IAG Japan takes a look at some of the most popular attractions found at the world’s integrated resorts today.
The term “integrated resort” was first coined in the early 2000s when the Singapore government, keen to boost tourism to the sovereign state, put two casino licenses out to tender with a stipulation that any development most dedicate at least 90% of its total floor space to non-gaming facilities.
Of course, IRs themselves are nothing new – Las Vegas has built its success around an abundance of MICE facilities and entertainment attractions to complement its gaming offering – and the term has since become a familiar one in Asia with the growth of jurisdictions like Macau, Vietnam and more recently South Korea.
Today’s large IRs are labyrinths of color, boasting some of the finest five-star hotels, Michelin-star restaurants and high-end fashion on offer. They are also home to many of the world’s most unique and unusual attractions – from rollercoasters and aquariums to art galleries and theaters.
As Japan edges closer to opening its first IRs, IAG Japan takes a look at some of the most popular non-gaming attractions at integrated resorts today.
GRAND RESORT DECK, GALAXY MACAU
One of the most popular non-gaming attractions in Macau each summer is Galaxy Macau’s epic Grand Resort Deck – a sprawling 75,000 square meter water park sitting atop one the city’s best integrated resorts.
A true water wonderland for both kids and adults alike, the Grand Resort Deck has a vast array of water-fuelled attractions to help keep guests cool during the warmer months, including the world’s largest Skytop Wave Pool and the world’s longest Skytop Aquatic Adventure River Ride: the latter stretching 575 meters and featuring a transparent tube so thrill seekers can wave to other guests as they rush past.
There are also waterslides, geysers, waterfalls and a specially designated kids aquatic zone. Or just stretch out on the 150-meter long white sand beach and let the worries of the world drift away. For those keen to relax poolside, the Grand Resort Deck comes complete with alfresco dining and attentive service at four poolside restaurants and lounges: Surf Bar, Breeze Café, Pool Bar at JW Marriott and Cabana at Banyan Tree Macau.
THE MIRAGE VOLCANO, THE MIRAGE LAS VEGAS
The one that started it all. First exploding into the Las Vegas night sky in 1989, the Mirage Volcano – located out the front of The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip – has been wowing crowds for more than 30 years now.
Having undergone a comprehensive renovation in 2008, this world-famous attraction continues to spring to life every hour, on the hour, “erupting” with fireballs that reach up to four meters high while a soundtrack by The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain keeps the audience enthralled.
Okay, so it might be a little dated these days, but for those keen on some Vegas nostalgia it’s not to be missed.
CIRQUE DE SOLEIL
Contemporary circus act Cirque de Soleil has grown to become a global behemoth since its birth in 1984, performing in over 300 cities annually. But it is in Las Vegas where the iconic Canadian brand has truly taken on a life of its own. The company debuted its very first resident stage show, Mystère, at Treasure Island in 1993 and O at Bellagio in 1998 – both, COVID notwithstanding, continuing to this day. In fact, there have been 11 Cirque de Soleil shows in residence on the Las Vegas Strip over the years with five of those still active.
It has been estimated that more than 9,000 people representing 5% of all Las Vegas visitors attend one of the city’s Cirque de Soleil shows each day.
Thrill seekers have been scaling the heights of Las Vegas’ tallest structure for the best part of 25 years. Standing 350 meters high, The Stratosphere combines panoramic views of the city with four pulsating rides that are sure to get the heart racing. They include Big Shot, which propels you 160 feet into the air at 45 miles per hour; Insanity where you are spun around while dangling 350 meters above the ground; and X-Scream which teeters precariously over the edge of the Stratosphere’s rooftop SkyPod.
Finally, SkyJump allows brave souls to jump off the edge of the building – reaching up to 45 miles per hour before a controlled descent sees them slowed and delivered safely back to earth.
FOUNTAINS OF BELLAGIO
You’re probably already familiar with this one. The Fountains of Bellagio were the world’s largest fountains when first opened and although they have since been surpassed in size by the Dubai Fountain and The Fountain at Okada Manila, none are as famous as the original which has taken center stage in countless Hollywood blockbusters, including iconic 2001 flick Ocean’s Eleven.
The fountains cost around US$40 million to build and include 1,200 shooters blasting water up to 140 meters high from a lake that holds 22 million gallons (83 million litres).
INFINITY POOL AT MARINA BAY SANDS
Arguably the most famous pool in the world, the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands is as iconic as the building upon which it sits – itself the global face of Singapore since the resort’s opening in 2010.
The MBS rooftop infinity pool is the world’s longest elevated swimming pool with a vanishing edge measuring 146-meter in length and located 191 meters above the earth.
Offering spectacular views across Singapore, the rooftop is large enough to accommodate up to 3,900 people while the pool itself holds 376,500 gallons (1,425 cubic meters) of water. That’s a lot of weight, but for those with a fear of heights, never fear: the 191,000kg of stainless steel comprising the pool structure means you’re in safe hands.