The Venetian Macao

A fortnight ago I was in Macau, enjoying luxury like I’ve never experienced luxury before.

I was one of about 1,250 invited media guests flown in from all over the world to witness the grand opening of the Venetian Macao, an expensive and ambitious project spearheaded the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

These are the same guys who had won the lucrative bid to open the first casino in Singapore, The Marina Bay Sands Resort in 2009. They also operate several casinos and convention halls around Las Vegas, including the original Venetian of which the Macao one is based on.

Throughout my stay here, I could not help but to be in constant awe of the sheer size and enormity of the project.
It was monolithic. Truly unlike anything I have ever seen before.

The hotel lobby

The Venetian Macao is the second largest building in the world and the biggest integrated resort in Asia.

The entire complex boasts a total floor space of 10.5 million square feet. They call it the first true integrated resort in Asia, featuring 3,000 hotel suites, 1.2 million square feet of convention and exhibition space, 1 million square feet of upscale retail space, 550 thousand square feet of casino space, a 1,800 seat theatre and a 15,000 seat arena, all housed under one single roof.

Frankly, I don’t know exactly how big “10.5 million square feet” is either, but imagine this.
Imagine the most luxurious hotel suites in Mandarin Oriental, the largest convention halls in KLCC, the biggest upmarket shopping mall in Starhill Gallery, the entire Genting casino (times two), the whole KLPAC theatre and the whole Bukit Jalil Indoor Stadium ALL COMBINED under one single building.
Give it a classic Venetian makeover and put it at one minute drive away from KLIA, you’ll get the Venetian Macao.

The man behind all these is Mr Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Sheldon Adelson also happens to be the sixth richest man in the world and third richest in the USA according to Forbes Magazine. He ranks in after Bill Gates and Warren Buffet; but way ahead of Steve Jobs, Google founders and all those Hollywood A-list celebrities.

You gotta hand it to him.
Here’s a guy who was born into an immigrated family, started out dirt poor selling newspapers at the roadsides to earn a living when he was 12.
Through hard work and determination, he made his first big break selling exhibition space for a computer convention. Now he owns and runs one of the biggest integrated resorts in the world.

At 74 years of age, Sheldon Adelson shows no signs of slowing down. His first Asian project, the billion-dollar Sands Macao Casino broke even in just one year. Over the next few years, Las Vegas Sands Corp will continue to invest heavily in Macau, China and Singapore.
Here’s a guy who predicted that revenue in Macau will soon surpass that of Las Vegas, famously saying that “Las Vegas should be called America’s Macau”

As amazing as the Venetian Macao already is, it is only the first phase of development among a much more grandoise scheme. They build the resort on a reclaimed land, by filling up the sea with enough sand to build the Egyptian Pyramids.
The new land is called Cotai, and The Venetian Macao is the crown jewel of a stretch of road nicknamed the Cotai Strip – the stretch of road that will bring Las Vegas to Asia.

In the years to come, Cotai Strip will be populated by seven other famous resort hotels, greatly expanding the casino, convention and retail space.
At the moment, Macau is mostly a side-excursion when people go to Hong Kong. Travellers to Macau rarely stayed for more than a day. But the Cotai Strip is gonna change that, and Macau is gonna radically transform into a place where people would stay longer and spend their big money at.

Have you ever seen escalators that curve?

Despite the sheer magnitude of the resort, somehow they managed to keep everything within close walking distances to each other.

This is my hotel suite.

From here, I’m only a lift ride away to the entrance of the World’s Largest Casino.
As huge as the casinos are, they are only a tiny part of the entertainment they have on offer. There are so much more things to do there besides gambling.

If there’s something going on at the convention halls or the Arena, I’m just a few steps away to watching it live.
Already, Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras and an NBA basketball match are scheduled in the Arena.

Like on the Grand Opening night, we were treated to several surprise performances by well-known Taiwanese and Hong Kong singers.
But that event deserves an entire post on its own, another day.

If I feel like a bit of retail therapy, the Grand Canal Shoppes are close by on the second floor, carrying everything from affordable brands like Bossini all the way to cutthroat expensive ones like Tiffany’s.

The retail space at the Venetian is larger than any shopping malls in Hong Kong. Considering how big shopping mall already are in Hong Kong, that’s saying a lot.

The resort has gone through great lengths to actually fool you into believing that you are shopping in old time Renaissance Venice, Italy when you’re not.

It’s beautiful. They even went as far as to have artificially hand-painted blue skies onto the ceiling. I kid you not.
So even if it’s pitch dark or raining heavily outside, you’d still happily think its cool and sunny inside.

Of course, the fake skies can cause a bit of problem when it comes to stray helium balloons though. 😛

The signature of the Grand Canal Shoppes is three 490 long water canals along the cobblestone walkways. They even have Italian gondolas and serenading gondoliers to transport you around.

It has become quite a trend of newlyweds to take the graceful and romantic glide down the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy and here they have faithfully re-created the experience.
Yes, I know there are Venetian gondolas in Genting too, but these ones are so authentic, they make the gondolas at First World Plaza looks like some cheap 20 cent children’s ride.

What I love about the Grand Canal Shoppes are not the shops, but tireless street performers present all day long to entertain the shoppers.
As much as this whole “Disneyland for Adults” is artifical and man-made, you gotta love their elaborate costumes and attention to detail.

There are opera singers, stilt walkers, jugglers, and my favourite… a human statue.

The purpose of the human statue is to just stand there and not move at all.
Like a statue.

