Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

March 23, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - March 23rd, 2008

Posted by Hunter

Another open topic for discussion.

One thing of note - I got some photos from Mike_Ch which I published:

Thanks Mike!


Read archived comments (28 so far)
March 24, 2008 9:30 AM Posted by DavidF

Given the current state of the Housing market right now - Just for fun I wondered what sort of prices the MGM Residences are going for�. And found this ....

I tinyurl�d it to take out the websites obvious semi-promoting link, but it makes for interesting reading, I even went and cross checked a few of these on and they check out

Unless I am much mistaken, even the original Tower A prices were North of $500K, looks like you are taking a bath if you �got in early� in fact I remember a post on Steve Friess�s blog a few months back about owners being disappointed what they were (or weren�t) getting for their purchase.

I don�t have any doubt that the very top of the market will hold up, but lets face it, not every condo in Vegas is a $3m Several thousand sqft. Penthouse Palace

March 24, 2008 11:20 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, I looked at these places a long time ago, and they were over 500k. Actually, the location is not that bad, and for $340k, its not a bad deal. City Center has a better location, but for a savings of almost $300k, MGM makes a lot more sense. If the stock market was back to its highes, and I was not so married to Wynn, I'd consider getting a studio at that price.

March 24, 2008 12:06 PM Posted by detroit1051

Jeff Simpson appeared on Jon Ralston's Face to Face a month or more ago to discuss the owners' suits against MGM. Jeff, please keep us updated.
Here was the original story in the Sun in January:

March 24, 2008 6:45 PM Posted by mike_ch

Maybe Chuck can get an apology out of him for sitting through all those episodes of "The Casino."

March 25, 2008 4:49 AM Posted by detroit1051

"Las Vegas Life" is ceasing publication. I've subscribed for years and always found it helpful in keeping current with Vegas. However, I thought it had started to lose its way in the past year or so. It's ironic I had to learn this news from the RJ instead of from Greenspun.
I'd better get a refund. :)

March 25, 2008 5:04 AM Posted by detroit1051

MGM Mirage has moved up its renovation of all rooms at Monte Carlo by nine months due to the fire.
"Nikodemus said MGM Mirage accelerated by nine months a planned $80 million to $90 million renovation of the Monte Carlo's 3,000 hotel rooms. Instead of starting room remodeling in the first quarter of 2009, the process will begin in 10 to 12 weeks, starting with the rooms currently shut down by the fire."
I don't know typical renovation costs, but $90 Million for 3,000 rooms is $30,000 per room. Is this enough for any repositioning of the hotel given its CityCenter location, or will it be just modest refreshing of the rooms?

March 25, 2008 11:00 AM Posted by mike_ch

The Company bistro has temporarily closed in the wake of the chef's resignation. LVA thinks it may even be turned over to MGM-Mirage.

detroit: Too bad about LVL, but not putting full articles online meant that I rarely enjoyed what they had to say anyway.

March 25, 2008 1:18 PM Posted by detroit1051

Steve Wynn's 2007 compensation $11.2 Million.
I didn't know Okada Aruze owned a slightly larger percentage than Steve.

March 26, 2008 2:04 AM Posted by mike_ch

Has anyone else ever felt like they get a shakedown from bell desk employees? A year ago I got aggressively hustled for a tip by a guy who was to put my bags away for the day, explaining that he would be off duty and there would be someone else working there when I returned, so I should tip him now.

I'm usually not a bad tipper on vacation (I can be on and off on the strip anymore, since I live here I tend to not feel "on vacation" when I'm on the Strip anymore so it's probably made me less generous than my days as a visiting Californian,) and I've read up guides on the subject, and all guides always told me to tip $1 a bag (minimum $2) to the person who RETURNS your bag(s) from the back, not the person who takes them back there. Yet this guy had no problem treating me like I was an idiot for not realizing right away to tip him. Silly me for reading up on customs!

March 26, 2008 7:25 AM Posted by Mike T


Me personally, I tip the bellman who takes my bags, probably about $5, and the bellman who brings them to me, also about $5, at least, on the rare occasion that I actually use a bellman. I also tip the valet attendant who writes my ticket as well as the one who brings me my car. I guest that's just a product of having lived here for 12 years, and worked on the Strip.

