Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Another Strip Walk from mike_ch - Wynn Las Vegas, Trump, Palazzo, Mandalay Bay, Luxor and more.

Photos are here:

Continued after the jump...

It's been over a month since I last wrote one of these, so apologies in advance if this column is long, or hastily-written, or both.

Wynn Las Vegas:

Last month the Vertu and Alexander McQueen stores opened up in the mall. McQueen looks pretty much like the store that used to be there, while Vertu replaces the Chocolat store that was attached to Wynn LV-NV with a modern cell phone sales office. I have no idea if they sell only the phones, because this place is classy enough not to be plastered in service logos or the other usual tacky BS you expect out of a phone store.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas:

Tower is almost completely clad with glass. Unfortunately I visited Wynn after the sun fell so I haven't seen the construction site in clear light some time. It'll have to wait for next time.


One weekend, white balloons were floating over the site. Not sure what that was for, but it was closer to weather balloons, not "you're invited to a celebration" kind of balloons. Either way, pictures of the site from the ground are still kind of difficult to take, not so much for the fence but the big piles of dirt placed behind it. I can only guess these balloons were for placement? Anyway, they lasted about a weekend in January and they're gone now.

Trump Las Vegas:

Lettering and other details were finished at the entrance of the building. The tower is illuminated at night now. Previously it was almost invisible except for the name at the top.

Palazzo Hotel/Casino:

I'm popping Palazzo into a couple of entries as the mall pretty much deserves it's own entry. As of the evening of Feb 7th, only a few restaurants in the casino are open yet. I didn't see the dim sum place, and I haven't yet located the entrance to Morels in my browsing around, but I did see Carnevio and Grand Lux. All sorts of great smells waft out of Carnevio thanks to it's location right near a hotel entrance. While the food might be good, the room is kind of simple, and I'm guessing Puck's CUT will be the marquee steakhouse. Grand Lux looks nicer than the Venetian one, although some of the seating is right off the casino, leaving you right next to slot players and their noise-making, smoking, etc.

The Shoppes at Palazzo:

This mall just opened, and if I wanted to come here regularly it would provide enough content to keep this column running for a few months just on it's own. Very few shops here are open, most of the mall is just construction walls advertising what's supposed to come, or empty finished storefronts waiting for the business to move inside. Much of the floor is tiled, making one think of the Bellagio conservatory. However, in lots of places the tiles are damaged or destroyed. It appears that they tiled the floor and then moved heavy construction equipment across it. Meanwhile, blue construction tape is EVERYWHERE. Placed randomly on the tile flooring, placed alongside storefronts and construction walls, etc.

If you're hungry, there's a restaurant called Table10 and a center restaurant/bar called Double Helix, and they seemed to be doing pretty good business since there's almost nothing else happening on this whole level.

All over the mall there's these columns that are about five feet tall with a planter on top. On the ones around the restaurants, they have four lights illuminating the planter on top. On the ones not around the restaurant, such as the ones around the escalator to/from the casino, they put these rather tacky looking plastic caps over the holes where the lights normally go. It would have been preferable if they'd either put lights in there or had just made columns without the holes for the lights.

One last anecdote about Palazzo: I had to use the restroom while I was there and as I walked in and passed the sinks I noticed the light fixtures and wallpaper, feeling that something was missing but not quite understanding what. While washing my hands and preparing to leave, someone next to me said, "No mirrors, huh?" I realized he was right. This place was rushed so quickly that there's no mirrors over the sinks in this men's room (near Table10 on the shopping level, didn't check the others.)


Aside from the opening of The Bank, there's not a lot to talk about here, but I want to mention some obvious damage that's in need of repair: The marquee sign out front is starting to suffer from the elements, particularly on the south-facing side. Most notably, the "frame" around the O ad is chipped away in places. Simply put, this sign is in need of a renovation. This kind of decay would be understandable at Excailbur, but not at Bellagio.

