MacauTripping Chapter 6 - Look Up Here, I'm In Heaven
After a slow steamy stroll down Avenida da Prosperidade, marveling at the scale of St. Regis tower to the south and City of Dreams to the north, I arrive at the construction site of Steve Wynn's fourth generation iteration of his vision for a casino mega-resort - Wynn Palace Cotai. Everything is beaming, and so is Wynn Palace.
Designed by Steve Wynn in tandem with Wynn Design & Development's resident architect DeRuyter Butler and designer Roger Thomas, Wynn Palace Cotai is promised to be the greatest hotel in all of Asia.
It was also the reason why I booked this trip.
Over the last few years, in correspondence with Roger Thomas, a plan was hatched wherein I would shadow Wynn's legendary interior designer during the final preparations of the property, documenting the flurry of last minute primping and polishing before the resort was surrendered to the general public. Roger suggested that keeping up with him on those last days would require roller skates. Those who know me, fully comprehend the sheer comedy inherent this possibility.
Fast forward three years. I went on a diet and worked out, bought nice clothes, grew my hair out to perfect Xanadu fly-away length. If I was going to shadow Roger Thomas on roller skates, I was going to look great doing it.
A steady stream of construction delays and Wynn Palace's moving target grand opening date nixed not only the Cotai roller boogie shadow plan, but any plan whatsoever to see Wynn Palace from the inside. Trust me, I tried. Tonight, high powered camera lenses and fortunate night lighting is the closest we'll come to peeping the interiors of Wynn Palace Cotai. At least, for now. (Hint hint.)
Wynn Palace Cotai is all lit up. The two toned curtain wall glass - gold and mahogany - becomes one color
Shaped like Beau Rivage, striped like Wynn's chocolate curve towers, cake decorated like Encore Macau's perfume bottle tower, crowned like Mirage and set around a Bellagio inspired performance lake, Wynn Palace Cotai is essentially Steve Wynn's Greatest Hits all rolled into one magnificent structure.
Wynn Palace Cotai features one thing that no Wynn property previously had - entry to the resort from street level via air-conditioned Sky Gondola.
Tonight, the gondolas are in operation, circumnavigating Wynn Palace Cotai's performance lake every 10 minutes or so. Gondolas board at a street level station, proceed north around the performance lake, fly across the face of the resort and arrive at a station on the top of the resort podium.
The sky gondola's cables are supported by two gigantic Roger Thomas designed golden dragon sculptures, whose faces are currently hidden from view.
I was a skeptic of this idea when announced, but seeing the slow careful tread of the sky gondolas changed my opinion completely. Riding the gondola in the evening as the performance lake erupts will most definitely be at the top of every Macau visitors "must do" list. I'm less enthusiastic about riding these during the oppressive mid-day heat and humidity. I suspect the line to ride these will be very, very, very long.
Looking at the resort, it is apparent that many of the lake facing junket rooms and the restaurants in the center spine of the hotel are still in the throes of construction. Some of them appear to be mostly finished, just lacking furnishings.
Above: The lake facing junket gaming salons. Exterior smoking patios would be a great way to get around the indoor smoking ban in Macau.
These are probably the Fountain Suites. I would expect the lower tier standard Palace Rooms to be located on the opposite side of the hotel with non-lake views.
The rooms with the cloud shaped dome are Fountain Parlor Suites... they have a larger living room with attached bedroom. Both of these rooms have the cloud shaped domes in the ceiling. The regular Parlor Suites will most likely have have non-lake views.
There are no rooms in the Wynn Palace room register which match the designs we can peep through the windows. The ceilings are 1.5x higher than the standard rooms, and feature two chandeliers hanging from cloud domes in the room. This style of room is only located above the top waistband of the hotel - in the gold, if you will.
To the outer edge of the tower bends, on either side, are two suites which don't appear to match the interiors of the other sky villas. Perhaps these are two bedroom villa apartments? There appears to be one very tall living room with dramatic chandelier hanging in the center of the room.
Based on Wynn's other buildings, we can expect that the floors above the Sky Villas will be the Sky Casino.
Meanwhile, right behind me, the occasional klonk of a hammer echoing off of Wynn Palace tells me that construction on MGM Cotai is still, sorta, happening. A crew of workers and a crane operator were attaching pieces of the curtain glass to one of the upper boxes of the hotel tower. Other than that, the worksite was absolutely desolate and virtually open to walk around in.
Granted, this thing is unfinished, but in comparison to Wynn Palace Cotai, it looks like a post-modernist prison for bad architects.
After nearly getting run over by a bus (twice), I come to the conclusion that it is probably in my best interest to head back to my room at Crown. I took a bunch of photos along the way.
A chandelier inside City of Dreams.
The entry to Crown.
Lobby at Crown. Very luxe.
I arrive in my room to find that housekeeping has turned my room down.
I quickly download photos from my cameras, plug in my all my rechargeables and climb into bed.
Good night Macau.