Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.

First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.

I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.

The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:

More after the jump...

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I had a nice chat with Elaine Wynn, who I happened to run into at WLV. She is a class act, 100%.

Over the course of the trip I met up with Brian from the 'This Ain't Iowa' podcast, Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight, listener Linda W., Mike E., Dave F., and lastly mike_ch. It was great seeing everyone - I really had a great time.

Mike and I had a late breakfast at Tableau in what was an attempt to thank him for his contributions to the blog... Well, we ended up there between breakfast and lunch which translated to an extremely abbreviated set of menu choices but still, it was a great time. Mike_ch is extremely knowledgeable on all things Vegas and we're lucky to have his contributions. Also, Dave F., is a 'jolly chap' and just a blast to hang out with. Of course, seeing Tim, Michele, Mike, Brian and Linda was also quite excellent. A great time was had by all!

City Center is really coming along. The main hotel is already several stories above ground and looking interesting. Cosmo next door has basically finished excavation and man, that pit is deep!

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is also really coming along, though I am surprised that the parking garage is still standing. That will shortly become more and more of a logistical problem for the construction crew.

Palazzo down the street is quite active with the low-rise buildings quickly coming together. The tower is not yet topped off but the elevator core is getting close to full height. The structural steel is lagging a bit below but will shortly be complete.

Aladdin/Planet Hollywood is in a complete state of disarray and until further notice, I will be recommending to my readers that they stay elsewhere unless they have a high tolerance for inconvenience. In the casino, there are walls up everywhere, most temporary. This makes navigation tough, even with the signs they have up. The new designs are, in my opinion, pretty cheesy. It looks like a cheap version of new Mirage+THEHotel but I don't mean that in a good way. It's a sorta modern, hip LA style look but it looks seriously cheaply done. Now, nothing could be as bad as the large, fake plastic diamonds they had before but I don't think they're fooling anyone with the new design. No one will mistake this for a high-end property. Upstairs they have a poker room (actually, it's more like a 'poker general area'). Actually, the part of the property that looks the best is the old London Club high roller area upstairs - nice wood, stone, etc... Of course, this area hasn't been re-done yet so they are likely to ruin it as well. I don't see Planet Hollywood pulling this one off. I think there is a legit chance that in a year or two the property will again enter chapter eleven and we'll get a new set of owners... Owners who will hopefully realize that placing movie memorabilia in the guest rooms is remarkably cheesy.

Japonais at The Mirage is of course now totally open and I think they did a fantastic job with the restaurant. Very cool looking, very hip. On top of that, I snuck a look at the new 'Revolution' ultra-lounge that is set to open in December. It will have a walk-up bar facing the casino that will be open, if not 24 hours, most of the day. The actual lounge is inside (and will have a cover) and be open most nights. The exterior has some nice stone work, similar to the Players Club booth next door.

Lastly, I did take some audio so that will be in the next podcast, which I assume I will be putting together this weekend.



Read archived comments (14 so far)
November 22, 2006 2:32 AM Posted by Mike E

Drinks at Petrossian... mmmm...

Wait for my report. I had some very painful moments.

November 22, 2006 4:44 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Wow! Did you guys have a meet and not invite me? :) You had nice weather I know, It has been above normal tempeture wise, looks like its cooling off though. Its going back into the 50's this week for my trip. Though I am sure extremelly breif, I would be curious as to what you said to Mrs. Wynn, and her comments back. Sounds like you had a blast. Where did you stay? If you said, then I missed that one... Thanks for the pics!

November 22, 2006 5:16 AM Posted by detroit1051

Thanks for the report and photo. Sometimes, I can't see the forest for the trees. I've never taken the time to appreciate how elegant the entrance to Jasmine at Bellagio is. I don't want to start a discussion of what's great design or architecture, but your photo exemplifies how Steve Wynn's properties offer unbeatable experiences to guests. MGM benefited greatly when it took over Mirage Resorts. In the same photos, I note that the several different test fabric wall panels to the south of Jasmine are still there. MGM needs to make it uniform.

There was a rendering of Revolution in the RJ a couple weeks ago. It looks very dramatic:
Revolution Lounge

November 22, 2006 8:30 AM Posted by mike_ch

I immediately spotted the PH renovations as middle-class THEhotel as well, although I thought that was a good thing. In an era where Treasure Island costs as much as Mirage and everyone is interested in having the next Bellagio, it's nice to see someone is still caring people who watch their spending and don't like to let loose with the shekels.

Of course, whether they voluntarily are doing this or whether they laughably try to charge the same rates as everybody else and get punked out of the market down to mid-level range we'll have to see. People like me, who gagged at the thought of three-digit room rates as a tourist, will likely have decent digs and certainly a nice location within a few years.

November 22, 2006 8:55 AM Posted by Hunter

mike_ch: Regarding Aladdin/PH, I agree (as we discussed) that I feel the mid-market is increasingly under-served and I welcome entrants into that market. My concern with PH is that from what I have read, they are not going for that market - they want upscale LA folk with dollars to burn. Also, I think it is possible to have a classy mid-roller joint and from what I have seen, PH ain't it.

