Thanks to mike_ch for another set of construction updates from the field!
This time around we get info on Encore, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, Palazzo, Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Treasure Island and the last day of the Stardust!
Thanks again to Mike for providing this stuff.
The photos are up in their respective categories but to see all recent photos:
Regarding his question below about The Mirage, they have partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers to be their official Las Vegas hotel. Oh, and by the way Mike, that picture of Bellagio's front desk office - I've always thought that was a great space. Nice shot.
Okay, Mike's update is after the jump.
Technorati Tags: aladdin, bellagio, boyd, casino design, echelon, gaming industry, las vegas, mgm grand, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, stardust, treasure island, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
** Mike's Update:
It's another picture update! Today's update, on Oct 31st 2006 (Boo!), will give you more of what you enjoyed before plus some projects that I haven't looked at in a while. You will also get to visit the Stardust in it's last full day of operation.
First of all, I found a new bus route today that not only avoids some bad sections of town I was visiting before, but in the time it takes me just to get downtown will take me to the Flamingo/Strip intersection. So expect more updates to begin around Bally's or Bellagio. I'll want to go back downtown sometimes and see what's going on at the Golden Nugget, but I'll probably be doing it less often than I was before.
Nothing new. Same location is curtained as last time. Something I did notice is that they're not only putting up new awnings, they're putting up new awning hangers (you know, the hardware bolted to the ceiling.) You can tell the old ones because they're thicker and larger, I never noticed how large the steelwork is on those hangers until now, they're almost a little too imposing. MGM's hangers have curly steelwork as well, but the steel is a lot less thick, and there's a wooden (at least it LOOKS wooden) orb in the center of every other hanger.
At the minute the hallway leading to the original room elevators is a line between MGM-designed Bellagio and the original Wynn-designed Bellagio. The area from the elevators past the buffet and the O theater is still untouched for now. I've always like Wynn-designed Bellagio but I have to admit it's become faded and a bit tired after all these years. MGM-designed Bellagio looks quite nice. Walk the main drag from the lobby right now and you can see what MGM Bellagio will eventually look like all over. The tables seem a bit more brightly lit and for some reason with the new awnings and carpet and designs, pre-existing things like the MGM light fixtures that have been around for over a year now seem less ugly.
I don't know, enough just seems to have changed that the casino feels re-energized, and there's a more complete vision makes you stop thinking "They've ruined Steve's interior decorating" and start thinking "Wow, this place hasn't looked so nice in years." Club Prive will always look out of place, and the newish iPod-derived signs bother me, but you can't constantly hit home runs.
There is now a gigantic mountain of dirt adjacent to JC2K. Unless they are planning to build the Cosmo out of soil, this seems counterproductive, but I'm not an engineer. Really, though, it almost looks like they're trying to build some sort of Disneyland coaster there (ride "Dirt Mountain!") instead of a resort.
On the outside, nothing major. They're now working on the framework for the new mall exterior.
On the inside, BIG CHANGES!
I would not yet say that Planet Hollywood is "coming together" as Hunter puts it, but I would say that enough area is there that you can get a sneak peak of what they have in mind when it does. Walking from re-decorated Bellagio to here I can tell you that they're not going to be able to compete with that them, nor Wynn, nor CityCenter, nor Palazzo.
There is almost physically a line in the room, whereupon the gypsy/pseudoislamic stuff ends and the new look begins. With these two themes literally next to each other; the new look is way, way better.
The new look is best described as "middle-class THEhotel." Those same colors and contemporary vibe given off by THEhotel are imitated but not duplicated, along with some colored neon and new table gaming setups and some other snazzy things. There is a walled off area nearby where the next phase is being built. The escalator to the upper level now connects the lobby to an area near the buffet entrance. From above, you can look into the walled-over area and see some flashes and sparks of welding and guys in hard hats. Also now walled off is the area that the escalator to the London Club area used to be at, and that wall is floor to ceiling.
