You guys have probably seen Mike's construction updates in the past. Well, we're turning them into a front page story as they are available... Thanks to Mike from all of us for providing this info and taking time out of his day to do this.
The body is after the jump but he's covering the following:
Wynn Las Vegas and Encore
Photos are linked and are posted to the RateVegas.com galleries. The most recent RV photos can always be found here:
Not much has changed since my last update walk, but I'm using my fairly typical pro-sumer digital camera instead of a cell phone camera and revisited some areas I'd been to before and explored some areas I don't go to much. This was my first time learning to use the camera hands-on, so the amount of usable pictures are few in number and some might be a bit too dark/bright. A number feature blurs because I sometime couldn't seem to get the focus down, so don't expect brilliant photography, but certainly better than the last two updates.
Not much to report in the casino. I finally took some pictures of Encore development from The Deuce upper level. My bus was unfortunately "wrapped" with an advertisement for Hilton's player club so I sat in the front and my one shot out the side has an obstructed view. I didn't take a complete walkaround the property like last time but I do believe I saw the walls around The Cafe were still up.
The only other news to report from Wynn? I decided to treat myself to lunch at Sugar & Ice, only the fourth time I've eaten at this hotel because egads, it's expensive. There's no RateVegas entry for Sugar & Ice so I'll put my thoughts here: The menu's food choices include many of the same items at Zoozacrackers, and if I had to pick a choice between the two for the same item and price, I'd go with Sugar & Ice for it's relaxed atmosphere. Zoozacrackers always seems too bright and aggressive in my opinion. Also, Sugar & Ice now has free wireless internet, so if you're there and you've got your laptop with you, feel free to pull it out and check your mail. I haven't tested it but if it's tied into the same incredible internet gateway used in the rooms, you should get all the bandwidth their 802.11 connection can muster.
Anyway, a grilled chicken BLT and a bottled Coke (with ice-filled glass, pour your own) will set you back $15. That's near or at 24hr coffee shop prices, so spendthrifts will have to keep reminding themselves that this deli falls in line with the rest of the resort: Yeah, you're paying a lot of money, but you (usually) get what you paid for. The chicken sandwich was better than most coffee shops', the real crime was the Coke that pushed $5. I suppose they're trying to keep all the drinks around the same price because some homebrewed concoctions cost only a bit more; but come on, guys, it's Coke. It's not fountain Coke with a lot of syrup, it's not even refillable Coke, it's a single bottle taken out of a fridge.
This is obvious to anyone who's seen it already, but the room is pretty astounding. There's a dreamy motif throughout with clocks on the walls (and your plate), arched ceilings, red columns, and tables that are big marble slabs finely cut into a fun shape resembling a cloud. The chairs are great unless you're wider than most, the silverware is the same as the Cafe and Buffet (no more Wynn signature engraved in the back! Were people stealing the original set?) Of course the reason you may feel guilted into eating here is to gawk at the view from the patio of the river and Mt Steve. Since I can't foresee the next time I'll be eating here, I went out and took shots following the water from Batolotta to the bridge out front.
Final thoughts? A design flaw is that there's no restroom nearby. Neat and tidy people who want to wash their sticky or salty hands have walk back down the hall to the restroom across from Chocolat. Also, they have Hot Chocolate for $5 and "Wynn Special Hot Chocolate" for $6.50. I almost asked what the difference was, but didn't want to confuse the register worker. Maybe someone else will find out or I'll ask another time.
About a month ago, a three alarm fire broke out at the Venetian. I decided to go looking for remaining signs of damage. There is no damage in any areas that visitors can get to. However, visible damage can be seen on the clocktower looking from the ground. First of all, a large black awning hangs over the southern side of the balcony just above the guest level. Secondly, a piece of the fiberglass brickwork covering on the clocktower near the base, southwest corner, is gone. Most obvious is a BIG black splotch on the western facing side of the clocktower. This can be seen from the sidewalk in front of Mirage, probably could be seen from Strip-facing rooms there, etc. I doubt that they'll let it sit there and look permanent (from appearances they're going about fixing it already), but they shouldn't waste time repairing damage because the whole southern end of the strip facade is beginning to feel old throughout, and the big black mark and "we'll get to it later" stuff hanging around makes it even worse.
