VIP halls, various restaurants and bars. This area of Macau is a bit run-down, and Ponte 16 is an attempt to generally make it look a bit nicer. Some suggestions that they may create an underwater tunnel from the mainland to the Ponte 16 area as an additional entry-point for mainlanders into Macau.

Macau Dorsett Hotel Complex (2H 2007)

Being developed by Far East Consortium (an operator of mid-range hotels in HK) on a site on the Cotai strip under an arrangement with LVS. No construction started yet - supposed to incorporate 4 hotels, 1 million square feet of shopping / entertainment, 160000 square feet of casino space.

Grand Hyatt

Have been reports about a Grand Hyatt opening on the Macau peninsula near Wynn / MGM / Lisboa etc some time in 2007. No public details available though.


Galaxy Cotai Megaresort (Q1 2008)

348 tables / 1000 slots and 2000 rooms. Construction well-underway on a site immediately to the west of Venetian in Cotai (slightly larger site than Venetian). Planned to be a more family / resort style experience than the other Galaxy facilities.

City of Dreams

Scheduled to open in mid-2008 right across the road from the Venetian, but given that construction is yet to start definitely still just a dream. 400 tables, 3000 slots, 2000 hotel rooms spread through two four-star hotels and one five-star hotel. Will also have 1200 time-share apartments (recent reports about Cendant considering establishing some time share in Macau - so perhaps will be within City of Dreams). Construction was supposed to begin in 2H 2005 but here we are in late October with absolutely nothing happening on the site. The concept pictures look pretty good though - it is supposed to have the world's first underwater casino, with sharks / fish etc swimming around above.


600 hotel rooms in a six-star hotel designed to look like the bow of a ship, with a 180 metre tall office tower. They will demolish the old Jai Alai casino and Yaohan department stores to construct this. Probably late 2008 or 2009.

[Editor: So, that's the Macau report for now. Thanks again to Chris for providing all the info!]


Read archived comments (15 so far)
October 26, 2005 8:51 AM Posted by Martin

Hi Editor,

I've includd your update over at my blog, My Olive Tree - Macau Blog & Living. I hope you are alright with it. My blog is basically everything on Macau.


October 26, 2005 9:39 PM Posted by kevin wrath

I have heard of this news before. I just wonder when it will finish. Macau is a great place for gambling. In fact it is considered as the Las Vegas of Asia. Perhaps the casino industry is trying to embrace the whole society to play.

January 17, 2006 3:09 AM Posted by Jay Simmondly

Does anyone know what is going on the piece of land on the Cotai Strip that is between the strip and the Asia Dome? This piece of land is about 100 acres and next to City of Dreams. Apparently it has no branding of any resort etc on the fences surrounding it and there is no indication of a development. anyone know anything?

January 24, 2006 1:40 AM Posted by Karl

The Holiday Inn (including the Diamond Casino) had its formal opening on 20th January. This is another converted office building. Table and room count isn't known. The formal opening took place after a "soft opening" a few weeks ago.

The Emperor Hotel also opened a couple of days earlier and Jackie Chan was there, of course.

Both the Emperor and the Holiday Inn casinos are under the Stanley Ho banner.

It was a rush but they both just made it for Chinese New Year.

The Rio Hotel and casino (independent hotel with a Galaxy Group casino)looks set to open sometime in the next three weeks and comprises 445 rooms, 83 tables, 150 slots and includes 3 main restaurants and Sauna facilities. A very nice hotel with Italian styling.

The Louvre Casino (opposite Hotel Lisboa at right angles to Wynn) has had a major facelift comprising mainly a 4 storey entrance block housing lifts and stairs on the street. The facade is nicely carved figurines in Italian style. Also a Chinese New Year rush job.

January 25, 2006 12:06 AM Posted by Karl

Today the red carpet is out for the opening of Louvre Casino which will take place this afternoon. This is a Stanley Ho casino.

I don't know if any one is interested or if I am going over old ground. From my understanding...

Unlike Las Vegas although Macau may end up with 2 or 3 dozen casinos there are and, will be, only 3 license holders.

When Portugal (voluntarily) handed Macau to China in 1999, Stanley Ho was the only license holder.

In about 2001 China decided to open up the licenses and put 2 more up for bidding. Basically China decided Macau would be the only legal gambling area for China (other than horse racing in Hong Kong).

Wynn succeeded in obtaining one license and the second went to the Venetian group (based on the Bellagio design concept). The license holder is Peter Ho, a Macau local.

So that's Wynn and Venetian, what about Galaxy?

The Chinese decided they would like more input and therefore the Venetian group was divided into 2, Venetian and Galaxy, Galaxy having a major Chinese input.

Although the two groups compete they both remain under one license.

At this stage Wynn is the "lowest key" license, and last to get anything "off the ground" with only 1 casino (so I believe).

Venetian has the Sands in Macau and the "Bellagio" going up on the coati.

Galaxy, has 2 (one open and the Rio about to open) and at least 2 more major complexes under way, one next to Wynn in Macau and the other on the coati next to the Venetian.

I mentioned that there was a rush to complete before Chinese New Year. Why?

Apart from good luck, Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday on the calendar with 3-4 public holiday days as compared with Christmas which has only a maximum of 2 (and not across China).

Normally this wouldn't be of major significance but, in Macau, although the population is 420,000 they have around 20,000,000 visitors per annum and the average length of stay is 1.27 days.

One more item Las Vegas dwellers probably won't realise is that most hotel/casinos in Macau are relatively small i.e., from my unit, when they are all complete, I will be able to walk to any of 16 casinos within 15 minutes (starting from one end, walk past 12 in 10 minutes) and drive to the rest in Taipa Island and the coati in about the same time or less.

