Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

November 27, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - (Almost) December 2010

Posted by Hunter

We haven't done one of these for awhile but it seems like a good idea to post another. Thanks to Jeff for the suggestion.

To kick off the discussion, there's a story today in the Sun about the El Cortez suite competition.

You may recall that back in August we had the estimable Ms. Epstein on the Vegas Gang to discuss this same topic.

I still like the idea, these months later.

Anyway, open topic away...


Read archived comments (16 so far)
November 27, 2010 2:59 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I just think this suite contest is a great idea. I can't wait to rent one. The only bummer is that the suites are rumored to have had the lowest price in town. Something like $50 a night sometimes; for 600 sf!
I think the hits just keep on coming from the El Cortez leadership the last few years. Great upgrades and neighborhood involvement. The only miscue I can think of was the attempt earlier this year to start referring to it as the EC. Kinda lame. But I love the El Cortez, what ever they call it and go there every trip. I have managed to collect 10 shirts from there over the years. Wear one of them to work about half the time. I think I have about 20 Las Vegas casino shirts now. Kinda silly, but it helps me feel close to Las Vegas all the time.

November 27, 2010 5:41 PM Posted by atdleft

A friend of a friend of mine is actually in the contest! I'm so proud of him, and I'm still amazed by El Cortez' turnaround. I remember walking by in early 2009 when Culinary was picketing in front of them... They didn't even have to tell me to go away, because the previous time I was in there, I was a little horrified of what was inside.

Fast forward to today, and suddenly EC has trend setting cabana suites, a growing local "hipster" following (it helps that the Fremont East 'hood is quickly becoming one of the coolest spots in town), and a scheduled stylish redo (no matter who wins the contest) of the main tower.

Hopefully with Golden Nugget and Gold Spike enjoying new leases on life and El Cortez in the midst of an ab fab makeover, this will encourage more Downtown casinos to join all the rest of us in the 21st Century. Lordy knows Downtown needs more good news...

November 27, 2010 6:50 PM Posted by detroit1051

This Maloof and Morton dispute is really getting ugly. I don't understand it well enough to know whether Maloof wants to operate all the Palms venues himself, or is there another operator in the wings? Hasn't Morton been largely responsible for the success of Palms' clubs and restaurants?

Steve Wynn can't be happy about this as he and Morton get ready to open La Cave in December.

November 28, 2010 9:31 AM Posted by Pikes

Are the trees in Wynn Las Vegas' atrium dying? They look pretty thin.

November 28, 2010 8:41 PM Posted by stevecovington

Pikes... maybe they are removing the atrium for a nightclub..

November 28, 2010 9:08 PM Posted by Hunter

Ha! Good one.

November 29, 2010 3:48 PM Posted by parchedearth

I was initially very excited to see the ElCo suites, but the renderings in the article are underwhelming. I was hoping for some great themed rooms, but they all look like modern blah. Perhaps the budget just wasn't enough.

December 1, 2010 9:11 AM Posted by atdleft

If Robin Leach is to be believed, Steve Wynn & Andrea Hissom officially "put a ring on it" last night...

And if so, congrats on the engagement!

December 5, 2010 12:15 PM Posted by motoman

"We haven't done one of these for awhile but it seems like a good idea to post another. Thanks to Jeff for the suggestion."

BTW Hunter --
this is what I had meant when suggesting you might enlist some outside help running this site going forward: not editorial content, but rather, the way folks like detroit used to start these Open Topic threads and bring up relevant WSJ stories, for instance. To take some of the weight off of you.

Original content is your gig of course, and I'm loving the Week In Review and other recent articles. And Simpson's column of course.

(Whatever happened to the Strip Walker?)

December 9, 2010 9:29 PM Posted by mike_ch

His feet became very sore, and he wanted to move to California where the climate is better and his future is brighter. He's changed gigs to providing Vegas Mate with data; blending his obsessive attention to change with a much nicer office job, that can be done just as easily in a San Francisco hotel lobby as it could the Parasol Up lounge. :)

Speaking of obsessing over the details, I noticed on my last drop into Aria the other week that Serrano's restaurant now has added "Tapas!" (with an exclamation point) to the logo. Might be a sign that business is weak, and management wonders if naming the restaurant after a fancy chef makes people assume it's a pricey, super-entree kind of place.