After 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes.

1 hour.
I swear I heard him snore.

Such an easy job.
When I grow up, I wanna be a human statue too.

Why do I get addicted to computer games like Railroads when I don’t even have enough time to sleep, blog or exercise?

101 Replies to “The Venetian Macao”

  1. Have you ever seen escalators that curve?
    They’ve been all over Las Vegas shopping plazas/casino resorts for years now.
    The Venetian Macao looks like a huge ripoff of the original Venetian in Las Vegas (I could have sworn those pictures at the shopping area were from the Venetian Shoppes in Las Vegas, except for that large horde of Asian people). Except bigger and with Chinese guys as gondoliers rather than Mexican guys…

  2. My dear, That was one nice post of magnificent Venetian Macao. What else can I say. I don’t know how to express them in words but if I were the one who’s invited there instead of you, perhaps I don’t even want to think of coming home to Kuching anymore and forever.

  3. For Macau to compete with Las Vegas…way to go! But its probably just the begining, and hopefully it will turn out to be better than Las Vegas.
    I can’t say ASIAN PROUD here cos its not owned by ASIANs.
    Btw, about the fake skies I think they are copying the Caesar Palace in Las Vegas.
    But anyway, MACAU is definitely now one of the-must go places in my list.
    Thanks Kenny for another great post.

  4. Take The Venetian Macao only and times TEN = LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
    SERIOUSLY, no kidding.

  5. kenny, ur post and pictures are great!!!
    but please can you kill the blue batik shirt?
    it’s ….. [fill in the blank]

  6. Wahh.. Why Casino must in Gold Color?
    The room in yellow,the casino ceiling is silly yellow, the entrance is with stupid gold and the Lobby crazy gold also..

  7. I like that human statue. question, that guy job duty is stand there and not moving. when he need a toilet break…=.= wearing aldult pampers?

  8. woohh,i though it evening when u took da pics, its actually FOREVER evening in dat place, every1 is like a king/queen der, definately going der when i hav da cash~!

  9. I wonder what would happen if you kept using the camera flash on the human statue, it would surely make that person move their eye lids by abit

  10. funny la de statue man..i wonder wat hapen if de nature calls???? pee in his pants eh?
    de painted blue skies fooled me entirely..wen u finally mention tat its fake, i hv to scroll up again n viewing it few times….look so real la.
    kenny, why u button up ur batik? looks so nerdy…good boy image is it?
    p/s: by de way, who are de 2 person u took pic on de gondola, wearing de native sarawakian attire? i mean de headress….

  11. is that Ah Mei performing? as for the venice city, it’s looked kinda familiar…
    i also like the architechure of the buildings, drawings, etc.

  12. I have been to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this May. The pic you took in Macao is 90% similar to the one in LV. It is like identical – the lobby, the canal, the room, the shops, the sky ceiling and all that. Seems like the designer have saves lots of time there. And also, I think the room rates at LV is cheaper than you mention at Macao, what a rip off by Macao.

  13. haha.. i love the human statue too.. but i dun wanna be one.. 😛
    its a really cool place, u r so lucky, kenny.. :)just that i don’t really like the colours.. like someone said, almost everything is gold and yellow.. but i guess they don’t have much choices coz they wanna make it look luxurious (oh, ok.. it IS luxurious.. hehe)
    nice post by the way.. 🙂

  14. I live in the US and I’ve been to the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada a few times. The pictures you took of the Venetian in Macao looks almost the same as the one in Vegas. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Actually, Las Vegas is TWENTY times (I would say) of Macao. The room rates aren’t even as expensive as what was mentioned at Venetian Macao.
    Look, any chances, visit Las Vegas, your legs will kill you first if you want to visit all the casinos ‘cos It is a 14 miles stretch full of casinos,shopping, Ferraris are parked like Toyota, Hammer Limousines all over, great and cheap food and it does not end there. Each casino is appx 2 to 4 square miles and that is on both side of the Strip and lined up one after the other.
    You check it out.

  16. hahaa. funny to see
    so many people cursing kenny to die…
    what have you done kenny?
    apparently there are some loyal readers who
    really hate you… :p

  17. Hi Kenny, hope you can post some pictures of the Grand Opening Night where I know you must have been delighted by the surprise performance of David Tao (and other stars 🙂 Cheers!

  18. Very good coverage! Learn a lot about Macau in less than 5 minutes. They sent the right guy to Macau. You deserve your trip 🙂

  19. si peh song la u Kenny….oh by the way if I’m not mistaken the Venetian is not the largest casino in the world,its the 2nd largest 🙂 cheers mate!

  20. Opulence… I would prefer to visit Europe for once. I don’t think I’ll like the recreations leh. I prefer to see reall aged buildings 😛
    Anyway Singapore’s Wheelock Place has curved escalators 😛

  21. underneath the statue there is a tiny stool (comfy bikeseat) and a membrane tube piped in to the bowel regions, complete with a cloak that is charged with a 10V/1mA electric shock.

  22. Fellow tourists,
    Beware some of the retail shops at Venetian, who will tell you their prices are duty free, when i clearly asked in english and chinese. Cheats!
    Lacoste shop was one of them, the same shoe i bought there was MOP160 cheaper at Wong Kok!
    You have been warned…

  23. Hi everyone,
    If you are planning to come over here, let me know. I work in Venetian and can get cheaper rates compare to the ones offer by your tour agent. Email me!
    It is good to keep in touch with people who also read kenny sia blogs.

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