Steve Wynn had the vision to open the first Las Vegas style resort in Asia, and his vision paid off in spades. By any measure, the Wynn Macau is an unmitigated success. Opening on September 5th, 2006 to massive fanfare, the property expanded again in April 2010 with the addition of the 57-story Encore Tower, making it the biggest hotel casino on Macau island, surpassing the Lisboa in terms of room numbers 1014 to 972. With nothing but rave reviews online, including the Wizard's full endorsement, the Wynn has become THE hotel by which all others are judged on Macau island.
What’s next for Mr Wynn then but to conquer the Cotai Strip? The mammoth Wynn Cotai project is set to break ground any day now, just as soon as he receives government approval. To show they mean business, Wynn Resorts just spent 12.8 million dollars on a set of four porcelain Qing vases for the new hotel. I can't wait to check them out already, but that won't be until 2015 at least, when construction is completed.
Steve Wynn couldn't have put his hotel in a better place. Holding the ground between the Lisboa and MGM, it's the last call for gamers on the Western side of the Amizade strip.
This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but the Wynn Casino is easily the worst part of the Wynn Hotel. First off, I've been there at least twenty times, but still don't know where anything is, or even where I am when I'm inside. The problem is that every part of the casino looks exactly the same. All you see in every direction are identical looking mini sections, each divided by wooden partitions and decorated with grey curtains and big red chandeliers. And with no central area or focal point to key in on to get your bearings, walking around the place can be a very disorienting experience. Now I don’t mean that the floor arrangement doesn't look good, because it clearly does, I’m just saying that it's way too repetitive. When I'm in there, I'm lost all the time.
This of course leads to other problems. If you don't know where you are, you can't find the games and it doesn't help that the Wynn refuses to group games in their own areas. Instead they're scattered throughout the whole casino so quite often you have to search awhile or ask staff to direct you to the tables. When I was waiting at the membership desk, I heard no less than three people having to ask where various things were. On top of that, the mass gaming is all mixed together with the VIP, so even if you find what you're looking for, you might be politely told that those tables aren't for you.
The kicker is that despite its big name, the Wynn casino really isn't that big. All of the gaming is found on the ground floor, so getting around and finding things should be a lot easier. In all, the casino has around 230 tables with most of them $300 plus. (I had to take staff's word on the amount of tables, because I didn't even try to count them. I'd probably count the same one four times.) Slots number 375 with the cheapest machines 2 cents and the most expensive ones $10. Electronic versions of Sic Bo, Roulette, and Baccarat are also available for play among the slots.
How else to end this part of the review but with more issues? The drink service is beyond slow while the player card and casino promotions are also substandard. (If you can even find out what they are. Anyway, I'll get into that more below.) But I've saved my biggest complaint for last. It derives from something I saw firsthand there in September of 2010, the last time I took my business there to game.
It was one of those nights when everything was going bad. I was playing Caribbean Stud Poker, and couldn't get a pair to save my life. After folding another hand, though, things got a lot worse. I was joined at the table by a bunch of guys you don't ever want sitting down beside you. All of them looked unsavory, especially the head thug, this real ugly, frog-faced boss man whose face had been through a thousand wars. For an Asian, he was one big mother, and even though he was in his fifties, he still looked like serious trouble. The other guys with him were his cronies, clear underlings, just there to light his smokes, laugh at his jokes, and give him face. Think of like meeting the Soprano crew in Macau.
So no sooner did they sit down did they begin to win, which irked me, because I was getting nothing. But as soon as the boss man lost a hand or two, he let his true colors show. He started telling the dealer F you, F that, F the poor guy's mother, and it didn't stop for three or four hands. He even let the female floor manager have it when she came over to tell him to stop touching his chips after the cards were dealt.
As I sat there listening to it, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. First I couldn't believe that that the poor dealer just stood there taking it, and didn't say a word. And then I couldn't believe that the Wynn casino let it continue. Of course, he should have been tossed ASAP, and at one point I really felt like stepping in and saying, "On the contrary pal, why don't you go F your mother?", but I didn't want to start anything four against one. In mainland China, employees who work in the service industry get verbally abused like that all the time, but I didn't think such disgusting conduct would be tolerated in Macau in a place like the Wynn.
Eventually the only thing that made frog face stop was his cards. He got tired of losing and told his boys it was time to go. One of them who was on a huge run motioned toward his chips as if to say, "Look man, I'm hot", but the boss man would have none of it. And since that night I've had no more of the Wynn. I can't frequent a place that won't defend their dealer against such abuse. Now maybe every place in Macau would do the same as the Wynn, and I'm picking on them unnecessarily, but I don't think so. Some casinos surely have spines.
The game selection at the Wynn is little disappointing. At the very least, they should add Casino War and Three Card Baccarat.
