While Sin City holds plenty of activities for visitors—from star-studded performances to cabaret shows and Cirque du Soleil—each year welcomes plenty of changes, with award-winning chefs opening new restaurants and classic hotels refreshing and adding to keep tourists constantly craving more from Las Vegas.
new in the hotel realm
“We’re seeing a lot of fresh products, instead of new products,” says Katja Spitz, leisure sales executive at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), referring to the large amount of properties going through rebranding and refurbishments, as opposed to building entirely new properties.
Bellagio, for example, is remodeling all 819 guestrooms and 109 suites in its Spa Tower, including the 4,000-sq.-ft. Chairman and Presidential suites. The $40 million project is set to be completed this month. Room rates at the Bellagio start at $149 per night.
Nobu Hospitality has partnered with Caesars Palace to create the first Nobu Hotel, a boutique hotel located inside Caesars Palace that will open in early-February. The hotel will feature 181 guestrooms, including 18 luxury suites, as well as the largest Nobu Restaurant & Lounge—and first on The Strip—next to the hotel. The best part about this partnership? Guests will have 24-hour access to Nobu’s in-room dining menu. Rates for the Nobu King room will start at $249 for midweek stays.
Meanwhile, The Palms Casino Resort is undergoing a $50 million transformation that started last summer, with a redesign of all 428 rooms and suites in the Palms Tower; a new sports bar, Haraea; a pan-Asian restaurant, XISHI; and a new center bar on the casino floor. Rooms start at $79 per night.
Located under the largest video screen in the world on the Fremont Street Experience, The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel has completely remodeled and transformed the former Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel. The hotel features 624 rooms and 14 new 2-room luxury suites that overlook the Las Vegas Valley. Combining classic Las Vegas elements with owner Derek Stevens’ hometown of Detroit, the D features Detroit restaurant American Coney Island, one of the only 2-level casinos in the city, and the longest bar in Nevada, LONGBAR, that stretches the length of the first-floor casino. Rates range from $39-$99 per night on weekdays and $100-$259 on weekends.
As far as rebranding, the 1,600-guestroom Tropicana Las Vegas and DoubleTree by Hilton have teamed up under a franchise agreement to launch the Tropicana Las Vegas-A DoubleTree by Hilton this month. After 14 years, Hilton Worldwide returns to the Las Vegas Strip and guests can redeem Hilton HHonors points and airline miles at the resort. Rates for the Club Deluxe Room at the Tropicana start at $49.
haute art to mafia mania
Your clients will be happy to know that they don’t have to stay at the Bellagio to enjoy its much-celebrated art gallery. From Feb. 8 through Oct. 27, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art will feature “Warhol Out West,” showcasing 59 pieces of art from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, including his “Double Elvis” painting and “Cowboys and Indians” series.
“Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s mission has always been to present exhibitions that engage and excite lovers of all genres of art, from classical to modern to contemporary, and is one of Las Vegas’ premier cultural destinations on The Strip,” says Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Tickets are $16, and children 12 and under are free.
After a re-launch, the Mob Attraction Las Vegas is back at the Tropicana with upgraded special effects. Live character actors and 3D holograms of mob movie icons like Frank Vincent reveal the history of organized crime and stories of famous mobsters with photos, videos and artifacts, combining elements of both entertainment and museum. Admission is $33 for adults and $18 for children 6 to 11.
For more mob history, visitors can head over to the Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, for an interactive museum showcasing the history of organized crime and Las Vegas. Located downtown in the former federal courthouse and United States Post Office, the $42 million museum opened last year and features artifacts and exhibits about both sides of the law—with photos donated from the IRS and law enforcement weapons, as well as the barber chair Albert Anastasia was sitting in when he was murdered.
“Set in an authentic historic setting, the museum is highly modern in its storytelling and exhibitions bringing true stories of Mob history to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and iconic artifact
displays. An important part of the Las Vegas and the nation’s history, no other place in the world covers this topic in the same depth and accuracy and brings both sides of the story to life,” says Ceres Hill, director of marketing and public relations for the Mob Museum.
