When most people think of casinos, they think of Las Vegas, or large luxurious resorts kitted out with no expense spared. While there are smaller independent casinos worldwide, as well as some reputable chain outlets and even online casinos, there are others that operate in a league of their own. Casinos are synonymous with money, so it’s no surprise the operators want to create resorts that ooze opulence, with only the finest furnishing and installations. Some of them are so lavish, they’re bordering on the ridiculous.
These casinos are destinations in their own right, and aside from their gambling offering, the buildings and the facilities themselves are unlike anything most people have experienced. While casinos don’t tend to be shabby, the ultimate, most lavish casino resorts put even these establishments to shame. Here are our top 10.
The Wynn Macau was designed as a luxury hotel and casino resort, and it has certainly met the brief. Opening back in September 2006, the resort cost an estimated $1.2 billion to put together, and the resulting casino has to be amongst the most spectacular anywhere in the world. The casino alone covers over 205,000 square feet, with over 1000 hotel rooms and luxury suites bolting on to the resort. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a luxury shopping arcade, home to some of the world’s most luxurious fashion brands. Heading to the Wynn Macau resort is unlikely to be a cheap trip, but it’s certainly an opulent experience.
There are also 2 restaurants, a bar, a spa and – of course – the huge casino gaming floor. In 2010, a second tower was completed, the Encore, adding 400 more hotel rooms to the mix. The Wynn Macau has become a resort in its own right, and with so much on offer, it’s easy to while away the hours in the lap of luxury. Wynn Resorts are anticipating opening another resort nearby, contingent on planning approval, which looks set to go even further – at significantly greater expense.
The Bellagio (Las Vegas)
Located on the strip in the appropriately named Paradise, Nevada, The Bellagio is an internationally renowned casino resort, an an imposing face on the skyline. Construction finished in 1998, and the opening of the resort was met with approval from casino gamblers throughout Las Vegas and the wider world. At $1.6 billion in construction costs, this wasn’t a cheap affair, and you can see where the money has gone when you look at the grandeur and style throughout the resort. Over 115,000 square feet of casino space is the centrepiece, but The Bellagio goes further in offering some of the world’s most luxurious hotel rooms and suites, not to mention the restaurants.
The near 4000 hotel rooms are served by some of the world’s finest eateries, with two AAA Five-Diamond restaurants on offer – Le Cirque and the Picasso. There are also four multi-award winning chefs in residence at the Bellagio, including Michael Mina, Todd English, Julian Serrano and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The Fountains of Bellagio is arguably the jewel in the crown, a water art installation at the front of the resort which synchronises to music in a shooting water and lights display. Lavish indeed.
The Venetian (Las Vegas)
Las Vegas is unsurprisingly the premier destination for the world’s most lavish casinos, and this was further confirmed with the opening of The Venetian in May 1999. Built at a cost of an eye-watering $1.7 billion, The Venetian remains one of the most spectacular examples of casino extravagance. Made famous for its recreation of the canals and architecture of Venice, the resort has gone to painstaking lengths to imitate this world famous destination. Indoor canals, gondolas, Piazza San Marco and the Lion of Venice complete the look, which makes this resort a huge draw for tourists from across the world, aside from its attraction as a gambling destination.
So it’s clear there was no expense spared in the creation of the resort. Over 120,000 square feet has been turned over to the casino floor, with over 4000 hotel rooms and suites completing the resort. There’s also a huge spa, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, which spans a further 134,000 square foot, and contains a huge range of treatments and leisure activities – including a 40 ft climbing wall.
City of Dreams (Macau)
Macau is also home to its fair share of the world’s most lavish casinos, and the City of Dreams resort is a fine example. Opened back in 2009, the casino resort has quickly risen to become one of the most sought-after locations for gambling in the region. It was constructed at a cost of $2.1 billion, and sits across the road from The Venetian Macao, another incredibly extravagant resort that makes its way onto our list. For those seeking the finer things from their casino experience, a trip to this part of the world checks at least two boxes.
The casino spans an impressive 420,000 square feet of gaming space, one of the world’s largest casinos, and several times the size of the big Las Vegas resorts. The 1,400 rooms and suites are decadent, and complete a resort that is well worth a visit for those who enjoy the luxury and wealth of these top-end casino resorts. The House of Dancing Water show is a stand-out feature. Designed by a Cirque du Soleil director, Franco Dragone, the water show is performed with the help of 80 performers, in a grand theatre created as the centrepiece of entertainment at the resort.
Encore (Las Vegas)
When the Wynn Las Vegas resort decided to expand its capacity, the Encore was the result. Opened in December 2008, the Encore added an additional 2,034 rooms and suites to the Wynn resort, in addition to an extra 74,000 square feet of casino space. At a cost of $2.3 billion, the project was no small undertaking. But the results are highly impressive, and certainly makes the Encore a contender for the world’s most lavish casino.
Aside from the casino floor, there are also 3 separate nightclubs, a dedicated theatre, several bars and five of the world’s finest restaurants. The Wynn Encore regularly hosts performances from some of the world’s most famous musicians and performers, with acts like Beyonce and Garth Brooks among those to embark on high profile residencies there in recent years. For those who enjoy relaxing by the pool, there’s even a poolside gambling suite at the Encore Beach Club, where you can combine gambling with the sunshine. There’s a strict dress code in force however – this poolside is designer only, and patrons are asked to ‘dress to impress’. With a casino this lavish, it’s unlikely those old Speedos would cut the mustard.
