Macao opens $2 billion resort with giant copy of London’s Big Ben

  • Macau – often referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia – has added another luxury casino resort to the Cotai Strip. And this time it’s a British theme called The Londoner Macao.
  • From Big Ben to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, visitors are transported to London on the city’s Cotai strip.
  • Las Vegas Sands owns The Londoner Macao, and shares of the developer are up 16 this year.

This photo, taken on Oct. 20, 2022, shows a replica of the Big Ben Tower at the Londoner Casino resort on Macau’s Cotai Strip. (Photo by Eduardo Leal / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Edward Leal | Afp | Getty Images

Tourists in Asia no longer have to take long-haul flights to visit the United Kingdom’s Big Ben or to snap a photo of London’s iconic red double-decker bus.

They can now do the same in Macau, the so-called Las Vegas of Asia.

The Londoner Macao, a British-themed luxury casino resort in the Chinese gambling hub, held its grand opening ceremony on Thursday.

And English football celebrity David Beckham was there to grace the event.

The Chinese gambling city has added another luxury casino resort to the Cotai Strip, a term Las Vegas Sands uses to refer to an alley of hotel casinos, malls and theaters.

“You can’t get a better hotel room than what we put into the Londoner. You can’t get a better spa experience, you can’t get a better dining experience,” Las Vegas Sands CEO Robert Goldstein told CNBC on Thursday.

He said the hotel’s opening “is an example of our commitment to quality,” adding, “The rooms are as good as anywhere in the world.”

The resort has been operational for the past two years, but opening has been delayed due to strict Covid-19 restrictions and travel regulations.

The $2 billion resort features replicas of the UK’s iconic buildings. They include the Palace of Westminster, the official residence of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, among other London landmarks.

Las Vegas Sands owns The Londoner Macao, along with The Venetian Macao, The Parisian Macao, Sands Maco, and The Plaza Macao & Four Seasons Hotel Macao — all located along the Cotai Strip, the company’s website showed.

Replicas of famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Canal of Venice can be seen in the other hotels.

Goldstein is proud that the luxury resort developer has brought Italy, France and England to Macao, a Chinese special administrative region.

“Who doesn’t love Paris? It seemed like a natural match to complete the triumvirate of Italian, French and then English,” Goldstein said.

The Londoner Macao Casino Resort and the Venetian Casino Resort, along the Cotai Strip in Macau, China.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The biggest highlight for visitors to The Londoner Macao is without a doubt the “Changing of the Guard” entertainment extravaganza, according to the resort’s website. It was launched on Thursday evening during the opening ceremony.

Referring to the Changing of the Guard ceremony taking place at Buckingham Palace, the performance at the resort will take place six days a week and will involve more than 20 dancers and musicians.

Visitors can also get a taste of London by indulging in an Alice in Wonderland-inspired afternoon tea, or board the classic black cab for a virtual experience where Beckham drives past his favorite spots in the city.

When one thinks of Macao, the first thought is often gambling in casinos. But the city has continued to transform and now offers a different experience for every visitor.

Goldstein said that 20 years ago, people in Hong Kong could not have imagined that Macau would have shops, restaurants, spas, conventions and hotels.

Today, no one doubts Macao’s growth anymore, he emphasized that Macao is a very “dominant and important” market.

The casino operators that awarded the concessions agreed to collectively invest about $15 billion over the next 10 years to help Macao diversify its reliance on gambling and boost international tourism.

“Gaming is not a difficult business to build, and the government is right to focus on tourism growth,” Goldstein told CNBC. “Non-gaming fuels gaming… Those non-gaming amenities are incredibly important to both sides.”

“What we’re trying to do is build hotels that work together. The gamers want to come, and the non-gamers come here for three days to shop or go to the spa. So we’ll be up and running for three days, and they’ll never have to to the casino,” he added.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands are up more than 16% since the start of the year.

(TagsToTranslate)Asia Economy

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