Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

May 30, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - June 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

Hope Hunter doesn't mind a new Open Topic Discussion. Our last one is up to 100 comments. We'll start this June one a few days early.

I belatedly learned that Larry Forgione's "An American Place" will not replace Tableau at Wynn Las Vegas. The new chef, David Spero, will continue operating the room as Tableau.
Steve and Forgione must have had a disagreement to part ways after all the original hype. Has anyone been to Tableau since Spero arrived?
Chef Spero at Tableau


Read archived comments (44 so far)
May 30, 2009 7:23 PM Posted by John

I had brunch at Tableau a month or so ago and have to say that I wasn't all that impressed. Should I go for dinner sometime?

May 30, 2009 7:38 PM Posted by detroit1051

Wynn's website shows Tableau open for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch with "bar service" from 5-9PM. No dinner. Probably tough to compete with Encore's restaurants added to the mix.

May 30, 2009 9:10 PM Posted by Brian Fey

As long as they keep my kobe braised short ribs on their breakfast menu, then I'll keep coming back time and time again. Best breakfast anywhere, period.

May 31, 2009 6:09 PM Posted by Brian Fey

COD in Macau story, for those interested.

May 31, 2009 6:56 PM Posted by detroit1051

Fontainebleau is on the agenda of the Planning Commission this week to change the numbering of floors due to "cultural preferences" of guests. I understand the usual renumbering requests, but I don't understand the reference to floors 71-84. What am I missing? The building is either 67 or 68 stories. Even with the other floor numbers in the request being eliminated, I don't get 84 floors.
"The applicant is requesting to eliminate the following floors: 4, 13, 14, 40-49, and 71-84."

June 1, 2009 9:45 AM Posted by socalduck

Just returned from 3.5 days at Encore. My last visit was in late January, so it was interesting to see the hotel now that the pool is in full swing. I was concerned the pool complex would be too small, but I think the more"intimate" feel at Encore actually makes for a much more lively and fun atmosphere than Wynn. The pool and outdoor spaces are definitely an important part of the Encore experience.

The crowds waiting for XS on Friday, and especially Saturday, were huge. In fact, it took some effort to move from Wynn back to Encore after dinner on Saturday night, as the entire Esplanade was filled with people trying to get into XS. To their credit, Wynn had LOTS of security on hand, but it was still pretty chaotic at both ends of the Esplanade.

I have not actually been inside, but someone told us that XS has a capacity for 6500 guests. Does anyone know if that is true? From the photos I've seen, I find that very hard to believe.

Overall, our impression was that business was pretty good, especially at the Wynn. To my disappointment, service was a bit inconsistent. Dinner at Country Club took 3 hours on Saturday night, and it was clear they were short-handed. Switch on Friday night was also a bit slow, as was Society for breakfast on Friday and Saturday, and Terrace Pointe on Sunday. No turndown service Thursday or Saturday. On the plus side, our cabana attendants were outstanding, as was service at the Lobby Bar (which had been a weak point when we visited in January). Dinner at SW on Thursday was phenomenal, and by far the best meal of the trip.

June 1, 2009 7:44 PM Posted by detroit1051

Socalduck, I read somewhere that the capacity of XS was 1.300. I wonder if it doubles to 2,600 when you add the outdoor pool area. Still, 6,500 doesn't sound possible.

June 2, 2009 9:27 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I hope someone can help me with this question. What Casino company built the Monte Carlo, and who designed it? I know I've read it before, but I can't remember.

June 2, 2009 10:00 AM Posted by David McKee

"Fontainebleau is on the agenda of the Planning Commission this week to change the numbering of floors due to "cultural preferences" of guests."

Why does the phrase "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" come to mind?

Socalduck, I've been in XS twice and that 6,500 claim is totally not credible. Too bad that service at Switch is still slow; it's been that way from the outset, even after the "costume changes" were ditched.

