This photo taken on Oct. 20, 2022 shows a replica of the Big Ben tower at the Londoner Casino resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau. (Photo by Eduardo Leal / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Tourists in Asia no longer have to take long flights to visit Britain’s Big Ben or take a photo of London’s iconic red double-decker bus.
They can now do the same in Macau, the so-called Las Vegas of Asia.
Londoner Macao, a British-themed luxury casino in China’s gambling hub, held its grand opening on Thursday.
And the celebration of this event was the English football celebrity David Beckham.
China’s gambling city has added another luxury casino resort along the Cotai Strip, the term Las Vegas Sands uses to describe the strip lined with hotel casinos, shopping malls and theaters.
“You can’t get a better hotel room than what we put in the Londoner. You can’t get a better spa experience, you can’t get a better dining experience,” Las Vegas Sands CEO Robert Goldstein told CNBC on Thursday.
He said the hotel’s opening “exemplifies our commitment to quality” and added: “The rooms are as good as anywhere in the world.”
The center has been operating for the past two years, but its opening has been delayed due to strict Covid-19 restrictions and travel rules.
The $2 billion center houses replicas of the UK’s iconic buildings. These include the Palace of Westminster, the official residence of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, among other landmarks in London.
Las Vegas Sands owns The Londoner Macao, along with The Venetian Macao, The Parisian Macao, Sands Macao and The Plaza Macao & Four Seasons Hotel Macao – all located along the Cotai Strip, the company’s website showed.
Other hotels feature replicas of famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Venice’s Grand Canal.
Goldstein is proud that the luxury resort developer has brought Italy, France and England to Macau, a special administrative region of China.
“Who doesn’t love Paris? It felt natural to complete the triumvirate of Italian, French and then English,” Goldstein said.
Londoner Macao Casino Resort and Venetian Casino Resort along the Cotai Strip in Macau, China.
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The biggest highlight for visitors to The Londoner Macao is undoubtedly the “Changing of the Guards entertainment extravaganza”, according to website of the resort. It was launched on Thursday evening during the opening ceremony.
In keeping with Buckingham Palace’s changing of the guard ceremony, the show will take place at the resort six days a week and will feature more than 20 dancers and musicians.
Visitors can also get a taste of London by indulging in an Alice in Wonderland-inspired afternoon tea, or hop into a classic black cab for a virtual experience where Beckham drives through his favorite spots in the city.
Not just about gambling
Casino gambling is often the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Macau. However, the city has transformed beyond that and now offers a different experience to every visitor.
Goldstein said that 20 years ago, people in Hong Kong could not have imagined that Macau could have shops, restaurants, spas, conventions and hotels.
Today, no one questions Macau’s growth, he said, stressing that Macau is a very “dominant and important” market.
Casino operators granted collectively agreed concessions to invest about 15 billion dollars over the next 10 yearsto help Macau diversify its gambling addiction and boost international tourism.
“The Games are not hard to build, and the government is right to focus on growing tourism,” Goldstein told CNBC. “Non-game resources of gameplay… These non-game amenities are incredibly important to both sides.”
“We try to build hotels that work in tandem. The players want to come and the non-players come here to shop or go to the spa for three days. So we will work for three days and they never have to go to the casino,” he added.
Actions from Las Vegas Sands increased by more than 16% year-on-year.