Which, given Robuchon and the recently-departed Boloud, I really can't blame the customer for.

December 10, 2010 11:36 AM Posted by Mark

There's a report on Bloomberg that they just arrested 110 prostitutes at the Venetian in Macau.

December 14, 2010 1:24 PM Posted by Mark

Bellagio robbed of $1.5 million in chips at gun point at a craps table early today.

December 19, 2010 1:12 AM Posted by mike_ch

A minor collection of my observations on Trop and NYNY:

I gave transit's new Westcliff Express route a go today, which gets you from the northwest burbs to the Strip in 30-45 minutes, depending on freeway traffic. On the Strip, it dumps you off right in front of the Trop, so it seemed like no better time than to walk in.

I am happy to say that Tropicana seems like almost entirely a different property inside. I am glad that the glass ceiling over the table thruway seems to be staying for now, it is a great legacy throwback and doesn't really clash at all with the more modern furnishings and white paint job. Columns throughout have backlit louvre designs (you know, those horizontal window slats) which reminds me of Encore in a pleasant way.

Attention to small details is visible throughout. The slots have not only been given a new lamination, but the little heat vents and other metal pieces that are usually black or gold have been painted white. New signage appears everywhere from directional signs to the little Employees Only plaque on the door to the janitor's closet. The clearing of the merch carts and new restaurants upstairs almost make it feel like a different property and of course, all the things I've become accustomed to being broken are now actually working (talking mainly about escalators.)

The pool is completely torn up right now, a motel wing imploded (hurrah) and the towers seem still to be tweaked with, as the one on the corner at least was painted white all the way up to the spiky points along the roof (these used to be gold.) About half the casino is still behind walls or awaiting renovation. You have these little portals to another dimension at the moment where a corner of the property goes from a bright Mandalay-style tropical motif to a dark relic of the Aztar era, but they're mostly hard to find. I hope the additional lighting of the eastern part of the casino makes it to the sports bar and escalator rooms eventually.

In the meanwhile, New York New York is renovating their Times Square area. And it's not exactly a total de-theming, either. It is, however, going more upscale so far. To be more specific, the Broadway Burger has gone from being a food court level burger counter to being an honest-to-goodness light coffee shop experience. This means a renovated dining room where the order counter used to be (no more Broadway posters), hostesses to seat you, waiters to tip, and so on. It's sort of transformed the place into another BLT/Burger Bar/Stripburger/Holstein's.

So, is NYNY's burger renovation successful? I don't quite think so. First of all, Times Square is basically a food court with thematic detailing, the only dining in the place with it's own closed-off seating is Gallagher's Steak (and maybe Chin Chin, but I can't remember.) The area has largely been Sit Where You Please from the beginning. So they've put up some themed but also very temporary looking partitions in the space between Broadway Burger and Zumanity, to try and take over that space as tables for Broadway guests only. And the area around Broadway, to the left of the Zumanity theatre entrance all around the Chrysler elevator core, is torn up and under black tarps.

I was actually trying to walk around the black tarps and investigate the construction when as a result, I wound up walking by accident into the Burger-exclusive tables section. Wondering why these temporary-looking partition walls were here, I walked up to the old counter, realized the room had changed, and walked out the entrance to find a hostess. Yes, I accidentally snuck into the restaurant by idle curiosity. That's how poorly executed the new "dining room" is. I took some photos, but they're blurry as heck and I have yet to offload them from my phone.

So anyway, that's that. I could give my thoughts on Cosmopolitan so far, but I still haven't really seen the casino floor aside from trudging across it from the buffet to The Henry. And what I could post could basically fill a post on it's own.

December 19, 2010 6:12 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, thanks for the good news that Trop's leaded stained glasss Tiffany-like ceiling is staying. Hope it's there permanently. It's a great reminder of when Tropicana was The Tiffany of the Strip.

December 19, 2010 9:07 AM Posted by stevecovington

I was told about a month ago from someone at the Trop that they already have the new glass ready for installation... they are using the original (repainted) frame and adding a bunch of light fixtures and TVs to the area. Still looking for a buyer for the original glass.

January 29, 2011 6:22 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I see where the suite design competition winner will be announced this week. Any chance of doing a pod cast or special feature about it?