Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

August 2, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - August 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

High rise condos are the subject of a story in the RJ. The concluding paragraphs summarize what many others have been saying:

"What is the end game for Las Vegas? Returning to its roots as an affordable and diverse entertainment destination, Nichols said.
"We became too much of the $500 bottle of vodka and multihundred-dollar room," he said. "We increased capacity at a higher price point when there was no demand for that. There's a direct relationship between price point and market share. If entertainment, rooms, and food and beverage get back in line, just like any service or commodity, that's when the town will rebound."

To read more:
High-Rise Plans Go Flat In Las Vegas


Read archived comments (30 so far)
August 2, 2009 9:50 AM Posted by Anthony

Can someone tell me the purpose of having two lobbies at Mandarin Oriental?
Here are some renderings of the lobbies.
First Floor Lobby
23rd Floor Lobby

August 2, 2009 10:26 AM Posted by LeoNYC

The Mandarin Oriental here in NYC also has "two lobbies". As a matter of fact, the "lobby" located on the ground floor works more as a sitting/waiting area where guests can wait for a cab or for the vallet. There, you can find the bell desk as well. The registration and front desk are located on the 33rd floor. I think the MO in Las Vegas is set up the same way.

August 2, 2009 4:03 PM Posted by Phil

Curious what everyone's thoughts are on Garth Brooks signing a deal to be a permanent fixture at the Encore showroom. I've seen on other sites rumors about a contract being in Garth's hands, he just has to sign it. Steve Wynn said in the last quarterly conference call about what low room rates get you, a body that fills the room, but they don't spend money elsewhere. Are Garth Brooks fans that same type of customer? To me, Garth Brooks fans remind me of the crowd you get in Vegas for the Nascar race, just your average American, but not necessarily high rollers (the middle class Excalibur, Tropicana crowd). One thing is for sure, I truly believe Garth would sell out every night. He's got a pretty loyal fan base.

By the way, I wonder how Encore's casino and restaurants looked like every night after Beyonce's concert. I argued when it was announced that getting rabid Beyonce fans are not the same as true Wynn customers so I wonder if I was right or wrong. Steve Wynn mentioned he picked one of the slowest weekends of the year for these dates, so I guess it could only help the ghost town Encore has been reported to be many times now.

August 3, 2009 5:00 AM Posted by detroit1051

What happened to MGM in Macau? The property looks great with the atrium and cutting-edge appearance, but its performance has been dismal. The conference call at 11 AM EDT today should be interesting.

August 3, 2009 7:45 AM Posted by mike_ch

Phil: When you look at the ticket sales, the Colosseum is blowing 'em away. That probably explains Wynn's interest in mainstream headliners. These shows also cost quite a bit even compared to the top resident productions, though a lot of the money obviously is going toward the star you're still getting customers who can afford quite a bit for entertainment.

I wouldn't worry about it. Much of Steve's smoke and mirrors about how he's for upper-crust sophisticated elite types is an illusion, and though he may have read one too many of his own press releases that doesn't change it. He does have rooms for those people and I imagine they're mostly going empty but he also has thousands of regular rooms that go to people who cannot afford villas.

August 3, 2009 5:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Bellagio will be closing Jasmine on August 23. It will be reopening on September 3rd.

That's not enough time to completely tear everything down and start over, but it's enough for a minor refurbishing. Jasmine and Prime are the two remaining ornate and stately Olde Europe designs left in the restaurant portfolio, so I wonder how much will change.

August 3, 2009 6:54 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, I wonder if Jasmine is just closing for a week's vacation during what must be one of he slowest weeks of the year. As you wrote, it's not much time for renovation.
As a restaurant snob, I can't believe I'm saying this, but both Jasmine and Prime are so last century. Steve Wynn certainly evolved from those two restaurants to SW Steakhouse and Wing Lei, both big improvements.

August 3, 2009 8:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: I'm too cheap for either, but while I think Wing Lei is beautiful, everything I've seen about SW suggests that it's essentially all intended to direct your attention to the falls without distraction, which isn't really a high mark for interior design.

