Macau has opened a $2 billion resort with a giant replica of London’s Big Ben

This photo taken on Oct. 20, 2022 shows a replica of Big Ben at the London Casino Resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau. (Photo by Eduardo Leal/AFP) (Photo by Eduardo Leal/AFP via Getty Images)

Eduardo Leal | Afp | Getty Images

Tourists in Asia no longer have to make long flights to visit Big Ben in the UK or to take a picture of London’s famous red double-decker bus.

They can now do the same in Macau, the so-called Las Vegas of Asia.

The Londoner Macao, a luxury British-style casino resort in the Chinese gambling hub, held its grand opening party on Thursday.

English soccer star David Beckham was present to decorate the event.

The Chinese gambling city has added another luxury casino resort along the Cotai Strip, a term used by Las Vegas Sands to refer to an alley lined with casino hotels, shopping malls, and theaters.

“You can’t get a better hotel room than what we put in in London. You can’t get a better spa experience, you can’t get a better dining experience,” Robert Goldstein, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, told CNBC on Thursday.

Las Vegas Sands CEO says Macau

He said the hotel’s opening “exemplifies our commitment to quality,” and added, “The rooms are as good as anywhere in the world.”

The resort has been in operation for the past two years, but its opening has been delayed due to strict Covid-19 restrictions and travel rules.

The $2 billion resort has replicas of famous buildings in the UK. They include the Palace of Westminster, the official residence of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, and the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, among other London monuments.

The company’s website showed that Las Vegas Sands owns The Londoner Macao, along with The Venetian Macao, The Parisian Macao, The Sands Macao, The Plaza Macao & Four Seasons Hotel Macao – all located along the Cotai Strip.

Replicas of famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Canal of Venice can be seen in other hotels.

Goldstein is proud that the luxury resort developer has brought Italy, France and England to Macau, a Chinese Special Administrative Region.

Goldstein said, “Who doesn’t love Paris? It seemed natural to me to finish the Italian-French-then-English trilogy.”

Londoner Macao Casino Resort and Venetian Casino Resort, along the Cotai Strip in Macau, China.

bloomberg | bloomberg | Getty Images

The biggest highlight for visitors to The Londoner Macao is undoubtedly the “exquisite changing of the guard entertainment,” according to the resort’s website. It was launched on Thursday evening during the opening ceremony.

In a nod to the Changing of the Guard ceremony held at Buckingham Palace, the show will take place at the resort six days a week and will feature over 20 dancers and musicians.

Visitors can also get a taste of London by indulging in an Alice in Wonderland-inspired afternoon tea, or hop into the classic black cab for a virtual experience where Beckham drives through his favorite spots in the city.

Not just about gambling

When one thinks of Macau, the first thought is often the gambling in the casinos. But the city has transformed beyond that and now offers a different experience to every visitor.

Goldstein said that 20 years ago, people in Hong Kong could not have imagined that Macau could have retail stores, restaurants, spas, conventions and hotels.

He said that no one doubts Macau’s growth today, stressing that Macau is a very “dominant and important” market.

The casino operators awarded franchises agreed to invest about $15 billion collectively over the next 10 years, to help Macau diversify its reliance on gambling and boost international tourism.

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“The Games are not a hard business, and the government is right to focus on growing tourism,” Goldstein told CNBC. “Non-gaming feeds for games… Non-gaming amenities are incredibly important to both sides.”

“What we’re trying to do is build hotels that work in tandem. Players want to come, and non-gamers come here to shop or go to the spa for three days. So we’ll work for three days, and they never have to go to the casino.”

shares Las Vegas Sands More than 16% since the beginning of the year.

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