Three five-star Cotai hotels promoted by Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd are to have operations “suspended” with effect from Friday, a Macau government official said in a Thursday press briefing.
They are: the Four Seasons Hotel Macao (pictured in a file photo) – part of the complex that includes the Venetian Macao and the Plaza Macao -; and on the other side of the street, the St Regis Macao, Cotai Strip; and Conrad Macao Cotai Strip, both hotel properties at Sands Cotai Central, the official from Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) noted.
A commercial decision by management due to lack of guests was cited as a factor. Hotels at casino resorts were not covered by a 15-day closure order – to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infection – applied to the city’s 41 casino venues with effect from midnight on Tuesday.
Hotel room occupancy rate across Sands China’s “13,000-room” inventory had fallen recently to as little as “5 percent to 10 percent” according to Robert Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Sands China’s parent, Las Vegas Sands Corp. His commentary in the United States on Wednesday had been cited by the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.
Foot traffic in Sands China shopping malls had been low, and the group had cancelled all in-house entertainment due to lack of customer demand, Mr Goldstein added.
Separately to MGTO’s announcement, enquiries on Thursday – to the receptions of the three Sands China-promoted hotels to be shuttered – indicated two out of the three planned to accept guests again from the third week of this month. That would coincide with the end of the 15-day casino closure, although the casino pause could be extended depending on progress in tackling coronavirus locally, Macau’s Chief Executive has said.
The MGTO spokesperson gave the information about imminent hotel closures during Thursday’s edition of a now-daily briefing from the local government regarding the impact on Macau of the novel coronavirus first reported in Hubei province in mainland China.
The suspension of hotel operations at the three facilities was based on the “commercial decision” of those operating them, said Chan Lou, head of the licensing and inspection department of MGTO, the body dealing with hotel licensing.
“As soon as they [the management] made the [suspension] decision, they immediately notified us,” Ms Chan told the press, “They have mentioned having very few guests and would like to save resources.”
Four Seasons Hotel Macao has a total of 409 rooms; St Regis Macao, Cotai Strip has 400 rooms; and Conrad Macao Cotai Strip offers 650 rooms, according to information from Ms Chan given at the Thursday briefing.
Bookings again possibly mid-Feb
Four Seasons Hotel Macao is not accepting guests between Thursday and February 19 inclusive, the hotel confirmed by telephone on Thursday. A notice published by the hotel’s official website also stated that it would accept guest-room reservations “for February 20, 2020, onwards”.
St Regis Macao, Cotai Strip will also from now on only accept guest room reservations for February 20 onwards, the hotel confirmed by telephone. The resumption date for room bookings at Conrad Macao Cotai Strip is yet to be announced, the hotel said by telephone.
GGRAsia has sought comment from Sands China on the suspension of hotel services at the three facilities and whether any other hotel properties at Sands China properties might follow suit. We had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
But in a press release issued Thursday night, Sands China has noted that it has “scaled down” the operations of its hotels, malls, dining and other facilities and services, as a response to the Macau government’s call “to avoid public gatherings and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”.
Las Vegas Sands’ Mr Goldstein commented on Wednesday in the U.S. about his understanding of the Macau government’s thinking regarding casino stoppages.
“When large groups of people congregate is where you need to be careful,” Mr Goldstein told the Nevada Gaming Control Board in an unrelated suitability hearing, as quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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