by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2010

Macau's stature as a global gaming capital continues to grow. In April, this compact (11.27 square miles) former Portuguese colony, which celebrated its tenth anniversary as a special administrative region of China last December, reported its strongest monthly gaming revenues to date: $1.76 billion.

April also saw the debut of Encore at Wynn Macau, the $600 million sister resort to the adjacent 600-room Wynn Macau. The property has 414 suites and villas, two restaurants, the Spa at Encore (with eight treatment rooms), the Shopping Esplanade retail space and more than 60 gaming tables. While the new resort has no meeting space, its sister property offers 22,000 square feet for groups.

In addition, Wynn Resorts Ltd. chairman Steve Wynn has announced plans to open a new gaming resort in the Cotai area -- a strip of reclaimed land that connects Macau's Taipa and Coloane islands -- in 2014. Plans call for one hotel and approximately 450 gaming tables.

Hotel update Wynn isn't the only developer moving ahead in Macau. Sands China Ltd., a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp., has resumed work on its Cotai Strip resort complex, which currently includes the 3,000-room Venetian Macao, with 800,000 square feet of exhibition space, and the 360-room Four Seasons Macau, with 18,300 square feet for meetings. Work on other planned hotels at the resort was suspended last year due to economic concerns but resumed this spring. Now in the works are the 636-room Shangri-La Macau, with a 64,580-square-foot ballroom; the 4,067-room Sheraton Macau Hotel, with 270,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 1,259-room Traders Hotel. The expansion is scheduled for completion next summer.

Set to open this month is the Mandarin Oriental Macau; the luxury hotel will have 213 guest rooms, a spa, a fine-dining restaurant called Vida Rica and three bars. Meeting facilities include a 35,000-square-foot ballroom, two smaller meeting rooms and a boardroom.

Last summer saw the debut of the City of Dreams Macau, from Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. This gaming resort complex includes the 322-room Hard Rock Hotel, with a 19,400-square-foot ballroom; the 286-room Crown Towers Hotel, with a 420,000-square-foot casino; and the 791-room Grand Hyatt Macau, which offers approximately 968,000 square feet of function space.

Plans for another gaming resort in the Cotai section -- the Galaxy Macau -- are back on track after having been postponed. Galaxy Entertainment Group completed its financing plan for the project in April. The development, which is expected to open next year, will have the capacity to house 600 gaming tables and 2,200 luxury hotel rooms, suites and villas.

Venue update The sleek new Macau Sci­ence Center, designed by architect I.M. Pei, opened its doors in January. The facility's Exhibition Center and atrium showcase 450 interactive exhibits ranging from space science to eco-conservation. The venue also has a convention center that includes a multifunction hall and four meeting rooms; groups of up to 500 can be accommodated for meetings and up to 200 for seated functions.

Groups soon will be able to take in a water-themed show, The House of Dancing Water, jointly created by the Franco Dragone Enter­tainment Group and the City of Dreams. The show will combine postmodern dance, music, circus arts, special effects and, naturally, lots of H2O (the volume of the purpose-built swimming pool inside the Theater of Dreams, where the show will be performed, is more than 3 million gallons). The venue accommodates 2,000; the show is expected to open later this year.