Attention, anglophiles. London’s calling… from Macao.
The famed Asian gambling hotspot is upping the ante in the giant replicas game with soon-to-open The Londoner, a mega integrated-resort project developed by Sands China at an approximate cost of $2 billion.
Recreations of famous global icons have long been a common sight in Macao and Las Vegas, from the bright lights of the “Eiffel Tower” at The Parisian Macao and Paris Las Vegas, to versions of Venice’s Grand Canal at The Venetian resorts in both cities.
In the case of The Londoner, its exterior will feature a massive replica of the UK Houses of Parliament and a life-size 96-metre Elizabeth Tower (which most of us know as “Big Ben”).
The first phase of the development is due to open in early February and will include The Londoner Hotel, the Crystal Palace atrium, several dining options and other interactive London-themed attractions.
Visitors will enter through a glass-canopied porte cochere – inspired by Victoria Station – before arriving at the Crystal Palace atrium, which is 33 meters tall and has a full-scale replica of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus (popularly known as Eros).
The Houses of Parliament facade and Big Ben, however, won’t open till later in 2021, media representatives tell CNN Travel.
“London is an iconic city and we anticipate this addition will further raise the profile of Macao, while increasing the number of visitors as our other flagship properties have done,” said Sands China president Wilfred Wong in a statement, referring to the brand’s other resorts – The Venetian and The Parisian.
Approved by David Beckham
The Londoner Hotel will have 600 luxury suites. The top two floors will be made up of the 14 “Suites by David Beckham” – but those won’t come until later in 2021.
The football celeb reportedly worked with London interior design firm David Collins Studio on the project, though we’re willing to bet wife Victoria offered some design input as well.
Ranging from 113 to 298 square meters, the Suites by David Beckham are being advertised as “capturing the essence of a high-end London homestead,” “calming and luxurious,” with colors that are “soothing yet contemporary, with all decorative elements individual and bespoke.”
Meanwhile the hotel’s main dining area, The Green Room, was inspired by the musicals of famous British composers. Diners will be surrounded by theater-related paraphernalia and songs from popular West End performances.
The resort’s second accommodation option, The Londoner Court hotel, will open in a later phase.
Naturally, there’s plenty of British-themed fodder for Instagrammers visiting The Londoner as well.
Expect plenty of posing at London Calling, a 5.2-meter red telephone box where visitors are welcomed to The Londoner Macao by the Queen’s corgi, Londi.
Black Cab Escape is an adventure inside a London taxi with Beckham – presumably a virtual version – while “It’s Tea Time” features giant tea cups and elegant ladies dressed in tea party fashion, standing by for selfies.
Later this year, The Crystal Palace will offer a six-minute Changing of the Guard display with artists, special effects and music several times per day.
In terms of The Londoner’s dining/drink options, several are coming later in 2021 – i.e. the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill – but early visitors will be able to visit Churchill’s Table, which was inspired by a classic Victorian food hall and offers an international buffet, among other options.
North Palace, meanwhile, serves dishes focused on northern Chinese cuisine – namely Shandong, Beijing and Inner Mongolia – and has its own open fire pit.
Currently, only visitors from mainland China – with the exception of high-risk areas – can enter Macao without having to quarantine due to Covid-19 restrictions. In December, Macao’s government extended the quarantine period for most international travelers from 14 days to 21 days.