Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

November 13, 2006

Mike's Construction (Mini) Update

Posted by Hunter

Another update from Mike on the construction situation. No photos this time but still some good info on Mandalay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Wynn and Stardust.

Keep reading after the jump for the details.

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This update is small and photo-less for two reasons: I only came into town for a meeting close but off-strip, and there's nothing to take pictures of unless you're a big fan of construction walls and curtains.

The brown walls are STILL around The Cafe (the coffee house by the showrooms, not the 24hr cafe.) They'll probably be there for a while, because they've gone ahead and installed lighting fixtures on the construction walls. Inside The Drugstore shop, one of the tunnels connecting to The Cafe has curtains in front. I couldn't get a good view of everything behind the curtains, but the fancy tile flooring in front of the walled tunnel was completely busted up and bare concrete, so I'd bet that there's some drastic changes and not just a simple redesign going on in this space.

No change.

This is kind of more of a gripe, because there's not much going on here yet from the outside. Construction walls are up all around the front end, the goodbye sign is replaced with a promotion for the auction. But the real complaint is that this place is a big dark specter looming on the north Strip at night. Usually when a casino is shut down, the owner leaves enough light on at night to make sure that his closed casino doesn't leave a big ugly black hole on the strip. Desert Inn is a pretty good example, as the remaining building turned on it's exterior lights each night even when Wynn was already topped off. But you'd think Boyd needed to save a few bucks on electricity with the way the Stardust sits in inky darkness. The 32 floor main tower is barely lit with a blue floodlight, and all the neon is turned off. Even the big beloved roadside sign is off, dimly illuminated by the glow of Riviera across the way.

If the place is going down next month, this would be acceptable, and I realize you don't want to turn on every bulb on the facade because then people will think it's open. But, the implosion is scheduled to be around March, which is five months (almost a whole half-year!) away. It's going to look ghastly sitting there through the holiday travel season and of course New Years, so what happened to leaving a light on while there's nobody home?

Treasure Island:
The casino is clearing off an area by the Buffet that had some of it's older machines. Doesn't look at first glance like they'll be constructing anything here, though.

MGM Grand:
Formerly curtained areas are reopened, and they haven't changed anything other than the carpets. Even some of the lousy old slots with images of the old MGM entrance are hanging around still (hey, where's the EFX machines? Ah, there they are.) New carpet continues to expand down the KA/Mansion hall and near the lobby. A whole table area is now curtained off near Studio Cafe. These curtain walls are pretty tall compared to the last so we'll see if they're going to refurbish anything else besides the carpet.

More minor cosmetic changes on the shopping/dining level. Octane is FINALLY open, and it now has some tricked-out motorcycles on display to draw attention.

The former Keno desk is now the new slot club desk. The old slot club desk and Nefertiti's Lounge are under blank construction walls. Across the way, RA is covered up with with construction walls advertising the impending LAX nightclub.

Mandalay Bay:
Nothing to speak of, but some advice for the reader: We came here to take a friend through Shark Reef the day that a rodeo event was finishing up and a boxing event for the next day was starting up. At just after noon, all lunchtime food options inside and behind the casino had lines going out to timbuktu. And here is my tip for you: the answer in times like these is The Cafe. We walked out past Rumjungle to the parking garage, swung a right to THEhotel, and were immediately seated at The Cafe, which is also a totally non-smoking restaurant for those of you who appreciate such things.


Read archived comments (8 so far)
November 13, 2006 11:38 AM Posted by mike_ch

Addendum, warning long story: Luxor is having a miserable time adjusting to the MGM-Mirage Player's Club. I received a freeplay offer and spent two days trying to earn it.

Day one, I plugged my MGM card in and all machines said it was invalid. At the new desk, the line goes around the corner behind a wall so the people working can't see how long the line for service is. When I got to the front, the person there told me that I must have magnetically killed it, but I had more cards on me I had just taken out of the car and they were ALL doing this. All the while, she's talking about how I can access everything at the machine.

Well, I'm still getting invalids, and after about three trips through the line talking to same person, I finally get her to admit that there's many accounts that haven't been "switched over" to work at Luxor. I am then told that my offer for freeplay this month can't be claimed without the physical ticket (previously under One Club you just punched in a PIN and it was there) because they didn't believe they were sending anyone any offers this month, and they aren't aware of any because of the changeover, but if I bring in the actual offer they will have to award it. So I go home for the evening, determined to arrive the next day with my offer.

