Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

My photos are now online. I updated all the various categories but if you just want to see the new photos, use this URL:

There are a load of pictures of the Palazzo model they have up at The Venetian. There's no note at all about what the thing is but everyone that walks by checks it out.

I did get a couple of requests and I tried to fill them. I did peek around the barrier and take Social House photos (not open yet) but they DID NOT come out so I am not posting them. Social House looks kinda neat on the inside, as does Japonais at The Mirage.

Keep reading after the jump for more...

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I've also posted some more photos from Motoman in various categories including Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage and more. Our photo library continues to grow - it's fun to go back and look at older photos to compare to what's happening now. I plan to add some additional display options to the gallery as part of the new site (keep reading). I'm talking about features like display by date, etc...

As far as my trip goes, we had a really great time. We had a two bedroom Salon Suite at Wynn Las Vegas, sharing it with some good friends of ours, another couple. Dinners at Bartolotta, Delmonico and Okada - all were absolutely fantastic but the standout in my mind this time was Bartolotta. We tried a couple of the full fish entrees and they were absolutely amazing. Truly the best fish I have maybe ever had. The meal was a real standout, even if the mixed green salad costs $14. We had some heavy comp-age this trip so we weren't too worried about the costs.

Saw Def Leppard and Journey at the Mandalay Events Center and while the show was a good time, the acoustics in there are horrible. Keep that in mind if going there to see a large concert. Spent some time at the Foundation Room which impresses me less each time I go there.

Saturday was a spa day and while I've visited the spa at Wynn Las Vegas before, I had never had a treatment. Went in for a massage and it was great. Some of the therapists at spas are so-so and you never really know. I got lucky - she was very good and I left feeling 200% better.

Dinner at Delmonico was good as always and then it was off to Tryst back at Wynn Las Vegas. We had a table out on the side by the waterfall which was good because it was PACKED inside. I like Tryst but I can't stand how they manage the admission process. Since it's down that hallway, there is no way to break apart all the folks just standing in line and the others that have reservations, VIP access, etc... It means major congestion and confusion. They should do something about that, maybe load table reservations via the outside doors to Okada or something...

Sunday was spent shooting photos, doing some shopping and then finally dinner at Okada in the Teppanyaki room. It was absolutely fantastic. I don't eat sushi but the rest of my party does and they were very pleased. After that more gambling and I actually caught a little bit of a streak playing 21, which I never play. The dealer was a bit of a prick (Ricky! What's the problem???) - one of those guys that was very polite and by the book but you can tell from his comments and the way he carries himself that he holds the players risking their money on each hand in much contempt. Sorta a silent jerk. I hate that and maybe he thinks he's clever and people can't tell. We can tell. Anyway, I was on an upswing and at $100/hand I actually covered my losses from the previous two nights pretty well. I cashed out before I died off and then headed upstairs to sleep.

That's pretty much it - we were at the airport by 11am the next day. The trip was a ton of fun and a nice mini-vacation. The friends that we went with travel all over the world and have had the privilege of staying in some very nice places. I was curious what the reaction to Wynn Las Vegas would be and overall it was quite good. A couple of small service issues but they had a good time and want to come back, so WLV is making some folks happy. Okay, enough about the trip...

Back to the Web site stuff, as I mentioned above, I am hard at work on the latest version of, the parent site of this blog. The new version features a new design, similar to the one we did for our site The focus for the new version was to simplify things - make it easier to rate hotels, shows and restaurants. Eliminate options that no one used for the sake of simplicity. That sort of thing. Also, the photos will be better integrated into the site. The biggest job turned out to be going through and re-validating the info in our database about the hotels and restaurants. I wanted to make sure that some of the data hadn't gone stale and I did indeed find places that were out of date. When it launches, the new site should feature accurate data about all the hotels, etc... I also am in the process of writing an 'about this property' for each hotel. Those won't all be finished for the launch but it gives me the chance to write free-form about these places and share some interesting facts, secrets and tips where I can.

I'm excited about the new version and I hope that when you guys see it, you like it. I think you will. Shortly after the launch there are more features that will be going in, such as expanded RSS support and the like. The new site is built on top of a new set of software services that make ongoing support and maintenance easier. New features should be coming on a more regular basis which is a good thing. Also, the URLs are much friendlier than the current site which has very long links for hotels, etc... This might seem like a minor point but having understandable and readable URLs are a very good thing, not just for humans but for search engines like Google.

