In the early 2000’s, a Beijing-based property developer, COFCO, acquired The Gloria Hotel on Yalong Bay, in Sanya, on the southern coast of Hainan island. The property had generous open space, and expansive frontage on the best beach in Sanya. COFCO wanted to take advantage of strong demand with high room rates in Sanya, by upgrading and expanding the property. They decided a unique selling point for the property would be Las Vegas-style entertainment and brought on MGM Hospitality as managers of the property
WATG Long Beach office was hired to master plan and design a solution. They proposed to create a mirror image of the existing 3-legged “star” plan of The Gloria. A joint effort of architect, interior designer (BBGM) and operator came up with the idea for a dramatic conical atrium to be the circular connection between an arm of the old wing and an arm of the new. The atrium was to house a 3-story “butterfly sculpture”, and be the background for a multi-media show of a butterfly garden.
Miller joined MGMH in early 2011, about the time that most designs were in place, and the building was well along in construction, with about a year to opening. That time involved:
Coordinating the operator’s pre-opening schedule with the works on site.
Developing QC procedures for sign-off of areas, and seeing that they are carried out.
Assisting in the resolution of on-site coordination issues
But in addition, there were a couple of program-related issues which were heavily debated during the last year before opening, mostly related to the question of what were the right things to “transport” from Las Vegas to Sanya to achieve the owner’s target of “Las Vegas entertainment in a Chinese Resort”. Some of these took time after opening in Q1 2012, but the hotel operation has developed well, and is one of the most profitable properties in Sanya.