March 27, 2008 7:04 PM Posted by mike_ch

Mirage sent me a renovation update about their redone rooms. Link:

March 27, 2008 9:23 PM Posted by John

Well, interesting story out of Wynn tonight....I took my mother and father over to Country Club for my mother's birthday and had a wonderful meal and, much to my surprise, who would walk in but Steve and Elaine. Well, they sat at the table next to us and it became sort of a question as to whether or not to actually say something to him. On one hand I know that most people don't want to be interrupted during a meal, but, on the other, I know that one only gets so many opportunities to meet a man like Steve. Well, after we had finished our main course I politely went over to his table to simply introduce myself to him and maybe strike up a conversation. Well, I walked up looked at Elaine, Steve's head was turned away, said, "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Wynn," and got nothing. She just looked at me, while one of their dining partners told me they were having a conversation and that I should leave immediately.

Now, normally, I wouldn't have a problem with that but I have always heard that Steve was very approachable in almost any setting. I guess he isn't. And, in all honesty, it hurt to be shot down like that in front of my parents. Well, I guess there's just a time and a place, and this was neither. Other than that, it was an amazing meal as always.

March 27, 2008 9:34 PM Posted by Hunter


I've interrupted him a few times, albeit not at dinner, and never gotten this reaction.

Who knows, maybe they just got some bad news or whatever - you can never tell.

Still, I'm a firm believer that common courtesy should always apply, no matter what's going on.

Sorry to hear you got the brush off - I understand how you must have felt.


March 27, 2008 10:06 PM Posted by John

Yeah, I really think it's just one of those the right time and place kind of things. Hopefully, I can run into him in the Villa Atrium and strike up a bit of a conversation about projects like Encore and Cotai at that time.

March 28, 2008 5:33 AM Posted by TC

I'm a firm believer in dinner time is off limit times when it comes to trying to meet anyone, celebrity or not leave em alone....just my two cents

March 28, 2008 6:54 AM Posted by detroit1051

John, the Wynns should have and could have handled it better. It's odd that a dining companion had to speak to you. Do you think that person was part of the Wynns' security detail? Even if they wanted you to leave, it's strange that a dining companion would have been forced to deliver the message while Steve and Elaine remained in regal silence.

Although dinner should be a private affair in most cases, I believe the rules are different when the Wynns have their name on the hotel and are dining in an on-property restaurant. After all, many guests choose Wynn because of Steve's larger than life persona which is an important factor in the success of Wynn Las Vegas and Macau.
As much as I like Wynn properties, former and present, Steve, in my opinion, is becoming a caricature because of his ego and manipulation of others. He grants interviews with Steve Friess because he knows Friess won't challenge his statements. That is NOT a criticism of Friess; he almost always gleans important information from Wynn, and I'm glad he has access to Wynn.
However, again in my opinion, Steve's arrogance has flawed him. Christina Binkley's description of Steve's take on the loss of Mirage Resorts to Kerkorian's MGM tells me volumes about Steve Wynn.
John, you were treated poorly, no matter what explanation Steve Wynn can rationalize.

March 28, 2008 9:22 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, this is a hard call. I can see both sides of this. I am sure Steve gets exhuasted by his fans. However, he's brought this on himself, by making himself be in the pubic eye so much. And especially when Wynn is in his hotel, he owes it to his customers to at least recogonize their existance. I doubt Kirk, or many others get bothered near as much as Steve Wynn does, but that's because most people don't know who he is, because he keeps under the radar. And like Hunter said, you don't know, what might have been taking place etc. I know Wynn eats there as much as any place in the hotel, I've seen him there myself, once he was dining with Donald Trump, but I didn't bother them. Lastly, not to defend Steve, but I know he does stop and speak with his guest many times, and I even know a few people that have, spoken with him at length on a whim.

March 28, 2008 11:40 AM Posted by socalduck

With regards to the Mirage room remodel, I do like the fact that they removed the armoire and replaced it with the built-in desk and flat screen. Can't say I'm all that thrilled with the fabric or color choices, but everyone seems to be chasing that retro-hip look now. I would have prefered a more relaxed, Tommy Bahama-type resort vibe.

March 28, 2008 1:00 PM Posted by SouthLooper

Re Tipping the Bellmen: I always give them $5 coming and going, to hopefully pursuade them I'm a nice guy and please don't lose/search my bag. And yet I always have the feeling the bag has been opened and looked into anyway. I don't leave valuables in them, and use a lock when possible, but on my overnight bags there's pouches on the outside and the zippers are always in a different spot then where I left them. Any honest bellmen at any price in Vegas?

