Monthly Archives: May 2014

Crown Resorts Wins OK for Sydney Casino

Crown Resorts won approval this week for a long-awaited towering six-star hotel and casino complex on Sydney harbor aimed at Asian high-rollers, with work expected to begin shortly.

The New South Wales state government legislated to site the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, majority owned by Australian billionaire James Packer, on foreshore land previously earmarked as public open space in 2013.

The casino, which will sit at Barangaroo on the northwestern edge of Sydney’s central business district, was then awarded a 99-year gambling license.

In signing off on the Aus$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) project, the Planning Assessment Commission Tuesday ordered a number of changes to increase public areas around the 71-story building.

These conditions, which include widening a public promenade on the foreshore, ensured the “public good has been given a more equal status with the private good”, it said.

The amended development would deliver a variety of open spaces “while also achieving the government’s stated goal to support a high-end tourist and gaming facility on the site in a building of design excellence”, it added.

Crown Resorts has previously said the casino would help attract Asian high net worth travelers to Sydney, in particular from China, and create more than 1,000 jobs.

The company, which this month said it would separate its “high-performing” local assets from its international businesses, namely casinos in under-performing Macau, welcomed the decision and said it would move quickly to start work.

“For too long Sydney has suffered from a lack of luxury tourism accommodation and Crown Sydney will help turn that around,” chairman Robert Rankin said in a statement.

“We will now move quickly to begin excavation work. We are expecting to complete construction and open in early 2021.”

The company plans to build a structure housing a six-star, 350-room hotel, a restricted gaming facility, 66 residential apartments as well as shops and a carpark.

Billionaire Packer, who is engaged to pop diva Mariah Carey, owns 53 percent of Crown Resorts but resigned as chairman in 2015.

Watergate Hotel Re-Opens In Washington

In the midst of this year’s tumultuous US presidential elections, a hotel linked to one of the biggest political scandals in American history is re-opening its doors. The Watergate hotel has been closed since 2007 for renovations and restorations by designer Ron Arad and the Italian design brand Moroso. Now, after a $125 million facelift, it is ready to accept guests again.

The Watergate saga seems like a quaint affair compared with current controversies regarding surveillance and personal privacy – but it was a massive shock at the time, leading to a total collapse of trust in President Richard Nixon. Nowadays, it has entered the popular culture as a fixture, with the suffix ‘-gate’ deployed for scandals small and large involving a public figure. Despite being synonymous with political cynicism and trickery though, the hotel intends to rehabilitate its image to the ‘glory days’ when it was a luxury resort that attracted actors, models, and top politicians alike.

Not only are the new stylings modern with bold curves and a variety of new fittings but they’ve also restored original structures like the staircase and indoor pool. It will have 336 guestrooms that feature marble bathrooms, granite vanities, and La Bottega amenities. The staff are fitted in retro uniforms made by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant. Other features include a whisky bar, rooftop lounge and spa. Rest assured, there won’t be any wire-tapping involved this time!

The lobby of the Trump International Hotel, Washington DC

Of course, the Watergate hotel isn’t the only hotel trying to gain from political association with regards to this year’s elections. The infamous nominee Donald Trump is also set to open his $200 million Trump International Hotel Washington DC in September, months before Americans head to the polls to vote. It seems quite interesting that one of the hotels represents a legacy of political trickery, while the other might yet represent unrealized nightmares. In any case, both hotels will be open for business if you care to watch the fireworks come November.

Louis Vuitton Presents Malle Extraordinaire

From now until the end of June, fans of steamer trunks should head over to the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands for the Malle Extraordinaire exhibition. With a long and illustrious history, Louis Vuitton has garnered many fans around the world, some more prominent than others. To celebrate this and to allow the public to explore this history, the brand has flown in several heritage trunks to Singapore.Malle-Extraordinaire-Singapore-personalised-trunk-2

You would be amazed at how well preserved the trunks are, given that some were created nearly a century ago. However, given that this is Louis Vuitton, a brand renowned in its superior woodwork and leather craftsmanship, this has to be expected. Using materials such as Gaboon and Beech wood, the trunks are sturdy creations that can withstand hard knocks while allowing for the natural expansion of the wood.Malle-Extraordinaire-Singapore-personalised-trunk

On display, are trunks that once held the possessions of royalty and historical figures; clients included Napoleon III’s wife Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the Maharajas of Jammu and the royal family of Egypt. These trunks from the company’s archives even bear the customs stamps as well as shipping and boarding labels that serve as a memento of its original owner’s travels.

Malle-Extraordinaire-Singapore-07Many of these historic trunks were even personalized along with the emblematic monogram or Damier print, allowing the trunk to be recognized from afar. While hat cases may be of little use today and a wardrobe trunk for timepieces may not be the kind of luggage we see often, the Malle Extraordinaire gives us a chance to travel back in time. While the past may very well be in the past, some traditions may never die, which explains why Louis Vuitton still constructs some of its luggage by hand, much like it did in 1854.

The Malle Extraordinaire exhibition will be on display at Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands until June 30.