I'll be able to replace something like:


For a geek like me, that's a very exciting feature. So, expect to see an announcement about a beta version of the site pretty soon. This portion of the site, the blog, isn't changing at this point. We recently made some behind the scenes changes to the software but nothing that's visible. The blog is pretty stable and I think it is working out pretty well.

Thanks for hanging with me through this long post and thanks again for being here. I really appreciate the community that has sprung up around this Web site - it's a ton of fun for me and I hope you guys feel the same way.


Read archived comments (67 so far)
August 23, 2006 10:19 AM Posted by John

Hunter, I can't wait for the new site, I hope its great.

Oh, I've got a few questions, about the Palazzo model. Is that rather large building next to the main driveway, the Walgreens, or does it have the extension of the Grand Canal Shoppes above it? Also, from the looks of it, is the Palazzo tower, just going to be the sort of Beau Rivage style tower, with a very small third wing jutting out from the back. And just a few comments, this place looks like it is trying to go for the whole natural light thing, but it looks so high density, that there is no way that the light will make its way into the casino (judging by the aerial photos of the model). I do have to say, this place does look sort of boring, but heres hoping that they are moving toward a higher level of construction quality than what they got at The Venetian.

August 23, 2006 12:11 PM Posted by Hunter

I don't know the status of the Walgreens. Based on the model it looks like it might have been nixed... I believe the building you're referring to is part of the mall and some other areas.

Perhaps there will be a Walgreens in there, integrated with the rest of the resort.

The model is fun to look at and there is a ton of pool deck stuff - it looks like they are really capitalizing on that area... What look like villas, perhaps multiple cabana areas, other really huge villas, etc...

August 23, 2006 12:38 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Could they have made the corner across from Wynn at Palazzo any uglier? Come on guys!

August 23, 2006 2:19 PM Posted by John

Speaking of Wynn, I'm sure everyone has noticed how many design elements Las Vegas Sands is stealing from Wynn. I mean, the design of the main tower, is basically Beau Rivage, they are using massive skylights atriums throughout the property, and they have the ultra villas. Now, I do think that LVS can take the luxury level of the villas to a whole other level, I mean if they really wanted to, they could create (and Wynn definitely could) palaces. Think of it, two story, 6,000 s.f. palaces. That would be incredible. Also, by the looks of it, LVS is really improving in the pool deck area, the whole spread out design og the area, could create some interesting adult only pool areas, pool ultra lounges, nightclub pools, etc., that should be really interesting.

Brian, at least the Wynn side looks like it has the vidscreen/wall, but other than that, LVS will have to put in some very exotic landscape to cheer that side of the building up.

August 23, 2006 5:10 PM Posted by Pikes

The Japonais bar reminds me of the old Lagoon Bar, That's a good thing, I always hated Ava.

August 23, 2006 5:30 PM Posted by Mike E

John, Wynn's top villas are already 10,000 square foot palaces. They've been described to me as having an entrance into a foyer with massive chandelier above and two spiral staircases on each side in the same shape as the escalators at Parasol Down. I'm sure it's enough to cause jaws to drop from even their wealthiest guests considering their locations in the confines of a hotel.

Palazzo has certainly taken a lot from Wynn design, but I must say the model looks intriguing. I certainly hope there's a higher level of quality than Venetian, but considering the budget, that's not looking to be the case. Still, I'll give my my unbiased judgement (and that's going to be hard when you absolutely loathe Adelson as a human being) when the resort opens.

Thanks for the report Hunter. What do you think of the space in the spa that the treatment rooms are located in? Just to see the waiting room under that giant skylight is worth the cost of a modest treatment itself--quite stunning, but very peaceful.

August 23, 2006 5:48 PM Posted by Hunter

I need to scrounge up the plans for the villas so I can at least get an idea of the layout.

Anyway... Yeah, the interior spa lobby is a very nice room and you're right, very peaceful. I really like the treatment rooms as well. A couple of little touches that I hadn't seen in other spas. One that I thought was particularly cool was a flower with a slight smell under the donut where your head goes. Usually you're staring at the floor for the whole time and this gave you something nicer to look at and it smelled really good. Loved it.

August 23, 2006 7:13 PM Posted by Devon

During one visit to bellagio, I was able to tour their villas (Villa 1) and they are INCREDIBLE. It had a beautiful foyer with a dome in the middle and two halls off of it going to two bedrooms, a dining room, gym, 1/2 bath, kitchen, and massage room. It also led to a huge living room with a large bar area that led to the private pool area and outdoor lounge and putting green. I'd love to see what wynn has done in these new villas if they are 4000 square feet larger than bellagio's.

