Malaysia's Resorts World spends $1.1 billion on New York casino facelift, new hotel

12, Aug. 2021

Resorts World New York City now boasts a new Hyatt Regency hotel and upgraded casino resort facilities. (Photo: Resorts World)
Resorts World New York City now boasts a new Hyatt Regency hotel and upgraded casino resort facilities. (Photo: Resorts World)

By Celine Chen

MALAYSIA, NNA - Malaysia's Genting Group has forked out over $1.1 billion to add a new luxury hotel and enhance casino facilities to rejuvenate its Resorts World New York City as it aims to develop into a leading entertainment and business destination.

The company officially opened the $400-million Hyatt Regency JFK Airport hotel on August 6 and showcased the $700 million facelift of its Aqueduct grandstand of its integrated resort.

The only casino in New York City, the financial center of America, the resort now offers more than 64,000 square feet of event space, including the hotel's 5,000 square feet of function space and state-of-the-art meeting facilities.

Conveniently located near JFK Airport, the hotel caters to both business and leisure travelers who can choose the accommodation type to serve their needs.

The luxury hotel and resort amenities investment have long been part of Genting's vision of bringing their destination resort brand, popular in global locations such as Las Vegas and Singapore, to New York City, said Resorts World in a press release.

Tourism in New York City is expected to grow steadily as almost all pandemic restrictions were eased in July while vaccination has been mandated for employees of dining, entertainment and fitness establishments.

The eight-storey Hyatt Regency offers 400 residential-inspired units equipped with room technology. Many of the chic guestrooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the city's skyline.

Apart from 275 king rooms and 91 double rooms, there are 34 sizable suites designed to make guests feel at home with a kitchenette and separate living space. Many of the chic guestrooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the city's skyline.

Bob DeSalvio, president of Genting Americas East, said in a press statement, "We are honored to collaborate with Hyatt and so proud to welcome guests from all over the world and provide them with a truly unparalleled casino resort experience in the heart of New York."

The hotel also features the world-renowned Sugar Factory Restaurant, a fitness center, state-of-the-art conference and meeting spaces, as well as gaming areas.

The centerpiece of the hotel is a soaring grand lobby, which also serves as a venue for events like art exhibitions and music performances. It connects the hotel with Resorts World New York City, which opened in the Queens district in 2011.

Brian Reynolds, senior vice president of Resorts World New York City, said the resort will offer innovative and seamless services while the hotel will energize travelers "after a day of gaming, dining and entertainment" with its intuitive hospitality.

Boasting 6,500 slots and electronic table games, Resorts World New York City has three unique levels of gaming, namely, Times Square Casino, Fifth Avenue Casino and Central Park Casino, in addition to several high-limit rooms.

The resort also has an array of non-gaming amenities to complement the innovative gaming products and entertainment offerings, catering to guests with different interests and budgets.

The new hotel has created hundreds of good-paying jobs for New Yorkers and will provide additional revenue for New York State's Lottery Education Fund, said the resort.

Serving more than 8 million guests annually at its gaming and entertainment facilities before the upgrading, the resort has contributed more than $3 billion to New York's public schools since its opening.

The Genting Group is a global company operating destination resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, and the United States.

It also operates international cruises under the Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises brands, hotels, Zouk clubs and Hard Rock cafes.

The group's revenue fell 47 percent to 11.6 billion ringgit ($2.7 billion) in 2020. Net loss was 2.1 billion ringgit ($495 million), as opposed to a net profit of 3.7 billion ringgit ($872 million) in 2019.

Expectedly, the poor performance was due mainly to its leisure and hospitality division being adversely hit by country lockdowns.

Its palm oil division recorded higher revenues and earnings, helped by stronger prices which outweighed the lower palm output.

In April, chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said in his annual report statement, "Our diversified business strategy and cost rationalization exercises helped to mitigate the adverse impact to the group’s overall financial performance in 2020. Our oil palm and energy-based businesses which are producers of essential products were allowed to operate during the movement control periods."