The Londoner Macao, the casino resort in Macau formerly known as Sands Cotai Central, opened today. The Sands China property took almost a year longer to prepare, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will feature an ambience completely designed after some of the top attractions in and around London. It will also offer a new VIP room from the Tak Chun Group, who, per a report from GGRAsia, confirmed at the end of last week that it is adding its name to the amenities at the property.
Sands China, the Asian arm of Las Vegas Sands, has taken to installing thematic casinos in Macau and decided to highlight the best of London when it moved to revamp the Sands Cotai. The global pandemic forced the construction schedule to be altered, and Sands announced late last year that it was ready to begin welcoming gamblers this month. The remainder of the property will be rolled out in phases that will most likely span the rest of this year.
Sands Cotai held a Tak Chun VIP room last year prior to the start of the upgrade and is now anxious to try to get back to normal as it looks like COVID-19 is finally being brought under control. The junket operator also has VIP rooms in other Macau properties, including MGM Cotai, The Plaza Macao and Wynn Palace Cotai. Everyone, including Sands and Tak Chun, is hoping that they will be able to get off on the right foot this week, which marks the beginning of the annual Chinese New Year holiday. However, with travel advisories in place, many hotels still have ample vacancy and the turnout may not be as great as expected.
Once things do settle down, though, The Londoner will already have a nod of approval from some scholars. Glenn McCartney, the U.K.’s honorary consul in Macau believes Sands has done a great job in bringing London to the city, and the associate professor of Integrated Resort and Tourism Management at the University of Macau told GGRAsia, “It’s absolutely important that the Chinese traveller understands” a brand and added that the Londoner Macao’s brand is “very clear.” He explained, “You can invent your own branding, [but] that takes some time to ramp up. The Londoner [Macao] straight away has iconic things, like the buses, or the phone boxes, or the many other things in the property.”
As expected, Macau started receiving the coronavirus vaccine this past Saturday. However, even though 50,000 local residents will be able to receive the shots, they won’t be administered in time to help Macau feel more confident about widespread Chinese New Year celebrations. This means that it is going to be several more months before a rebound can truly begin, but at least there is now more reason to be optimistic.