Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

May 5, 2007

Macau Casino Update: April 2007

Posted by Hunter

A big thank you to Drambuie Man for sending in a new report and photos from Macau.

I asked for some more photos of Wynn Macau and the Venetian and we got some good coverage. I can't wait to get out there and see this stuff myself.

The report is after the jump...

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I just missed the opening of the Crown by a week, and was a little depressed. Looking back I should have taken pictures, to be fair however it’s a rather generic grey hotel building. Might as well be a Hilton.

The Venetian is getting ready to rock and roll. The landscaping/canals need major work still as you may be able to tell from my photos. They have 2-3 months though. A funny thing about the place since the scaffolding is coming down, it strikes me how BORING the place looks in comparison with Macau. Colorful classical Mediterranean weathered architecture is par for the course in Macau. When the original is put beside the Vegas faux, the latter fails to excite.

Incidentally, I ran into one of the Aussie slot technicians installing the slots at the Venetian. As somebody asked, it’s an Aussie company called Aristocrat doing most of the machines in Macau. Apparently the slot space at the Venetian will be much larger than anything in Macau, and will rival some of the largest spaces in Vegas.

Add to this the fact that the Venetian Macau as more rooms than the MGM Grand in Vegas you get the idea this is one HUGE development. I was informed it was three times the one in Vegas, or six football fields. I do not know how equal those metrics are, but it gives you ideas.

The Wynn expansion is about ready to go. The barriers are gone. However the opening date is unclear as to when. I was told before the Venetian, after the Venetian, and a shrug. Regardless, my photos are heavy on Wynn as requested. Match the dates/times to see my entire circuit around. I tried my best to nonchalantly get into the pool area, but to no avail. The only way for a non-guests to get in (I think) is a small patio connected to part of the old Tryst. The foyer and patio area of the old Tryst are now a little cocktail area. If you want to know my spin on the Tryst closing, see my comment on the post on the blog.

As for the rest, no real notable progress. Things are plodding along. There was not even enough notable to take pictures of.

Personal thoughts/play:

I do not know quite how to say this, but the lack of customer service and comps across the board in Macau is really beginning to bother me after these few scouting trips. Sure these places have the same scope and aspirations of their Vegas counterparts or models, but they seem to be missing the small things.

For example, take the player cards. When I give a card in Vegas at a table, its taken, scanned, and handed back with a “Thank you Mr. Dram”. In Macau, in every place, it’s thrown across the table with a “Whaaaa!” I know part of this could be a language/culture thing, but things like that are the nice touches that always made me feel welcome.

Add to this the lack, or rather negligence, in some of the comps normally extended to a punter. Drink service is pretty abysmal if you want something other than bottled water and tea. Just a beer alone is pretty hard, and forget about a mixed drink. I do not think cigarettes are comped, given the quizzical “why?” look when I simply asked for matches.

So anyway the more I go, the novelty is somewhat wearing off. On the other hand, Macau is still the funnest place I have gambled in Asia (with the notable exception of packed to the gills Happy Valley). Not to go off the deep-end, but there are certain cosmic crossroads on this globe, Macau (along side Hong Kong) is just one of those crossroads. And ironically, I never have felt that way about Vegas.

Enough touchy-feely. I played Baccarat exclusively for want of craps game. I did quite well; so much so I darted into a Tiffany’s in Hong Kong and got a “F-you” gift for my ex-wife (I have a odd sense of humor).


Read archived comments (10 so far)
May 5, 2007 3:41 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

I have to admit, although I was skeptical at first, MGM Grand Macau is looking MUCH better in reality than the scale models + renderings I first got to see. Very interesting play on the three distinctive reverse curvilinear facade treatment + multiple use of contrasting reflective glazing. I believe this might just turn out to be one of the most architecturally significant resorts in Macau! BTW - I actually got to see the glazing samples + the lower reflective glass portion is NOT the horrid "chocolate reflective bronze color" that Wynn seems to be so fond of, but has more 'copper' overtones. MGM/MIRGAE are really ramping up the benchmark as far as design is concerned. I'm afraid Steve's joint will look like a mere Holiday Inn by comparison, what a cheap looking, facade Wynn Macau has gone with, truly uninspired + lacking the exterior detail that even WLV has at least attempted to introduce. Just another example of Steve's overrated garbage! Can't say that there is anything exciting deisgn-wise as far as Venetian Macau is concerned, then again, it is basically a clone of Adelson's super-successful L.V. property. Let's hope, as the Cotai Strip develops, we see start to see better buildings being offered.

