This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of World Gaming magazine.
The Playboy Club in Macau has officially opened its doors. Everyone who was anyone was there on 20 November for one of the biggest celebrations in the history of Macau. The Sands and the Playboy Club kindly invited our resident party animal, The Stallion, and his good friend the high rolling Dragon along to enjoy the celebration.
Macau has been buzzing with Bunny-fever ever since the Sands Macau announced the deal to open Asia’s first Playboy Club in the 21st century era of the Playboy brand. The wait was finally over when the club opened with a gala red carpet event featuring celebrities Jessica Hsuan, Michael Wong, Bonnie Gokson, Terrance Yin, Lisa S and Patricia Cheong.
Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy Enterprises and Edward Tracy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sands China Ltd joined the celebrities in a red carpet ceremony culminating in them all becoming the first Key Holders of the club. Playboy bunnies Tiffany and Destiny made the presentation of the iconic keys.
Hollywood Key Holders include some of the biggest names in music and entertainment, such as P. Diddy, Kim Kardashian, Usher and Paris Hilton.
Asia’s new Playboy Bunnies, selected from applicants across the world, were the perfect hostesses, dancing the night away and offering guests a taste of the good life that has become synonymous with the Playboy brand. The champagne flowed, the DJ pumped out the tunes, and the atmosphere was electric. The energy was thoroughly enjoyed by the lucky few who in years to come will be able to say they were there on the very first night of Playboy in Macau.
Pete Wu, Sands Macau Vice President of Operations and Reggie Martin, General Manager of Playboy Club Operations, have done a fine job in creating the new Playboy Club. It features luxurious Playboy inspired décor and artwork, and will offer high rollers private gaming areas and live entertainment specifically tailored for the Asian customer.
Playboy has made a long-term investment in Asia, committing to add to their Macau property portfolio by building a 30,000 square-foot Macau Playboy mansion in early 2012.
Playboy is a unique brand when it comes to adult entertainment. It is sexy, mysterious and seductive. You could argue that it is a little bit naughty but it is definitely never sleazy. Hugh Heffner, founder and now elder statesman of the business is most famous these days for his entourage of blonde beauties, but this phenomenally successful brand has been a labour of love for ‘Hef’ that grew from humble beginnings.
Larry Flynt and Heffner were pioneers when it came to taking on the conservative do-gooders in America. Flynt peddled a smuttier, less classy product in the Hustler magazine, while Heffner stood by his brand of adult entertainment that represented hard-hitting journalism and beautiful women. He argued that adults had the right to read what they wanted and he also argued that the human body was something to celebrated, not something to be hidden away – a revolutionary concept in McCarthy-era America.
In December 1953, Heffner put together the first issue of Playboy on his kitchen table after raising US$10,000 of capital from his friends. The first issue was undated because he didn’t know whether there would ever be a second. Little did he realise the extent of the fortune and brand success he was about to create. The first magazine featured Marilyn Monroe on the front cover and sold over 50,000 copies.
Playboy went on to grow substantially during the ’50s, boom during the ’60s, crash during the ’70s and then come back into prominence in the ’80s. Heffner would lose a marriage, fight numerous court and corporate battles and emerge as the lovable American ‘playboy’ forever ‘ready for bed’ – wrapped in a silky nightgown and sporting comfy slippers.
Macau has welcomed many of the great things about the West to the shores of China but it has done it in a uniquely Asian way. Make no mistake the Playboy Club Macau at the Sands isn’t going to be another tacky club like the overpriced and underwhelming nightclubs you find in Las Vegas. The Macau Playboy Club will bring the best of the brand name and add some Asian spice.
Next time you are in Macau, take in the legend that is the Playboy Club. Sipping a cocktail whilst looking over the stunning Macau vista sounds like the perfect night out and if you are lucky you might just run into a bunny who makes your night complete.