Ian Coughlan is one of those larger-than-life characters who takes over any space he is in. It helps when he wears a tie that exactly matches the room around him, or vice versa. Here he is in Wing Lei Restaurant and Lounge, a Michelin two-starred restaurant at the luxury hotel extravaganza Wynn Macau, of which he happens to be President (he also oversees the adjacent, and conjoined, Encore, and a total of 1,014 rooms, and he is supervising the forthcoming Wynn Palace Cotai, which will add 1,700 rooms to his kingdom). The gal popped over to Macau for lunch.
In fact that lunch was about the best Chinese I have ever had. Not being partial to soups and messy dishes that I cannot identify, this was just perfect, and it was as colourful as the room (and Ian Coughlan’s tie). The menu, prepared by chef Chien Yak Kwong, was presented in a tall scarlet folder lined in lime green. Specially for us, we had appetisers, fish, chicken and rice. To elaborate, this started with appetizers of baked barbecued pork bun with sweetened crust; crispy bean curd with garlic chilli salt; steamed prawn dumpling with pickled vegetables and barbecued Spanish pork. The next course, illustrated, was steamed cod fish roll with preserved tree seeds. Next came one-bite portions of tea-smoked crispy chicken, and we finished with a small mound of fried rice with diced vegetables and pine nuts next to sautéed broccoli with garlic.
We were actually eating à deux in a room that was a kind of add-on to the main room, which seats about 250. Our room seated two. It had red walls and full-length orange net curtains that matched the Coughlan tie. The whole Wynn is full of impact, indeed. Take an elevator and they have sensibly made the floor numbers easy-see – how I hate not being able to tell which floor you are at. This is so sensible. The elevator music changes its mood during the day, courtesy Steve Wynn himself. He personally chooses the music, in fact he seems to manage many details that together make up the magic that is Wynn.
Anywhere else and you could call some of the ‘look’ of a Wynn the opposite of minimalism, but in both Las Vegas and now here in Macau it works magnificently. Up on your corridor – the 51st floor in my case – you get out to find a symphony of golds and mirrors with, incongruously, a silver telephone, in old-fashioned style. Right now Wynn is spending $35 million renovating the original Wynn tower, which opened in 2006. No, he is not shutting it down completely. Rather like Michael Kadoorie, power behind The Peninsula group, Steve Wynn believes in renovating on the hoof, so to speak.
The new colour palette, done by his own inhouse team, will be creams and beiges, a far cry from the deep blood red that is a feature today. I hope he does not do anything to the bathrooms. They are absolutely gorgeous, big enough to sleep half a dozen of your favourite friends – as long as they do not mind sleeping in a room that is all honey-coloured marble, except, that is, for a panel of soft red silk that has been hand-embroidered with dear little butterflies. Yes, that is the kind of detail that goes into interior design, Wynn style. And on the practical side, look at all the bathing equipment you get.
But with all the gaming downstairs, and the miles and miles you seem to walk to get to the end of the slot machines and the tables, it is surprising that anyone at all has time to appreciate the beauty of the rooms. I loved 5188 salon, big enough for dinner for 50, in which case I would order up from Wing Lei. But my dinner tonight is going to be late, aboard my plane back to England, so I pack the Porsche Rimowa wheelie and get ready to leave, the last luxury hotel on this eventful trip.