I do prefer Old Bellagio over both New Bellagio and Wynn though, because I appreciate that British Tea Room On Steroids look on everything. Back when the casino had a sort of warm, "grandma's house if it was ginormous and had gambling" feel.

However, it's understandable that really Anglo look isn't entirely for everyone.

August 4, 2009 3:47 PM Posted by parchedearth

Bellagio shuts down all of its restaurants for a couple weeks each summer on a rotating basis to perform maintenance and deep cleaning.

I'll take Prime over SW anyday. SW is about as plain a steakhouse as you will ever find; much less one done by Steve.

Trump just bought his 3 casinos in AC out of bankruptcy for $100M. This is the third time he has been allowed to do this. Not sure why the casino commission allows him to keep getting away with this. The reduced debt burden is still too much and Trump won't put in the money necessary to bring the properties back to a level that will attract visitors. I guess everyone believes the Trump name is better than the alternative.

August 5, 2009 12:32 PM Posted by Jeff Simpson

Referring to the comments about Garth Brooks as a regular in the Encore showroom, it wouldn't surprise me, nor do I think it would fail. Wynn has experience with country superstars with mainstream appeal (remember Kenny Rogers as a regular Golden Nugget headliner when the GN was one of the city's top couple joints?) and there are plenty of folks with serious gambling money who love Garth Brooks. (Although not as much money as they had two years ago).

August 6, 2009 4:40 AM Posted by detroit1051

Garth Brooks' move to Las Vegas was a hot country music blog topic in June. Has it resurfaced with new information?
Update: Never mind. The Norm Column talks about Brooks today:

August 6, 2009 9:00 AM Posted by Phil

Norm mentions that Beyonce was "well received" at Wynn so its either p.r. speak or it met/exceeded expectations. If they do announce that they are bringing back than it has to be worth it.

On the country front, I remember the Kenny Rogers days in Vegas, I think he use to do a show with Dolly Parton that was a big show back in the day when the "islands in the stream" song was so big. Ah the good ol' days.

August 6, 2009 11:13 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

In the "Real Las Vegas" documentary, which first aired on A&E about 1996, and also used to play constantly on the in room LVCVA channel, Kenny Rogers speaks about working for Steve Wynn as entertainment director in the early 1970s, following the break up of the First Edition. It is a pretty good couple minutes. I bought it on DVD a couple months ago, so I could expand my Las Vegas obsession 24/7.

August 9, 2009 5:13 AM Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas Sun interview with three retired casino execs, Satre, Snyder and Christenson:

>>Satre: For the next 10 years, I don’t see the upscale customer coming back with the discretionary income we saw two years ago. The economy can recover, jobs can recover, but the customer’s sense that he will have as much wealth and access to credit as before, that’s gone. If there is anything new built in this market and they revise their cost structure, they are not going to go up but down. They’re going to cater to customers who want to spend less for a room, food, drink and entertainment even if they have the money.

Snyder: I agree. Nor are we going to see the middle market customer who spent like the high-end customer. The wealth effect has eroded, even for Mom and Pop folks who had a lot of equity in their homes and felt good about that. It’s going to take a long time for that sense of wealth and confidence to be restored before we have spending that’s anything close to what we were used to.

August 10, 2009 8:04 PM Posted by Hunter

I think Wing Lei is absolutely one of the best restaurants on all of The Strip - just amazing every time I go.

I also enjoyed Jasmine but WIng Lei is amazing.

August 13, 2009 5:27 AM Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas is the cover story (again) of the new issue of Time Magazine:,8816,1915962,00.html

Note: After re-reading this piece, I find it sensationalistic and sleazy. It may sell magazines, bit it doesn't help Las Vegas rebuild itself after all the economic hits.

August 13, 2009 11:43 AM Posted by Michael Lu

Eventhough the article doesn't say anything about it, a friend of mine told me that Hornbuckle's position has been filled by some lady from Excalibur. I can only assume that my friend meant Renee West.

