Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

September 14, 2007

Open Topic Discussion: September 14, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

These wraps are visual pollution, imo.

"They are hard to miss, but that's the point.
A 40-story-high Jim Beam bottle ad on the side of the Rio, which was finished this week, is visible to commuters and tourists traveling north on Interstate 15.
An image of an Absolut Vodka bottle appears on the east side of the Luxor towers above the Strip.
Both advertisements are also visible from planes landing and taking off at McCarran International Airport."
Hotel-draping banner ads become latest clutter cutter for enterprising merchants


Read archived comments (23 so far)
September 14, 2007 10:58 AM Posted by detroit1051

LV tourism may be sizzling as the RJ says, but when I look at the NV Gaming Stats, it looks like casino operators, especially on the Strip, are subtly reducing slot payback percentages. At some point, tourists may decide they can stay home and get the same low payback at their local casinos. Note: the report is hard to read, so if I'm wrong, someone can let me know.

September 14, 2007 8:33 PM Posted by Hunter

I'm glad you cited this story.

It caught my eye and it is something I think about every time I see it.

Maybe I'm in the minority but I like to see the buildings as they were built, not with this gift wrap all over them.

In my view, this only becomes more important as we get new buildings like those at City Center that are true statements of beautiful architecture.

September 15, 2007 10:50 AM Posted by Mike P.

detroit, I was in Vegas twice in July and I can believe those occupancy numbers. The strip was jammed with tourists, with Asians and Europeans taking up the slack from missing conventioneers.

I don't know about slots in general, but video poker pay tables have been steadily downgraded over the past few years, and that trend has accelerated this year. The big corporate properties are worst -- HET has ruthlessly annihilated any decent VP left at any of their properties, and MGM isn't much better. Wynn still has lots of almost full pay machines, and the Venetian at least keeps a token few around.

It'll be interesting to see if the trend towards tighter slots and VP reverses as new properties come online. Probably not.

September 15, 2007 11:44 AM Posted by Liz Upton

I hate these ads - and it's a real pain if you end up in a room which *would* have a great outlook, if it weren't for the huge sheets of plastic-with-holes-in blocking the light and interrupting your view. They're also distracting from the outside, and detract from the harmonious architecture of some of the hotels - I'd far rather look at a gleaming sheet of windows down the side of a tower, reflecting all that great Vegas stuff, than at a giant Nike logo.

September 16, 2007 12:39 PM Posted by detroit1051

Beau Rivage sent me an email, so I looked at its website which appears to have been upgraded. The restaurant photos of BR Prime, Olives and Jia, all have that MGM "corporate" restaurant look. They're very attractive but similar to MGM restaurants in Vegas. There are two photos for each restaurant at:
MGM's "M Lifestyle" Magazine also featured Beau Rivage recently.
I give MGM high marks for all the improvements they made to BR after the hurricane. It's a very appealing property.

September 16, 2007 8:49 PM Posted by detroit1051

Steve Friess wrote the NY Times story on O.J.'s arrest:

September 17, 2007 11:46 AM Posted by DavidF

OK So I will be the snobby one here.

Some of the wraps I do find fascinating from a Advertising standpoint, the Jim Beam Ad on the Rio does at the very least match in with the architecture of the building, the curve on the billboard, and I will admire a Billboard that at least shows some imagination, for want of a better term it acknowledges the fact it�s a Honking great ad in a place that you would not expect. (OK So the Jim Beam ad fails on the second point)

BUT, I don�t like ads that are plastered across some part of the Casino that is meant to reflect its theme, and yes I know themed casinos are on the way out, but there is something wrong about having the Phantom ad on the Campanile Tower at the Venetian, or the way the Producers was plastered over the Arc De Triomphe at Paris, and yes I know those two are not wraps but the principles the same.

At the end of it what I am trying to say is although it clearly has its place and I can agree with the sentiment in the RJ Article (That The Strip is the new Times Square), it is somewhat Ghetto of at least the Higher End Resorts to do this, I am looking at you Mirage and The Venetian. I think the Mirage really does Bug me, Especially since Mirage thought it was a great idea to refresh the LOVE Wrap as it was getting faded, since its over their Penthouse/Tower Suites.

