MacauTripping Chapter 7 - I'm So High It Makes My Brain Whirl
This trip has become a waking dream. Every morning I open my unconscious eyes, confused, amazed. I'm seeing more, and feeling... yes. I'm in room 2191 at Crown Towers Macau, but I may as well be snow surfing the Hillary Step wearing nothing but a gold lamé speedo, a goop covered white nose and a shit eating grin. Over my clock's shoulder is a range of traversed pinnacles, with each apex moment testing blasting through the glass ceiling of expectation. Surely, today is the day this trip sevens out.
I hop out of bed and dart to the computer, scragging together words, thoughts and notes of the previous days nonsense as the English news channel blathers on an on about a the disintegration of the European Union. I tune out the counterpoint and focus on the melody - the room service menu. I pick up the phone, order and within 30 minutes hot breaky arrives in my room. I Skype my wife, reprising a VOIP meal we shared 2007 from my room at Wynn Macau to an apartment we shared in East Hollywood.
She remarked that my sausage looked delicious. Hubba hubba.
After breakfast, I climbed into the luxurious soaking tub, reading today's Macau Daily Times and guzzling the rest of the coffee caraffe. The linens and towels at Crown are something special.
I pack up my stuff, check out of Crown and start hoofing through the City of Dreams recently expanded shopping promenade en route to my next hotel stop - Studio City Macau.
The previous night, turn down service left a hand annotated card indicating what the weather was going to be for the next day - today.
Full sun, with temperatures ranging from 28-33 degrees celsius and humidity at 60-90%. This feels like ~110° F, soaking wet. Yowza. Very thoughtful of them to send this card.
Upon exiting climate controlled City of Dreams I'm hit face first by a wave of heat and humidity that is far more intense than anything I felt on the peninsula. Wow. It is really fucking hot out here. There is nobody out on the streets. I start lugging my bag across the street to Sands Cotai Central/St. Regis and am stopped in my tracks. 5 minutes of this weather and I'm drenched in sweat and feeling beat down. Studio City isn't that far away, but maybe walking it at 11:30am isn't the best idea I've ever had.
A quick U-turn sends me back to CoD when I see a Studio City shuttle stop steps away. I take refuge under the umbrellas with the line wrangler. He looks at me with weary eyes and says one word:
Damn right. Approximately five minutes (that felt like 20) later, a big brown Studio City shuttle bus arrives. The line wrangler escorts me on the bus and stores my luggage below. The bus whirrs off towards Wynn Palace, stops at at the CoD south porte cochere, turns around and wheels its way towards the bus entrance to Studio City. The whole trip took about 10 minutes, tops. The shuttle system in Macau is the awesome.
A pair of Fu dogs flank a bank of escalators that lead from the bus annex to the food court at the rear of Studio City's shopping promenade. There are people everywhere... ogling a Batman hologram, perusing the shops, queueing up at dining venues and standing on line to sign up for the casino comp club card. I head off towards the lobby. It is definitely busy, but it doesn't feel crowded in an oppressive way.
I set out for the hotel lobby. Studio City has two hotel towers - the Star Tower and the Celebrity Tower. I'm 90% sure that my room is in the higher end Star Tower. A short walk through the mall leads me to the Celebrity Tower lobby, I skip it, pass by the massive casino entrance lobby until I come across the Star Tower lobby and hop on to the check in line. A valet greets me and double checks to make sure that I am in the correct lobby. He offers to take my bags but I decline.
It's early, but the receptionist checks me in with a smile, no questions, no 'come back at 3pm' statement, no early check-in fee. She gives me the keys and I head up to the room. My Studio City Star Tower room is very well designed... Vegas hotel operators could learn a lot by studying these standard rooms.
After exploring and photographing every corner of the room, I unfurl a blanket of electronic gadgetry on the coffee table and set out to do some writing. John texts to say he's checked in as well. We simultaneously post nearly identical photos of the view from our rooms to Instagram.
The view, paired with this incredible weather, makes for outrageous panoramic photos.
Left to right: Studio City Celebrity Tower, Sands Cotai Central's two Sheraton towers, MGM Cotai (you can see the Bellagio conservatory at the base), SJM's Grand Lisboa Palace wrapped in green construction cloth, Macau Dome. The dirt parcel in right across the street was originally earmarked for a Sands Project (Hilton, Fairmont and Raffles hotels were all attached to a project on this parcel - Sands Cotai South Central?) but the government has apparently taken the parcel back. Sands China is currently "beautifying" the parcel... playing nice in the hopes of regaining possession? Who knows.
