Wynn takes on China: Opens Macau casino, plans another resort in Cotai

Steve Wynn is no stranger to a challenge. The billionaire’s Wynn and Encore at Wynn in Las Vegas have shown strength against the decaying economy over the past few years, and now Wynn is placing his bets overseas. Wynn opened his latest hotel and casino in Macau on Wednesday, and at the same time announced plans to build another resort in Cotai starting next year.

At a press conference in Macau, Wynn described the new $600 million Encore hotel and casino as a “boutique hotel” meant to cater to high rollers. The casino is relatively small by Macau standards with only 400 suites, four 7,000-foot villas and 61 gambling tables. However, the new resort has already been referred to as the “the ritziest hotel in China” and according to reporters in Macau, the rooms raise the bar for China’s luxury tourism market.

The Washington Post reports the new resort would feature less than 2,000 rooms, and offer gaming tables, restaurants, shopping and meeting rooms sprawled out across 50 acres of gardens and landscape. Wynn said the luxury hotel and casino complex should be completed before the end of 2013 and feature about 450 gambling tables.

“What makes people happy and what don’t they get in China? …. What you don’t get in China is space, and the heart of a resort is space – gardens, places to gambol, not gamble,” Wynn said in an interview in Macau. “I know what I want to do on the 51 acres, not build four hotels or six hotels or any of that foolishness,” he said to the press. “I am going to build one hotel of modest size with gardens and extended space wherever you are.”

Wynn’s timing, as usual, is spot on. Macau is one of the world’s most lucrative casino markets and was one of the first places to bounce back from the global recession. So lucrative, in fact, that Wynn told CNBC he is considering moving his company headquarters from Las Vegas to Macau. Wynn Resorts reportedly gets about 60 percent of its revenue from operations in Macau.

[via Washington Post]

Where to get your freedom fries in Denver

Next week, an estimated 70,000 out-of-towners are expected to descend on Denver, Colorado for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Thousands of political activists will arrive hungry for change and hungry for dinner. And what better appetizer than the official food of American politics: freedom fries. (But they’re still called French Fries everywhere outside of the Capitol building.)

Denver Westword has just announced its 2008 Best Of Denver awards, including the category for Best French Fries in the city. The winner is Encore Restaurant located at 2550 E. Colfax Avenue. Encore’s eclectic menu features mid- to high-end American fare, including the townspeople’s favorite fries: “perfectly cooked, heavily salted shoestrings that are unbelievably addictive – particularly hit with a drizzle of spicy mustard that’s just one step (heat-wise) below that stuff you get in Chinese restaurants and about ten times more delicious than a squirt of French’s could ever be,” according to Westword.

For more dining favorites in Denver, view the entire list of Best Of winners here, or check out the DNC’s dining guide here.