The hotel is now all set for fall. Meanwhile, the casino renovations roll along. The main drag coming in from the lobby is now complete on both sides. Now curtained is a MASSIVE chunk of the caino along the eastern wall, stretching from Shintaro all the way to the Fontana Bar. Once again, most of the changes in the newly uncovered area involve new awnings and refurbished chairs with new patterns on the backside. There's two patterns to the awnings now, and they're very similar. One is the one I mentioned a few updates ago, beige and a shade of blue with gold leaves patterned on it. The other one is a similar beige with a pinkish red with identical leaf pattern, and there's definitely a very summer/winter impression from it. Bellagio is particularly touchy about casino photos, so I tried to zoom in and take a picture of a blue awning from the lobby with little success. I included my best attempt with this submission.
I saw a fountain show. This one was "The Pink Panther" but it's no longer the original tune recognized in the famous cartoon, but now some retro-lounge mix that tries to toss in the brass with a house music "tish-tisk-thump" beat. The original score is subtly heard under the remix and the opening is totally ambiguous, lacking the "ba-dum ba-DUMMM" that lets everyone know what song this is. Shame.
Even though they're finally adding more mechanical change machines and shutting down their staffed change booths, they aren't getting rid of any more change booths. MGM-Mirage is the only operator I know of that keeps shut-down change booths hanging around through the casino. Wynn has a couple manned change booths but they keep them always running whether the machines are working or not. Harrah's and many other places dismantled the booths and direct you to the main cage in the event that you can't use a machine. I believe it's only the Mirage/Mandalay properties because MGM Grand has newer, bigger change booths that usually have at least one worker and NY-NY dismantled theirs completely. I may be ranting at this point, but I feel there's little more off-putting in a casino than an empty service desk with an ATM placed in front of it, or even worse, the empty desk without an ATM and a sign telling you to walk even further to the next opportunity.
The CityCenter goon patrol is gone for good, but they still want no pictures. Granted, they aren't doing much to stop you so long as you're outside. I tried, and the results were submitted with this article, but my camera was flaking out. At one point I got too obvious and the orange coat in the background of one shot came up and started waving her hands around. I leaned towards the glass and she said "no pictures. See?" and pointed to a little "No eating, drinking, or photography" by the doorway. I thanked her and took a picture in that order. I walked around a bit more with my camera in my hands to be obnoxious, and when I saw that Orange Coat's arms were crossed and she was staring daggers at me I finally left. I don't know if this office has hours, but it would probably be best to approach when it's closed if it does. Until then, remain outside the glass and if they tell you no pictures, thank them and tell them that you're not in their office, but standing outside. I frankly see no reason to stick a thing in the center of a large glass rotunda, perfect for window shopping, and NOT expect photos. If it happens again I may openly question the logic, although I personally feel like I've seen enough of the thing.
There's also a separate model for the tower of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, and I got a picture of that before Orange Coat jumped me.
Octane (former Court Jester's Stage) is nearly ready to go. It's appearance is best described as "MGM Grand bar on the cheap." It looks like any one of these trendy dark lounges MGM has been building for the past three years, but done on a shoestring budget. It looks like the bar is ready and it was pumping out Kylie Minogue music over the 70s/80s tracks coming over the PA even though it didn't appear to be taking customers quite yet. A guy was working with machinery, and I think he was installing additional lights. The place could use it, it's a dark dungeon open to the otherwise bright Castle Walk level. The former Minstrel's Lounge is now simply The Lounge. Is a TI process taking place here or did somebody conclude that few people know what "minstrel" means anymore? Dick's Last Resort will be opening in the former sports book area. It opens sometime next year, although the first Cheney jokes in relation to the name have already occurred ahead of opening. As for Dick's the restaurant, their website gives the impression that it's like Hooters without the main attraction, although being in Vegas they should be able to easily get attractive servers without trouble.
These attempts to inject rowdy youthful fun into Excalibur would be remiss without mentioning the PA and what I heard on it over dinner. The disco version of the Star Wars theme. An even schmaltzier, tackier song that I'm glad I can't remember. Slightly more respectable was Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock n Roll." Yes, the song Tom Cruise danced around the house to when he was a kid actor. I don't think any more needs to be said. You stay classy, Excalibur!
And that's all for now.
Thanks again Mike!