The Wynn promotions are poorly advertised and information related to their player card is not very forthcoming. I really don't think they want players to know what specials are on or how the player card works. Short of summoning the membership desk manager, gamers will be left completely in the dark.
I talked to two different managers on two different days and got conflicting answers on how the player card works. It's completely ridiculous that a mega casino in Macau does not clearly state player card benefits and how to attain them. What is certain is that there are no gifts available for redemption through long term points accumulation at the tables. However, free rooms, boat tickets, and buffet coupons are handed out according to points earned. The result of my investigation is that for every $100 in average bet size per hour the player earns about $4 in comps. For example, a player with an average bet of $1,000 for 8 hours would earn 10×8×$4 = $320 in comps. There are also different rules for getting ferry and buffet tickets based on play in a single day. According to what I was told, which may or may not be correct, at an average bet of $1,000 it would take about 1.3 hours to earn a ferry ticket, and 2.6 hours to earn a buffet. Slot players meanwhile have a different system. They can accumulate points long term and redeem them for pretty uninspiring prizes. Some items displayed near the membership desk include:
|Wynn Slot Gifts|
No staff could tell me the rate of point accumulation for the slots.
Mega casinos usually have at least one big promotion where one lucky gamer can win millions of Hong Kong dollars. The Wynn, on the other hand, does only small scale stuff. If some of the promotions aren't clearly explained, it's because that's all the information I have. Brochures were not available at the desk nor was the onsite staff very willing to elaborate.
Each winner can also participate in a second game. They roll three dice and if they roll three of the same number they'll win between $10,000 and $30,000 HKD.
There are probably around 10 private junkets in operation on the first floor of the Wynn Casino, all returning different rates. I went to about half of them and found the cash back percentage varies from 0.95% to 1.2%. 1.2% is about as high as VIP companies go in Macau, so congratulations to the Viva Club for giving that.
The Wynn also has their own dead chip program with the following commission structure:
|Wynn Dead Chip Rebates|
I asked the staff why their numbers are so inferior to the private junkets and they responded that their service puts them over the top. They will satisfy all of their guest's requests, and that's a direct quote. When I heard that I immediately thought bad things but that only means booking rooms and arranging for cars and ferry tickets. For Wynn Club members who roll in the millions, I'm pretty confident that they get comped outright with free rooms and free food a lot of the time. The Sky Casino on top of the Encore Tower is their private playing ground, off limits to anyone who rolls under five million per month. I would have liked to have gone up there to have a look, but hey, maybe in the next life.
In terms of 5 star hotels on Macau island, it doesn't get any better than the Wynn. The Wizard is a huge fan of place, calling their customer service the best he's ever seen. And believe me, with his rock n roll lifestyle, he's a man who would know. Other objects of his praise include the size of the rooms and the excellent complimentary gifts found inside.
I'd like to add that even though the hotel is five years old, it still feels fresh and new. It also smells great, even on the outside, which shows the lengths they go to. Anyone can pump scented oxygen into a confined space and think they've done something, but it takes real wherewithal to battle the open air and achieve success.
The 24 floor Wynn hotel has 600 rooms and suites, while the 57-floor Encore Tower adds another 414 suites. Always sold out on the weekend, your only chance to snag an unused junket room is to call their reservation hotline at (853) 8986 9966. Don't expect to stay in the Two Bedroom Lake Suite though as it's been unavailable all year.
Prices including all tax and charges are as follows for Sunday to Thursday:
|Wynn Room Prices
|Encore Palace Suite||$3,126|
|Encore Grand Salon Suite||$5,300|
|Deluxe Room City View||$2,160|
|Deluxe Room Lake View||$2,401|
|Grand Deluxe Room City View||$2,521|
|Grand Deluxe Room Lake View||$2,631|
|One Bedroom Suite City View||$4,695|
|One Bedroom Suite Lake View||$5,059|
|Two Bedroom Lake Suite||N/A|
|Two Bedroom Sky Suite||$36,239|
Rooms in the Wynn Hotel can be found between floors 5 to 24, while Encore Tower suites are located on floors 7 to 56.
I think I can only give half marks to the Wynn for it's beautiful outdoor pool. Sure it looks great, with the lush garden flora, palm trees and chic cabanas, but in the heat of summer, when they're at peak capacity, that pool isn't going to stand up to the demand. They probably should have put another pool somewhere in the Encore Tower, like right on the roof. That would have been a great idea.
Apart from that, the Wynn's outdoor pool is heated, so it's good to go 365 days a year. Jacuzzi fans need not worry either, because there's one of those too.
Pool hours are from 7 am to 8 pm.
With eight restaurants in total, there's no shortage of fine or casual dining at the Wynn. They could use a bit more variety in the cuisine however, as only two places do non-Asian. Prices in the four high brow dining establishments are expectedly pricy, but not super exorbitant by any means.