A couple things on palazzo are that on the wynn side it seems to have windows making me think there will be shopping/dining facing an ugly street. Also, that building on the right side looks more like a bank than part of either Palazzo or Venetian and just sticks out. Lastly, I really don't see how this place can really compete as much with Wynn and Encore with it's lower cost. It's going to cost 1.1 billion less to build and have 300 more rooms and still be built in a more expensive time than when wynn was built (only) a couple years ago.

August 23, 2006 7:32 PM Posted by josh

I was wondering what the structure connecting to the right side of the Palazzo is(the layers supported by thin columns)
Also, from the model, is it just me or are the pools of both hotels looked connected?
Are they still going to build that lounge in the center of the Mirage casino(MInk) or whatever it was called since they are building Revolution?
By the way, great pictures!!

August 24, 2006 1:35 AM Posted by Mike E

Josh, connecting the pools was part of the original plans. During busy conventions/weekends this could wind up being a disaster since Palazzo's pool area should be much nicer and everyone from both hotels might pack that side.

It looks like all of Palazzo's villa guests, whether the ones at the base of the high-rise or near the glass dome, will have to use the main entrance. Mirage has a private entrance out back as does Wynn, MGM, and I think Bellagio (can you confirm that, Hunter?). I'd imagine their top guests will be displeased at the barrage of fanny packs and muscle shirts paraded just outside their private elevator.

Devon, do tell--how were you able to get that tour?

August 24, 2006 4:51 AM Posted by charlie

From above..."Also, that building on the right side looks more like a bank than part of either Palazzo or Venetian and just sticks out."

My guess is that is where Barneys will be located. I recall reading that it would be located just off the main entrance. The model would put it directly in the middle of Venetian and Palazzo with entrancs from the two malls on top and restaurant row on the casino level.

August 24, 2006 5:25 AM Posted by Tom M

I did not see a parking facility for the Palazzo. The driveway/entrance looks too small and will cause large traffic jams on the strip. Did I miss something?

August 24, 2006 10:07 AM Posted by Devon

I was staying in a penthouse suite at bellagio and I actually just went to the VIP concierge and asked if it were possible. The villas use the same elevators as the VIP guests but you need a Villa key to access the villa floor. Yes, the bellagio villas do have a private entrance that goes along the right side of the bellagio property. You can see it on google earth.

August 24, 2006 10:15 AM Posted by Hunter

I've been on the Villa floor at Bellagio. It has elevator access from VIP Services, the same elevators that go to the Penthouse level on 36 plus it actually also has the main elevators.

I'm not sure what private entrance you are referring to. There is an underground entrance with access to the villa floor and VIP services that is accessed as the taxis do when they come up and around.

Not sure which side is the 'right' side of the property but if you're talking about the Flamingo side, you're likely mistaking the executive driveway for guest access. There is a guardhouse and access for MGM MIRAGE execs on that side that goes around back.

August 24, 2006 11:22 AM Posted by Devon

That must be it then. I'm just kind of surprised as to why they would have such a formal entrance for the execs.

August 24, 2006 11:36 AM Posted by Hunter

This is Steve Wynn we're talking about! His former Bellagio office is HUGE. The guy likes things that are grand and I for one am not surprised at the setup.

August 24, 2006 11:41 AM Posted by Devon

Just curious if anyone has ever noticed this before. On top of one of Venetian's exterior buildings and what I think is above the Grand Canal and Great Hall is a third floor that isn't mentioned on the website or google and isn't featured on the property map. The floor is over 25,000 square feet and has a large courtyard in the middle. Could this be two huge villas or could it be Adelson's priavte residence?

Any other ideas? Check it out on google earth.

August 24, 2006 11:47 AM Posted by Hunter

Ummmm... Take a look at Vegas Today and Tomorrow:

Do those model pictures look like this guy just took my photos and put his Web site address on them?

That's not gonna fly...

August 24, 2006 11:55 AM Posted by Hunter


I think I see what you're referring to - right over the main entrance?

Adelson doesn't live on property - he's got a house registered out in Summerlin.

Honestly, not sure what that is.

August 24, 2006 11:58 AM Posted by Hunter

Now that I see that VTAT used my photos, I am now convinced that their 'Encore Update' where they claimed to have determined the tower orientation was entirely based on my analysis of the plans.