May 5, 2007 4:44 PM Posted by detroit1051

Drambuie Man, thanks for the report and photos. I have to say I am very enthused about MGM Grand Macau. Its appearance will set the standard in Macau. Very impressive!
I hadn't seen photos of Wynn's lower buildings and storefronts before. I'm disappointed in the exterior facade with its tan/yellow color and the white awnings with gold trim. The awnings reminded me of Golden Nugget in downtown Vegas. The look doesn't exude luxury to me.

May 5, 2007 4:56 PM Posted by Mike E

I for one was more impressed by MGM Grand Macau in the renderings than I am now. While unique, the tri-colored tower is too subdued and about as dreary as the Macau sky. "Chocolate Reflective Bronze" would have worked much better :-).

May 5, 2007 5:49 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit: Although we have clearly been at odds in the past, I'm actually quite pleased to hear that you at least were able to recognize the obvious design deficiencies in Wynn Macau. MGM Grand Macau looks absolutely spectacular! The "yellow/tan" exterior color + design scheme as far as the podium/pedestrian level of Wynn Macau is concerned, is totally inconrgruous + is so "divorced" from the design of the tower, it's ridiculous. This was my own very FIRST impression when viewing the 'as-built' photos, so kudos to you for at least recognizing this obvious conflict.
Actually the "canopy/awnings" concept that Steve seems to keep using dates way back to the Golden Nugget/Atlantic City of the pre-1980 era + then used, once agin, when Wynn executed a major redesign of [his] most prized possession at the time, the G.N. downtown. The, then, V.P. of Design + Development for Mirage Resorts, Joel Bergman was responsible for both projects in conjunction with Henry Conversano & Assoc. At any rate, Wynn Macau looks like shit in comparison to MGM Grand Macau. Dubai (U.A.E.) currently are utilizing 20% of the high rise cranes in the entire world! Burj Dubai Tower, the tallest building on the entire planet, currently under construction, although designed by SOM/Chicago, an American architectural firm, needs to quickly bring our city of Las Vegas on an even keel. Vegas will not even be in the running after 2010 as the world's resort destination unless we start building projects here like LVT (Milam Tower) or other projects of similar scope. Thank God for CityCenter, at least this is a start for 21st Century Las Vegas on a go-forward basis. BTW - notice that not a single local Las Vegas based architectural firm has any involvement in CityCenter whatsoever.

May 5, 2007 6:07 PM Posted by detroit1051

Uh Oh! I've been hanging around Leonard too much.

May 6, 2007 2:27 PM Posted by Tom M

detroit, I am still waiting for LS to post at least one time without slamming SW designs etc. Just one time not even mentioning his obvious disdain for everything SW. I mean its not like we all don't already know his position. Just one time. Really, can he do it?????

May 7, 2007 12:02 AM Posted by George/Drambuie

I can agree with much here, including the more charitable description of the Wynn color as "Chocolate".

What gets me about the MGM-Grand Macau is not its striking hotel tower, but the complete lack of progress internaly. No electric, no plumbing, not even any finished walls. Before I pile on, I would wait for how functional the actualy building is.

For instance, the Sands Macau is really begining to look threadbare. They may get that hotel tower up and running, but by that time LV Sands may need to seriously consider a remodel.

May 27, 2007 9:20 AM Posted by detroit1051 has an interesting post on changes to Macau's visa resquirements which may negatively affect casino operators:
>>The affect that this will have on Macau will be significant, and the impact should be seen in a few months time around the time when the Venetian Macao is expected to open it�s doors.The stock markets already reacted last Friday as shares of Melco PBL, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts dropped heavenly on these new measures and concerns!

There was a brief AP release on this late Friday:

May 29, 2007 6:24 AM Posted by detroit1051

Another story in the LV Business Press on LVS and Macau. Does this have legs?

May 30, 2007 12:13 PM Posted by detroit1051

"Eye on Vegas" has a great photo of MGM Macau. Scroll about 1/3 of the way down the page: