The boss of Asian casino developer and operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd says that it will only start work in 2021 on redeveloping the former Hard Rock hotel tower at its City of Dreams resort on Cotai. The group had previously given publicity to the tick down to the new facility by temporarily renaming the former Hard Rock tower as the Countdown (pictured right).
In September last year, the firm had said work on the refreshed hotel – to be called Libertine – would start by the end of this year, and the facility would launch by Chinese New Year 2021.
But banking group Morgan Stanley had said in a June 5 note it expected delays to Libertine and to a revamp for the former Crown-branded hotel tower at City of Dreams, which is now known as Nüwa (pictured left).
“I think in 2020, we will actually renovate Nüwa first. Then in 2021, we will do the Countdown [redevelopment] project. Because we don’t want to have too many hotel rooms to go offline at the same time,” said Melco Resorts’ chairman and chief executive Lawrence Ho Yau Lung in brief remarks to reporters on the sidelines of a company event on Thursday.
The work to transform the Countdown hotel into Libertine should take about “one year”, Mr Ho stated.
In September last year the firm had mentioned a “rolling refurbishment” of Nüwa would start after the Chinese New Year period in 2019.
Currently, the Countdown hotel tower – a four-star property according to information the operator filed with the Macao Government Tourism Bureau – has about “300 rooms”, said Mr Ho. The redevelopment of that facility into Libertine would see a decrease in the total room inventory, but an enlargement of room size, Mr Ho said.
That trend has also been seen at Sands China Ltd properties, namely the Parisian Macao, and Sands Cotai Central, which is being revamped as the Londoner Macao.
Mr Ho stated regarding Libertine: “We’re still working with our designers… we want these rooms to be more spacious, more beautiful. We always weigh quality over quantity,” Mr Ho remarked.
“…at Countdown – which is to become Libertine in future – we want to make something trendy, and… different. Nüwa is our nouveau-styled, Chinese-themed property. While Morpheus is our most beautiful and contemporary flagship, Libertine is more outrageous,” the Melco Resorts executive added.
Mr Ho was speaking to local media on the sidelines of the Thursday launch of The Arsenale Showroom at City of Dreams Macau, a non-gaming attraction with items that are actually for sale to the well-off. They include rare cars, a private jet, custom-built motorcycles and bicycles, branded boats, and several artworks.
Melco’s flagship property City of Dreams Macau is undergoing “upgrade works” that expands its “premium-mass and VIP gaming spaces”, Mr Ho had noted to investment analysts in a Wednesday earnings call that followed the firm’s announcement of its second-quarter results.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mr Ho said his firm had seen “record numbers” in all its gaming operations segments at City of Dreams Macau and Studio City for the second quarter, and was anticipating further growth in its Macau gaming business for the second half of this year despite a “challenging” macro economic outlook.
“I think actually, the first half [of this year] was more difficult than the second half [will be],” said Mr Ho in his sidelines comments. “At Melco Resorts – where 90 percent of our profit comes from mass, non-VIP business – if anything, we’ll see the second half of this year to be even easier when compared with the same period last year,” Mr Ho remarked.
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