New Macau jewel, the MGM Grand Macau

1 Jan 2008 by business traveller

The skyline of the prime waterfront site in Macau’s burgeoning Nam Van gaming district glitters with another jewel as the US$1.25 billion MGM Grand Macau opened on December 18 with a keen eye on the affluent VIP market.

The 50-50 partnership between MGM Mirage of Las Vegas and Pansy Ho, daughter of Southern China casino mogul Stanley Ho, is the last of the six licensed casino operators to launch in the territory, but top brass executives are unperturbed and are very optimistic of Macau’s rising fortunes as Asia’s gaming capital.

Gaming revenues for the Chinese enclave overtook that of the famous Las Vegas last year and reached US$7.26 billion in the first nine months of 2007.

MGM Grand Macau also expects to benefit from its good location along the waterfront, near established VIP venues like Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment Group’s StarWorld and her father’s Grand Lisboa.

“This (Nam Van gaming district) is the centre of high-rolling experience. There will be a cluster effect,” says Ho, who is managing director of the MGM Grand Paradise Limited.

Yves Pépin is at the helm of MGM Grand Macau’s opening ceremony as creative director. He is the renowned master of multimedia performances like the Eiffel Tower Millennium Show, the closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and also one of the brains (together with Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou) behind the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics this August. Grande Praca, the hotel’s 1,088-square-metre entertainment centrepiece inspired by Lisbon’s Central train station, served as the venue for Pépin’s unparalleled staging and was the main hub of the festive opening activities with its distinctively European design and architecture as well its glass ceiling which rises 25 metres from the hotel ground.

“There is such a diversity of culture and people. We took inspiration by linking Macau’s past and future, its affinity and link to European culture and its transformation into a modern, high-tech city,” says Pépin, adding that it took five months and a 500-member production team to conceptualise, plan and execute the show.

MGM Grand Macau, the first MGM property in Asia, is a 35-storey gleaming edifice with close to 600 luxurious rooms with pricey price tags to match a well-heeled clientele. The standard 66-square-metre Studio Room on the fifth floor costs HK$3,800 (US$487) per night, exclusive of tax and surcharges. Gaming facilities include 385 table games and over 800 slots machines, as well as 16 private gaming salons for VIPs gamers. Other attractions include a well-equipped 2,720-square-metre spa by Six Senses, a wide range of dining outlets like the Imperial Court and The Champagne Bar, and specialty retail shops from brand names such as Hermès and Chihuly (whose hand-blown glass flowers on the ceiling and glass wall painting are eye magnets at the hotel main lobby).

The hotel prides itself on supporting the arts. Along with various art pieces in the property, MGM Grand Macau is showcasing master works like the Dalinian Dancer in bronze and the Piano Surrealist by Salvador Dalí until February 29.

“MGM Grand Macau is determined to create a brand new experience for tourists coming to see the new Macau. We are not going to be just another beautiful property. MGM Grand Macau will be a destination of fun and excitement, a place where life and art are celebrated,” says president Bob Moon.

Gigi Onag

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