Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd will look to replace the Crown Towers hotel brand at its City of Dreams properties in Macau and Manila by 2018, according to Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho.
In an exclusive interview with Inside Asian Gaming, which will appear in full in the upcoming June edition, Mr Ho said that Melco Resorts would instead look at introducing its own brand next year after long-time partner Crown Resorts announced last week it would sell off its remaining shares in the Melco-Crown joint venture.
“With Crown no longer being a shareholder, we are going to replace the Crown brand as well next year at City of Dreams,” he revealed. “It’s a big exercise for us once Morpheus opens to really unveil City of Dreams and the new hotel towers that will be part of City of Dreams.”
Asked if Melco Resorts planned to do the same at City of Dreams Manila, Mr Ho replied, “That is the intention. We do have a year on the shareholders’ agreement to figure out what we want. I think they would be open minded to continuing the use of the brand, but at this stage, the fact that they are no longer a shareholder [suggests] that we offer our own brand going forward.”
The decision to drop Crown Towers comes amid a broad repositioning of City of Dreams as a top tier luxury offering, led by the Dame Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus hotel tower which is due to open on 31 March 2018.
Earlier this year Melco Resorts announced it will also drop the Hard Rock Hotel brand at City of Dreams Macau from July, temporarily renaming it “The Countdown” in the lead-up to the Morpheus launch.
“For Macau, what I felt was important with the Morpheus tower opening next year, we felt that it was time for City of Dreams 2.0 – a whole new version of City of Dreams,” Mr Ho told IAG this week. “You look at City of Dreams today with all the retail offerings, it’s completely different from before. The new mall that we opened, the new department store, we’re very excited about it.
“We wanted to continue the facelift effectively. The truth is that with City of Dreams’ positioning – and we want it to compete with the Wynns of the world and the high-end operators, we just felt the Hard Rock brand was no longer relevant for City of Dreams.”
Mr Ho said Melco Resorts would continue to work with Hard Rock on their integrated resort project in Cyprus.
* Inside Asian Gaming’s full exclusive interview with Lawrence Ho, in which he discusses the reasons behind the Crown split, the impact of the arrest of 18 Crown Resorts employees last October, Japan IRs and Melco Resorts’ boardroom strategy, will appear in our upcoming June edition.