March 29, 2008 7:08 AM Posted by Dave

I didn't see a new thread for this, so I thought I'd post it here.
Any thoughts on this article about the Trump International Tower?
From the pictures, the rooms look like nice hotel rooms but not the ne plus ultra that you'd be led to believe they were. Is anyone planning on staying here soon?
From a factual POV, I'm a little unsure that there aren't any slot machines for a half-mile around. I know that distances in Vegas are always longer than they look, but there's no way that the Trump tower is more than a half-mile away from Wynn. It's a quick walk over the bridge and down the side of the Fashion Show Mall. And I wouldn't be so sure that there aren't "gamblers" staying there. I know as well as anyone else that the non-gaming amenities are on the rise, blah blah blah (I'm in the middle of writing a white paper about this for the AGA right now, so I'm a little burned out on the concept), but it's disingenuous to say that just because it doesn't have a casino Trump is going to draw an entirely different crowd than Wynn or Bellagio. Sure, they won't be the serious gamblers who'll get comped, but on average people who come to Vegas have a rather predictable tendency to gamble.

One thought: since it doesn't have a casino, would other casinos reserve rooms here for their second-tier high rollers on particularly busy weekends? It's not like it would be a step down from most places, and I'm sure that snap-your-fingers limo service would go a long way towards sweetening the deal.

I'm really interested to hear what people think. For such a big project, Trump has flown under the radar for the most part, mostly because he doesn't have a casino, but I think that we can hold his building to Strip standards as far as hotel/public area design goes.

March 29, 2008 10:30 AM Posted by Jason Robar

I don't remember where the discussion about the Criss Angel/Cirque show was recently, but it looks like they've set the date and time for the gala opening - September 12th at 8:00 pm. At least, that's what the ccountdown clock at the website says:

March 29, 2008 1:26 PM Posted by DavidF


Great article thanks for pointing it out, I would be interested to hear others opinion on what at the end of the day is an �Off Strip Hotel� some things that stick out at me, in the order I noticed them�

- Some of the highest room rates in Vegas, yet there is no gaming - but there isn�t also easy access to Gambling, OK so it is a �Short distance away� maybe 5-10 mins walk - but it is isn�t a straightforward walk to get there and during the summer, for you typical lasy tourist who doesn�t want to walk more than 100 yards in the Vegas Heat (Raising hand here), I don�t see it happening. I would have thought that Gamblers just want to go downstairs and play, not go, get a cab, etc to go do it�

- We could have a whole discussion about the non-gaming side, but with any Vegas Hotel, the gaming and attached non-gaming facilities bring in the �gawkers� who while they may not be staying this time, there is always next time, and you can say that about any Casino Hotel � what is there is to look at about for the non-resident at Trump? The Lobby, DJT restaurant, and errrrrr that�s it? The same could be said of the Platinum Hotel and Spa, but then it doesn�t have Trump Hotel Rates..

- As you said the room d�cor doesn�t blow you away, doesn�t even strike me as luxury just looks like any upscale chain hotel

- $14 a day for parking!!! What are they on? I can�t believe this charge will hold.

- OK so there is the convention business, must be plenty of space for that right, Hold on to your hats, there is a whopping 2400 Sq ft, I thought it was a misprint when I first read it, but the website confirms.

- Condo Hotels are a huge success and a great investment � see my post of the top of this page, plus Detroit�s link to the Vegas Sun Article just for starters�

Oh Hang on my bad, its Donald Trump, Forget everything I just said, it must be the most wonderful and luxurious property the world has ever seen, taking that title from Palazzo, (such a shame Sheldy was only able to hold onto that for 3 months). I am sure it will be a �Yooge� success, nothing like Vegas has seen and get 110% occupancy within week, Wynn, MGM and Boyd may as well give up now��

March 29, 2008 2:20 PM Posted by detroit1051

Jason, the rabbit-powered countdown clock on the Criss Angel site is great. Thanks!

