Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: April 2006

Yes, I am in Las Vegas. This post is a bit stream of consciousness, just random things I noticed so far:

* Wynn Las Vegas have changed the advertising graphics for Le Reve to include actual performance shots. I assume this is to drive home the CDS connection.

* Corsa Cucina, the Wynn restaurant that had to be remodeled right after opening, is now doing brisk business.

* The Sands/LVB entrance for the Wynn Esplanade is being re-done with an outer door and new glass. It is mid-construction but fully open.

* At The Mirage, Ava is gone, Onda is being renovated and Love will include lots of red (if you go behind the curtain as I did, expect to be yelled at).

* The new poker room at The Venetian is really big, not bad looking and totally empty. Maybe 20% full.

* Bellagio is cruising along, seemingly indifferent and impenetrable to competition.The Prada store still has no mens clothes (the staff dutifully described a belt as 'mens clothes' but I disagree). The new employee parking garage is HUGE... Literally almost dwarfing the large signs that straddle Frank Sinatra Drive.

* Planet Aladdin - If anyone was wondering, Desert Passage is being redone. The whole facade is under scaffold.

* Planet Aladdin Interior - Man. So much work to do. These guys can't pull it off. If they aren't dropping the 40ft ceiling, they got nothing. The place feels empty and it always will. By the way, the signs look like they were designed by prisoners.

* Caesars - the 'E' is out on the new Augustus Tower. To me this is the kind of thing that should last a day at most. It is the FREAKING SIGN ON THE STRIP AND THE LIGHT IS BURNED OUT. Fire somebody.

* Paris - The signs of Harrah's taking over are everywhere and since it was a mediocre place to begin with... BTW, I have never been 'hard sold' on a suite upgrade before. I didn't even want one. The check in clerk had a whole sheet with prices AND justifications, FAQ style. Harrah's central. Wow.

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April 28, 2006

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Breaks Ground

Posted by Hunter

Yup, they did it today, April 28th, the anniversary of WLV's opening, Elaine's birthday and the Desert Inn's opening.

I should have some pictures soon but basically it was the board of directors moving some dirt with shovels...

Encore's logo looks like it is written in script, like 'Wynn', probably his handwriting, with a nice little 'at Wynn Las Vegas' underneath. Very 'Treasure Island at The Mirage' (but the opposite in terms of relation) if you ask me.

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April 28, 2006

Las Vegas Photos, April '06

Posted by detroit1051

I added some photos to my Webshots account. They include, Wynn, Palazzo, Red Rock, Golden Nugget and the Residences at MGM Grand.

Las Vegas Photos

April 27, 2006

Cosomopolitan Site Plan

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to one of my loyal readers, I got a chance to look at the detailed site plan for the Cosmopolitan, a condo/resort/casino project going up next to Bellagio.

Personally, this is one of the only condo projects that is really interesting to me (with the exception of CityCenter). They have a limited amount of land to work with but they are using it well, building up instead of out. There is a strong retail and dining component on the Las Vegas Blvd. side and the casino will use most of the rest of the ground floor space.

Overall I continue to be interested and impressed with what these guys are doing with this property.

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April 27, 2006

Long Delayed MGM Grand Tower Project to Start?

Posted by Hunter

Next month MGM MIRAGE will ask the Clark County Planning Commission to extend a plan to add another hotel tower at MGM Grand. The original application was submitted in 1998 and would include a 49 story hotel/casino with 1,700 guestrooms, connecting to the convention center.

The project had previously been delayed due to a shift in 'corporate priorities' (read: merge with Mirage Resorts and Mandalay, build City Center, etc...). Will this ever get off the ground?

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April 27, 2006

MGM MIRAGE Reports Quarterly Results: Profit Up 30%

Posted by Hunter

Today is a quarterly reporting day for MGM MIRAGE and report they did... Profits up 30%. They claim $135 million in savings from the combined MGM/Mandalay properties. I'll be listening to the conference call and updating this story as soon as I can - Windows Media Player is not cooperating at all.

Net revenues for the quarter were $1.9B and 'same-store' revenues were $1.2B, up 4% (they did 4% better even without the MBG acquisition). Occupancy stands at 97% (!) and the ADR (average daily rate, key indicator in hotel/leisure reporting) was $181 (up $5 from last year). REVPAR (revenue per available room - another key metric) was also up $5 to $175.

Quickly reading some of the detail, it looks like they wrote off about $24 million related to the Bellagio/Monte Carlo tram. This sounds like the tram is back out of service to accommodate CityCenter development. Eventually CityCenter will link the properties.

$380 million was spent on capital improvements, including CityCenter, The Mirage, Beau Rivage, and MGM Grand Detroit.


The Mirage will be the site of a new ultra lounge called 'Revolution', based on the Beatles and opening in the fourth quarter.

Supposedly the new Mirage restaurants are doing great and Japonais is scheduled to open in August.

CityCenter design for the main hotel is complete and excavation is underway. Foundations will be poured in about a month.

The Boardwalk demolition will take place on May 9th.

The new Bellagio parking garage (employees) is going to open in July.

CityCenter will have a sales center between Monte Carlo and NYNY and also 'discovery centers' in the lobbies of Bellagio and The Mirage.

Beau Rivage construction is progressing. Apparently the restaurants will be completely new, none of the old concepts are being rebuilt.

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April 25, 2006

MGM MIRAGE Partners With Foxwoods

Posted by Hunter

This has been all over the news today but I am just getting a chance to post it.

Looks like MGM MIRAGE is setting up a partnership with Foxwoods on Connecticut to brand their expansion project as an 'MGM Grand' hotel, despite the fact it will be operated by Foxwoods.

