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Exclusive City of Dreams Details

City of Dreams Cotai - The Bubble

The entertainment feature formerly known as The Bubble. Rendering courtesy of Melco PBL

As promised, here's the first in a series of posts outlining some of the details I've culled from the latest call with Melco PBL, starting with their freshly anointed 'flagship property' City of Dreams. We'll be covering some other areas over the next few days including Crown Towers Taipa, Mocha Slots, AMA, market share and topics which lie more on the 'business end' of things.

Construction on City of Dreams, commandeered by a consortium of builders including Leighton, John Holland and China State is progressing at lightning speed with standard construction agreements guaranteeing project completion within specific timeframes. The current target for opening City of Dreams has expanded from the tentative April 2009 to a slightly more amorphous first half of 2009. Press materials and news releases on most of the contractors websites state that construction for all three phases of the project will be completed by the end of 2009.

'First half of 2009' could mean January 1, 2009, or June 30, 2009, or May 15th, or April 1st or Valentines day. I'll bet they want City of Dreams to be open before Chinese New Year - January 26, 2009, but it's doubtful. I have a hunch that they are well aware of the pressing nature of getting the property open, but are smart enough to not sacrifice quality to hit early target dates. My guess is that they are targeting opening in advance of the national Labor day holiday during the first week of May. Crown Towers Taipa is currently sold out for this years Labor Day festivities.

Phase I of City of Dreams includes two hotel towers, a three-floor casino podium, dining, retail, pool, spa and entertainment options. The 28 story, 330 room Hard Rock Hotel - which topped out in late March 2008 - will feature typically musical decor, its own Hard Rock Casino, Rock Spa, dedicated Hard Rock Pool Bar and an ultralounge - the Sky Bar - located on the 28th floor of the Hard Rock's externally rotating tower. Of the 330 rooms, 264 will be deluxe guest rooms, 64 suites and 2 'Rock Star' suites. As of yet, there are no plans to import the famed Rehab pool party to City of Dreams.

Crown Towers, Cotai whose 295 guest rooms will extend the same 'six star hotel experience' as Crown Towers, Taipa, including nearly identical interior designs will also be part of Phase I construction. The 33 story Crown Towers Cotai (the official name) will feature 295 guest rooms broken down into 196 deluxe guest rooms, 56 suites and 32 villas, which will have 11 connecting suites. The Crown Towers Cotai's casino will have private VIP gaming salons, restaurants, bars, the Crystal Club lounge and The Spa at Crown similar to those found at Crown Towers Taipa (the new official name). The Spa At Crown is a total knock out, and the Cotai version will be larger and also contain fitness area, VIP treatment rooms and an indoor pool deck, which will most likely have a truly fabulous view from its infinity pool. Basically, Crown Towers Taipa (with a different exterior design and probably some other enhancements) will be copy/pasted into City of Dreams. Awesome.

Phase II of City of Dreams will include the 32 story dual tower Grand Hyatt. The Grand Hyatt Cotai will feature a total of 790 guest rooms broken down into 493 deluxe, 297 suites of many flavors. Two of City of Dreams' dining options will be included at the Grand Hyatt, Made In China, imported from the Grand Hyatt Beijing and mezza9 imported from the Grand Hyatt Singapore. The Grand Hyatt will also feature its own pool/spa/fitness center, a number of 'destination' bars as well as numerous meeting spaces in varying sizes.

Phase I is scheduled to open first (of course) with the semi-concurrent Phase II shortly thereafter.

Phase III of City of Dreams will focus primarily on currently unnamed 47 story 'Apartment Hotel' which is still undergoing final design tweaks. As of yet, the City of Dreams 'Apartment Hotel' has not selected a co-brand partner. The 800 suites will range from 700-2,300 square feet. The apartment hotel units are primarily meant to be secondary accommodations for their owners, they will not be configured to be a 'permanent residence.'

The casino at City of Dreams is shaping up to be a true piece de resistance. In its earliest incarnations, the casino was meant to be underwater, which - while scaled back - will most likely still be a major component to the resort's casino. Renderings and information related to the casino are being very very very closely guarded. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't pry any information whatsoever from Melco PBL. I have reason to believe - based on the Dragone shows aquatic nature (the as yet unnamed show scheduled for opening in April 2009 is currently hiring, with most job descriptions noting CPR, Scuba and Lifesaving skills), the immersive audio-visual entertainment feature located in the center of the property (which until recently was called "The Bubble") and the similarly designed City of Dreams 'air bubble' logo, and the 'circular water spigot' description of the Hard Rock's rotating tower - that the aquatic theme of the casino will be truly dramatic. Leighton's corporate and Asia specific project websites say that the casino will have an 'underwater theme'. It is truly doubtful that Melco PBL will roll the dice on pasting gold leafed papier-mache starfish and mermaids onto bluish walls interspersed with the occasional blowfish or shipwreck mural. This isn't a friggin riverboat, or the Venetian for that matter. Faux-frescoes will only get you so far in an environment as competitive as Cotai's will be. I expect there to be numerous reflection pools, waterfalls, indoor streams and possibly whole walls of filled with marine life and possibly pillars made of water. With Phase I construction clocking in at a hefty $2.1B, it's nearly guaranteed that the casino at City of Dreams will be a blockbuster.

In the next post, I'll get into some of the financials. Hope this City of Dreams mega-update was worth the wait.

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Comments & Discussion:

Great post Chuck!. That's a spectacular amount of info, despite the inhibitions of MelcoPBL in discussing certain matters. Their underwater theme appears to either be blow-out spectacular, or a complete flop which is why they keep hiding it (though I doubt the latter).

Also, the rendering at the top is very interesting: any interpretations?

I'm really looking for further posts in the coming week!

Also, do they have plans for mega-nightclubs, like those in Shanghai or Singapore, which are spread over multiple stories?

Good stuff, sounds cool.

"...its own Hard Rock Casino"

Interesting the Hard Rock will have its own casino there.

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