Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Mike_ch is back with another Stripwalk. This time he visits Encore, City Center, TI, Palazzo, Luxor and more. Check it out after the jump plus don't forget to check out the new photos:


Encore: Construction guys are all over the place, and the building next to the hotel tower has turned from a steel frame to steel covered in concrete with more steel outside of it. A new circulation system has been added in the back by the new garage, there's more construction under that, and just about everywhere you look on the ground there's people and concrete and vehicles moving around. The area back by the new garage, and Le Reve theater is a mess. The roofline continues to develop upwards.

Wynn: Somebody opened the door to the Alexander McQueen construction zone while I walked past. The whole place has been stripped bare to concrete and construction lighting, so don't camp out for opening day just yet.

Treasure Island: The Sirens show is under refurbishment. I decided to investigate the construction wall of the high-limit slot area that's been discussed earlier to help give people an idea of where it is. It's part of that center island that includes the cashier cage and the players club desk and a high limit card room. The wall starts from the card room, all the way around past the buffet, past the elevators, past the breeze bar, and all the way to the players club desk. Hopefully this will give some insight as to the size/location of this new room.

Palazzo: When I was walking past, they were running the night lighting along the sidewalk. The bigscreen on the northern corner is up and running the same video as the Venetian's marquee monitor. The entrance arch is being decorated. About a week ago, the whole tower was lit up at night, and then two nights ago I went out to Springs Preserve and the whole tower was dark except for the blinkin' red lights at the top.

Bellagio: The holiday displays are up. The conservatory is the same as last year's. A large hole has been cut in an outside wall in the building that houses Light. You can see it from Flamingo when traveling eastward off the highway. It's actually been there about a month and a half now and I've not remembered to mention it. Anyway, signs and ads for The Bank (replacing Light) are going up around the property, and now Shintaro has been walled up as we knew would eventually happen.

P-Ho: They've put up some new, better looking signs in the mall pointing the way to the casino. They've also put up some touchscreen signs advertising the restaurants and such at the casino entrances. Other hotels (Mandalay Bay) have done the same thing, but what they've done here is add a slot machine finder to the touchscreen system. Think of Harrah's web site slot finder, but at the casino entrances. A circular bar is being built outside the Performing Arts showroom, which I think is a little excessive, but we'll see. Also in the mall, the Hawaiian Tropic Zone restaurant opened in about the space where Commander's Palace was occupying.

Luxor: The walls around Cathouse are now curtains, and you can see the doorways and, in the window of the upper level, some of the dining room. The decor is of, er, questionable taste. Large red doors with black "silhouette woman" shaped doorhandles dominates a few windows with red and white borders. It's bright and hard to ignore, and IMO the first questionable looking development in the "new" Luxor. This project has curtained up a whole chunk of the casino, cutting off a whole bunch of walkway and even a whole bunch of slots around the Pyramid Cafe. Guests who use the northwest inclinator have a walk to get to their core now. Also, the Playbar by the sports book has been renovated and no longer looks as cheesy, and the sports book itself has been renovated slightly to be more airy and less dark, and the poker room has been moved nearby. The Players club booth has been moved yet again, this time from the old Keno area to the tickets/will-call booth right near the theater entrance, hidden behind the (closed) theater store. This new location is so out of the way that they've had to wrap columns with advertising pointing out directions to the players club.

Company opened at the end of November. I got to take a look around and see the facility in action during a preview/opening party. They weren't quite fully in normal operation, but had a sushi/oyster/pasta buffet going, which is just a little too far out of comfort foods for my taste and perhaps a little distant from an "American bistro," but I heard nobody complaining. The room is well decorated and maybe a little dark (but at this event people were standing and walking all around the room instead of all seated at booths like a "normal" evening) and the service was much friendlier, and more attentive than I've become accustomed to with Luxor establishments. If the regular menu were in effect, I'd happily order up a steak, and I kind of want to go back and try it, perhaps on a special occasion. If somebody beats me to it, let us know what it's like.

Finally, buffet renovation continues here and gone are my favorite buffet plates, with the little cartoon pyramids and sphinxes on them. Too bad. Doubly too bad is that while they replaced all their plates they didn't bother to replace their tiny glasses. And last of all, a Fat Tuesdays has opened here. It's right past the doorway to the Mandalay mall (in fact, it technically IS in the mall, but if Luxor's considers Georgio to be one of their restaurants, and it's next door, then I'll do the same here.) This is in a space that had just been a wall advertising future events for months and months and months.

Mandalay Bay: The buffet was closed for a week. This is a short renovation, but it must be something fairly substantial because they bothered to wall it up and even decorate the wall with buffet logos. A TV screen advertising events was put in front of a directional sign on the pathway to the event and convention facilities. I'm not sure why.

Cranes 'n' Things: A new IMAX theater (Vegas' third) opens up this week at Red Rock. Rumors of the death of pop music on the Bellagio muzak system are (so far, anyway) highly exaggerated. The facade of the Frontier continues to be stripped away.

