by Deanna Ting | September 24, 2012
The Sheraton Macau Hotel, Cotai Central 

On Sept. 20, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide welcomed the biggest member of its global hotel family, the Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, with the opening of the first of its two towers. With nearly 4,000 guest rooms and more than 160,000 square feet of meeting space in total, it is the largest hotel in Starwood’s portfolio, as well as the largest hotel to open in Macau.

The Sheraton Sky Tower, which opened on Sept. 20, features 1,829 guest rooms, a 13,000-square-foot Sheraton Club Lounge, the Kashgar Grand Ballroom, and additional meeting space. The second tower, known as the Sheraton Earth Tower, is scheduled to open early next year and will add 2,607 rooms and two additional outdoor pools. The hotel is part of the massive Sands Cotai Central development.

Prior to the official opening of the Sky Tower, we spoke with Christie Hicks, Starwood’s senior vice president of global sales, about the massive hotel project.

“What stands out most about this hotel is its size, its 4,000 rooms,” says Hicks. “It has more meeting space and rooms than any of the other Starwood hotels.” 

She adds that the hotel is part of Starwood’s strategic investment in the Asia Pacific region, where Starwood plans to operate more than 320 hotels by 2014. 

“Obviously, the growth in China in general has had a very significant impact on our ability to do this and our desire to be there,” says Hicks. “If you look at the growth in Macau over the last several years, this is a market that — from a global planner’s perspective — you must be present in.” 

The brand-new Sheraton Macao occupies a prime location on Macau’s Cotai Strip, which is home to many of the destination’s premiere gaming and non-gaming resorts. Since 2006, Macau has even surpassed Las Vegas as the world’s biggest casino market, and it is the only place in China where casino resorts are legal. 

Hicks believes that Macau’s Vegas-like appeal, coupled with its relationship to China and its place in Asia Pacific, make it extremely appealing to organizations planning to host international meetings and incentives in Asia.

“If you look at companies that tend to be global in nature, planners have to start to think about doing things outside North America,” Hicks adds. “The world is getting smaller and connections to global sources are absolutely there, and this is one more great destination that we can bring to planners to bring an audience together from North America and the rest of the world, connecting those groups.”

Macau’s unique cultural identity — a blend of Chinese and Portuguese influence — makes it a stand out, says Hicks. “The hotel is within a very short distance from UNESCO World Heritage sites, Macau’s famous temples and St. Dominic’s Church—all those things that reflect Macau’s Portuguese heritage, combined with the Chinese culture,” she says. “For folks interested in finding that blend and mix of places and cultures, it give you lots of alternatives, different people, foods, and experiences. This is a great place to be.”

Additional hotel features include the following: a main ballroom that is the size of 11 basketball courts; the world’s largest Sheraton Club Lounge at 13,000 square feet; the biggest Sheraton Shine Spa in Asia Pacific; three signature restaurants; three outdoor pools.

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