August 14, 2009 4:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

There have been several stories recently about the evolution and improvement of Le Reve. I assume Wynn Resorts is encouraging media coverage:

August 17, 2009 5:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

Update on Fontainebleau in LV Sun. I'm not surprised that Wynn didn't like the rooms. They are surprisingly small for an alleged high-end resort.
"Though close to finished, the Fontainebleau may cost another $1.5 billion to complete, on top of $1 billion already owed to lenders."
"And Wynn, insiders say, took one look at the layout of the Fontainebleau’s already-built rooms and walked away."

August 17, 2009 4:22 PM Posted by detroit1051

I haven't seen the Bellagio main tower suites since they've been renovated, but the Salone, Cypress and Bellagio Suites look much better in these photos. Very nice.

August 17, 2009 5:22 PM Posted by mike_ch

Dunno if you saw it already, Detroit, but there's also a photo of the new-ish (well, new to you, I guess) VIP lounge at

August 17, 2009 6:01 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, I saw the photo. Is the Executive Suite Lounge the same VIP Lounge/Check-in that's connected to the private elevators to the suite floors, or is it another area?
Regardless, I'm going to venture back to Vegas in the first Quarter of 2010 to check out ARIA. I'll stay at either ARIA or Bellagio.

August 17, 2009 8:31 PM Posted by Mike P.

Detroit, no the Executive Suite Lounge is just inside the lobby between the bell desk and main registration. It's a pretty small room, but they do have some freebies and the staff seems pretty competent.

Despite dozens of stays at Bellagio we only figured out where the VIP elevators to the suite floors are located this past trip. We could've crashed the real VIP lounge if we'd wanted to I guess, but never got around to it.

August 17, 2009 9:44 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: Until they allow Riff-Raff into the VIP rooms, I'll never know. I think it's the room just next to the conservatory. It looks like what I saw of that room when it was being renovated.

However, it could also be behind those doors by the check-in desk. I think? I can't remember what 's there, though somebody here said a few stripwalks ago. Thing is, I just don't know about lounges for wealth and privilege, being neither.

August 19, 2009 1:35 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I think is pretty strange that City Center only has one theater. This complex houses 7000+ rooms. Mirage, Wyncore, Venetian, MGM, and more i'm missing, all have multiple theaters, yet this huge complex only has the one CDS Elvis show? What about a even center, or at least a smaller 2nd theater, for the non CDS people. Does anyone else find this odd, or just me?

August 19, 2009 2:43 PM Posted by detroit1051

Brian, MGM may be shrewd in not having more theaters. ARIA guests can take the tram to Bellagio and Monte Carlo to see shows and also be very close to NYNY and MGM Grand for other shows.

August 23, 2009 7:43 PM Posted by detroit1051

Last week's press release from The Mirage says that renovated suites will be completed early in 2009. Do they mean 2010, or have they already been renovated?
Is it a typo?
"The resort’s indulgent suites – Petite, Hospitality, Tower and Penthouse, slated for completion in early 2009 – also reflect a modern residential feel with clean lines, vivid color palettes and upgraded amenities ranging from his and her baths and wet bars to separate living and dining areas."

August 24, 2009 2:49 AM Posted by Mike E

Detroit, I may be wrong, but I seem to recall those exact same words in press releases from over a year ago. Perhaps it's a part that they simply forgot to take out or at least update the date on. I do know Mirage (formerly Petite) and Hospitality suites that aren't on the private keyed floors have been renovated. All Towers and Penthouses still remain in desperate need of attention.

In any case, I'd imagine a Hotel32/Skyloft concept when they finally get around to it. They already have a beautiful, unused lounge area on the 29th floor that has a lot of potential.

August 24, 2009 7:31 PM Posted by detroit1051

Crystals' website has a good photo history of the exterior progress and interior renderings as well as information on retailers and restaurants. The interior looks a little stark to me, but I like all the natural light.

August 28, 2009 4:40 PM Posted by mike_ch

Meanwhile, in nightclubs: "DJ AM" has died. His real name is Adam Goldstein, and he was a co-owner of Luxor's LAX with Pure Management and a regular feature at the Palms' monster array of clubs.