Last week, most TV sets were tuned in to see the facade of a Las Vegas hotel, the Monte Carlo, engulfed in flames. I'm no expert in fire safety but I know what was going through my head, watching in real time: this fire is moving FAST and whatever is on the top of that building looks to be fueling it.
In the hours and days that followed, one term was repeated over and over: EIFS.
Instead of demonizing an easy target, I'm glad that I've had the chance to speak with several folks fluent in EIFS details, including some industry representatives. Keep reading after the jump and I'll share a couple of things I've learned.
A few quick hits:
* The Las Vegas Sun's Web site explained by part of the team:
http://robcurley.com/2008/01/16/check-out-the-new-las-vegas-sun-site/ (Thanks to VegasTripping.com)
* Monte Carlo Fire: Lots being published daily. I've been talking with some industry folks regarding EIFS details and I will post something when I have some more details.
* Podcasting - I have audio, video and photos from the weekend. I'll be doing a podcast that includes a bunch of stuff from Palazzo, etc... In the meantime, the photos are here:
Update: I forgot to mention this story from my friend Steve at The Strip Podcast. It seems, Mystere, the original permanent Las Vegas Cirque fixture, is starting to think about closing up to make way for a new CDS production:
According to a blurb in the LV Sun, workers at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip have been asked not to cash their paychecks for a few days.
Back on site in Vegas overnight. Shooting some HD video and recording audio. Having fun.
The Monte Carlo fire is much worse looking in person. Damn.
I have upgraded the site software to the latest version, Movable Type 4.1.
This includes a ton of changes under the hood and paves the way for some interesting new features down the line.
This note is just to let you know that if you find something that doesn't work, such as a broken link or login problem, please either comment here or email editor AT ratevegas DOT com and we'll look at it.
Not sure how serious this is yet. Obvious now that it was pretty serious.
Update: I'm watching the live video on lasvegasnow.com and it looks pretty bad. Lots of black smoke that actually looks like it is coming from two places.
Updated: The fire is extremely bad. Multiple floors on the South side - that side of the building at the top are basically destroyed. Major destruction. Wow, this is really bad. Clark County Firefighters are incredibly brave - they are up on the roof working to put this out. I guess guests are being moved to MGM Grand Garden Arena. Nice.
Diablo's Cantina indeed. I hope no one was hurt.
One interesting point - on the South side there, there is no low rise building at the base of the hotel tower. Hopefully that is making it easier to get crews closer from the ground.
Hats off to the amazing work of the Clark County Fire Department in getting this thing under control so quickly - and it does seem to be pretty much under their control now, despite the few flames still burning. Now the question is what does this mean for the property - how bad is the damage?
Update: Thanks to Mike_Ch, some more photos of the aftermath: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
Palazzo is the finest hotel ever built in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sands In-Room Magazine
"Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." - Red Faced Guy
I was in Las Vegas at the end of December on a trip that was supposed to coincide with the soft opening of The Palazzo, the first major property to open on the Strip since Wynn Las Vegas in 2005. Of course, we know how that turned out - Las Vegas Sands postponed the soft-open for a few days and by the time guests were walking through, I was back at home.
When another excuse for a trip popped up, this time coinciding with the 'real' opening of The Palazzo, the credit card was primed and ready. I reserved a standard 'suite' for two nights at a rate of about $300/night. I've been a critic of The Venetian in the past but I really wanted to go into this past weekend without pre-judging the property... at least that was my goal.
Keep reading after the jump for my thoughts on The Palazzo, some comparisons to other properties, and some specific notes on the photos.
Photo gallery: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/palazzo
Ok, still working on my Palazzo story but in the interim, here's some recent photos of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.
Some nice shots showing low-rise progress. Curtains and what looked like furniture was in many of the lower floors of the high-rise.