March 29, 2008 2:57 PM Posted by detroit1051

When I read the RJ this morning, I emailed friends that Trump would do very well with non-smoking meeting planners who don't want the distractions of a casino. Then, I read David F's report that there was only 2,400 sq ft of meeting space, so I too went to the Trump website. Two meeting rooms and a board room??? I don't get it. There are 1,282 rooms to fill a night, and I don't know who the target market would be.

The room photos look nice but certainly not in a separate class from other hotels or the Residences at MGM Grand.

I did an unscientific rate check for three nights, checking in May 1. Trump's website quotes $349/night. Wynn quotes $436/night. Bellagio quotes $299 for each of the first two nights and $459 for the third night. All are for standard rooms.
Speaking for myself, I'd feel isolated at Trump. At least at Wynn, Bellagio and other properties, non-gamblers have a good selection of restaurants. Smoking can't be too much of an issue any more since most hotels have full non-smoking floors.

Regarding using Trump as an overflow, only Wynn might be remotely interested, and I'm not sure Steve and The Donald are best buds yet. MGM and Harrahs would certainly walk their guests to sister properties rather than to Trump.

It will be interesting to learn how many of the original buyers actually close on their units and at what prices the resales go for. The Donald may have to send several of his best "Apprentices" to help this one out.

As an off-topic conclusion, I played tour-guide this morning and took visitors to Miami and South Beach. I drove back up the ocean to Ft Lauderdale and was amazed at the new Trump properties. I believe only the Trump Tower in Ft. Lauderdale and maybe Trump Tower in Sunny Isles Beach are his money; the others paid for his name. They're Trump Hollywood and Trump Grande Ocean. They're all under construction along with way too many other condos and condo hotels in South Florida.
Finally, Fontainebleau still has a long way to go before the original hotel's reopening in August, but it will look good.

March 30, 2008 11:13 AM Posted by Dave

Detroit, how do you think South Florida compares to Las Vegas as far as hotels go? It's interesting because in the 1950s everybody was building "Miami modern," so I'd like to hear how the ensuing 50 years of development have put distance between the two cities. Besides the obvious question of scale, what are the big differences?

March 30, 2008 12:49 PM Posted by detroit1051

Dave, I may not be the person to ask about South Florida because I'm more the casino-loving, over-the-top faux luxury Vegas hotel type myself. That's why I always gravitate to Wynn or Bellagio.
When I was in South Beach yesterday, I wondered why anyone would put up with the mobs, traffic and lack of parking to stay in one of the small hotels. Maybe if I were younger and lived the party life, I'd think differently.
The following website lets you click on the different South Beach hotels and see photos. I hope no one thinks I'm hyping the site, but it is convenient and shows the properties:
Most of the hotels here obviously focus on the ocean, pools and gardens to capitalize on the weather. If you look at the Delano, how does everyone here think it will translate to Las Vegas at Boyd's Echelon?
I personally like the looks of Loews South Beach. On a recent CNBC broadcast from the hotel, CEO Tisch said it is the most profitable of the Loews hotels, so I guess location does sell.
I'm most excited about Fontainebleau. It's away from the South Beach crowds and has great ocean frontage, but maybe my objectivity is colored by my staying there there as a kid in the 1950's. I hope it's done right when it opens this summer.
St. Regis Fort Lauderdale opened on A1A last year. The first time I walked through, I thought, is that all there is? The public areas seemed sterile, cold and commercial to me.
Most other South Florida hotels don't look much different than those in Las Vegas.

March 30, 2008 7:13 PM Posted by Brian Fey

LV Sun did a front page story today on the deaths and accidents that have taken place at many of the major mega resorts currently under construction. I know this thing happens, and all over the world, not just in Vegas, and not just on hotels. But there have been a large number of these in a very short time. There have been nine total deaths in the last 18 months. You do wonder, if they do put money ahead of safety? Perini is the leader, and this isn't something you want to lead in, however since they are the largest company with the most projects, they odds might have just fallen that way. I guess this is noting new, I know 3 people died building the Luxor, but its just sad, how many people have to die, building places that we just build for entertainment. I guess I feel like a life lost building Hoover Dam for example, is more understandable then one lost building a casino, if that makes and sense?

April 1, 2008 2:52 PM Posted by Hunter

A quick little note: we're recording the next Vegas Gang episode on Thursday with guest Tom Breitling to talk about his book.

I don't know how much extra time we'll have but if anyone has a burning topic for discussion, feel free to submit here.