This year, the museum will feature a new exhibit called “Fabulous Downtown,” showcasing downtown Las Vegas as it was in the 1950s, through photographs of hotels, local businesses and storefronts. Museum admission is $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 5 to 17.
Sin City is known for its neon lights, so it’s fitting that there is also a neon museum dedicated to preserving a collection of signs from the 1940s to today. The museum’s collection, the largest collection of neon signs in the world, features three parts: the Neon Boneyard, the Downtown Gallery and the Las Vegas Signs project. The Boneyard offers tours at its 2-acre outdoor museum featuring over 150 donated and rescued un-restored neon signs dating back to the 1930s from businesses, motels and resorts throughout Vegas.
The Downtown Gallery at the Fremont Street Experience and the Las Vegas Signs Project showcase 15 restored signs as public art downtown. Tickets are $18 for general admission.
Downtown Las Vegas will receive the world’s first powered-launch zipline this year, called SlotZilla. The 2-level thrill ride will take riders—lying flat in a harness—on the upper four lines up about 1,700 ft. (from about 100 ft.), under the Fremont Street Experience canopy. The lower four ziplines will go up 800 ft. (from about 70 ft.) to a mid-point landing platform.
“Vegas is a very versatile destination,” LVCVA’s Spitz says. “We just have so much more to offer than gaming. Whatever your taste of life, you can find that here.” She also says it’s one of the more affordable destinations, with accommodations for different price points and types of travelers.
The city has seen a steady growth over the past two years, up almost 2 percent over 2010, and in the interview we held with Spitz late last year, she mentioned they were hoping to hit the 40 million visitor mark by the end of 2012.
shopping, dining? your client’s pick
In addition to the hotels, restaurants and attractions, Las Vegas also draws visitors with its fabulous shopping. According to Spitz, the amount and variety of shopping—ranging from outlet stores to high-end shops like Chanel—is one of the main draws for international visitors. And set to open in 2014 along with the SLS Las Vegas are seven Fred Segal “retail experiences” inside the new SLS, the first time the luxury retailer has opened shops outside of Los Angeles.
Caesars Entertainment is combining a bevy of elements at The LINQ, an open-air retail, dining and entertainment district in the heart of The Strip, with the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller. Opening in late-2013, the area, which spans more than 300,000 sq. ft., will feature brands like Sprinkles Cupcakes and Yard House. “It’s exciting to see new life brought to that area,” Spitz says about the project.
For new dining experiences, there’s the 2-story steakhouse Gordon Ramsay Steak that opened last year at Paris Las Vegas—making it the first in Vegas for the award-winning chef. Ramsay also opened two more causal restaurants late last year—Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace and Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
The pub will serve lunch and dinner and offers a “rustic” menu of typical British pub fare, while BurGR will transform the classic burger, fries and milkshake combo with gourmet recipes and ingredients as the only gourmet burger joint on The Strip to cook its patties over an open flame fueled by hard woods.
Also new at Caesars Palace is Central 24/7 by James Beard award-winning chef Michel Richard, a 24-hour restaurant serving American dishes with a French flair. And this summer, “Top Chef” head judge Tom Colicchio will open a new steakhouse at The Mirage, located inside The Atrium. The focus of the 250-seat restaurant is meat prepared over an open flame, with wood-burning ovens and charcoal grills.
Bellagio: (888) 987-6667; bellagio.com
Caesars Palace: (866) 227-5938; caesarspalace.com
The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel: (702) 388-2400; thed.com
Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority: (702) 892-0711; lvcva.com
The Mirage: (702) 791-7111; mirage.com
Nobu Hotel: (800) 727-4923; nobucaesarspalace.com
The Palms Casino Resort: (866) 942-7770; palms.com
Paris Las Vegas: (877) 796-2096; parislasvegas.com
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino: (866) 919-7472; planethollywood.com
SLS Las Vegas: slshotels.com/lasvegas
Tropicana Las Vegas-A DoubleTree by Hilton: (702) 739-2222; troplv.com;
The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa: (702) 567-6000; westinlakelasvegas.com
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com):
Striking Gold With Vegas’ Golden Gate (August 2012)