Studio City Macau - The MacauTripping Review 2016
The Star Tower King
The saga of Studio City Macau - originally Macao Studio City - is a long confusing one, littered on all sides with shredded plans, punctured partnerships and a boneyard of dreams deceased.
Turn back the clock a whole dozen or so years to the beginning of the Macanese gold rush, when the Macau government broke SJM's monopoly and opened its doors to a cadre of casino operators. Within years, the Macau government reclaimed the sea and set out to create a massive masterplanned casino neighborhood. They gave it the name Cotai, a portmanteau of Coloane and Taipa, the islands which this newly reclaimed land would soon connect.
Operators jockeyed for position, slicing and dicing parcels, litigating disagreements, hiring architects, forming partnerships and raising equity. One by one plans for future properties were released - "The Venetian", "Galaxy Mega Resort", "City of Dreams" and "Macao Studio City."
Macao Studio City's grand plans included partnership with Marriott to build a W Hotel and Ritz-Carlton hotels, plus a collaboration with the Hefner family on a Playboy Mansion Macau as well as a six-star boutique The Tang Hotel. International shopping operator Taubman Properties took a sizable stake in Macao Studio City and would operate all of its retail operations. The property was to be designed by legendary casino architect Paul Steelman and stated it would be proudly opening in 2009.
Then, as the global economy was on the precipice of implosion, the project collapsed. Majority owner eSun Holdings proved unable to secure completion financing, sending Taubman, Playboy and Marriott to the exits. For almost five years, Macao Studio City's construction site was a forgotten field of foundation pilings speckling a Cotai swamp like a sleeping steel porcupine.
Lawsuits raged until 2011 when Melco Crown (who were to be eSun's casino concession partner) bought a majority of the project. Melco Crown contracted architectural firm The Goddard Group (Caesars Forum Shops, Star Trek:The Experience, Galaxy Macau) to re-imagining Macao Studio City from a "high-tech working broadcast studio concept" into a throwback art deco vision of Hollywood glamour.
After a series or starts and stalls, and a name rearrangement, Studio City Macau opened on the 27th of October, 2015.
Studio City Macau's crescent shaped hotel tower is bisected by The Golden Reel, a figure 8 shaped ferris wheel built right into the center of the hotel. Studio City Macau calls the south portion the"Star Tower" and the northern half the "Celebrity Tower." Each tower has slightly different room products, with the Star Tower being the slightly more stylish and expensive of the two.
I booked my room - a Friday night in the Star Tower - via the Agoda.com iOS app for a rate of US$189.29, inclusive of taxes and fees.