More than two years late and millions of Dollars over budget, MGM Resorts International’s second Macau offering finally opened a few months ago, just off the main Cotai Strip, in the heart of the former Portuguese colony taken over by the Chinese in 1999.
MGM’s striking new 1,390-room, 35-storey, US$3.4 billion resort-hotel-casino is designed to resemble a giant, glittering tiered gold, silver and bronze jewellery box. It is nothing if not incredibly eye-catching. The eastern side of MGM Cotai looks out toward the airport and South China Sea, and at the property’s main entrance, the largest lion in the MGM collection (over 36 feet tall) is gilded entirely in gold leaf. But the massive gilded Panthera leo that welcomes guests off the strip isn’t a patch on what’s going-on inside.
The hotel’s main lobby (featuring gold ingot-shaped tables), is a mere vestibule for the impressive four-storey high atrium named “The Spectacle” located at the centre of MGM Cotai. The size of a football pitch, the immense space features 25 LED walls displaying natural settings, China’s cities, artworks and even visitor-generated content, and is bordered by vertical gardens and a bevy of restaurants. In fact, it is MGM Cotai’s strong culinary focus, including an impressive line-up of internationally celebrated chefs – including television star Graham Elliot and famed alchemist Mitsuharu Tsumura – coupled with a stunning interior design aesthetic, which gives the mammoth property a sophisticated edge over its hospitality neighbours on the Cotai Strip. Add to all this a superb, predominantly Asian 300-piece art collection (that encompasses 28 Qing dynasty carpets, collages and abstract paintings), and an atelier courtesy of Chinese fashion designer and haute couturier Guo Pei (she designed the trailing yellow gown Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Ball), and the result is almost certainly the most elegant and refined casino-resort complex in Cotai. And this is without going upstairs to check out the hundreds of pastel-hued rooms and suites, which include Lofts in the main building and Villas in The Mansion – an invitation-only hotel within the hotel.