The 13 hotel, which formerly had a working name of Louis XIII is completing the interior finishes of construction on the Coloane side of Cotai (Coloane/Taipei) in the Macau SAR. The project is now expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2016, missing an earlier scheduled opening for summer 2016. There is still no word on whether the luxury property, being developed by The 13 Holdings Ltd (formerly known as Louis XIII Holdings Ltd) still intends to offer a casino upon opening. Earlier announcements indicated so, but inquiries have not confirmed and the most recent filing with the HKEx did not mention a casino component. In Wednesday’s filing the company said, “The Group had invested in an operating segment of the hotel operation in Macau with provision of ancillary facilities which are under development.” [emphasis ours]

The government has said in the past that there are no laws in place to preclude gaming at the location and that no request for a casino had so far been tendered. As only six concessionaires are granted gaming licenses and new table allocations, The 13 would need to partner with one of the current concession holders, and to date none have been announced publicly.

Stephen Hung, Joint Chairman of Hong Kong-listed The 13 Holdings Limited (577.HK) is also vice-chairman of Rio Entertainment Group, which operates the Rio Casino & Hotel Macau on Fisherman’s Wharf under Galaxy Entertainment Group‘s concession.

Mr. Hung states in his “Chairman’s Message” on the company’s website, “At THE 13 we strive to establish a new standard for luxury hotels by seeking to recapture the values of a golden age when all luxury was bespoke, artisanal and personalized. Virtually every design detail in our 200 all-villa hotel was created specially for THE 13 by myself and our talented team of designers. We also applied the same care and passion to training our service staff, creating our cuisine, selecting our luxury partners and customizing our Rolls-Royces,” the chairman stated.

Wednesday’s most recent filing stated that as of 31 March 2016, “total staff in the hotel under development segment was over 200 including directors of the Company.”

The term, “all-villa” refers to the fact that all accomodations at The 13 are what are known in the west as “suites”. Each villa cost on average $7 million to complete, making it perhaps the most expensive hotel in the world based on cost per room. Some reports place the top price per night for accomodations at $100,000.

Refering to the hotel development in their filing with the stock exchange, the company notes that Macau is still the largest gaming market in the world and generated gross gaming revenue (“GGR”) of US$27 billion for the 12 months to May 2016 from 30.7 million visitors. The firm went on to note that although GGR has decline 25 percent over the year, visits had only diminished by 2 percent, indicating that the drop in GGR was attributable to lower average wagers more than to a lack of foot fall.

The filing concluded that section by stating that, “Despite the anticipated volatile market conditions, the Company feels that its niche strategy of targeting a global clientele of high net worth customers seeking a unique luxury experience is well positioned to compete in a slow market. We also expect that Macau will eventually return to long-term growth driven by the introduction of new transportation infrastructure, continued increase in hotel room and development of neighbouring Hengqin Island which will transform Macau into a leading tourism hub in Asia.”