I mean come on, does the Show have that little Publicity, that no-one doesn�t know where LOVE is, or what its about that they feel they MUST do this? It could be a prelude to a commercial that is on the side of Rio/Luxor and what a great sell that would be �Come stay at our newly refurbished Penthouse Suites, great Designs, standard setting comfort and technology, and Hey your room will part of our current ad for Budweiser�. Mind you the Mirage Suite Rates have been pretty reasonable as of late, so maybe there is a plus.

Rant over.

September 17, 2007 1:08 PM Posted by detroit1051

I was looking for today's MGM's presentation to Bank of America, but it's not up yet. However, here's a link to MGM's presentation to Barclay's ten days ago. The slides have good aerial views of their property in LV and AC as well as some good photos of Macau and Detroit. It also talks a little about Dubai World.
Detroit will continue to be huge for MGM. It opens in two weeks with 98 tables compared to 72 today and 4,500 slots up from 2,840.

September 17, 2007 5:49 PM Posted by Mike T

Have any of you guys eaten at any of the following restaurants, and if so, how were they?

Bradley Ogden


September 18, 2007 8:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike T, I've been to Picasso about five times since Bellagio opened. MGM Mirage has pretty much left it alone, unlike some of the other restaurants. It's a great place for a couple. It's quiet and elegant. Many tables have excellent views of the fountains. The menu is fairly limited with several choices of fixed price dinners. If you're looking for meat, potatoes and salad, you might be disappointed. One story which keeps making the rounds is that after finishing dinner at Picasso, one couple said they were going to Cafe Bellagio to get something to eat. The carpeting is a Picasso design, specially woven for the restaurant. When Steve Wynn ordered it, he ordered enough to replace the entire carpet three or four times. The last time I was there, more than a year ago, it had just been changed and looked new. Here's the menu, with prices, from Bellagio's website:

I had dinner once at Bradley Ogden. The food was exceptional, but I wasn't overwhelmed with the dining room being off the casino floor near the entrance to the Colosseum. Bradley Ogden and/or his son are usually there and maintain very high quality. The site has a link to the menu:

I haven't eaten at Rao's, but "Eye on Vegas" had a curious, negative comment recently which seemed aimed at Caesars PR Department:
"Rao�s In Decline
If you have walked around Caesars Palace lately you'll notice the signs placed around the property for morning coffee at Rao's. That seems great right? Well the sign goes on to read �No reservations. We promise.� This after recently closing the restaurant daily for lunch. Seems that the legendary New York Italian eatery is having a tough time of it here in Vegas. The days of not being able to get a table are over. The Caesars PR wizards have done their jobs again and destroyed another great American brand!"

September 18, 2007 11:02 AM Posted by Mike P.

Mike T, I've eaten at Rao's but just once for lunch and once a quick dinner in an hour break between afternoon and evening events. It's old school southern Italian -- nothing fancy but lots of it. My wife and I both had veal chops that had been pounded paper thin so they completely filled our dinner plates, and whatever sides we had were served on separate plates.

detroit is right on about Picasso. My wife still complains about the scallop appetizer that consisted of one scallop (never mind it was part of a 6 or 7 course tasting menu. She likes to eat.).

Bradley Ogden has a strong emphasis on fresh food from small farms. We've had good meals every time we've eaten there, and it's one place I'll try to save room for dessert. The menu tends to be pretty limited, so I'd recommend checking it before deciding to make a reservation.

September 18, 2007 1:40 PM Posted by Mike T

Thanks guys, appreciate it.

September 19, 2007 12:28 AM Posted by Mike T

Has anyone eaten at, or know anyone who has eaten at, Restaurant Guy Savoy?

September 19, 2007 10:42 AM Posted by detroit1051

There is no question in my mind that Fontainebleau will try to make its Miami Beach property a casino resort. It may take a few years, but full-fledged casinos are coming.

