Over the top in Macau

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Updated: Oct 31, 2014 2:10 PM

When completed, Louis XIII is said to become the ‘world’s most luxurious and extravagant hotel and casino’....

The owners are calling it 'the world's most luxurious and extravagant hotel and casino'. (Reuters)The owners are calling it ‘the world’s most luxurious and extravagant hotel and casino’. (Reuters)

The owners are calling it “the world’s most luxurious and extravagant hotel and casino”. Judging by the over-the-top extravagance of the iconic casinos on the Las Vegas strip and also some in Macau, that’s a pretty tall claim. Yet, going by the reputation of the principal owner, billionaire Stephen Hung, it could well be true.

First is the name—the Louis XIII, named after the French monarch. In fact, Princesse Tania de Bourbon Parme, a descendant of Louis XIII and a designer herself, has been appointed as special advisor to the project which will be in the style of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. When finished, it will be Macau’s first, domestic, luxury lifestyle brand.

Hung, the Chinese entrepreneur, is known for his flashy lifestyle and flamboyance. He drives a fiery-red Bentley with gold paint flecks and a hood ornament coated in 100 carats of diamonds. The car, one among many luxury vehicles he owns, cost $1 million. He sports a Graff diamond watch with his own face on the dial encrusted with rubies and precious stones. His latest extravagance is the hotel casino.

The Louis X111 Holdings Ltd is registered in Hong Kong, and will feature a 22-storey, bright-red building crowned with an enormous fake diamond, as per the latest designs. Inside, guests will find a 200-room hotel with what Hung claims will be the world’s most extravagant hotel suite: a 20,000-square-foot ultra-luxury abode that will cost nearly $130,000 per night. Guests to the hotel-casino will be chauffeured by a fleet of some 30 red made-to-order Rolls-Royce Phantoms (red is Hung’s favourite colour). This is the largest Rolls-Royce Phantom fleet in the world, consisting of bespoke Extended Wheelbase Phantoms. It represents the world’s single largest order of Rolls-Royces ever. Two of the fleet will be the most expensive Rolls-Royce Phantoms ever built.

Each of the 30 Rolls-Royces has been extensively customised by Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke design team at Goodwood to create truly distinctive vehicles. Newly created bespoke elements have been applied extensively both to the interior and exterior of the cars including bespoke clocks designed and created by Graff Luxury Watches. The two most expensive Phantoms will additionally feature external and internal gold-plated accents.The luxury hotel and entertainment complex will mainly target the super wealthy from mainland China where gambling is illegal. Macau is a short ferry ride from Hong Kong and has positioned itself as a rival to Las Vegas.

The hotel, to be opened in 2016, will offer around 230 duplex suites, 16 villas and a Michelin-quality restaurant, in addition to “the world’s most extravagant suite”. There will also be 66 gaming tables as well as luxury retail shops, but the USP will be, as per Hung, “a lifestyle experience including unsurpassed levels of quality and service”.

There will be a Michelin three-star Parisian restaurant and a collection of ateliers of some of the world’s most prestigious brands housed in one location—on the Cotai Strip where the other casinos are located. Princess Tania said: “It is wonderful to see the tradition of my ancestors honoured in this way by a project so far from France, in this dynamic city of Macau, which is taking its inspiration from the reign of King Louis XIII.”.

Dining options will feature L’Ambroisie, the sister restaurant of the Michelin 3-star establishment in Paris, a Beluga Caviar Bar and a Chinese fine-dining restaurant. Macau visitor numbers are rising by about 20% a year and its gross gaming revenue passed $38 bn last year – more than six times the size of Las Vegas. The former Portuguese colony’s casinos are increasingly targeting mid-market tourists but have a history of courting China’s wealthy.


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