It’s Opening Night
After a really lovely flight on a British Airways in First Class (seat 1A), I arrived “fresh” and ready to go after close to 7.5 hours of sleep on a flight just shy of 12 hours. There were really excellent flight attendants and service, and the first cabin is situated in such a way (bottom level, front of the plane) that it is very quiet with little traffic. I really like the A380, it’s such a smooth ride. My only very (minor) complaint is that I feel it is easier to access your personal locker in first class on the British Airways 777 and 787-9. Food was quite good, which I usually find to be the case with British Airways First Class. Definitely a step above Delta One.
Arrival at Hong Kong airport was uneventful, and since I was transferring directly to the ferry there was no need to do immigration in Hong Kong. After a short walk, I arrived in the transit area and confirmed my ferry ticket to Macau Taipa ferry terminal. I had just over two hours to wait, which was not too bad, and the ferry departed around 15 minutes late.
After arriving in Macau-Cotai I had a few hours to rest before opening night. For my first night I would be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip. The property had a very favorable AMEX-FHR rate with a $100 spa credit (yes, massage!), 4pm late check-out and room upgrade. I actually got a double upgrade, and received a lovely junior suite on the 18th floor.
The Four Seasons was nice enough to block their house car for me to use after I rested. After a nice nap and shower I took the car as close as I could get to Wynn Palace. It was definitely a scene of loud though organized chaos outside the entrance. The main issue was preventing a huge swarm of people entering at once, so numerous Wynn security people (many standing side by side locking arms) and police would permit a steady albeit small flow of people to enter the grounds towards the front entrance.
And What A Joint It Is
Amazingly, once you got by the initial rush of folks wanting to enter it was rather calm. The entrance I used had a lovely hallway past the VIP table games area, and the signature smell was amazing. Or perhaps, the fact that I was inside and there was air conditioning was also what made it seem so glorious. When I was writing part 1, I realized that this trip was so last minute I never got a chance to really brace myself for what I was about to encounter.
Related: Retrospective: Wynn Palace and Design DNA
Before I knew it, I was in the room with the floral Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel has over 100,000 flowers and the floral display was designed by Preston Bailey. There were also some beautiful ladies holding umbrellas in the room, standing quite elegantly and quiet.
Since tonight was only meant to give me an overview, I quickly moved through a number of parts of the casino resort. My focus was to be able to get a glimpse of the casino floor design. Enough to get me excited for when I check in on Tuesday for two nights.
I passed by the VIP Slots room, which was rather empty. Such an elegant space. While I am not a Wynn expert, to me Wynn Palace feels a lot like Encore when it first opened.
Nothing gets me more excited than the actual casino floor. Anyone who knows me also knows that nothing gets me more excited than the table game of baccarat. There were a number of full tables, quite a few empty tables (which is the norm, since Chinese seldom like to play alone), and also some tables that had not been opened up yet. Most of the rather empty tables were HKD$1000 minimum (roughly €113 or $129). There seemed to be a large number of tables that were no commission baccarat. I will have to investigate the specific games a bit more over the next few days. I personally do not like no commission baccarat, but it does make the game move quite a bit faster.
I happen to LOVE the chairs around the baccarat tables. Not sure exactly why, but they just seem to work. They also have such a positive vibe. Perhaps, it is the time zones and travel impacting me.
There was also a rather active electronic gaming area, with big screens displaying the card games and roulette wheels. My assumption is that they had roulette, baccarat, sic bo and perhaps one or two other games.
At opposite ends of the spectrum (casual versus fine dining) I passed by two restaurants, the noodle bar 99 Noodles and contemporary regional Chinese cuisine restaurant Andrea’s. Andrea’s is described by Wynn Palace as “A high-energy blend of East and West, Andrea’s is romantic, dynamic and utterly delicious. In our theatrical open kitchen, authentic Chinese dishes are created with entertaining flair while reflecting the traditions of their respective regions: the elegance, delicacy and precision of Huaiyang; the spicy complexity of Sichuan; and the fresh sophistication of Hangzhou and Suzhou.”
Lots of artwork all over, and I was able to peak at a few things quickly that included a ceramic titled AMPHORA III by Viola Frey, and the USD$33.7 million “Tulips,” a stainless-steel floral sculpture Jeff Koons.
So many amazing details everywhere. From the drapes, and drapery cords to the chandeliers. Be sure to check out A Reflection On Wynn Design And Development: Roger Thomas And Wynn Palace, which was just published by TravelZork.
Even the Starbucks was adorned with striking red drapes.
I am quite excited that I will be checking into Wynn Palace tomorrow, and will really get a chance to closely explore the entire resort. I have a decent feel for the layout but there is still so much I have yet to even experience. It is definitely going to be a busy couple of days. To say that I am a bit overwhelmed is an understatement, but it is a good type of overwhelmed. I will also be dining at Wynn Palace tomorrow night with a friend, and plan on a good few hours of baccarat. Most certainly happy I decided to make the trip to the other side of the globe for the opening of Wynn Palace.