June 2, 2009 10:17 AM Posted by detroit1051

Jeff, Monte Carlo was a joint venture between Steve Wynn's Mirage Resorts and Gold Strike Resorts. Before it was finished, Circus Circus bought Gold Strike. The deal was very favorable to Mirage Resorts and then, of course, to MGM Mirage. Mirage provided the land and a little money while Circus operated it, and had to share revenues 50/50 with Mirage.
Interesting that Mirage Resorts, Circus Circus Enterprises and Gold Strike are all gone replaced by Mandalay Resort Group and MGM Mirage. Now, MGM is the only surviving entity.
Here's something I found from its opening in 1996:,M1

June 2, 2009 3:17 PM Posted by David


If the building is 68 stories, and you block out 28 stories from being correctly designated, you would end up with a top floor designation of 96 (68+28).

June 3, 2009 8:04 AM Posted by Hunter

Gold Strike Resorts was Glenn Schaeffer, feeling unloved by Bill Bennett, going off to build a resort (Monte Carlo). As Detroit indicates, they kissed and made up and Circus bought Gold Strike.

It's no coincidence that a lot of the features you see @ Monte Carlo, such as the wave pool, were replicated in bigger and better versions at Mandalay Bay. Schaeffer had a significant hand in both.

June 3, 2009 10:31 AM Posted by LemonSky

Last night, History aired a "Life After People" episode that included segments about Vegas, imagining the natural future of the valley, the Stratosphere, and the Luxor without people tending to them.

I mention this because, well, the production company for which I work made this, so it's incumbent upon me to tout it.

Anyway, I'm disappointed that History didn't use Las Vegas media to promote the show. I searched the LVRJ and Las Vegas Sun and saw not one peep about its airing.

By the way, if any of you saw it and is curious which casino allowed us to film inside it, it's actually the Isle of Capri in Blackhawk, CO. Every place we contacted inside Vegas gave us a stern no, though Fiesta Henderson at first, agreed, then backed out because they didn't want to be associated with the subject matter.

June 3, 2009 1:40 PM Posted by detroit1051

I never heard of the show on the History Channel, but the Vegas episode will be repeated on June 14 and 15.

June 3, 2009 9:34 PM Posted by Dave

Check out image #3 on the slideshow that Detroit linked to--the Boardwalk Cats make a comeback. Good for them.

June 4, 2009 2:11 AM Posted by steve_c

Did anyone else get the new e-mail regarding Hotel 32 at Monte Carlo. 5 new videos of different styled suites can be seen.
Not bad, not bad!

June 4, 2009 10:15 AM Posted by David McKee

"Fiesta Henderson at first, agreed, then backed out because they didn't want to be associated with the subject matter."

Judging by the tightness of its slots, Fiesta Henderson doesn't want to be associated with customers either.

June 8, 2009 8:40 PM Posted by DavidF

Sign of the times? I understand in order to play the Golf Course at the Wynn, you no longer need to be a hotel guest. Apparently the new policy has been in place for a few weeks – also for the Summer Green Fees have been cut to $300 Midweek and $375 weekends

June 9, 2009 10:25 AM Posted by socalduck

Over a period of three and half days a couple weeks ago, I only saw a handful of groups on the course, and never more than 2-3 groups at any one time. Opening the course to non-guests seems like a good move to me. I wonder if MGM is considering opening up Shadow Creek to non-MGM hotel guests?

June 13, 2009 2:12 AM Posted by Andy S

Treasure Island has a redesigned website!

What do you guys think?

June 13, 2009 5:31 AM Posted by detroit1051

I like lots of detail in websites, and the new one is very complete. I had hoped Ruffin would downplay the TI name and emphasize Treasure Island, but no such luck. I also wonder how decisions on colors are made. I wouldn't have chosen the brown background for the site. Overall, it's good, imo.

June 13, 2009 9:39 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Norm! had a mention yesterday that Zowie Bowie is leaving their engagement at the Palms early, and that they have a big announcement soon. I have thought since Danny Gans died that they could be a good fit for the Encore Theater, except for the fact that they aren't well know enough. Now, I'm wondering if Wynn isn't willing to take a chance that he can get enough people in to see them that they could work. It could be a good enough "right now" act until it grows into a "right" act.
Anyone hear anything about this?