I'm a little upset about this. Stealing someone's content is totally low. I work really hard on this Web site and to have it ripped off is horrible. On top of that, I'm not unreasonable. If someone else wants to publish my stuff, we could work something out. A link and proper attribution perhaps? But to stamp someone else's photos and pass them off as your own... Man.

I have an email into the guy. If that goes unanswered then I'll bump it to the next level. I take this seriously.

August 24, 2006 12:08 PM Posted by Devon

Ah, steve wynn's office. What a sight that would be.

Still very curious as to what that could be. Could there be a villa that is larger and more elaborate than the great Steve Wynn has built.

August 24, 2006 1:01 PM Posted by Hunter

Update: Talked to Mark at VTAT. Sounds like an honest mistake and I believe we're okay going forward. Figured I needed to drop a note here to make sure I got the record straight.

August 24, 2006 3:14 PM Posted by John

Devon, I had always thought that that building was a VIP terrace/nightclub for TAO (eventhough I know it has been there probably since the Venetian opened). However, it would make sense that that building could be a VIP area, or it could be that Jack's Velvet Bar (or somthing else) that Hunter was talking about on the audio walk a few months ago.

Well, I would like to know, where at Wynn Las Vegas, Steve's office is. I mean I know that the Bellagio Exec. offices are across from Caesars, and that the Mirage offices are towards the back of the property, near the villas and the convention areas. However, when I look at Wynn Las Vegas on GoogleEarth, I can't find that specific formation of offices (with the gardens, that sort of resembles a villa), on the property. I'm also sort of curious if Steve is going to have another set of executive offices built at Encore (my guess would probably be no, but...anyway).

About Steve's office, if you watch some of the videos that they have posted on Wikipedia, you can catch a really quick gilmpse of either his office, or the private villa.

Oh, and on to the villas, thanks for the update Mike E., those ultra-villas have to be spectacular. I can't wait to see what Steve will try with Encore, and the two properties that will surround the lake.

Also, about Palazzo, Tom M. They built that giant, 8-story, underground parking structure, and I might be wrong, but it looks like the entrance will be located inside the main gate (which looks like another thinng Adelson stole from Wynn). Then entrance to the garage looks like it will be under that glass atrium structure, that is supported by some very thin pillars, and the exit will come up and run along the Strip, by the Porte Cochere, and will exit from the main gate.

August 24, 2006 3:35 PM Posted by Hunter

The executive suite at Wynn Las Vegas is located off the Esplanade, on the South side across from Bartolotta. His office has an outside terrace on Sands Ave., covered by a large wall, right before you turn into Tower Suites.

Those offices include Steve, Elaine, Marc Schorr and Ron Kramer with the balance of folks on the spa level of the main tower.

August 24, 2006 3:37 PM Posted by Hunter

BTW, Steve has always had a garden office in all his properties.

The Mirage office is now occupied by Sibella, right on the side of the building when you exit the North valet. You can see the private driveway access.

They may move with Encore since Palazzo is going to ruin Steve's view and some guests might be able to look straight down into Steve's outdoor area.

August 24, 2006 3:55 PM Posted by John

I wonder, then, if Steve & Co. vacate the WLV office, if reservations will move into that current office (Steve did say, that he wanted his reservations office to have windows and to be surrounded by gardens). However, I don't see where at Encore, Steve could put the offices. Another question I have is, will Terry Lanni and the MGM Mirage execs will move to offices at CityCenter, or if they will stay in the posh Bellagio offices.

August 24, 2006 4:22 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter's photos are great. Now, I won't feel guilty about not taking any. I'll go to Venetian tomorrow to see the Palazzo model. After three days at Bellagio, I moved to Wynn today where I will win a Ferarri Saturday evening. More after I get home next week, but here are a few observations.

I'm getting tired of all the traffic on the Strip. Driving from McCarran to Bellagio at 2 PM Monday, the Strip was bumper to bumper all the way from Tropicana. Same yesterday, driving to The Mirage. Strip center boulevard landscaping looks good. I hope they don't tear it out to put in a bus lane.

Bellagio is very slow this week, but the hotel is filled with a large travel agency/wholesaler convention. Bartender at LeCirque said this summer has been slower than in past years because, in his opinion, of all the new high end restaurants in town.

I'm in a Bellagio Suite, still not renovated. It's clean but very worn. I still hear it's because of CityCenter. My Host speculates the five suite floors will be re-done next year. I think MGM is stalling while they figure out where the new CityCenter hotel/casino will fit in the pecking order. Originally, indications were that it would be a mid-market property, but now, Bellagio staff say they have been told it will be a premium, high-end property. That may be why the casino renovation has been put on hold at Bellagio as well. Since high-end players now go to both Wynn and Bellagio, MGM is making a mistake letting Bellagio look 2nd rate in comparison to Wynn.