Wing Lei is in the northeast corner of the building and can be reached via the casino or through the entrance on Praceta 24 de Junho. Lunch hours are 11:30 am to 3 pm Monday to Saturday and 10:30 am to 3:30 pm on Sundays and public holidays. Dinner is from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm nightly.
I'd say the Wynn's facilities are outstanding, but that would be selling them short. How about calling them the best in the city? No argument here, because they're the only hotel in Macau that boasts two spas and two fitness centres.
Both gyms are fantastic. Not only are they large, but they're locked and loaded with state of the art exercise machines, a full cardio complement and an advanced Kinesis wall (which, if nothing else, sounds very cool). Personal trainers are also available if you want some expert guidance on how to use the machines or tips on devising a suitable workout plan. While the gym at Wynn Spa is little better than the one at Encore spa, that doesn't matter because guests can use either one they want.
The Wynn spa and Encore spa serve different functions. The Encore spa consists of eight private treatment rooms equipped with a Jacuzzi, sauna, and shower room. Access to the rooms is available only via appointment and everyone must pay to use them, guests included. Most of the treatments offered are massage, with 60 minutes costing $1,000 and 90 minutes $1,500. On top of those times guests can stay another 30 minutes in the room to enjoy the facilities. Facials and body treatments are also available with prices a few hundred patacas higher than at Wynn spa. Many thanks to the absolutely charming beauty from the Phillipines, Leslie, who works the Encore front desk and broke it all down for me. In fact, I think I might have some follow up work to do with her in the near future.
The Wynn spa is the larger of the two spas and has a more extensive menu. This is the spa hotel guests want, because use of the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi is free for them. Non guests can also access them but must pay for a treatment in order to use them. The one I'm thinking about going for next time is the 15 minute waxing of the eyebrow or chin for $120. Yes, I'd sit back, take the pain, and then just not leave. I’d be all over the hot tub and steam room for the next six hours.
The Wynn spa treatment list is quite large, with selections including massage ($1000/ 90 mins), facials ($780-$1600), waxing ($120-$400), hydrotherapy ($300-$380), and six or seven extra treats ($350-$550). One VIP double suite is also available for couples, with two different 3 hour treatments that cost $3366 and $2388 respectively.
Both gyms are located next to the spas. The Wynn spa is found on the 1st floor while the Encore spa is also located on the first floor in Encore Tower. Hours for all of the spas and the gyms are the same, 6 am to 10:30 pm.
There are two casinos in Macau trying to put on legitimate Las Vegas type entertainment, and they're both on the Cotai strip - the City of Dreams and the Venetian. Six other places, namely Galaxy, Grand Lisboa, Oceanus, Ponte 16, Sands, and Starworld, will put on singing or dancing shows. At the other 24 casinos, including the Wynn, the stage pretty much stays empty.
That's not to say that the Wynn doesn't do anything. The water show out front can turn heads sometimes, especially when it spurts fire at night, but if that's the headline of your show, then you don't have much of one.
They also say call The Tree of Prosperity and Dragon of Fortune "entertainment", but come on. Both are lame five minute borefests. You get to watch a tree and a dragon emerge from a mysterious looking atlas sphere in the shopping arcade. Believe me, don't waste your time.
Finally just to show how hurting the Wynn is, they actually list the Moonfish Jelly Aquarium in Encore Tower as entertainment in their hotel brochure. I've attached a picture so you can check it out. I don't know, you tell me; that's entertainment!?
Bars are quite often a waste of time in China, as your normal everyday person doesn't have the time or money to frequent them. When Chinese go out to drink it's usually done in restaurants with food, and then after that, they might go to a KTV. That's why bars in Macau casinos are so often ignored. It's just not a very Chinese thing to do.
The Wynn will go down in history as the first hotel in Macau to offer a ton of high end luxury shops. It must have been a good idea, because every new mega property that's opened since then has followed suit, with the exception of the Grand Lisboa. While the size of the Wynn's shopping arcade can't compare to the behomoths down on Cotai Strip, 25 upmarket shops is still an appropriate number for the size of the hotel.
LV, Chanel, Gucci, Prade etc, if it's European and expensive, it's at the Wynn.
The Wynn is the best 5-star hotel on Macau island. It's also the most expensive but it's still well worth dropping the extra one or two hundred patacas. Simply put if you're spending over $1,800 on a room in Macau, then you should be staying at the Wynn — end of story.
The casino is a whole other animal though. I can't throw it under the bus completely — as much as I'd like to — because it does have EZ Baccarat, the best Baccarat game in a city built on it. Getting a piece of the 1.02% house advantage on the Banker bet may be enough to make up for all of the casino's glaring deficiencies. Gaming houses, at the end of the day, are about gaming, and not about drink service, or promotions, or layout, or any other secondary consideration that has nothing to do with winning or losing money. They should keep the lowlifes out though.