OWNER: Crown Limited
DESIGNER: Bates Smart; Villas by Blainey North & Associates
CONTRACTORS: Level 39, Crown Towers: Schiavello Pty. Ltd.; Mahogany Room: Baulderstone Pty Ltd; Teak Room: Isis Projects; Villas: Synergy Pty. Ltd.; FF&E Procurement, HPG international
TOTAL INVESTMENT: A$1.5 billion
The VIP client is clearly the star of the Asian-Pacific casino market. Reason enough for Australia’s Crown Melbourne property to devote a significant share of its A$1.5-billion capital expenditure plan to upgrades and additions to its VIP gaming facilities.
The six-star flagship property of Crown Limited is out to create a haven for international premium players, with gaming options to equal the best in the world.
The Presidential Villa on Level 39 of Crown Towers has been converted into luxurious private VIP gaming salons. The Mahogany Room, a members-only gaming room, is being expanded by 50 percent to present a dramatic new facade facing Melbourne’s Yarra River. “Club 23,” a new bar and lounge to be built on Level 3, will also feature a small number of high-stakes casino gaming and poker tables. The Teak Room was also redeveloped.
In the area of accommodations, upgrades have been completed on Crown Melbourne’s 32 exclusive villas. The property is home to three of Australia’s best hotels. The complex boasts over 70 restaurants and bars of all levels, but recent additions have expanded Crown Melbourne’s premium dining offering. Among the newcomers are “The Atlantic,” operated by Donovan Cook, who was previously at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and “Bistro Guillaume,” a French-inspired eatery from award-winning chef Guillaume Brahimi. These join the existing top fare providers, including “Nobu” from Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro, and “maze” from Gordon Ramsay.
For shoppers, Crown Melbourne features the likes of Prada, Versace and Louis Vuitton.
This increased attention to the VIP customer did not spring from thin air. In 2010, Crown Melbourne reported normalized VIP program play revenue was up 10.3 percent to A$363.5 million on record turnover of A$26.9 billion. At Crown Melbourne’s sister property, Burswood, on the other side of the country, VIP revenue increased by 23.2 percent to A$172.5 million, again on record turnover of A$12.8 billion.
The upgrades to the VIP facilities at both properties, plus Executive Chairman James Packer’s efforts to encourage more cooperation from the government on growing high-end tourism from Asia, are clear indications that Crown aims to stay Australia’s top integrated resort company.