Bellagio employees seem loyal to MGM, but I pump them for their opinion of Bellagio now as compared to when Steve owned it. The most frequent comments are that MGM Mirage doesn't care about employees or customers as much. Employees say they're just numbers to MGM, not individuals.

The unique store which was by the entrance to the Conservatory has closed. The space is being converted to a sales office for CityCenter's condos/condo hotels.

Sensi, the restaurant in the Spa Tower has become one of my favorites. Very interesting space, unusual food. It's great.

The Mirage's new lounge and restaurant, Japonaise, will open in September. It is almost completed and huge. It is contemporary and will further reinforce Mirage's repositioning to the younger, affluent market. The wine bar at Onda is now open and is also more contemporary. I don't like what Mirage has done, but it will be more succesful, and the fact I don't like it is music to their ears. I'm too old for their new target market.

I walked over to Caesars to use a $95 free play coupon and turned it into a jackpot on a $5 slot. I was given the money and a receipt. They will mail me the W2G. I've never had that happen before. The slot attendant said that's HET's new policy.

Moved to a Parlor Suite at Wynn this morning. It is the ideal size and layout for me. Wynn service has been excellent so far. I was surprised at how small the B Bar is. Wynn still needs a Petrossian-like lounge. After three days at Bellagio, I marvel at the quality Steve put into that property. There will never be another. Another random thought: What has MGM ever created that is unique and superior? They follow along behind Wynn and use his creations to make money. Yes, MGM is the best operator in the business, but what can they create from scratch? That's why I am so interested in the new CityCenter casino/hotel. Will it have character or soul? Time will tell.

August 24, 2006 4:24 PM Posted by Adam F

Ahh... that�s where the executive suite is, when i was walking through the Esplanade, i saw a caddie Steve Wynn's golf bag and security beside him.
Another interesting thing was on my way home at McCarran, I saw Wynn's 737 leaving, and Donald Trump's plane coming in.

August 24, 2006 4:25 PM Posted by detroit1051

Correction: Ferrari.

If I'm going to win one, I ought to know how to spell it.

August 24, 2006 4:48 PM Posted by John

Detroit, congrats on winning the Ferrari. I agree with your comment on MGM, the only hotel they have ever built on their own, is MGM (and we know what a luxurious and well designed property that was when it opened). Also, I feel that by MGM turning every property into a hip cool place, is almost a form of market saturation. I mean, yes, they have Bellagio, which will always appeal to an older demographic, and by all account, I should love what they have done to the Mirage, but even though I fit into that age group, those changes just don't work for me.

August 24, 2006 5:08 PM Posted by Devon

Just curious as to if steve wynn has done his jet like trump has with his name on the side?

August 24, 2006 5:10 PM Posted by charlie

Rapid fire's amazing how 3 1/2 days of work will turn your thoughts on Vegas.

Detroit, I thought that was one of your best posts ever. Maybe I'm just a bit tired, but there seemed to be a bit of melancholy in the tone and composition of your words. Maybe its the relative quietness of the Bellagio this past week. Is this what will happen to Bellagio in 3 years when CityCenter comes along?

As great as Bellagio has been, not to mention its significance to the city and the industry, its dishonorable to see it used as a cash flow engine to drive the construction of CityCenter. MGM shouldn't let this happen. Its a disgrace.

August 24, 2006 5:16 PM Posted by Hunter

There's something about Bellagio that is magical... I was reminded of this when I did my back of house tower. It's a one of a kind property and it will not be duplicated.

Regarding the story on that tour, I've been working on it. I plan to publish it in bits and the first bit should be coming very soon.

August 24, 2006 5:23 PM Posted by Mike E

John, I saw those videos under Wikipedia that you were referring to. I'm almost certain that those are glimpses of his office.

But while searching, I did find I picture of Wynn standing in the main hallway of what I'm assuming is his villa. Mind you, this is one of the smaller, single story atrium villas at 7000 square feet. Truly a palace. I'm speechless...

August 24, 2006 5:26 PM Posted by Devon

"About Steve's office, if you watch some of the videos that they have posted on Wikipedia, you can catch a really quick gilmpse of either his office, or the private villa."

Do you have a link to this or how to find it?

I remember seeing what I think was steve wynn's office in ocean's 11/12 but it was used as Mr. Bennedict's office.