June 14, 2009 6:12 AM Posted by Tom M

Never heard of Zowie Bowie before. What is their act like? Wynn has to fill that theater with something soon so he could take a chance on an unknown for the time being to see how they do. If they don't pan out, he at least buys himself some time to find another act.

June 14, 2009 6:43 AM Posted by detroit1051

Tom M, thanks for making me feel better. I thought I was the only one who had never heard of Zowie Bowie.
The show seemed to do well at Red Rock and Palms, so maybe it's a good fit for Steve Wynn, especially as described here with the big band sound.

June 15, 2009 9:43 AM Posted by detroit1051

Unbelievable rates, some through next February. This is not positive for Las Vegas. I know Excalibur isn't Wynn or Bellagio, but $27 a night?

June 17, 2009 12:58 PM Posted by parchedearth

PHo Tower is now taking reservations for Nov. How about some discussion on the room design, pricing, restaurants, bars, access to the casino, and whatever happened to the time share concept? Looks similar to Palms Place in many of these aspects.

Rooms look nice but are small, except for the 2bdrm. Prices are high ($200+) and sure to come down, but the 2bdrm isn't a bad deal at $400. It is hard to find 2bdrms at a casino on the strip.

Does anyone know if it connects directly with the casino through some sort of walkway or do we need to go through the Miracle Mile first?

Not a peep about buying time shares. I wonder if they actually tried to sell any, and if so at what pricing? It will be interesting to see if they ever build the second tower.

June 18, 2009 7:06 PM Posted by detroit1051

Parchedearth, I've never understood the appeal of timeshares, and I don't know anything about Westgate's PHo Tower. However, I did a search and found many units for sale. What I don't know is whether these are listings by Westgate or whether they were pre-construction buys by people who now are having second thoughts. One site has 97 listings which are indicated as resales. Prices range from $7,500 for a Studio to $60,000. I don't want to give them free advertising on this blog by linking the site.

June 19, 2009 10:09 AM Posted by Mike P.

parchedearth must not have been in Planet Hollywood recently. Walk into the north casino entrance off the strip and the time share peddlers are on you like vultures on a rotting carcass. If you're a couple sometimes it helps to split up before you hit the front doors, but the more observant ones are onto that trick.

I'll be back in a few weeks and will try to figure out how the tower accesses the casino. It has to be through the mall, but maybe it's a short distance.

June 19, 2009 2:22 PM Posted by parchedearth

I agree that the appeal of timehsares is mystifying. It looks likes Westgate has at least sold a fair number. I was curious about their ability to service their debt load. I had heard that Westgate is heavily into the Florida market and was having significant financial problems.

Does anyone know if timeshares can be placed into a hotel rental pool the same way apartments are? I can't recall ever seeing one for rent on the Flamingo or Hilton websites.

June 22, 2009 3:02 PM Posted by mike_ch

Looks like Phil Ruffin has signed up Treasure Island as a client of K Hotels, an advertising agency specializing in independently-owned hotels.

From their marketing speak:
"K Hotels is a one-of-a-kind representation company. We offer independent hotels around the world a unique opportunity to be part of a highly regarded community with targeted global exposure through individually-customized, affordable sales, marketing, electronic distribution and concierge services.
K Hotels maintains one of the world’s finest collections of independently-owned boutique hotels. Quite simply, we have developed a community and network that includes some of the most memorable independent hotels in existence. Our current portfolio includes over 50 three-, four- and five-star hotels throughout the world in many of the worlds most popular destinations. Our Collection is selective & intimate so that we are able to
provide value-added services & maintain a personal relationship with each property."

June 22, 2009 4:25 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, you brought back memories. The Allerton Hotel in Chicago is on K Hotels' list. My grandfather was a permanent resident at the Allerton in the 1940's. It was a great place. Yeah, I know that's ancient history.

June 22, 2009 5:01 PM Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas Hilton:
Did anything ever replace Star Trek?
Does anyone remember Kristine W? She really made a name for herself at The Nightclub in the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1990's. She was great. What ever happened to her? She became popular at gay clubs around the country after she left The Hilton, but I haven't heard anything about her in several years.

