From Las Vegas to China, Monaco to Singapore, the world’s most exclusive casinos combine high stakes with high luxury.
While jackpots can hit hundreds of thousands of dollars, you don’t have to be a high-roller to enjoy a luxurious casino, with the world’s best offering opulent suites, spas and fine dining alongside the roulette wheel and blackjack table.
Spear’s gives you the most exclusive casinos for those seeking high-glamour thrills.
Venetian Macao – Macau
The Portuguese government – which controlled Macau until 1999 – considered gambling illegal in the region up until the 1850s. But today casinos are synonymous with the Chinese territory and a cornerstone of its economy (casinos make up over 50 per cent of Macau’s economy).
The 39-storey Venetian Macao is the biggest establishment in the region and the second largest casino in the world (the first being the Casino di Campione, Italy) standing across 35,000 square metres.
Each one of Macau’s casinos is a mini replica of a renowned global city; as the name suggests, the Venetian is a stunning copy of Italy’s famous ‘Floating City’, complete with canals and gondolas that carry visitors around the resort, and exquisite architecture emulating Venice’s landmarks.
Owned by Las Vegas Sands company, which also owns its sister resort and casino in Nevada, the resort offers over 3,000 luxury rooms, while the casino is home to 3,400 slot machines and 800 table games.
VVIPs can also take advantage of the Paiza Club, their own private club inside The Venetian, which has private gambling rooms named after other countries Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore.
Casino de Monte Carlo – Monaco
Despite residents not being allowed into the casinos, Monaco’s casino history is rich and lengthy. Among the original casinos is the Casino de Monte-Carlo (often known simply as Monte Carlo Casino), which has been synonymous with luxury since it opened in 1865.
Famous for French architect Gobineau de la Bretonnerie’s stunning Belle Époque design, gambling is not the only pastime within the casino’s elegant walls, with gourmet restaurants and pop-up art installations available to those seeking different kinds of stimulation.
Casino de Monte Carlo is celebrated for the wide variety of games it offers, with English roulette, blackjack, French roulette and Punto Banco just some of the hundreds on offer. There is a strict smart casual dress code inside the premises, and all visitors must pay an entrance fee which varies from season to season.
The casino has starred in two James Bond films, providing a background to Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.
Casino de Monte Carlo was also featured in 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve.
The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden – Germany
Located in the picturesque spa town in the Black Forest in Germany, The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden is a historic casino that exudes such elegance and charm that it was described by Marlene Dietrich as the ‘most beautiful casino on Earth’.
The neoclassical elegance and grandeur of the exterior of the 200-year-old Friedrich Weinbrenner-designed building are matched by The Kurhaus’s opulent interiors, with its high ceilings, intricate chandeliers, and luxurious décor.
After a long night at the blackjack table, many seek out the calming and rejuvenating ambience of the adjoining Caracalla Spa. The spa offers wellness and beauty treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps, but among the biggest draw are the choice of saunas and steam rooms, all set at different temperatures and humidity levels to cater to different preferences.
When gambling became illegal in France in the 1830s, many casino aficionados crossed the border to Germany to pay a visit to this lavish establishment, among them Ms Dietrich, while Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler was inspired by the Russian author’s first visit to The Kurhaus.
Considered the most expensive casino in the world, The Kurhaus is a refined and exclusive alternative to gambling’s brasher establishments.
Marina Bay Sands – Singapore
Dominating the Singapore skyline, Marina Bay Sands resort and casino, a relatively new kid on the block (it was built in 2010) has established itself as one of the must-visit casinos in the world.
Owned by The Venetian’s Las Vegas Sands, it is every bit as opulent as its sister sites; the structure was valued at $8 billion when it opened, making it the world’s most expensive casino at the time.
The resort itself includes almost 3,000 rooms, a huge convention centre, a vast mall – The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – seven celebrity chef-helmed restaurants, and two floating crystal pavilions, one of which houses the largest Louis Vuitton boutique in the world.
