When Steve Wynn conceived of a new property in Macau’s Cotai region more than six years ago, later dubbed Wynn Palace, the SAR was running strong with no signs of a pullback. VIPs were arriving en masse and Wynn had a corner on many of the good ones at his existing properties, Wynn Macau and Encore Macau. The growth of the mass market was encouraging but not crucial in the face of the healthy VIP segment.
And then it all changed. A Chinese economic downturn followed by a crackdown on corruption made a visit to Macau risky, leading to two years of decreasing revenues. Suddenly, a $4 billion investment seemed risky too. But the design was set in stone. And this year’s opening of Wynn Palace was probably the most glittering seen in Macau in several years, unlikely to be rivaled in the near future.
Dedicated to art with a floral design, Wynn Palace has the signature of a Wynn development:
• Performance lake and fountain show. Eight acres of water with almost 1,200 jets send more than 8 million gallons of water into the air. With more than a dozen intricately choreographed musical shows, the fountains dance to a diverse program of Chinese, European and American songs, operatic arias and musical numbers. Guests can view the shows and enter the heart of the resort via dramatic “Sky Cabs” that travel more than 90 feet above the lake.
• Floral sculptures. Guests are welcomed at two major entrances to the resort with two massive floral sculptures, one of a carousel, the other of a Ferris wheel. Each is fabricated from 100,000 real flowers and moves in time to music. The sculptures are custom-made by renowned flower designer Preston Bailey.
• Art, art, art. An investment of more that $125 million has brought thousands of pieces of art for view by visitors to Wynn Palace. Of particular interest is Wynn’s effort to bring Chinese artwork home, including four rare Qing Dynasty vases that are among the finest examples of chinoiserie in the world. The only other such quartet is at Buckingham Palace in London.
• Amazing amenities. Wynn’s lead designer, Roger Thomas, outdid himself with the Wing Lei Palace, a spectacular example of restaurant design overlooking the performance lake. More than 1,700 rooms, suites and villas echo Wynn’s focus on luxury. And the spa, Macau’s largest, features 22 treatment rooms alongside the pool and poolside restaurant nestled next to the lake.
• Shopping. Like all integrated resorts in Macau, Wynn has shopping—1,850 square meters of shopping. Unlike any other mall, the Wynn Palace Esplanade features 50 of the most renowned names in retail.
But Wynn says the luxury he designs into his resorts only works when you have the best service to complement the amenities.
“To be the prettiest hotel in the world frankly is something that money and good taste can buy,” Wynn says. “But to be the best hotel is something else altogether. In any hospitality business there are only two words that matter—guest experience. All the rest is irrelevant. All the marble and the crystal chandeliers, all the wonderful good taste that has been put into this building is dedicated to that one thing.
“It took six-and-a-half years to design this magnificent building, and yes, the name on the sign is Wynn Palace. But tonight this becomes the palace of the people who work here, and it is they who will make this the best hotel in the world.”