August 24, 2006 5:30 PM Posted by Hunter

Mike - you sure that's WLV? That looks like the villa hallway at Bellagio to me.

Devon - that office in Oceans was Steve's and is now Terry Lanni's.

August 24, 2006 5:44 PM Posted by Mike E

Hmm, I could be wrong then. This is pure speculation, but I came to that conclusion based off Steve Friess' unedited walkthough, the placement of what could be bedrooms off the hallway, what looks like a living room near the vanishing point, and resemblences in John Chow's blog:

August 24, 2006 5:45 PM Posted by Hunter

It looks like a common area to me, not inside a villa at WLV or Bellagio - it's too big/long looking.

I can't remember exactly what that hallway looked like at Bellagio but it was very similar if not the same. I just can't recall if the wall coverings were like that or not.

Who knows.

August 24, 2006 5:50 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Hunter -- Can Wynn get to his office from his Villa, or other areas without going out into the public. It would seem he can only access his office, through the main hallway in the shopping area?

August 24, 2006 5:53 PM Posted by Hunter

Unless they are connected underground (as much of the property is), I think he would have to walk in public, yes.

August 24, 2006 6:04 PM Posted by Adam F

Devon, Wynn's 737 is really plain more white with brown. There is nothing on it which would suggest that it was Wynn's plane. There are some chinese letters on the tail of the 737 and his other smaller jet has the wynn logo on the tail. Trump's is very distinct, as a black/blue plain with TRUMP on the side.

August 24, 2006 6:15 PM Posted by John

Well, the wikipedia page on Steve, says it is Wynn Las Vegas, but it looks too Southern Italian, and it almost looks like a convention center walkway at Bellagio (only I don't remember Bellagio's convention area looking like that).

Hunter, do you know if, first, Steve is building Villas at Wynn Macau (I'm almost positive he is), and second, is he going to use one of those villas as a private residence in Macau.

Also, was anybody surprised that Steve flew into town on Monday, to address the dealers on the tip payout change, shouldn't he be in Macau, I mean, the property open in a little over a week.

August 24, 2006 6:35 PM Posted by Hunter

From what I have read, yes there will be villas at Wynn Macau but I haven't heard anything about Steve renting one. It would have to be disclosed in the SEC filings if he did. I wouldn't be surprised if he did not, since he won't be there all the time and it would tie up a valuable resource.

On the dealer thing, I think Steve realized the shockwave it would generate and wanted to be there in person - I'm sure he's on his way back to Macau if not back already.

August 24, 2006 6:55 PM Posted by Devon

According to wikipedia, steve will be moving out of WLV and into his new mansion at Southern Highlands. Is this still true?

August 24, 2006 7:02 PM Posted by Hunter

I've not heard anything like that and they just renewed their lease on the villa so I have doubts.

Wikipedia is often wrong.

August 24, 2006 8:26 PM Posted by John

Yeah, since Wikipedia is basically editied by normal readers, they often have factual mistakes.

I hadn't heard Steve was buying a mansion at Southern Highlands (so, I'll assume that the Wikipedia infor was wrong). I had always thought that he was somewhat reclusive (or he at least valued his privacy), ever since the kidnapping (hence the Shadow Creek estate).

Hunter, if the executive offices are off of the Esplanande, then is there an entrace from the Esplanade, if so it has to well hidden, right?

Also, thinking about a Steve Wynn estate. I would think, from looking at the Shadow Creek estate, that Steve likes to have just as much control over the design and construction for his house, as he does for his casinos (notice how the SC house looks almost identical to some of the spaces in Bellagio).

August 24, 2006 8:30 PM Posted by Hunter

The main entrance is from the Esplanade. It's just not marked but if you look you can find it.

On the Shadow Creek thing, the interiors were done by Roger Thomas, Wynn's VP of Interior Design that did Bellagio and WLV.

August 24, 2006 11:17 PM Posted by motoman

Regarding the photo of The Steve:
Just by his apparent age in that pic, I'd say it's Bellagio. I agree it looks more Bellagio than WLV.

August 25, 2006 11:39 AM Posted by Mike E

Just got confirmation from Steve Friess that it's indeed not his villa. Oh well. Gorgeous space where ever it is.

August 25, 2006 4:03 PM Posted by detroit1051

Walked over to Venetian this morning. Distances are deceiving on the Strip, but it will be convenient from Wynn after the shops and corner open spaces are completed. The model impressed me. The pool deck should be a great space. If construction quality is high, it will be a welcome addition to the Strip. Based on the construction so far, Palazzo will look better on that corner than I had thought.

