Sands on the strip

Hitani Kaur        Print Edition: June 10, 2012

Having laid claim to what is now called the Cotai Strip in Macao, Sands China, a subsidiary of US-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, has added a generous dose of glitz, decadence, and splendour to Asia's gambling capital.

Their latest venture, the $4 billion Sands Cotai Central, comprises three 39-storey towers housing an integrated city which functions like a well-oiled machine.

The Himalaya Casino at Sands Cotai Central
The Himalaya Casino at Sands Cotai Central
Sands Cotai Central lies at the heart of the Cotai Strip, and is stamped by three internationally acclaimed hotel brands - The Conrad, Sheraton and Holiday Inn. For each, this is their largest property in the world. Put together, the three offer a total of 5,800 rooms with prices ranging from high-end luxury to a more affordable mid-scale. Tower one is shared by both Conrad and Holiday Inn and was launched in April, while towers two and three are under the Sheraton brand, and are slated to open later this year.

The residential facilities, however, are just one amongst the many offerings of this multi-faceted developement. Zeroing in on executives traveling for work, one of the mentionable feats of Sands Cotai, is its focus on business facilities. The property features a combined 100,000 sq ft of meeting and convention space through the three hotels, to accommodate and cater to professionals.

But of course, it can't be all work and no play; and to stress this line of thought, the Sands Cotai houses the world's largest casino. The Himalaya Casino is a blurry mesh of gaming tables, roulette wheels and slot machines rolled out across 300,000 sq ft. And if lady luck decides to smile on you, there are plenty of ways to spend your winnings. Head towards the Shoppes Cotai Central on premises, and browse through almost a hundred international fashion and lifestyle brands. For those who prefer to tease their tastebuds, there is a food court serving international delicacies and authentic regional cuisines. Alternatively, the more discerning diners could book a table at any of the popular restaurants scattered around the property.

A suite at the Conrad Hotel in Tower One
A suite at the Conrad Hotel in Tower One
When it comes to playing host, Sands China believes in pulling out all stops and going big. Having already proven their mettle with previous projects like the Venetian and Four Seasons in Macao, this unveiling is the hospitality giant's third in the region and has increased Macao's capacity for hosting tourists by 26 per cent. Taking into account all three properties erected by Sands China, the group has added a grand total of 8,000 hotel rooms, 9,000 conference rooms, and 600 retail and dining outlets to Macao, making it the largest tourism project in the world.

What was ten years ago nothing more than an unwanted, partially inundated landfill connecting the islands of Coloane and Taipa, has today been transformed into an island of bright lights, opulent living, high stakes and decadence at its best. As Macao lives up to a reputation as the Vegas of the east, the Sands Cotai Central makes for a worthy inclusion.

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