The Londoner Macao, formerly known as Sands Cotai Central, the casino resort in Macao, has opened today. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sands China property took almost a year longer to plan, and will have an atmosphere entirely modelled after some of the top attractions in and around London. A new VIP room from the Tak Chun Group will also be provided, which, according to a GGRAsia article, announced at the end of last week that it was adding its name to the property’s amenities.
Sands China, Las Vegas Sands’ Asian arm, took on the installation of themed casinos in Macau and planned to showcase London’s finest when it moved to revamp the Sands Cotai. The global pandemic forced the construction timetable to be altered, and late last year, Sands declared that it was ready to begin this month to welcome gamblers. The remainder of the property will be carried out in stages most likely to cover the remainder of this year.
Prior to the start of the update, Sands Cotai kept a Tak Chun VIP room last year and is now excited to try to get back to normal as it looks like COVID-19 is finally being brought under control. In other Macau properties, including MGM Cotai, The Plaza Macao and Wynn Palace Cotai, the junction operator also has VIP rooms.
This week, which marks the beginning of the annual Chinese New Year holiday, everybody, including Sands and Tak Chun, is hoping that they will be able to start off on the right foot. However, several hotels still have enough vacancies with travel advice in place, and the turnout might not be as big as anticipated.
The Londoner will already have a nod of approval from some scholars once things calm down, though. Glenn McCartney, the honorary consul of the United Kingdom in Macau, believes that Sands has done a great job in bringing London to the region, and the University of Macau’s associate professor of Integrated Resort and Tourism Management 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 was planned, this past Saturday, saw the start of Macau receiving the coronavirus vaccine. However, while the shots will be accessible to 50,000 local people, they will not be administered in time to make Macau feel more secure about the widespread Chinese New Year celebrations. This means it’s going to be a few more months before a recovery can really start.