Hunter, some local friends and I went to Bartolotta last evening. It still isn't my favorite. Service was indifferent at best.

August 27, 2006 5:55 PM Posted by Hunter


I am working on the new RateVegas and specifically on RSS support. I plan to offer feeds for reader questions, recent photos, a random photo of the day and some other stuff.

My question is this:

Would you, as a user, rather have multiple feeds, one for each type of item, or one 'master' feed that splices all the different stuff together into a single feed? Or does it matter to you at all?

August 28, 2006 2:36 AM Posted by Mike E

I'd prefer the "master" feed myself.

August 28, 2006 6:50 PM Posted by John

I'd probably say the master feed

August 29, 2006 8:33 AM Posted by detroit1051

After seeing Hunter's great photos, I didn't bother taking more than a few:

Hunter, I also prefer the master feed.

August 31, 2006 5:55 AM Posted by detroit1051

From Norm in the RJ:

Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, the raves-grabbing seafood eatery at Wynn Las Vegas, broke the news to his staff on Wednesday: Lunch service is discontinuing on Tuesday and there will be layoffs."

Although I'm not a fan of Bartolotta, it's too bad many restaurants are now closed at lunch. Still open: Wynn has CC Grill and Tableau. Bellagio has Sensi and Olives, and Caesars has Bobby Flay.

August 31, 2006 8:25 AM Posted by Hunter

That is a bid disappointment for me - I love the restaurant. And you're right, the lack of good lunch choices is terrible.

I miss Circo for lunch!

August 31, 2006 10:30 AM Posted by detroit1051

"I miss Circo for lunch!"

So do I. With windows on three sides, overlooking the fountains, it was great. Twice, when I was there for lunch, Terry Lanni was at a nearby table with business guests. A server told me Lanni wasn't happy with the closure, but neither the Maccione family nor Bellagio could justify the expense of keeping it open for the few lunch diners.

August 31, 2006 11:36 AM Posted by detroit1051

No trip report, but some brief comments about my recent trip to Las Vegas.

I came home from three nights at Wynn and four at Bellagio wondering whether I have a split personality. As nice as Wynn is, Bellagio still feels like home to me. No, I don't like some of the changes MGM Mirage has made, but it is still a one of a kind property that will never be replicated. (I may be repeating what Hunter and others have already said.)

I was in a Bellagio Suite on the 32nd floor. It does need renovating, but it was clean and convenient. Since I checked in at the VIP Lounge, I often used the private elevators there unless I wanted to go from my room to the casino.

The hallways on the 29th-36th floors are the most impressive of any property. Tall ceilings with the original embossed, wallcovering, and the original gold lighting sconces are still there, not replaced with MGM's new favorite, silver. When they renovate the suites, I hope they leave the hallways alone.

There is no comparison between Bellagio and Wynn in the construction detail, mosaic and marble floors and trim work. Steve spared no expense at Bellagio, and it still looks magnificent. After eight years and hundreds of thousands (millions?) of visitors walking through the lobby and Conservatory, the flooring is as good as new.

Why Steve didn't put in a lounge at Wynn comparable to Petrossian is still a mystery to me. It is Las Vegas' best spot to relax with friends, listen to the piano and people-watch. What a great place! Wynn's B Bar is nice but suprisingly small. I believe I counted only 17 barstools, and there are no table or places to sit.

Bellagio's elevator lobby is superior to Wynn's, and I still like the keycard access to the suite elevators.

As Hunter pointed out in his back of house report, it seems like Bellagio, under Bill McBeath's leadership, has improved its service. Unlike past visits in recent years, houskeeping and turn-down service were consistent and high quality. Bellagio lost a lot of casino staff to Wynn, but the replacements are attentive and customer-friendly. In fact, I noted that an employee at the Players Club booth volunteered to make a significant exception on something related to my account. I don't think she would have done that a year ago.

Wynn was fine, and I was treated well. I enjoyed a Parlor Suite with no complaints. However, this was the first time since Wynn opened that I concluded that Bellagio is back in the game. I'm glad.

August 31, 2006 8:18 PM Posted by Mike P.

detroit -

If you get a chance, I'd recommend trying to get into the Spa Tower at Bellagio. I thought the Penthouse suite we had there earlier this year was equal to Wynn's Salon suites.