I sink my head into the computer. Keeping up on my daily Macau diary is important, but the complications of moving hotels everyday, having travel companions to goof around with, sidewalk pounding, scheduled appointments and having an insane amount of stuff to write about is making it difficult to get anything done. I've pretty much given up on the idea that I'm going to be able to keep up.
Before I know it, the time has come for me to catch a cab back to the peninsula. Roger Thomas was nice enough to set up a meeting/tour of Wynn & Encore with Katharine Liu (VP of Communications) and Barry Cheong (Assistant Director - Public Relations) for later this afternoon.
I run outside and hop in a cab with a speed demon driver. He blazes north through Cotai, up through Taipa, passing Altira (formerly Crown), zipping across the Macau-Taipa Bridge (completing my hattrick of Macau bridge crossings) buzzing past Mandarin Oriental and MGM Grand before dropping me off at Wynn Macau. I wander through the Esplanade and head towards Encore to check out John's room before he checks out in a few hours.
Even in an unkempt state, the room looked fantastic. John did too... all dressed up and looking sharp. I grabbed my camera and took some portraits.
We headed downstairs to meet Hunter at Cinnabar who appears to be focused on getting sauced before the big PR tour. John ordered a the Wynn signature Sinatra Smash cocktail, which a) had its muddled blackberries strained to fruit skin debris and b) cost 30% less than the Vegas version. I had a coffee, which came with a little cookie on the side.
We set out for the lobby at the appointed time, where we were met by Barry and PR manager Serena Chin. Unfortunately, Katharine was called into a meeting but would meet up with us later on. Barry greeted us warmly with his infectious sense of humor. I noticed that his iPhone was wrapped in a Wynn carpet pattern case and remarked how great it was. He grinned and showed it off, then made a phone call to have cases for each of our devices brought up to the lobby. Wow. He then handed each of us Wynn shopping bags filled with resort background documents and thumb drives containing all the high-resolution Barbara Kraft photos you could ever want.
We then set out on an extensive tour looking at every Wynn and Encore hotel room configuration (except villas) restaurant interiors of Mizumi, Wing Lei, Golden Flower and a tour of the spa suites. We covered an immense amount of ground in two hours.... all of which I took very detailed photographs of. It was a thoroughly insane tour of the latest and greatest work from Wynn Design & Development... some of which feels like they are a precursor to the forthcoming Wynn Palace Cotai.
Wynn Two Bedroom Suite
The new Mizumi interior design.
Private dining room at Golden Flower
Encore Grand Salon Suite with Hunter, Barry and John.
At the end of the tour Katharine met us in the Encore lobby for a quick chat. Barry presented each of us with a specially formulated Wing Lei signature tea set as a thank you gift (!?!), the aforementioned iPhone cases and organized a Wynn Macau limousine to take us to our next destination. Wow.
We said our goodbyes, loaded into the limousine and headed back to Studio City Macau. Katharine and Barry stood at the porte cochere waving goodbye as the limousine drove away. Amazing.
It was truly an incredible afternoon.
We headed over to Il Molino at Studio City for dinner and a few rounds of drinks.
After dinner, we hopped in a cab and headed to Altira, with the plan that we would go to 38 Lounge, enjoy the view and record a podcast. When we arrived, we did a quick loop of the casino, which was desolate and sad looking... a far cry from the exciting and beautiful hotspot it was back in 2007. We wandered to the upper floors of the casino which were essentially being used as a storage area. So sad! We headed outside and got on the lift that would take us up to the 38th floor lobby and its incredible views of the Macau peninsula.
We headed out to 38 Lounge, onto the outdoor patio. It was apparent instantly that the heat and humidity on the patio didn't agree with Hunter and John. We ordered drinks, turned on the microphones and recorded an Episode 9. Mid-way through telling the story about our tour at Wynn, Hunter left the table and never returned. The conversation between John and I fizzled out and I turned off the recording device. Nice try.
We settled up at the bar then hightailed it back to Cotai and went our separate ways. I headed outside to photograph the southern end of Cotai at night and poke around Studio City.
Before heading to bed, I hit the casino and got on a $100HKD craps table. A woman rolled eight 8s in a row before throwing a seven. I stashed some chips in my pockets to add to my collection, cashed out the rest and headed up to my room to go to bed.
Just when I thought this trip couldn't get any better, a day like today happens.