June 22, 2009 10:55 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: The casino is still open but they put up a huge black wall from the floor to the ceiling of that room. I doubt they've knocked down any walls or done any kind of modifications to the empty spaces that used to be filled with Trek stuff behind that black wall.

Star Trek is kind of the Hilton's America Sings (Disneyland ride that ate up a lot of space and sat as a No Visitors Allowed building for ten years.)

June 23, 2009 11:28 AM Posted by detroit1051

ARIA sent out an "ARIA Confidential" email today which promotes its commitment to the environment. In addition to water saving showers and toilets, recycling, etc, there is one statement which said:

"ARIA offers preferred parking for guests and visitors who use alternative fuel vehicles like hybrid or electric cars"

I may be politically incorrect, but I see no reason to reward owners of hybrid or electric cars. This is not the same as preferred Handicap Parking, and it seems like a gimmick. I'm glad people are beginning to conserve fuel, but what does driving a hybrid have to do with how far one walks to the casino?

June 23, 2009 1:28 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I seem to recall that when I was in the showroom in the Bellagio, drooling on the CityCenter models, the saleslady said CC was 100% valet. Maybe I wasn't paying proper attention because she was so damn good looking.

June 23, 2009 4:08 PM Posted by mike_ch

Priority parking for alternative fuel vehicles is a requirement of LEED Green Building.

June 23, 2009 6:56 PM Posted by DavidF

When I saw the Post from Detroit I was going to comment that MGM must be going for the San Francisco Market,.

But what Mike says makes sense, after all if you own a Prius it is important that you maintain high levels of 'Smug', looks like LEED takes that into account.... ;-)

June 23, 2009 7:21 PM Posted by mike_ch

LEED doesn't actually require that non-fossil spaces be close to the entrance, just that they exist. And it's not like actually has to enforce it.

Caesars and Treasure Island's garages are supposedly restricted to high-rollers, by the by. Those are actually close to the door. I approve even as a matter of practicality, because the parking garage of locals casinos are the worst. There's always a tieup near the door/elevator, and walking back to your car usually means a 2-ton steel monster creeping along behind you waiting for you get into a car so they can take your spot. We don't mind the walk and don't demand the closest possible space, so we're parked much further away than those people would want. I often go weave off into another aisle of cars just to frustrate those people.

June 23, 2009 7:52 PM Posted by detroit1051

Wynn has a new sweepstakes to get access to email addresses of potential customers. The fine print rules say the value of the grand prize is $15,000, and the winner is responsible for taxes. The value has to be based on rack rates of the fairway villa and other components of the prize. Ouch.
Also, the promotion is not valid in Alaska and Hawaii.... Wonder why?

June 25, 2009 5:12 AM Posted by detroit1051

Brian Fey, this pied a terre would be perfect for you:

June 25, 2009 6:51 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, I was going to see if Hunter wanted to go in on that with me, and we could do a time share thing. :)

June 26, 2009 5:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

Interesting research on Strip walkers in Las Vegas. The only downside may be more mobile billboards cruising the Strip.

June 28, 2009 9:41 AM Posted by detroit1051

I watched the 1995 film, "Casino" again this weekend and continue to be impressed. It is an excellent film, although very violent, which runs almost three hours. Outstanding performances by Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Joe Pesci and others. Don Rickles is terrific as the Tangiers GM.
The Suite scenes were filmed at the Riviera. Notice how some of the carpeting in the suite is not laid tight and has ripples. The Riv was a dump even in 1995 . A pool scene was also filmed at the Riviera.
Robert DeNiro's house was filmed in the Las Vegas Country Club Estates.
That movie had more Cadillacs in it than any I've seen. If the mob still ran the world, GM wouldn't have gone bankrupt. Mobsters liked their Cadillacs.
This was the first time I listened carefully to all the music. Brilliant selections for the film, especially Bach during the opening credits, and I can never get
enough of Dinah Washington.
Well worth another viewing!

June 28, 2009 1:43 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, Hunter told me, I'm not a qualified Vegas fan, if I haven't seen the movie Casino, so I've put it at the top of my cue on Netflix. :) I guess I better check it out. But I did just see Hang Over, it had some nice strip shots of Wynn and Encore, and many of City Center. Funny movie.