The Venetian Macao (Macau)
The world’s biggest casino by floor space, and the sixth largest building in the world, The Venetian Macao is rightly billed as one of the world’s most extravagant casinos. At a cost of $2.4 billion to construct, the results are highly impressive, and compared to the costs of developing other casinos on this scale, it actually feels like money well spent. The casino area is a whopping 534,000 square feet, with a further 1 million square feet retail complex, packed with some of the world’s most luxurious designer shops. The 3000 suites and hotel rooms make this a great location for out of town visitors, or for those looking for an extended stay at the resort. But this level of luxury doesn’t come cheap.
Like its namesake in Vegas, The Venetian is a Renaissance-modeled construction, replicating the canals, sights and attractions of Venice. In its midst, over 3000 slot machines and some 800 games pack the huge casino floors, with something to suit every gaming preference. This 39-story construction is the biggest single building hotel in Asia, and a dominating force on the local skyline. With the adjacent 15,000 seater Cotai Arena, The Venetian now hosts events from Cirque du Soleil among others, creating a spectacular entertainment offering for their guests.
Wynn (Las Vegas)
The only casino on the strip to boast its own private golf course, the Wynn Las Vegas is truly something special. The 18 hole course was designed by Steve Wynn himself, along with Tom Fazio, and provides hire of premium clubs and shoes for guests who didn’t plan ahead. As a golf resort, this would be good enough. But there’s the small matter of the 110,000 square foot casino space, plus some 2,700 hotel suites added to the mix. This is a huge casino, and one of Las Vegas’s most prominent resorts.
The Wynn was built at a cost of $2.7 billion, and became the flagship of the Wynn casino business when it opened back in 2005. Combined with the adjacent Encore casino, the resort boasts a total of 4,500 rooms, as well as a host of retail space, a convention centre, and numerous high class bars and restaurants. There’s also a Ferrari and Maserati dealership on site, in case you fancy buying a new supercar with your winnings. With indoor gardens, a host of attractions and its own luxury swimming pools, there’s really everything you need at the Wynn, all delivered in that trademark luxurious style that has become synonymous with the brand.
Resorts World Sentosa (Singapore)
Until now, our lavish casinos have either been based in the Asian capital of gambling, Macau, or in the world capital of gambling, Las Vegas. But other locations are vying for a slice of the action, and Singapore is fast becoming a new attraction for international gamblers. Built at a cost of $6.59 billion in 2010, Resorts World Sentosa is a breathtaking construction that goes way beyond what you’d expect from a hotel/casino. Set out across over 120-acres, there’s a Marine Life park, as well as a theme park from Universal Studios. Over 30 million visitors flocked to the resort over its first two years to enjoy everything it has to offer, with over 1,500 hotel suites for guests across 7 separate hotels, and an impressive 160,000 square feet casino floor.
Choose from fine dining and casual dining options, with a raft of top restaurants, resided by some of the world’s leading chefs. And when you’re finished eating, you can check out any of the spas or health clubs, or the elaborate show productions that are amongst some of the most lavish in the world.
Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)
Resorts World Sentosa is pretty spectacular, but the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore definitely gives it a run for its money. Coming in at a total cost of $5.7 billion, it remains one of the world’s most lavish casinos, with some 2,561 luxurious hotel rooms and suites available for guests. Set over 161,000 square feet, the casino gaming area is of a similar size to Resorts World, and enjoys the distinction of being one of the most recognisable buildings on the Marina Bay.
Atop the 57th floor is the SkyPark, a 3-acre attraction that features restaurants, gardens, nightclubs, a triple-length infinity pool and impressive panoramas of the Singapore skyline. The retail and dining attractions throughout the complex are among some of the world’s most impressive, aiming squarely at those with a luxury budget.
CityCenter (Las Vegas)
Opened in December 2009, the CityCenter Las Vegas is the world’s most expensive casino resort, coming in at an eye-watering $8.5 billion. With 5,900 hotel rooms laid out over three separate hotels, plus an additional 2,500 permanent residences on site, this is a truly mammoth resort, and one that combines the best in luxury gambling with high class attractions, dining and shopping. The casino floor space stands at over 150,000 square feet, more than enough to accommodate the bulk of the company’s 12,000 employees, not to mention hundreds of different gaming tables and thousands of slot machines.
The two spas and health clubs are an ideal getaway, whether you win or lose on the casino floor. Rather than just a casino or hotel, this is more like a city district, spanning a total space of nearly 17 million square foot. When it comes to lavish casinos like the CityCenter, they certainly don’t do anything by half.
It’s clear to see that these casinos haven’t tried to skimp on the cost. For those visiting these establishments, the level of luxury on offer is virtually unparalleled, with only the world’s very best hotels and most prestigious commercial buildings even close to rivalling them. While the buildings themselves are to be admired, it’s ultimately all about the business of casino gambling – and from the casual visitor to the high roller, it’s all got to be paid for.