After just getting back from a few days in a Skyloft suite at MGM I have to say that's my new favorite -- I love the interior design, and the service there beats anything that minnows like us usually get.

Has anyone been in Bellagio's casino in the past few days? Last Monday there was a large area curtained off in the southwest part of the casino, and another area just north of there that had been completely emptied. I think those areas had low denomination slots and carnie games previously.

Mike P.

September 1, 2006 5:39 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike P, thanks. I have already asked to be in the Spa Tower on my next trip. I was last in Bellagio's casino Sunday evening, August 27, and didn't see any curtained off areas. Was this near Petrossian, toward the hotel lobby? I may be back mid-September and will check it out then.

By the way, your photos at are magnificent. I really enjoy them.

September 1, 2006 12:09 PM Posted by Mike P.

detroit -

Thanks for the compliment.

Yeah, the curtained off area was the entire space between Petrossian and the Baccarat bar, with just the corridor to the noodle joint open. Also, the area north of the Baccarat bar up to the corridor leading to the hotel elevators was emptied of tables and slots, but just roped off. Now that I think about it we walked through the casino Sunday evening too, so this must have happened Monday AM.

I've been expecting a wholesale casino remodel ever since Wynn opened, but so far of course they've been content just to make some changes around the edges.

Mike P.

September 1, 2006 1:49 PM Posted by detroit1051

I checked out at 7 AM Monday and took the back elevator down to VIP Services. I should have gone through the casino. When an employee suggested that CityCenter was responsible for the delay in renovating the suites, the employee said it was also responsible for the delay in redesigning the entire casino. Maybe they're starting now. The sample wall fabrics and different awnings over the tables have been up for well over a year now. I suspect we'll see a darker, more contemporary look akin to the high limit area at The Mirage. Bellagio's square, high limit table area, Club Prive, may blend in better after the renovation.

September 2, 2006 5:41 PM Posted by Hunter

The test version of the new is available:

I am announcing here in the comments instead of on the main page to start this a bit small.

There are some bugs I already know about and things will be cleaned up before launch.

I'm interested to hear your feedback. An awful lot of work went into this but if something could be improved, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I want this to be a great release.

September 3, 2006 9:54 AM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, I'm sorry to say I don't refer to the site often. In looking at the link a couple of things:

* Some of the readers' comments have lines drawn through part of the text. Is this supposed to be underlining, or is it a glitch?

* I would find the alphabetical list of properties easier to use if they were alphabetical down the column rather than across to the second column before dropping to the next row.

* I tried to use the Search at the top of the page and couldn't. Maybe it's not functional yet, and could the Search box be more distinct?

* The photos are the best source of information to me. Is there a way to make them more of a hook to draw readers into them more? There are thousands of great photos!

* I like Ask the Expert. Maybe some of us can think of questions to keep this section active and current.

September 3, 2006 6:04 PM Posted by Hunter


Thanks for taking the time to take a look.

The underlining is the result of users including special characters that are being interpreted as formatting by the system. We're using a new formatting system and this is a side-effect. Not sure the best way to handle it but it does appear to be wide-spread enough that something should be done.

On the list, I'll see about making the directional change. I agree, it's probably more readable even if it is more work to display. Probably worth taking the time to do it.

The search should be working so I'm interested to hear more about the problems you had. I tried a search for 'bellagio' and got results back that I would expect.

The photos are actually much more prominent in this version of the Web site than they were in the past, plus the new site will be much easier for Google to index and provide photos directly, a large source of our traffic. Still, something to think about.

Ask the Experts has been a huge success on the old site, I get a ton of questions and I do my best to help folks. I like it too.

Thanks again for providing feedback.

September 4, 2006 6:44 PM Posted by motoman

Just another readers' 2 cents....

I took a look too, and have mostly the same notes as Detroit. Vertical list easier; more prominent Search a plus (true for any website); and also, I too spend much more time on this blog than the parent site (tho it's a better resource for general Q&A for those not as fanatical--er, enthusiastic--as the readers of this blog).

I also liked your ideas a few postings ago, to index the photos better for searchability (by date, you mentioned for instance). Also I had tried to caption my photos last time and they didn't stick. Not talking about pages of text, just a real caption instead of "000357.jpg" or such.

September 4, 2006 6:49 PM Posted by Hunter


I will be adding more options for viewing photos once the site is live... That will include by date, which I know will be good for people that just want to see recent stuff.

I consider the blog and the parent site to have basically totally separate audiences. The parent site is really very tourist/mass-market oriented and the blog is for those of use that like to delve into the the details.