Monte Carlo:

Dramatic changes both inside and out! But seriously, folks, the tale of the Monte Carlo is being well covered by the press both online and traditional, and a guy who visits a few hours every few weeks won't be beating the R-J for the scoop. It's closed, but the lights are on so that it doesn't look like the Stardust or Binion's after their closures or anything depressing like that.

New York New York:

Lots and lots of changes here! First of all, they drained the water feature out front for New Years and never refilled it. Lazy, lazy. The "Gaming on the Green" high limit area is closed off and under renovations, and so is the Big Apple Bar. Meanwhile, the renovations in the arcade area are done. The old arcade food court is now a meeting/dining room, and many more meeting rooms have been built on old arcade floorspace. Simple contemporary hallways with many doorways to meeting rooms are complimented with black and white artwork of modern New York, which doesn't quite gel with the roaring 20's look of the original rooms and artwork but at least the New York theme wasn't forgotten entirely. The new hallways now mean that the two bridges to the garage are linked together on the upper level, as previously parking on the Century side of the garage meant walking through an arcade to get to the casino, while parking on the Empire side meant a quick walk through some meeting spaces and then entering the casino. Construction is still underway out near the parking bridge.


The marquees got a paint job recently. The neon knight battle at the bottom of the marquees are gone, the marquee got a heavy amount of brown paint, and the phony red turrets (on the marquees, not the castle) have now been painted gold.


Casino renovations continue. When I was here, the area between the buffet and the Pyramid Cafe were underway. Liquidity is IMO kinda fancy for a bar. When I was there a projection screen was down and displaying a sports game, but behind that there was a sort of water curtain attraction dropping water from the ceiling in patterns in shapes like an arrow for instance. It's maybe a little gimmicky but it's more interesting than just another typical bar which this hotel has plenty of.

Cranes 'n' Things:

Stuff continues to get taller at CityCenter, and Mandalay Bay prepares to open a tattoo parlour and renovated the entrance of their Buffet to be less crowded. Their renovation also removed a lot of the plants and decoration that gave the room a polynesian theme, replacing it with contemporary lines and coloured lighting, and hologram graphics on the walls of 50s-esque dining.

The condo tower at Palms now illuminates at night and is pretty neat to look at. Basically, the upper third or so of the tower has white tubes of light going straight up and outlining the building. The shape of the building means that the tubes are shorter at the south end than the north end. If that doesn't make any sense, let's put it this way: it fits in well with the lights on the Rio's masquerade tower, although it's white instead of red and purple. Anyone who is familiar with the gauge cluster on most Lexus models (where the needles appear to be floating in midair in front of the gauges) should know this kind of looks like that, but on a building.


Read archived comments (14 so far)
February 9, 2008 11:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

I laughed at the Alex McQueen store photo being titled Steve McQueen. Do we get a fantastic car chase at the Ferarri store? ;D

The photo Hunter titled Palazzo Construction Gaffe is a closeup at those caps they put on the columns where they chose not to put lights. Like I said, cheap looking.

February 9, 2008 11:22 PM Posted by Hunter

Not sure what happened with the McQueen photo. Hmmm.

February 9, 2008 11:51 PM Posted by Mike E

Thanks Mike!

You and I are both car nuts and I noticed you had a photo of one of Palazzo's limos. Did you by chance see any other high roller transportation at Palazzo? Most of the top hotels are updating their own fleets to unmarked, ultra-luxury sedans along with a few typical stretches. Palazzo needs to get with the times if all they've got are basic limos.

February 10, 2008 12:22 AM Posted by mike_ch

Mike, those are the only limos I've ever seen from Palazzo. I've seen one other just like that, which was driving on the freeway towards the spaghetti bowl from the northwest. Could have been returning from driving a certain wealthy man home for the night, for all I know.

I haven't hung around Palazzo very long, though. I've never even seen the lobby and front desk.

