Londoner needs stiff upper lip in tough market conditions

The Londoner Macao

Macau will face the biggest test of the mantra “if you build it, they will come,” as Sands China’s $2 billion “The Londoner” gets set to open its doors after the worst year in modern records for the world’s largest gambling hub. 

The London-themed resort is a revamp of Sands Cotai Central, which sits across the road from sister resorts, The Venetian and The Parisian. The company began accepting hotel bookings from mid-December and accepted the first guests from Jan. 22nd. It plans an official ceremony in early February. 

It’s not just a test of current market conditions, but will also serve to show whether such themed-resorts still appeal to the Chinese traveller looking for the ultimate instagram moment. 

It also adds dining options from British chefs, such as Gordon Ramsey, as well as new MICE space, with a 6,000-seat arena. 

The Atrium is designed for that wow factor, creating a space modelled on London’s Crystal Palace and featuring a replica of the Statue of Eros in Leicester Square. There is also a 96-meter replica of Big Ben.

The resort features two all-suite hotels, making a total of five luxury brands at the resort. It also adds dining options from British chefs, such as Gordon Ramsey, as well as new MICE space, with a 6,000-seat arena. 

Sands China Ltd. has a successful track record of creating themed properties in Macao, and The Londoner Macao joins The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao as Asia’s top destinations for both the leisure and MICE markets,” Sands China President Wilfred Wong said in a recent release. 

“London is an iconic city and we anticipate this addition will further raise the profile of Macao while increasing the number of visitors as our other flagship properties have done.”

New property openings have nearly all helped to successfully increase visitation to Macau, however, the near-term outlook remains highly uncertain.

Visitation over the Christmas season picked up and Macau saw its highest level of travellers since the pandemic began on New Year’s Eve with 30,747 visitors reported. Still, the recovery has not been as fast as expected since China resumed individual travel visas in September and new outbreaks across China have resulted in further tightening in travel restrictions. 

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has been lobbying hard on the mainland with a series of marketing campaigns to lure travellers. 

The Londoner is hoping to get a helping hand from the star power of David Beckham. The former England footballer has been Sands’ global ambassador since 2013 and has had a hands-on role in designing the new resort. 

Beckham worked with London interior design firm David Collins Studio to create the Suites by David Beckham, his first such foray into hotel design.

The 14 suites take up the top two floors of the “The Londoner Hotel” and will open later in 2021.

“These suites will present a unique experience, enhanced with personal touches from my life,” he says.

The Londoner Hotel itself is an all-suite tower designed by Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Design Group with about 600 luxury suites. The Louis  and Victoria Suites are 75 square meters, while the ultra-premium Windsor Suites have 113 square meters. 

The Unveiling The Londoner Macau promotional packages went on sale in mid-December, offering a one-night stay in a Louis Suite and access to resident’s club The Residence starting from. MOP2,398.