Here we are with a special Thanksgiving-eve 'Strip Walk' segment. This time around, mike_ch checks out the Frontier, Encore, City Center, Luxor, The Mirage and more. Text after the jump...
Starting from Circus Circus and working southward this week.
Echelon: There's about four cranes and a hole in the ground. It's hard to get good photos of what the cranes are doing because a pile of dirt runs along the perimeter fence blocking the view. Over by the Frontier it's easier to get a view.
Frontier: Aw shucks, there's still more of this hotel left than I'm satisfied with. The whole strip-facing building is still there. When will we be allowed to forget that this place happened? When?
Palazzo: More awnings and details are going up at the north end, including Morel's Bistro near the escalators to Wynn and 40/40 Club over the ground level archways. A basic entrance arch has been built over the driveway and the marquee is more dense with steel and electrical equipment than the simple skeleton it's always been.
Mirage: The southern entrance is a pleasure to walk through now that the Tiger exhibit is gone. The store across from the wall still sells tiger stuff, so you can always remember your failed visit to the tiger exhibit when you met the black wall.
Bellagio: Look, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, this looks like a job for SCAFFOLDING! Indeed, the roof dome of Bellagio has some tiny scaffolding up there as they, I assume, repair the damage to the little itty bitty minidome at the top of the center core. If some manager is reading this, congratulations on affirming that details really do matter to the powers that be. You could have (and for more than a year you did) let the roof stay as it was with few others than sharp-eyed nerds like yours truly pointing it out. Oh, and Christmas decorations are up in the mall. The large golden globes that were supposed to look like giant ornaments are replaced with big square giftboxes covered in little mirrored tiles. If Christmas Eve at Bellagio is as busy as last year (when some Korean pop superstar played at Caesars and the entire mid-strip was packed solid) then at least these decorations will be less painful to be crushed up against as you try to get in or out with the throngs. No holiday conservatory yet.
CityCenter: The old curtains and cyclone fencing was replaced in favor of a solid wooden wall in most places so getting CityCenter pictures is more difficult than it used to be, but it used to be extremely easy. Point is, if a picture looks unbalanced, as though the whole planet tilted over 25 degrees, it's because that picture was taken by sticking my camera into one of the leftover places where you can still get a good view from the sidewalk. It was a Sunday so there was almost nobody on-site, but all the work that was going on was happening in one of the low-rises over back by Vdara and Cosmo. A big piece of rail has been placed on some of the tram columns. Will we get to tram over CityCenter's ongoing contstruction? No. Not likely, meaning we'll be trudging past this site.
Monte Carlo: A blank wall has been put up over Blackstone's for it's magical transformation to HIDE. In the food court, a new Haagen-Dazs has replaced an older Haagen-Dazs. Mmmm.
MGM Grand: The building out back continues. A frame has been put up. There's no doubt that they're building more meeting space back there, otherwise the only other thing that fits the profile would be a miniature airplane hangar.
NYNY: Temporary curtains have been put up around "Times Square" about where the merchandise cart was. Rok Vegas is just a wall again, with no more entrance art sitting out there. The Pour24 bar is almost ready to open. The wall is gone, the curtains are left, and I took some shaky pictures because there was a guy taking stock of the booze inventory and I didn't want to bother him. It looks like a really basic bar. The counter is blue and white and lit up from inside and the modern metropolitan look still screws up the train station motif but oh well. You'll still have great views of the casino from the balcony to shoot pictures (or anything else) from, but now it's a social faux pas to enjoy the view without buying overpriced Jack Daniels. Now that's progress!
Luxor: A very flimsy curtain has gone up near the cashier cage and fluorescent light pours through revealing a grey concrete room behind, and it appears stripped empty. What could possibly be going on? Nearby, Company is fully visible but not yet open. That'll happen on the 30th. The room combines a bit of that rural western look with the kind of fancy bar and restaurant you're used to seeing at Stack and Fix. This actually looks like a nice place, and the menu was kind of high but not as unreasonable as something like Diablo's which still has pretty good business. A large portion of the casino surrounding the dining level is curtained off, and behind the curtain they're hurriedly making the entrance to Cathouse to open up at the same time. Buffet renovations are at a standstill downstairs. Hey Luxor guys, since Mandalay Bay and Bellagio have (possibly) listened to my complaints, how about serving bigger glasses for my soft drink at Pyramid Cafe and the More buffet? I have a soft spot for Luxor but I eat at Excalibur because the hosts aren't constantly running behind on refilling everyone's tiny, tiny glasses.
See you in December!