MACAU The three-tower resort Sands Cotai Central opened its doors last Wednesday, April 11, joining sister properties The Plaza (which consists of a 360-unit Four Seasons) and The Venetian Macao to form a very powerful MICE product.
Sheldon G Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands and its majority-held subsidiary Sands China, developer of the project, said at the opening ceremony that Sands Cotai Central was part of a promise to “develop integrated resorts with non-gaming attractions to bring in a more diverse demographic of visitors.” And one of the biggest streams of visitors that has been attracted to the area is meeting and event delegates.
For the opening of its latest jewel, Sands Cotai Central pulled all the stops with an event programme that included a high wire act, pop-star appearances and musical performances.
Not all of the function spaces at Sands Cotai Central are completed yet, and among those still in the works is Kashgar, a 4,891 sqm pillar-less ballroom that can be divided into 16 rooms. However, The Venetian Macao’s own pillar-less ballroom, at 6,500 sqm, will retain the claim as the largest in Asia.
Two of the three hotels in the new integrated resort – Holiday Inn (some 1,200 units) and Conrad (more than 600 units) – as well as the casino floors, 28 of the 100 shops at the complex’s retail space Shoppes Cotai Central and some 20 dining options including Dynasty 8 are in operation. Sheraton is targeting a September opening with 4,000 rooms and suites.
When the whole project is completely open, the three hotels, the largest in the world under their respective brands, will add some 6,000 hotel rooms and suites, and 111,500 sqm of retail, entertainment and dining facilities, and meeting and convention space to the Cotai area.
“Under the brand 'Sands Cotai Macao', which includes five international hotel brands, 120,000 sqm of convention and exhibition space, an 1,800-seat Venetian Theatre, 57 restaurants and lounges,150-plus fleet of cars, buses and ferries, and a cast of over 100 entertainers… the ease of planning with everything under one roof and the capacity we have is unique in Asia,” Natasha Tome, Sands China’s executive director of marketing, said.
According to Sands China, the top markets for business events in Macau are Asian countries, with China and India being in the top 10. Australia also favours Macau as a top incentive and meetings destination.