Cover features

Hollywood in Macau

Written by Wendi Song

The newly opened Macau Roosevelt Hotel, inspired by the seductive power of Old Hollywood from its famous US sister Hollywood Roosevelt, is aiming to build a style of its own in Asia’s entertainment hub.

Billed as a modern take on Hollywood glam with a 1950s retro twist, the newly opened Macau Roosevelt Hotel is looking to bring a touch of “Tinseltown” glamor to the city, modelled on its namesake hotel – the renowned Hollywood Roosevelt.

The five-star hotel is the result of a partnership between hotel owner The Yoho Group and operator GCP Hospitality. The latter is part of The Gaw Capital Group, which purchased and revamped the original, iconic Hollywood Roosevelt in 1995.

Three-and-a-half years ago, GCP and Yoho triggered the project to bring the forever cool and utterly seductive power of Old Hollywood to Macau. Forty-five months later the 27,000 square foot property, located on the same parcel of land as Macau Jockey Club, has been turned into a 368- room five-star hotel with unique trend and style.

Designed by Los-Angeles-based designer Gulla Jónsdóttir, who redesigned the 90-year-old Hollywood Roosevelt a decade ago, the style of the Macau Roosevelt is modern American with a touch of the ’50s thrown in for good measure.

The exterior façade sets a grand yet warm welcome. A curvaceous concrete reception desk and back wall set alongside a vertical garden in the lobby evoke a luxury resort feel. Iconic Hollywood photography is featured on each level of the hotel, while the carved walls and ceiling are shaped like a Hollywood movie star of the 1950s.

Many of the materials used in the Macau Roosevelt’s construction are new to Asia, including metal erosion board, Italian marble and carved marble parquet. Vintage lighting, books and accessories can be found in most corners of the hotel, bringing a retro twist to the Hollywood glam.

“We are committed to be a new urban retreat for Macau. The hotel is something different and new that we want to offer our guests so they walk away with a memorable experience,” says Mike Lam, The Macau Roosevelt’s Chairman.

Macau’s newest chic retreat is seeking to distance itself from other mega-resorts.

“The design of Macau Roosevelt is typical American style,” adds General Manager Roberto Simone. “We have all the rooms facing the swimming pool, just like those hotels you see in the old American films of the 1950s. The pool at this hotel with its beautiful immense view is unique in Macau. It gives the true idea of privacy, which you don’t usually have in other places.

“We plan to make the pool the center of life at this hotel. That’s why we have everything concentrated on the third floor. We have Casa Roosevelt which is a playground with playful facilities and outlets sprawled across the entire floor, including the infinity pool, an indoor and outdoor restaurant, a state-of-the-art fitness center and Tropicana Suite for VVIPs.

“By putting everything here, with 50 people in the pool and 20 in the gym, it will be easier to get people together and start to build up the intimate atmosphere. In the end we’ll create the same feel as in Hollywood Roosevelt where everything ended up around the pool. That is the secret.”

Key to The Macau Roosevelt’s design is the discreetly placed casino, which has been relocated from the nearby Macau Jockey Club. The meticulously designed gaming area, under the license of SJM, boasts 30 gaming tables, 90 slot machines and VIP rooms run by local junket operator David Group.

Although casino and hotel operations are run separately, Mr Simone explains that, “without [gaming] the hotel would be empty.”

“Of course we cooperate – they have the traffic and we get rooms booked,” he adds. “If you put all these concepts together, the guests will have much more choice in the perspective of classic hospitality.

“Hollywood Roosevelt is special in its lifestyle and what we want to do here is not replicate but create our own unique feeling at Macau Roosevelt.

“The idea is to adapt to the local market, because in the end you have to serve the customers in Macau, not in LA. You have to try to deliver the same feeling, but in a different way.”

The Macau Roosevelt will soon unveil the Marilyn Penthouse, billed as “the sexiest stay in Asia’s favorite playground.” And continuing this theme of sophisticated social spaces, Casa Roosevelt is planning to launch monthly themed parties headlined by the hottest international DJs, plus live musical acts, light shows and special private concerts from A-List artists.

By then, The Macau Roosevelt will surely become known as the place to be for lavish fashion icons and adventurous socialites alike, providing a never-ending Hollywood party to Asia’s elite.