And that's probably the last update for the year, barring any crazyness with the Palazzo opening. I'm still not sure if I'll steer clear or check it out. As always, feel free to ask away in the comments.


Read archived comments (11 so far)
December 12, 2007 6:27 PM Posted by detroit1051

Interesting report. Thanks. Bellagio is now starting to hype The Bank. $50 admission charge? No thanks.
I'll miss Shintaro. It's already been erased from the website, but the future plan is mentioned:
"Coming next year The Light Group will open Brand, a fine dining steak house at Monte Carlo and an ultra-contemporary Japanese restaurant at Bellagio."

December 12, 2007 9:24 PM Posted by Mike T

I am looking forward to checking out the Bank when it opens. That should be an impressive venue.

December 14, 2007 5:00 AM Posted by mike_ch

Brand? Well, at least it's better than HIDE, although it still sounds... Get your cowboy boots on.

December 14, 2007 1:09 PM Posted by Andy S

Thanks for the update Mike.

The area of the new high limit slots at Treasure Island sounds huge, like a major chunk of the casino?

I wonder what they are doing with the Mandalay buffet? Probably something similar to the awful "Cravings" buffat at the Mirage complete with a stupid name.

Obviously contempory isnt hip enough for MGM now that it needs to be "ultra contempaty"!

Cheers, Andrew

December 14, 2007 4:57 PM Posted by Mike P.

This morning they were playing classic old rat pack era vocalists in the Bellagio casino. I think maybe they're playing the good stuff in the morning then transitioning to pop later in the day.

Rumor has it that Fontana will be reopening this weekend, but it was still the temporary Baccarat room on Friday morning. If I have time later in the weekend I'll check again - not staying at Bellagio this time, unfortunately.

December 16, 2007 10:52 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch and Mike P, MGM must really be prioritizing its expenditures at Bellagio and other properties. When I was last there in November 2006, I was told the high limit slot room renovation had been delayed until January 2007. Unless I missed a report on it, it still hasn't been started a year later. Maybe 2008?
I'm assuming they added a high limit area at TI first because they want the additional revenue. Since Bellagio already gets high limit play, they don't need to act as fast.

December 18, 2007 3:46 AM Posted by Joey from Boston

I booked Palazzo for a couple nights in February. Hoping like hell it will be fully operational. The woman in reservations assured me repeatedly that by mid January everything will be ready.

What is Sheldon Adelson's track record as far as delivering a fully operational hotel on the day of the hard opening?

December 18, 2007 9:18 AM Posted by Hunter


Well, we don't have a ton of data to go on... The Venetian in Las Vegas was a disaster with VIPs being shuttled to other properties since the fire system wasn't certified on time.

From what I have heard, the Venetian Macau went more smoothly but it was not entirely open.

Palazzo is scheduled to open 12/28 so I don't think you have to worry about your room being ready in January but you may not have all the stores and restaurants open by then - you never know.

December 18, 2007 10:41 AM Posted by Joey from Boston

Thanks Dog.

Hopefully by mid February it will be done specially the spa with all the cool wet facilities they have planned for The Canyon Ranch Spa at Palazzo. I'm kinda surprised they are going to have a completely separate facility than Venetian but that's what they say. It sounds like they will have alot of the same types of wet facilities in their spa that QUA Spa at Caesars has.


For thousands of years, people have found that water movement and temperature variations provide relief to muscle and joint problems and create a higher sense of relaxation.

From The Palazzo website-
Canyon Ranch SpaClub� is delighted to bring the first complete suite of European-inspired thermal spa cabins, tubs and aquathermal bathing experience to the United States. Partnering with one of the worlds leading designers of thermal spa equipment, Canyon Ranch SpaClub� has developed a therapeutic and advanced cryo (cold) and thermo (hot) aquathermal treatment suite to ensure the ultimate spa experience.
The Aquavana� includes:

* Herbal Laconium
* HyodroSpa
* Thermal Heated Lounges
* Finnish Sauna
* Crystal Steam Room
* Salt Grotto
* Snow Cave
* Igloo
* Experiential Rains
* Wave Room
* Conservatory

December 23, 2007 10:57 AM Posted by detroit1051

Norm's column in the RJ talks about some of the restaurants going into CityCenter. Once again, I'm showing my hick roots because I've never heard of Mr. Chow although the website says I'll be able to check it out in South Beach soon. Since many other restaurateurs are coming from Bellagio, it seems to me that CityCenter will be the top dog with Bellagio moving down a peg. I don't see how they can both be equal.
Here are links to Norm and to Mr. Chow's website:

January 3, 2008 5:30 PM Posted by detroit1051

Luxor. This may be enough for MGM to totally de-theme the property:
"...But Egypt, which cooperated in establishing the exhibit when the resort opened, may now want a piece of the action.
An Egyptian official has asked his country's parliament to require payment from those who commodify Egypt's treasures."