More details:

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April 24, 2006

Pinnacle Increases Aztar Offer to $45 Share

Posted by Hunter

In what sounds like a 'Come On Dudes, We're the Real Bidder Here', Pinnacle has upped their bid for Aztar to $45 a share.

We'll see what happens now - the bid from Columbia Sussex is still higher at $47 but they have potential licensing issues.

In related news, this article talks about Aztar and Riviera valuations and how they vary:

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It started with a call a few months ago from my cousin: �What are you doing April 19th through the 22nd?� I was thinking to myself how busy I was and that I�d have to miss work for the weekend. Before I could reply he says, �Because we�re planning on heading to V��

�It�s on!� I reply without even letting him finish his sentence...

Here's my latest report out of Vegas. Click on the link for more. Enjoy!

April 23, 2006 Photo Gallery Macau Photos Updated

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Chris from Hong Kong for providing updated photos of construction in Macau for our gallery.

The link is here:

You'll see Wynn Macau, basically completed, along with the MGM Grand and Galaxy Starworld. Enjoy.

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It looks like one of my favorite Vegas Web sites,, has rolled out a new version - and this isn't just a face lift!

Along with all the irreverent Vegas content they've been sporting since their original launch, the new version allows hotel ratings, personal profiles and what looks like a stab at some 'social networking' features, ala Vegas-style.

Of course, I also operate a site devoted to Las Vegas ratings and reviews... So, what do I think about this new stuff? I think it's great. So far it looks like they've done a good job and if nothing else, the 'competition' will inspire me to finish the long incubating new version of, an upgrade that works to feature the content more prominently and simplify the ratings and review process.

So, congrats to Chuck and everyone else over there - it's great work. Who knows, maybe we can even do a project together sometime.

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April 19, 2006

LOVE: The Beatles + Cirque de Soleil at The Mirage

Posted by Hunter

Looks like Cirque went ahead and released a bunch of information about the new show at The Mirage on their Web site, without all the fanfare of a press release, etc...

Tickets are now available for 'LOVE', which is the title of the show.

There are rehearsal photos, a brief background on the show, and more at the Web site.

Previews start in June and the show opens July 2nd. Tickets run from $69 to $150.

Update: Complete press release included below.

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April 19, 2006

Station Opens Red Rock in Summerlin

Posted by Hunter

Well, the big day is here. The newest casino in Las Vegas opened this morning at 12:01am after a VIP performance from Grammy winner Sting.

Coverage in the LVRJ:

Personally, I'm looking forward to visiting and photographing in about 10 days. Of course, you'll hear all about it.

This is a historic moment for Station Casinos, which is a company that often flies under radar but is exceptionally well run. I expect to be impressed with Red Rock, much more than I was with Green Valley Ranch. The pictures of the pool deck look great and I really like how they've integrated the desert theme into the landscape architecture (LifeScapes, the folks that did Wynn, Bellagio, The Mirage and the Strip median are responsible for that). This place looks like it belongs in its environment.

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April 17, 2006

Aztar/Tropicana Bidding Continues

Posted by Hunter

Looks like four times is the charm for Aztar... Columbia Sussex has thrown a bid in for the company that owns the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip.

Update: Today's WSJ states that Pinnacle is close to making a deal:

"Aztar Corp. is close to striking an agreement to be acquired by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. for about $1.5 billion, or $43 a share, in cash, according to people familiar with the situation."
(subscription required - but worth it, IMHO)

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All kinds of interesting stuff today...

Of course the big news is Red Rock Station, opening in just a few days.

Articles in the Review Journal:

and the LA Times:,1,679332.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Personally I am looking forward to checking it out for myself and taking some photos in about a week and a half.

Beyond that, a little news on Wynn's Encore and the Golf Course stuff:

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April 12, 2006

$2 Billion Montreux To Replace New Frontier

Posted by Hunter

[Thanks to for directing us to this article.]

Looks like some more information is coming out about what Phil Ruffin has planned for the New Frontier lot, across the street from Wynn Las Vegas.

The design isn't finalized but it does seem that Ruffin is sticking with the observation wheel that we've heard about several times in the past.

LV Sun: Montreux to Replace New Frontier

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April 9, 2006

MacauCasinoWorld Publishes New Photos

Posted by Hunter

Thank to, we have some new photos of the progress of various properties in Macau.

These photos show various resorts such as Wynn Macau, MGM Grand and The Venetian Macau, all of which are showing fantastic progress.

Check 'em out: Macau Photos

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The Anaheim-to-Vegas train that Nevada's senior Senator has been working on for years still isn't getting a lot of traction:

What do you guys think? Something you would use if it was available?

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April 6, 2006

Looks Like The Riviera Has Been Sold

Posted by Hunter

Look what came across the Reuters wire?

Looks like the Riviera has been sold for $211 million... Not just the Vegas property but the whole company.

Update: More coverage this morning. The RJ weighs in:

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April 5, 2006

Macau Ain't No Vegas?

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to Mike E. for pointing us to an interesting thread at LVTalk, a Las Vegas message board.

The thread is about a recent trip to Macau and some impressions from a Vegas visitor. Interesting stuff.

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April 5, 2006

Desert Passage 'De-Theming' To Begin

Posted by Hunter

Looks like the folks that bought Desert Passage at the (soon to be former) Aladdin / Planet Hollywood are starting to talk about the changes they are planning.

An interesting article in Gaming Today discusses the changes:

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April 3, 2006

Google Earth Publishes New Las Vegas Photos

Posted by Hunter

For those of you that are Google Earth users, they have posted new, high resolution images onto the service for Las Vegas, NV.

The photos were apparently taken in March 2006 and feature fairly high resolution. You can see people and their shadows, all the Strip casinos, etc... Great stuff.

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