Finally, regarding the comment that Grand Lisboa will not be completed in 2006, I won't specially argue but it is owned by the most powerful (non government) person in Macau and over the last 3 months the skeleton of the first 10 stories has gone up. The first 8 stories are, the very complex, base of the lotus. Knowing the builders here I'd say "watch this space" and don't bet on it not making 2006 just yet ....maybe Chinese New Year early 2007.

January 26, 2006 10:36 PM Posted by Karl

For Jay Simmondly.

Regarding your question on the 100 acres near the City of Dreams.

Hello Kitty theme park.

February 16, 2006 11:23 PM Posted by Karl

A quick update...

The Grand Lisboa is now at around 16 stories.

The Rio is operational but is not open yet.

Rio staff have been in place for about 3 weeks but there is no public access yet i.e. there are
guards on all doors to keep the public out.

It will probably not have its grand opening until early March.

The interior is almost complete. The casino is on an Italian theme with a large marble staircase to the 1st floor level of the casino.

The casino walls are covered with large Italian style oil paintings giving a "classy" look and feel.

Casino staff are currently in training on a daily basis.

February 21, 2006 10:43 PM Posted by Karl

The Rio Hotel Macau had it's license to trade approved at 9 pm last night (21/02/06) and commenced trading at 3:00 pm today (in 8 inutes time).

In the morning there was a traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony, staff photos and a 40ft string of firecrackers (attached to a crane) was let off. Staff then went indoors to feast on 3 suckling pigs.

The owners attended the ceremony.

The Rio Hotel is privately owned but includes a Galaxy Casino (one of the owners is the Galaxy Casino Group and Venetian Casino Group licensee).

Although not technically open the first paying guest arrived around midday.

I will be eating in the Rio "coffee shop" tonight (fully licensed restaurant).

The formal opening ceremony date is yet to be finalised.

February 23, 2006 12:52 AM Posted by chris

Karl - will be interested to hear what you have to say about Rio. It doesn't look like much of a step-up from the Waldo from the outside at least - although Starworld is starting to look very good.

I dropped by a few venues at Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday night but it was fairly quiet (perhaps due to the weather). Al's Diner had a few people but nothing close to the crowds in the HK version of Al's Diner on a Saturday.

Also, do you know when Grand Waldo is going to open? I was around that area in Taipa on the weekend and it was looking very close to completion.

February 28, 2006 11:14 PM Posted by Karl

I've been in Hong Kong for a couple of days.

The Rio? Difficult because I am biased and therefore refuse to run anything down.

It's not a Las Vegas Hotel but it is quite well designed and incorporates a quality finish (it is 4 star rated but could have obtained a 5 star rating had that been the wish and it's finish is a good as most 5 star hotels in Macau).

The rooms are big by local standards. The smallest has a queen and double bed, next up twin queen beds, then suites. All have Benq LCD TV's. All have high quality fittings.

The Casino is designed for a higher class clientele than the standard Macau casino and, as commented previously, is in an Italian design with most walls covered by large paintings (as in the wall is painted) ranging from Italian type scenes to large single flowers.

There are also a number of hydraulically controlled adjustable height slot machines.

The entrance to the casino is a wide marble staircase with escalators on both sides with 5 chandeliers. The roof is painted with murals, again in Italian style, arched and separated by decorative plaster (if you've seen the museum in the Vatican, a bit like that).

There are 3 restaurants: Rio Caf� (Rio owned) which has a fairly nice buffet and serves western, Chinese and Mecanese (Chinese/Portuguese) food. It's a good eating place but not designed to be a luxurious restaurant. Next is an expensive abalone Chinese restaurant and finally a Japanese restaurant. The Chinese and Japanese restaurants are externally owned and operated.

Prices are along the line of Hong Kong so are considerably more expensive than the local prices.

Rio Spa is currently the best equipped in Macau (and of course, as is the custom here, men only).

The "high rollers" room on the 24th floor is not open yet, nor is the Rio Club on basement 1 but both are close to completion.

Currently not all rooms are available as it is a "soft" opening but it has had nights close to capacity.

The casino is fairly busy (over 24 bus loads on the first day with many from Crown Casino Australia).

This casino should give you an idea on the standard of the Starworld and Grand Waldo as the contractor who designed and installed the Rio Galaxy Casino (casino, high rollers and club only) has been contracted for these hotels as well (he is currently on a much smaller but, I think, vastly more important job �.don't laugh �.my unit.)

I haven't been able to ask the right person about the Grand Waldo yet but I will. I believe the fit out is a fair way off as the contractor has been focusing on the completion of the Rio.

More later....

March 11, 2006 5:07 AM Posted by Karl

Chris - Grand Waldo opening?

Start looking in the papers in April.

March 23, 2006 11:38 PM Posted by Karl Bell

Well not much news from Macau.

Currently the only significant happening is that the 4 High Roller rooms on Rio's 24th floor were opened on Wednesday and the Rio Club is due to open on the 28th of March.

Other than that all other projects are continuing as planned.

Grand Lisboa is now about 18 stories tall and moving fast.

August 26, 2007 1:35 AM Posted by Kong Hong Ying, Cathy

I have sent in my application for the post of Floral Manager at your Wynn Macau and I have not recieved any reply.
Kindly keep me inform of my status of application.
I hereby attach my personal resume.
Thank you

Best Regards

January 22, 2008 1:18 AM Posted by huoylc

Have heard da details of macau from all of u..thanks much..anyone know there's ritz carlton also coming up in macau soon?and where is it about?

January 22, 2008 8:21 PM Posted by Brian Fey

The Ritz-Carlton is part of the Studio City project. Its casino will be ran by Melco. Its basically next door to the Four Seasons.

Nice Encore shots Hunter.