Macau’s casino scene is giving kitschy Las Vegas a run for its money. The Eastern gambling mecca is host to the first figure-eight-shaped ferris wheel, which is being built 23 floors above ground on the side of a $3.2 billion resort.
The resort currently under construction, Studio City, is the work of Melcro Crown Entertainment CEO Lawrence Ho, who took on the project in 2012 after the resort endured a long string of ownership changes. He says the figure-eight design of the Golden Reel, as the ferris wheel is called, is meant to look like two flaming asteroids crashing together at the center of the hotel (the inspiration for which apparently came from Hollywood disaster films).
The Golden Reel is currently undergoing “rigorous mechanical testing,” with plans to open with the rest of the resort later this year, the company says. The spectacle, designed by the Liechtenstein-based company Intamin Amusement Rides, is meant to compete with the taller London Eye and High Roller ferris wheel in Las Vegas. Despite its shorter stature overall (it’s 7 feet (2.1 meters) shorter than the London Eye and 124 feet (37.7 meters) shorter than the High Roller) it will boast more impressive views, given its placement 426 feet (130 meters) above the city.
The Art Deco-inspired hotel towers support the wheels on either side, and the ride cars move inside the ferris wheel in a figure-eight pattern over the course of a 15-minute ride (the cars will not cross each other).
The 17 riding cabins are a nod to the “steampunk” sci-fi genre, which harks back to technology designs for steam-powered machinery from the 19th century. The cabins will hold up to 10 passengers, who will board from the 23rd floor of the resort.