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Lawrence Ho eyes June 15 opening for Morpheus hotel

Wed, 16th May 2018

The US$1.1 billion hotel Morpheus at the City of Dreams (COD) complex in Cotai is targeted to open on June 15 with a casino floor to tap the premium mass market as there won’t be junket operators to bring in high-rollers, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho Yau-lung said Tuesday.

Ho made the announcement during a press conference at Grand Hyatt at City of Dreams, prior to a media tour of Morpheus, which was designed by award-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, known as the “Queen of the Curve”, who died in March 2016.

Ho said that the hotel, which would complete the final phase of the COD complex in Cotai, was currently undergoing government inspections for the granting of its licences, adding that he expected to open the hotel on June 15.

Morpheus, named after the Greek god of dreams, is the fifth hotel at COD, with twin-tower Grand Hyatt Hotel, Nüwa that was formerly Crown Towers, and The Countdown that was previously named Hard Rock Hotel.

Nüwa is the mother goddess of Chinese mythology, the sister and wife of Fuxi, the emperor-god. She is credited with creating mankind and repairing the Pillar of Heaven.

The new hotel, standing 160 metres tall with 39 floors, will have about 770 rooms, “panoramic” lifts where visitors can view the 35-metre high atrium, a swimming pool 130 metres above ground, two Alain Ducasse restaurants and a bar, a fine dining Chinese restaurant, and a Pierre Hermé lounge.

There will be a casino floor at Morpheus, but Ho repeatedly declined to say how many gaming tables his company has applied for.
All gaming tables must be approved by the government, based on a quota system for the city’s six gaming operators and a cap on the casino sector’s annual increase in the number of gaming tables.

“We’ve never been concerned about that [gaming tables],” Ho said, “City of Dreams is an integrated resort, and once guests are here, especially for casinos, they will know where to go.”

Ho later added, “Morpheus is not VIP-focused, so we didn’t asked for VIP tables, it’s all mass [market oriented], and that’s in line with the trend of the Macau government.

“We’re not an unreasonable, greedy company. We look at table-investment ratio […], we asked for a corresponding ratio to our investment,” Ho continued.

He also said that after Morpheus has opened, renovations will take place on the second floor of City of Dreams and The Countdown hotel will undergo an 18-month transformation after Chinese New Year next year and would reopen as “The Libertine” geared towards the premium mass market which was the main target customer at the whole COD complex.

In addition, Ho said that he will open an e-sports venue, hopefully at the end of this year, as well as Asia’s largest virtual reality (VR) zone in Studio City to target younger customers and more mass-market audiences.

Asked by the media about his expectations for Macau’s gross gaming revenue this year, Ho said he estimates a 15 percent growth rate.