The next day, I conveniently get the same worker at the front of the line and show her my offer, and she credits me the money. She then tells me that I can access it from the machines. So I sit down at a particular favorite machine and a message appears to go see the Slot Club desk for getting my discount. Playing the machine doesn't work

This time I was determined to ignore the line and butt in, but I didn't have to because at the same time, a little old lady with a much bigger offer is getting the same problem. Slot club worker insists that she doesn't have to "unlock" my money, despite the message on the machine, and that just playing the machine should activate freeplay. However, on my machine it doesn't. Deciding to show her this with her standing there, I put my card in a nearby machine, put $5 in, play a round, and watch as the freeplay credits me my bet.

Uhm... Okay. At this point, I don't know WHAT is going on and slot club lady explains that some of the machines don't take freeplay. However, the people working at the desk have no idea what machines do and don't, so you'll just have to play around and find a machine that will accept it. What makes this problem worse is that Mandalay/OneClub management glued plaques to certain older machines that state they do NOT work with FreePlay, although under the new MGM club some of them now do.

So, basically, yeah, the whole transition from old club to new club has been a mess over there. Although I don't receive freeplay from Mandalay Bay, I never had any sort of problem with card verification or anything else when they switched. Bizarre.

November 13, 2006 11:41 AM Posted by mike_ch

Oh, and I forgot that there was also a line about needing to go back to the desk to get a PIN to use my offer. Just the worst customer service experience I've had in years.

November 13, 2006 12:44 PM Posted by detroit1051

I received a mailing from MGM Mirage today announcing the new program to convert Players Club points to Free Play at the machine. First, you need to get a PIN at the Players Club Desk. I knew this was coming, and other casinos, like Wynn, have this technology. What caught my eye was the statement, "With this new benefit, all Players Club points will be redeemed at your favorite slot machines for PointPlay."
Does this mean there no longer is cashback for points? I know that most players just put their cashback into the machines, but some actually count on the money itself as a cushion if they have a bad trip.

November 13, 2006 3:15 PM Posted by mike_ch

I suspect that change has happened. Wynn, as you know, does this already. The Mandalay OneClub was quite nice, with a decent expiration period and having seperate comps/cashback levels so you could drain one and still keep the other. I don't know for sure, but if you added all the competing player clubs up it was probably one of the most generous of the megaresort groups.

As for Wynn, yikes. I accidentally converted all my points into pointplay because I had a machine with a badly-calibrated touchscreen. My however many points were converted into some dollar amount that quickly got vacuumed with almost no payout by the machine.

The casinos have historically never been one to part much with money, so cashback exchange rates were quite low, but now they make you play to get your money, and I'm sure the ratio is even quite worse than the cashback program was. After all, what if someone hit a million bucks playing their pointplay?

November 14, 2006 10:04 AM Posted by Hunter

Couple of things...

First off, I don't really consider myself a 'moderator' to any great extent... At least that is a role that I have avoided and I think we've had great success with people self-moderating themselves. I hope that can continue because being a super-active moderator doesn't sound like fun to me.

As far as a pissing match goes, let's skip that. I just cleaned the floor in here anyway. :-)

Getting back to the real topic here, it's interesting to see that they seem to have semi-botched the Luxor conversion. The other swaps have gone well and MGM Mirage has a very competent IT department. I wonder what happened here? The Luxor seems to continually fall victim to this sort of thing - things just don't work right over there. Pharaoh's curse?

November 14, 2006 6:44 PM Posted by mike_ch

Is someone reading? Stardust is lit up tonight. Tower neon, sign, etc. It could be just for the auction since inspection started yesterday, but I hope not.

November 14, 2006 7:24 PM Posted by detroit1051

I've already decided what I want, some fixtures from the high limit salon,
Stardust Auction Catalog

November 14, 2006 9:17 PM Posted by Hunter

Isn't that some cool stuff? They are selling *everything*. I was looking at that today and I decided that if I won the lottery, I would build a Stardust sports book replica with original stuff.