In particular, this shot shows where the glass wall looking over the pool area will be:
And the rest of the shots:
We checked into a standard 'suite' at The Palazzo last night. I will be writing more when I get home, as well as publishing some photos, but here are some overall thoughts quickly, before I head out:
I really like the lobby and atrium areas - they look fantastic... but they may be the best parts of the property.
The room is nice, though I don't consider a single room a suite, even if it has a separated living space. The room is nicely appointed, though some of the fixtures look cheap.
Service has been great. A bellman walked us to our room, though I assume that's because it was slow. I am told on 80% of the rooms are open.
The casino is a disappointment. It's just a huge open room. Better than The Venetian but nowhere near as nice as WLV or Bellagio in this regard.
The pool area looks closed at the moment and only a few restaurants are open. I haven't spent much time in the shops yet.
This place is just what any close watcher of LVS would expect - it's The Venetian, slightly upgraded.
So, as I work on getting more data, what sort of things are you guys interested in?
Sheldon Adelson: He is driven. Interesting article in the NY Times.
"...the Venetian is now the Strip�s second most profitable casino hotel, behind only the Bellagio, said Robert A. LaFleur, an industry analyst with the Susquehanna Financial Group, and that is with only a third of its revenue coming from its gambling floor."
It's been on the LVA site for a little while but I wanted to make sure readers were aware that David McKee's blog, Stiffs and Georges, is back online. McKee is a straight talking Las Vegas gaming biz blogger that's not afraid to call 'em like he sees 'em.
Make this a regular on your regular RSS/reading list.
Thanks to reader Aaron_B for sharing this trip report from CES 2008. I know several readers will be interested to hear about and see photos of the renovated suites at Bellagio.
The photos are here:
The Cosmopolitan, one of the more interesting upcoming deveopments on the Las Vegas Strip, is reportedly looking for investment capital. The Las Vegas Sun's new gaming blog reports:
Update:The mortgage holders have foreclosed: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200801161602DOWJONESDJONLINE001065_FORTUNE5.htm
Well, the gaming win in the great state of Nevada declined a good bit last time 'round:
Not good for our favorite multi-national casino conglomerates. It's hard not to link this to the degrading confidence in the US economy overall. Gaming is often somewhat insulated - people love to wager no matter how screwed they are - but of course there would be some kind of a hit if things go down big time in the US of A.
The first of the new year - an open topic for all to air their thoughts. Enjoy.
As part of their deal with the Castaways site, Station has to conduct some gaming there from time to time. Steve at The Strip Podcast Blog has the skinny:
Well, I don't know what the results will be but the Trippies, the VegasTripping.com awards in which we are nominated, are being announced live tonight at 7pm PT.
Updated: Well, we didn't win. Thanks a ton to everyone that voted - I know there were a lot of questions and I really appreciate you taking the time and more generally, just visiting on a regular basis. On best site, VT&T won. I have really mixed feelings. I read that site all the time but from someone that has had his photos taken for that site without attribution, I always get a sort of bad taste in my mouth. Congratulations to everyone that did win - I know first hand how hard it is to keep a site like one of these running.
Updated Again: Well, we did get an editor's choice award - Best Web Site and that was for the iPhone version of RateVegas.com. Thanks Chuck! We're very proud of the iPhone stuff and I plan to continue to enhance it - I have big plans for new features, likely coming in bits. As far as other phones and PDAs, I'd love to support them. The problem is that most of them have TERRIBLE browsers. As those improve, we'll expand our offerings. We do have a BlackBerry version with some similar info. For those interested, this page covers all of our mobile options.
We're back with another piece from guest author Matthew Farley. He was nice enough to write a piece previously on video table games.
This time the topic is old school service offerings and their place in today's Las Vegas, specifically as it relates to Binion's. An interesting piece and I thank him for sharing this with us. What do you guys think? Let's get a discussion going in the comments.
As for any other guest authors out there, feel free to contact me: editor AT ratevegas DOT com. We can give you some great exposure and writing is a lot of fun!