Posted on Wed, Sep. 19, 2007
Fontainebleau hires Nassau's Atlantis exec
Howard Karawan, president of the company running Nassau's sprawling casino resort, Atlantis, will join the new Fontainebleau chain of hotels as chief operating officer, Fontainebleau Resorts said Wednesday. Karawan's hire gives Fontainebleau two of the casino industry's top executives; Las Vegas veteran Glenn Schaeffer is the company's CEO.
While the flagship Miami Beach property finishes up a $500 million renovation and expansion, Fontainebleau is building a new casino hotel in Vegas and has announced plans for one in Vietnam. Casinos are barred from Florida hotels outside Indian reservations, and Fontainebleau says it has no plans to push for gambling at its Miami Beach property.
Miami Herald

September 19, 2007 1:49 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike T, you must be planning a very special dinner. I haven't been to Guy Savoy. It seems too over the top for me. A new, bar menu has been introduced. I don't care to try it, either:
Before you ask, yes, I've tried L'Atelier de Jo�l Robuchon at MGM Grand. The food was excellent, but it's a lunch counter, and an expensive one at that.
There's no way I could afford the main Joel Robuchon restaurant at MGM.
I'd vote for either Picasso or Bradley Ogden.

September 19, 2007 2:32 PM Posted by Mike T

Thanks a lot Detroit. The occasion is my birthday, which is next month. My father and his girlfriend are flying out from NY for the weekend, and staying at Bellagio. They're here for three nights, and I am looking at Prime and Michael Mina for two of the nights. I am stuck on a third restaurant though.

September 21, 2007 11:58 AM Posted by Dave

Mike T, I've eaten at Guy Savoy. It is expensive but incredible. If you get the right table you might have a view of the Bellagio fountains--where we were sitting, my wife had a view of Toni Braxton on the Flamingo.

I'm not that experienced in ultra-high end restaurants, but the service was almost over the top. It seemed like there were at least a half-dozen servers bringing us plate after plate (and glass after glass of wine).

The food was great--the artichoke and truffle soup was probably my favorite dish. Some of it was a bit too esoteric for me: one of the signature dishes is a chicken cooked inside a pig's bladder. The couple near us ordered this, and we got to see them bring the steaming bladder to the table, slit it open, and remove the chicken. I'd be happier with chicken parm, but that's just me.

You definitely want to save room for the cheese platter at the end--I'd never had cheese for desert, but it was another high point.

I was comped so I don't know exactly how much the bill was, but I'd estimate it at $500 or so for two people who aren't necessarily trying to keep the nut down.

If you're comfortable anteing up that much money for dinner, I'd really suggest Guy Savoy: more than a year later, I can still remember most of details clearly. You'll be treated like a VIP, and it will be something that you wouldn't normally do at home--at least I wouldn't.

September 21, 2007 12:03 PM Posted by Dave

Some more LV restaurant info: I haven't seen this on the news, but driving to work today down Maryland Parkway it looked like Capozzoli's (near MD Parkway and DI) has burned down. It didn't look like there was too much left. It's a shame because that was a great, atmospheric Vegas Italian restaurant.

September 21, 2007 12:49 PM Posted by detroit1051

Dave, I saw a report of that at:

I guess I'm a Las Vegas news junkie because I always check the following site at least once a day. There's too much extraneous information, but it keeps me up to date:

That's where I just learned that Hard Rock Cafe will build a 41,000 sq ft restaurant across from CityCenter.

September 22, 2007 11:52 AM Posted by mike_ch

This is over a week old, but seemed to have been mostly missed by people. The local NPR affiliate interviewed Glenn Schaeffer on September 12th. The first third is about his donation to UNLV, but from then on it goes to Fontainbleau, architecture, the Strip as "fake", modernism, Wynn Las Vegas, the Strip's ever-escalating prices, population distribution, climate change, etc.

It's not a typical casino exec interview, and it's short on details about Fontainbleau and more just Las Vegas in general. If you don't want to bother listening to it, the boldest claim is that Fontainbleau will be so modern than in 50 years you'll be able to look at it and not know what year it was built.

The interview MP3 is here .

September 23, 2007 11:23 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, thanks very much. I just listened to the 30 minute interview with Glenn Schaeffer. He is a very interesting guy, and I enjoyed hearing about the Black Mountain Institute, Las Vegas in general and the Strip. I don't know where Leonard Stern has gone, but he'd be interested in Schaeffer's comments on Morris Lapidus, the original Fontainebleau in Miami Beach and "Architectural Modernism."
Schaeffer certainly is bullish on Las Vegas' future.

September 23, 2007 1:03 PM Posted by Mike E

Norm Clarke reports that Wynn will reveal his 230-carat diamond along with the restored Le Reve on ABC's "Nightline".

September 29, 2007 4:08 PM Posted by detroit1051

Dave, I see that when NBC Nightly News wants to talk about gaming, they go to the expert. Nice!