First look inside $2billion Crown Sydney complex without VIP casino
Monday 28th December 2020
By Charlie Coë For Daily Mail Australia and Australian Associated Press
Crown has opened its new $2.4billion venue in Sydney - but without the VIP casino that was meant to be its centrepiece.
The luxury six-star hotel Crown Towers and a series of fine dining restaurants are open to the public from Monday at the Crown Sydney complex in Barangaroo.
Among the lavish eateries to open their doors this week include a Japanese restaurant owned by renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa, a Chinese-style tea house, and a high-end cocktail bar.
A 2,000sqm spa connected to the hotel is also available for bookings - complete with relaxation rooms, vitality pools and infrared saunas.
Notably absent from its offerings though is the ritzy casino for VIPs and high-rollers Crown had planned since the state government gave it the green light in 2013.
Pictured: The luxury six-star hotel Crown Towers at Sydney's Crown Casino - which opened its doors to the public for the first time on Monday
Dining in style: The newly-opened venues include the Japanese restaurant Nobu - headed by renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa
The 275m-tall complex towering over the Sydney CBD has been under construction for four years.
An apartment in the Sydney resort starts at $9.5m for two bedrooms and two-bathrooms.
The new flagship Barangaroo facility was scheduled to open on December 14, but the NSW gaming regulator announced last month it was withholding approval for the casino.
While Crown awaits approval for its casino operations at the Barangaroo site, guests can sample a day out at a stylish Chinese-style teahouse
Luxury with a view: Pictured is a room inside Crown Towers. An opulent 2000sqm spa is connected to the hotel
The decision handed down by Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chairman Phillip Crawford came after an explosive inquiry into Crown's suitability to hold Sydney's second casino licence.
The inquiry aired allegations of money laundering through Crown accounts, corporate governance stuff-ups and involvement with organised crime.
The hearings ended in disaster for Crown when the gaming giant faced claims it had concealed vital information from the inquiry.
The luxury spa comes complete with relaxation rooms, vitality pools and infrared saunas
Pictured is the lobby of Crown Towers. An apartment in the Sydney resort reportedly starts at a whopping $9.5m for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment
The authority said it will consider the gaming licence issue when inquiry commissioner Patricia Bergin reports back in February 2020.
In the meantime, the regulator has issued temporary liquor licences for Crown Sydney's restaurants and other venues from December to April 30.
Crown will be required to re-apply from May 1 so that ILGA can consider any suitability concerns arising from the inquiry before granting an extension.
A review of Crown's Victorian gaming licence has been brought forward after the revelations of the NSW inquiry.
Pictured is Silks restaurant within the Crown venue; the eatery promises to bring traditional Cantonese cuisine to Sydney
Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa - who has opened Nobu (cuisine pictured) - has enlisted classically trained sushi chef Harold Hurtada to mix innovative new dishes with a Sydney take
Yoshii's Omakase offers an intimate dining experience within a twelve-seat fine dining room
Gaming regulators have forced Crown Resorts to delay the opening of a new $2.4billion casino in Sydney. Complex pictured under construction in March
The inquiry commissioner Patricia Bergin will make recommendations in February about whether Crown is suitable to run the casino (artist's impression pictured)
A dedicated commissioner will be appointed to run the Victorian-based review and findings will be reported to the Victorian government sometime next year.
In closing submissions to the NSW inquiry, Crown's barrister Robert Craig SC admitted it was more likely than not that two of the company's bank accounts were used for money laundering.
The Riverbank and Southbank accounts were a key focus of the inquiry after media reports alleged they were used to launder dirty cash.
Crown also admitted to shortcomings and mistakes in its anti-money laundering processes, but vowed it was cleaning up its act with a series of reforms, only some of which have come before its board.