Brian: It sorta felt like a meet but it was impromptu - we didn't plan the mass-confluence of folks.

November 22, 2006 10:12 AM Posted by David F.

Good Times and a Great Impromtu
get together, As Hunter says it was more that we all found ourselves in Vegas at the same time...

A TR will be forthcoming next week, Good Trip but not a lucky one (Bank account Severely Wounded in more ways than one! LOL!) Just about to check out of the Skylofts and head off to Shreveport LA for Thanksgving have a happy one folks!!!

November 22, 2006 10:43 AM Posted by mike_ch

Didn't know that about PH's dreams for a rich folk demographic. It couldn't possibly match up with THEhotel, or Caesars, or even Venetian really. I thought of it more of a competitor to MGM's mid-market rooms and Paris next door. In fact, if they didn't make the exterior all tacky Paris and PH would be a nice pair of properties, one elegance and the other contemporary.

I suspect the competition will bring them back down to reality quick enough. At least they didn't have to actually build the hotel from dirt, and they're falling back on that timeshare as well.

November 22, 2006 12:23 PM Posted by detroit1051

David F, Skylofts! I'm looking forward to your trip report. You mentioned Shreveport. I stopped there (Bossier City) for the first time this spring. I was quite impressed with Horseshoe. They treated me well, and it's a nice property.

November 22, 2006 1:51 PM Posted by David F.

At the airport right now, security was quick so we have two hours to kill. Curbside check-in was quick too, well there was a huge line, but not everyone pulls up to kerbside in a Maybach ;-) for some reason the Skycap came and got our bags and checked us in there and then. If looks could kill we would be flat on our backs right now. Call me a jerk but it did feel good! Yes driver and Skycap were tipped appropriately!

Detroit - Shreveport/Bossier is where the in-laws are so we are in town for family, but we are staying at the Eldorado. Used to stay at the Horseshoe, its a nice place but the weekend rates are now ridiculous $350-500 a night!!!

December 2, 2006 11:15 PM Posted by andy


The recent pictures tell me that Palazzo is geared towards a soft opening. The casino and public areas will definitely be open before the hotel. Why break tradition, who cares, it's not about the guest experience, it's all about the money.

December 5, 2006 5:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

More details on Revolution:
"Inspired by The Beatles and created by Cirque du Soleil, The Beatles Revolution Lounge is nearly ready to open this December at The Mirage. Revolutionary in design and atmosphere, the ultra-lounge will feature cutting-edge interactive experiences to create a psychedelic sensory environment. The deal with The Mirage dictates the lounge shall be open seven days a week creating a bit of a challenge for the Revolution brass, but nothing that can�t handle. During the early hours of the lounge (5-10P), the musical tone will be set by the fantastic four themselves, with Beatles originals, remixes and covers mixed with 60�s & 70�s classic rock, soul and funk. At 10P each night the lounge will transform into an evolutionary journey with different themes and music formats throughout the week. On Monday nights the lounge will host Cirque Family Night featuring electro house, ethno and world music for the enjoyment of the large family of Cirque performers around Las Vegas, since Cirque and Cirque czar Guy Laliberte are so involved in the project, look for it to draw one of the most interesting audiences in town. On Wednesday night, Revolution will offer its Industry Night with hip-hop remixes and R&B mash-ups providing the musical flavor of the evening. Thursday nights will stand as British Invasion night with a focus on British pop and 80�s music while Tuesday�s and Sunday�s will offer an Open Lounge format featuring down-tempo house and acid jazz music. �This is what a lounge would have been like if The Beatles created a lounge instead of music,� said Bill Hillman, Operations Manager of the Revolution Lounge. Revolution is being operated by INK, the premier nightclub operator in Toronto, currently managing seven highly successful nightlife complexes in Eastern Canada including goliath nightclub Government in Toronto, Ontario. Already Hillman and his staff have started popping up at DJ sets and appearances around town looking for the best spinsters to take residence in the lounge that will feature supposedly feature some pretty amazing technology. And of course, you can�t forget about the re-branding, �The Beatles Revolution Lounge is the next dynamic step in the continuing transformation of The Mirage,� said Scott Sibella, president and COO of The Mirage, �Revolution will bring an even higher level of energy and excitement to the resort.� Agreed Scott, agreed."

December 5, 2006 8:15 AM Posted by mike_ch

Oh, that sounds like it should give John a good few full turns six feet down.

December 5, 2006 8:58 AM Posted by DavidF

mikle_ch, from reading the crap above, I think thats exactly why they called it "Revolution".

This could have been a chance to do something different from the current crop of lounges that attracted more than the club set, but nope lets do something exactly the same as the rest of the the Strip, but hey we have a chance to rip off the Beatles Name while we are at it..

"This is what a lounge would have been like if The Beatles created a lounge instead of music" For some reason this statement alone makes my blood boil, I now evision the whole thing being as "Austin Powers" a-like as the LOVE Theatre, at least I hope so anyway, it will give me something to smile about.

January 16, 2007 8:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

A good introduction to "Revolution" for those of us not in Vegas: