Wong says themed resorts still a popular choice

The decision to rebrand Sands China’s Sands Cotai property into a London-themed resort came after extensive market research from clients that found they held a strong appeal for visitors, local media reported President Wilfred Wong as saying.

Last year, Las Vegas Sands said it would invest $1.1 billion in upgrading and rebranding the resort and the Four Seasons. The company also owns and operates The Venetian Macau and the neighbouring Parisian, which are also on the Cotai Strip.

Some critics have scorned the idea of themed properties as being outdated, however Wong said according to their research it was still popular among Mainland and other Chinese visitors.

Wong was cited by Macau Business as saying the decision to give the resort a London theme came after market research, online surveys and street level interviews.

“We found out that most people believed a themed property is a better one, because most visitors before they visit Macau will have to make up their mind which hotel to stay in and it is easier for you to remember a theme hotel,” he said at a presentation in Macau.

The work is expected to begin this year and be finished by 2020.

“We’ve commenced the design work earlier this year, and for the next few months we’ll go over all the iterations of design, public space design, hotel design, and casino design,” he said. “I was thinking that we should maybe have a James Bond casino, a Casino Royale.”

The expansion will add another 1.7 million square metres of space with 600,000 square metres at The Shoppes at Cotai Central being destined for gross leasable area.

The redevelopment of Sands Cotai Central will likely be completed after the new tower at Four Seasons Hotel, Wong said.

“It will probably come a little bit earlier than The Londoner because it is separate. [Four Seasons’ extension] doesn’t have to wait for a lot of amenities and infrastructure that would have to go into The Londoner,” he said.

The Four Seasons currently offers some 276 rooms and 84 suites.

“We’re now reaching the final stages of design and hopefully work will begin really soon,” he added.