The Sands Skypark is perhaps the casino’s most eye-catching feature: a 340-metre-long skyway connecting the three towers that house the world’s biggest infinity swimming pool, gardens and even a jogging path.
And of course, there’s the casino, which is every bit as impressive, with its 500 tables and almost 2,000 slot machines over four levels adorned by modern gold plates and red carpets.
Marina Bay Sands’ magnificent triple towers – inspired by a card deck, architect Moshe Safdie says – are set to be joined by a fourth after the owners announced the construction of an extra tower in 2028, at a cost of $3.3 billion.
The Bellagio – Las Vegas
‘There’s no doubt that the Bellagio Hotel and Casino isn’t just one of the fanciest and most extravagant casinos in Las Vegas, but in the entire country,’ CEO of Las Vegas travel agency On the Strip Jenna Nye told Best Life.
An iconic casino on the Las Vegas Strip, known for its elegance and sophistication, The Bellagio Hotel and Casino has been operating since 1998 when it opened its almost 4,000 rooms to the public. Alongside the hotel, this establishment features a magnificent lake with its famous dancing fountains, upscale restaurants, luxurious accommodations, and a high-end casino with a wide range of games across its 77 acres.
Despite its array of attractions, the casino remains very much at the heart of The Bellagio. Spread across 15,000 square metres, it includes almost 2,500 slot machines and 40 table games.
The minimum buy at the casino is relatively low, but for those seeking higher stakes, the Legends’ Room starts at $20,000.
Just like Casino de Monte Carlo, The Bellagio Hotel and Casino has featured in Hollywood films throughout the years, appearing as the main setting for 2001’s film Ocean’s Eleven. It was also featured in 2007’s movie Lucky You.
Maxim’s Casino – London
Built in 1862 by one of Charles Dickens’ closest friends, John Forster, at 1 Palace Gate House in South Kensington, Maxim’s Casino is one of the historical pearls of London.
To this day, Maxim’s Casino preserved its original design, with marble fireplaces and crystal chandeliers gracing the main Gaming Room, which used to be the Drawing Room, and other private rooms.
A members-only club, Maxim’s Casino takes a slice of London history and adds modern elegance and international panache – diners can choose from Arabic, Chinese and European cuisines prepared by award-winning chefs.
The Dickens Room offers its visitors the chance to see some of the rarest early editions of both Dickens and Forster’s works – something you wouldn’t get in Vegas. And the gambling is a far more intimate experience, with less than 30 tables spread across two floors.
The Star – Sydney
The biggest casino in Sydney and the second largest in Australia, The Star is only beaten in size by the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
But perched on Sydney’s waterfront, The Star certainly wins in the location stakes, offering stunning views across the city’s skyline and Darling Harbour.
The Star features a range of world-class dining options, including acclaimed restaurants helmed by renowned chefs. There are also live entertainment shows and concerts.
The complex includes luxury hotels, such as The Darling, offering high-end accommodations with exquisite design, high-end amenities, and exclusive services.
The first floor is dedicated to the general public, but for those seeking higher value bets, the Sovereign Room on level two can see bets reaching $75,000.
Experts also enjoy playing at the Inner Sanctum table, where half a million dollars is usually the standard. The Mai Vang Lounge offers more privacy and exclusivity while The Chairman’s Lounge is an invitation-only private space.
Sun City Resort – North West Province, South Africa
With its four luxury hotels, a water park, and pristine golf courses and casino set against the breathtaking scenery of South Africa’s North West Province, Sun City Casino has earned its reputation as a premier destination for those seeking both adventure and relaxation.
Sun City Casino is the perfect entertainment for both seasoned players and beginners. Its floor houses over 40 table games and hundreds of slot machines while a private section for the establishment’s cardholders – called Sun MVG Loyalty Programme – with a Salon Prive and a VIP room – are there for those looking to raise the stakes.