February 10, 2008 5:07 AM Posted by detroit1051

Was NYNY's front water feature drained for maintenance or waterproofing, or is this something they do every New Year's to keep debris from screwing it up? Six weeks later, it ought to be done.
Excalibur's free-standing sign sure looks out of place in the "new Vegas."
If MGM intends to keep Bellagio its flagship property, or at least co-flagship when CityCenter Casino opens, EIFS repair and other maintenance should be started soon. This topic was very interesting in Hunter's and group's recent podcast.

February 10, 2008 10:58 AM Posted by donnymac

Does anyone know what is happening with the Big Apple bar space? It is really going to change the feel of the casino, the live music really made the casino have a party feel. Too bad one of my favourite watering holes is gone. Thanks for the info and pix!

February 10, 2008 3:43 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit, the water feature was drained and fenced to keep people from going into it on New Years Eve, and afterwards the fences were gone but the water was still missing. The last time I saw it was the day of the MC fire, as I went to NYNY for pictures.

February 10, 2008 4:21 PM Posted by TC

Maybe my understanding of the NYNY write up are confused, but the arcade (that you had to walk through to get to the roller coaster) is now gone and remodeled into meeting space. So when the roller coaster is in full swing chugging in and out people screaming and what not there will be a meeting going on right near by?

February 11, 2008 10:58 AM Posted by Nathan Boone

As one of the few on this site that likes the Venetian, I have to admit I was extremely disappointed with the Palazzo. Yes, the casino is much easier to navigate but it feels empty. The poor construction quality, faux plants, the awful fluorescent carpet on the shoppes level (and the area is so dark!), and the fact that they don't even appear to be operating at 100%. I was there in mid January for the opening weekend and expected it to not be fully opened but I was still let down. I've only been to Beverly Hills once, but I don't find anything in this property to be reminiscent of a hotel such as Peninsula, Four Seasons, Le Meridian, etc. Oh well, this is nothing new. I just wanted to vent my disappointment!

February 11, 2008 2:14 PM Posted by Dave

You can get a quick look at the Echelon construction on the DI arterial. There is definitely something going up close to DI. It looks like it the parking garage that's in the back.

February 11, 2008 5:47 PM Posted by mike_ch

TC, to clarify on the arcade at NYNY, it's severely shrunk down. Space that leads to a garage tunnel, and used to be occupied by arcade has been converted to meeting rooms. This includes the old arcade food court and spaces that used to be a bumper cars and laser tag attraction that I only ever saw operating once, on my first trip here in 2000.

When you go up the escalator from the casino, everything to the right is arcade and coaster, everything to the left is meeting facilities.

February 12, 2008 3:33 PM Posted by Hunter

Special thanks to mike_ch - it appears the LA Times Vegas blog specifically mentioned these reports as a key reason to keep checking out this site.

February 16, 2008 1:44 PM Posted by Andy S

I was curious what they were doing with NYNY and sent them a quick e-mail about Big Apple Bar. They replyed with:

"The Big Apple Bar closed in January and will
not be reopening. We are in the process of remodeling our casino floor which is the reason for the closure."

Any one know what this "casino remodel" will involve and what will replace Big Apple Bar? I really hope they are keeping the Art Deco style of the place!

A couple of points from my recent visit.

The Mirage - The Sports Bar has new furniture but had retained its tiki hut, CPK has had a complete remodel and had the design of one of their mall resaurants, the pools next to the walkway to the strip were still dained.

Luxor - In my opinion the changes here are for the worse, modern bars and lounges, but no personality.

Mandalay - I thought the design of Eyecandy lounge was horrible, it stands out like a sore thumb in the center of the casino, I really hope this place is not being used as a templete for future 'improvements'. On the plus side bayside buffet has retained alot of its tropical features (there is a new entrance), I was expecting a cravings style mess.

Cheers, Andrew

February 19, 2008 2:21 PM Posted by Margit Langfield

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