Preview | MGM Cotai opens today with sensory trio of food, art and entertainment

The latest addition to Macau’s Cotai Strip will thrust open its doors to the public this evening and in doing so set a precedent for resort- embedded culture and technology.

The long-awaited MGM Cotai was worth the wait.

With its emphasis on a sensory trio of food, art and entertainment, MGM’s second Macau property has married impressive feats of technology to an art collection that appears as integral to the building as its steel roof mesh or its colored marble floors.

At the heart of the USD3.4-billion integrated resort is Spectacle, an indoor, natural-light environment that serves as both a callback and an elaboration of the Grande Praça at MGM Macau.

Described by the casino operator as an “innovative, multi-dimensional sensory experience,” this not-so-micro-environment is enclosed by large digital displays featuring scenic landscapes one minute and works of art another.

It also features what is penned to become the world’s largest indoor art garden. Dubbed Nature’s Art, the garden will house more than 100,000 plants and over 2,000 plant species, including many extinct species dating from the 19th and 20th centuries that were resurrected from botanical garden seed banks.

Representatives of MGM China say the resort’s epicenter will continue to evolve over time, responding to external changes such as the weather and seasons, the time of day, and even the behavior of visitors.

Dotted elsewhere around the resort are more than 300 artworks from what is described by the company as one of the largest permanent art collections in Macau. The collection includes modern and contemporary Asian paintings and sculptures, as well as commissioned works by local artists, including celebrated mapmaker Eric Fok.

The world’s largest permanent indoor LED screen will feature at the new MGM Theater, a multi-purpose entertainment venue with five enormous screens that create a panorama experience some 12 meters high by 66 meters wide.

Dubbed “Asia’s first dynamic theater” with movable screens and seating, the 2,000-seat venue will be used for a variety of entertainment purposes, including screenings, performances, and egaming and nightclub activities.

Food forms the third leg of the sensory trio at MGM Cotai, with its climax being the company’s four celebrity chef partnerships.

Award-winning chef Mauro Colagreco will head up Mediterranean-styled Grill 58, and Graham Elliot, a television personality best known for his role in the MasterChef and MasterChef Jr. franchises, has opened Coast. They are joined by master pastry chef Janice Wong, dubbed “Singapore’s dessert queen”, and Mitsuharu “Chef Micha” Tsumura, who at Aji combines the traditional cuisine of his native Peru with the Japanese techniques of his ethnic origin.

Colored in MGM’s signature palette, the building is distinctive yet familiar enough for any frequent Macau visitor to unmistakably associate it with the casino operator. But it would not be complete without a towering golden lion that, at 11 meters in height and 38 tons in weight, guards one of its entrances.

Meanwhile, gaming activities occupy a now-standard 10 percent of the resort’s floor space, in line with other recent integrated resorts in the MSAR. The message from MGM China yesterday was that gaming has been relegated to the back seat.

That is perhaps unsurprising after MGM China was granted a disappointing 100 new-to-market live dealer gaming tables last month, with just a further 25 to follow next year. According to company representatives, the Macau government has now approved the transfer of 77 additional gaming tables from MGM Macau to the new property in time for the Chinese New Year holidays.

But the representatives continue to emphasize the resort’s other amenities – a strategy that might curry favor with the local government in the run-up to the casino license renegotiations in the coming years.

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