Another update from Mike on the construction situation. No photos this time but still some good info on Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Wynn and Stardust.
Keep reading after the jump for the details.
This update is small and photo-less for two reasons: I only came into town for a meeting close but off-strip, and there's nothing to take pictures of unless you're a big fan of construction walls and curtains.
The brown walls are STILL around The Cafe (the coffee house by the showrooms, not the 24hr cafe.) They'll probably be there for a while, because they've gone ahead and installed lighting fixtures on the construction walls. Inside The Drugstore shop, one of the tunnels connecting to The Cafe has curtains in front. I couldn't get a good view of everything behind the curtains, but the fancy tile flooring in front of the walled tunnel was completely busted up and bare concrete, so I'd bet that there's some drastic changes and not just a simple redesign going on in this space.
This is kind of more of a gripe, because there's not much going on here yet from the outside. Construction walls are up all around the front end, the goodbye sign is replaced with a promotion for the auction. But the real complaint is that this place is a big dark specter looming on the north Strip at night. Usually when a casino is shut down, the owner leaves enough light on at night to make sure that his closed casino doesn't leave a big ugly black hole on the strip. Desert Inn is a pretty good example, as the remaining building turned on it's exterior lights each night even when Wynn was already topped off. But you'd think Boyd needed to save a few bucks on electricity with the way the Stardust sits in inky darkness. The 32 floor main tower is barely lit with a blue floodlight, and all the neon is turned off. Even the big beloved roadside sign is off, dimly illuminated by the glow of Riviera across the way.
If the place is going down next month, this would be acceptable, and I realize you don't want to turn on every bulb on the facade because then people will think it's open. But, the implosion is scheduled to be around March, which is five months (almost a whole half-year!) away. It's going to look ghastly sitting there through the holiday travel season and of course New Years, so what happened to leaving a light on while there's nobody home?
The casino is clearing off an area by the Buffet that had some of it's older machines. Doesn't look at first glance like they'll be constructing anything here, though.
Formerly curtained areas are reopened, and they haven't changed anything other than the carpets. Even some of the lousy old slots with images of the old MGM entrance are hanging around still (hey, where's the EFX machines? Ah, there they are.) New carpet continues to expand down the KA/Mansion hall and near the lobby. A whole table area is now curtained off near Studio Cafe. These curtain walls are pretty tall compared to the last so we'll see if they're going to refurbish anything else besides the carpet.
More minor cosmetic changes on the shopping/dining level. Octane is FINALLY open, and it now has some tricked-out motorcycles on display to draw attention.
The former Keno desk is now the new slot club desk. The old slot club desk and Nefertiti's Lounge are under blank construction walls. Across the way, RA is covered up with with construction walls advertising the impending LAX nightclub.
Nothing to speak of, but some advice for the reader: We came here to take a friend through Shark Reef the day that a rodeo event was finishing up and a boxing event for the next day was starting up. At just after noon, all lunchtime food options inside and behind the casino had lines going out to timbuktu. And here is my tip for you: the answer in times like these is The Cafe. We walked out past Rumjungle to the parking garage, swung a right to THEhotel, and were immediately seated at The Cafe, which is also a totally non-smoking restaurant for those of you who appreciate such things.