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Macau’s 13 Hotel quietly reopens after sale flounders

The 13 Hotel in Macau has reopened in a limited capacity after the resort’s parent company failed to find a buyer for the $1.6 billion financial catastrophe.

TDM Radio Macau broke the news that The 13 recently reopened a portion of its 199-room boutique hotel, though how many rooms are online wasn’t immediately known.

The local public broadcaster said the resort’s parent company, South Shore Holdings Limited, is embarking on an extensive renovation of the property that includes room makeovers.

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), which regulates casino hotel operations and monitors room inventory across the enclave, confirmed that The 13 Hotel had reopened for the first time since it shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.

The 13 is the failed ultra-luxury casino resort envisioned by Hong Kong billionaire Stephen Hung. The flamboyant playboy businessman came up with the idea for a grand, VIP-only boutique casino resort in 2013 at the height of the Macau casino industry when the six gaming licensees combined to win $45 billion from players.

Beijing’s orders for Macau to more closely monitor the flow of cash from the mainland through its Special Administrative Region (SAR) border gates resulted in annual gross gaming revenue declining in each of the next three years. Despite more competition for high rollers with further expansion of the luxurious Cotai Strip where VIPs stay, Hung and his South Shore Holdings pressed on to build the 22-story resort that features a red façade and faux giant diamond.

Concerns about whether VIPs would be willing to stay over a mile south of the southern end of the Cotai Strip in Coloane, an area where few other amenities exist for a high roller, prompted Hung to purchase 30 custom Rolls-Royce Phantom cars for $20 million. The largest single order in the automobile company’s rich history were to whisk The 13’s guests around town.

High rollers never came.

Soon after opening in September 2018 as a nongaming hotel after Hung failed to attract one of the six casino operators to partner for a casino operation, The 13 reported dismal bookings. The resort averaged just an 8% occupancy rate during its first 12 months in business.

TDM Radio Macau relayed that The 13 staff said the resort’s available rooms are “fully booked” through late September. Rooms can only be booked by calling the resort directly.  

In March, South Shore Holdings announced it was shopping The 13. Commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle auctioned the property on South Shore’s behalf with an assessed value of HK$2.4 billion (US$310 million). The auction, however, didn’t result in a sale.

South Shore has remained insolvent for several years despite Hung selling off other interests he had controlled. Hung sold a nearly 52% stake in Paul Y. Engineering and used the proceeds to keep South Shore afloat. But, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange removed South Shore shares from its exchange in February 2023 after the stock went to a penny.

It’s unclear how South Shore is funding The 13’s resort renovation. The hotel has an active occupancy license from the MGTO that runs through the end of the year.

World Elite Syndicate

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