Sands Cotai Central
I remember thinking during a trip to Macau in March that, ‘this place could really do with another big casino‘.
Turns out they didn’t have to wait long because on April 11, the Sands Cotai Central officially opened its doors amid much fanfare and the traditional Chinese dragon dance.
Cotai Central is the latest and greatest offering from Sands China/LV Sands Corp and at a development cost of $4.4 billion, it would comfortably make the top 5 list of the most expensive integrated casino resorts ever built. It takes Sands China’s total investment in Macau thus far to an extraordinary $8 billion.
Do the math on this and you arrive at the even more extraordinary conclusion that Cotai Central cost more to build than The Venetian Macau, The Sands Macau and the Four Seasons/Plaza Macau combined! And these aren’t small casinos…the Venetian still houses the largest (by area) gaming floor in the world and an indoor canal that you can take a gondola ride on.
So what do you get for $4.4 billion?
For a start there’s a 2,500 kg bronze and gold God of Fortune statue in one of the property’s many lobbies. As to whether the God of Fortune is looking after the interests of players or Sheldon Adelson and LV Sands Corp shareholders…I’ll let you be the judge.
There are 2 casinos, 40 private VIP gaming rooms, 3 hotels with total of 5,800 suites (Sheraton, Conrad and the world’s largest Holiday Inn), 100 retail stores and more restaurants than you can poke a chop stick at. The theme is ‘Himalayan Mountains’ with imagery of snow capped peaks on the casino’s ceiling and replica boulders strewn throughout the retail areas. If you get tired of the Himalayas and want a taste of faux-Italy you can take a stroll over the footbridge bridge that leads you into the Venetian.
If you want to gamble (why else would you be there?) you’ll only have 550 tables to choose from – less than the originally planned 670 due to a government imposed table game cap. But you should be able to find a seat and if not, there are another 800 over the bridge at the Venetian!
Sheldon Adelson proclaimed in a press release for his new casino’s opening that, ”there were few believers in my vision for the Cotai Strip when the site was basically under water” – a reference to the fact that before being reclaimed for development, Cotai was low-lying swampland connecting Macau’s Coloane and Taipa islands.
I wonder if the next mega casino to open it’s doors in Cotai will go with a theme that is true to it’s origins…swamp, or brackish sea water?
We won’t know until 2015 at the earliest because the next round of land concessions haven’t yet been granted.