Anyway, if prices are to meet appearances, expect PH to be competing with the likes of Paris and Mirage. Obviously there's a lot to do (including the whole hotel exterior) and it's too early to tell if it's going to be hurting because of the infamy of it's restaurant namesake, but even if it does that just means better rates for the rest of us. :)
The downstairs buffet has also reopened (it previously took up the upstairs space and seated people throughout an oyster bar, an italian place, and a steakhouse that are all closed.) It has new carpet, new furniture, new logo, new paint on the walls to continue the vibe. However, the buffet stations have not changed. A quality report will be posted on RateVegas in the next few days. I asked a waiter how long this has been here and he said "about two months" which sounds like it might be about right. If it is, I just didn't know about any of this until now.
In my haste to get to Stardust, I forgot to check out The Cafe. Sorry.
Today was the end of the line for the Stardust so I just had to go take a peek. I bought a pack of cards as an obligatory tribute gift back when Headlights and Tailpipes opened, so I didn't need anything to buy and it's a good idea because everything that said Stardust was being ripped off the wall. Yes, a few really obvious things remained but anything that could be carried out the door had already been done so by the vultures. So I was content to take pictures of what was left. By 3:30 PM stores were still selling over the leftover inventory at whatever they could afford, other stores and attractions had already moved out, even the sundries store was pulling things off it's shelves and packing them away. At the gift shop, plenty of the usual Las Vegas/Sin City shirts were on display, but the only thing left that said Stardust was mint tins. I almost thought of nicking one of the many little "Grab your Stardust memorabilia while you can!" signs among the empty racks of merchandise and taking it to the register and offering them $10 for it, but decided against it.
Bars and restaurants were already shut down, and of course the front desk lines were all set to check out.
There's more in the pictures, as there's not a lot to talk about here since at this point only the slot machines aren't acting like the place is already closed and the whole experience is like viewing a corpse. Good-bye, Stardust. Can't say I'll miss the hotel, but I'll miss seeing the name on the map. Why not just rename Echelon to Stardust? I mean, honestly, who's getting paid for that name? I assume Echelon will at least have a "Stardust Tower" or something. I hope the sign is quickly put somewhere on Fremont rather than fading away in the sun like the Treasure Island skull does.
More pictures of the Palazzo are included in this update. You can see that on the northern end facing Sands Ave things are still a mess, but over by the old lobster house (that old Walgreens sign still stands, inexplicably) things are really shaping up. I saw the backside from the Monorail but not with a clear enough view for pictures (the SEMA show at the Convention Center has made the Monorails crowded this week.) There's also now a pair of steel legs out front now that seem to be fit for an eventual marquee, so don't be surprised if you see a big Palazzo sign along the Strip marking what's still a construction site.
Of course all the fire damage is still on display, and the black netting around the base of the belltower is getting even bigger and more obvious. The BlueMan/Phantom banners were hung on cables connected up to the tower roof, just above the balcony. That equipment is still there even though the banners are gone, meaning the tower is covered in wires blowing in the breeze.
Across from the lion exhibit, there is now a Los Angeles Lakers store. Anyone care to spin up a story on how this connects to the Mirage's theme? With Beatles stuff and Lakers stuff now in the Lion Tank store, the S&R lion merchandise that used to cover the store is being squeezed out. Which of course makes me wonder if the lion tank is not long for this world either.
MGM Grand: The World's Largest Ultralounge (thanks, Charlie!)
Like Bellagio's renovations but less drastic, carpets are changing at MGM. It's a good time, because in some places the colors are so worn that you'd swear there's a fog covering the floor. The area around Rouge (formerly Teatro) is already carpeted, and now a patch of casino adjacent to it is covered in curtains. The new carpet is very red, in an old-school casino sort of way. The colors make you think it will fade faster than the outgoing stuff did. Pictures of old and new carpet are included.
And that's a wrap.