Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

I recently spent a weekend in Las Vegas. My stated purpose was a friend's wedding but I managed to get in a few other activities for the benefit of you fine people.

Here you will read about Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo, The Mirage, Spamalot, Luxor and more.

Also, I uploaded a couple hundred new photos:

Some more info after the jump...

Spamalot at Wynn Las Vegas

We saw this show, still in previews, on Friday evening. I'm not going to go into plot - that's covered elsewhere. I will say that the show was very funny. To those that watched the demise of 'Avenue Q', some interesting info - the theater was completely full and the audience laughed at all the jokes. I was curious about the latter, wondering if the British humor would translate to Las Vegas. It seems to have moved over quite well with some Las Vegas specific jokes and a trimmed down timeline to boot.

One thing I did not like - it's crowded. The 'Q' theater was spacious and comfortable. The new 'Grail Theater' felt crammed. I know they added seats - it really shows. I heard this comment from several others so it's not just me.

Overall I hope it does well. It's a nice change of pace and I thought very funny, though I probably wouldn't go back and see it again anytime soon. It's more of a one time thing, which may be to its detriment.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

As you can see in the photos I took of the site, it's really coming along. Now, as many know, I wrote an extensive article on the Encore plans some time ago. In general terms, these haven't changed much. I should reiterate that the plans I saw do not include any interior furnishings, renderings or color schemes so for all I know, those specifics have changed a thousand times - I wouldn't know.

The plans I have seen are the site blueprints which show all the walls, levels, elevations, etc... I mentioned in another thread that there had been some changes and some commented they wanted to know more. I hope y'all didn't get too excited as the changes aren't very dramatic - mostly just relative sizes of various components. For instance, the casino is now larger, at the expense of the 'garden' area that exists on your way into the casino. Those are the sorts of changes I'm privy to at this point and I don't think it's anything too revolutionary.

I'm working on getting access to some of the actual renderings which would be the be-all-end-all as far as opening the kimono on Encore's design.

Everything I've seen indicates that Encore will be like Wynn 1.5, not Wynn 2.0 or something more dramatic.


Well, I still don't see how they're going to open in 2007. The tower isn't topped off, which means that the fit and finish in the tower and its rooms isn't close to complete. On top of that, the low-rise stuff, while rapidly coming together, still has a ways to go. My guess is that they'll be a couple of months off and open in Q12008. I know that they don't want a repeat of the opening at The Venetian where most of the rooms didn't have occupancy certificates due to issues with testing the fire suppression and other life support systems.

As the building comes together I'm getting more curious about the property. While The Venetian has let me down, I'm hoping Palazzo redeems Las Vegas Sands' Las Vegas offerings.

Many photos of Palazzo, under construction in Las Vegas, here:

The Mirage

We were staying here again on this trip and while the bulk of the work here has been done for some time, some flourishes keep popping up.

One of the things that got a mixed reaction on the renovation front was the removal of the canopies that used to sit over the table games on the casino floor. Those are still gone but in at least one area, there is a new set of ceiling tiles.

I still think The Mirage is looking pretty good and the Revolution ultra-lounge was hopping all the nights we were there.


A hotel I usually stay away from, we spent a little time here this trip and it seems like the renovations are starting to take hold. As mike_ch has mentioned in his reports, changes are taking place in various parts of the property, some small and some larger.

The nightclub is still not ready and the fine dining under wraps. The haggard looking casino is still exactly that but hopefully that will be fixed soon. As a Las Vegas icon, Luxor could be so much more.

That's it for now. I am working on a CityCenter story based on my experiences there - hopefully that will be ready in the next couple of days. In the meantime, enjoy the photos.


Read archived comments (8 so far)
March 20, 2007 6:29 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I would love to know if you have a firm idea on the number of places to eat at Encore. Are we talking just a few, or more like a half a dozen or so? Also I am dying to know if they are still leaving room for one more theater or event center. Wynn said all along there will be room left for one major headliner, but unless its being built now, I don't see where they are leaving room for a 2-4k seat theater.

March 20, 2007 6:50 PM Posted by mike_ch

Of course Spamalot is busy, previews (discounted showings) began less than two weeks ago and a lot of people on this coast that want to see it haven't. But, I give two years max.

Comedy is one of those things that wears out fast and there are already shows on the Strip that are more dynamic and open to change, even if they don't have Broadway sophistication slapped on them. That's the real repeatability issue. Although whether repeatability is something that needs to be actively sought out isn't proven. Cirque and Blue Man use audience plants like crazy and it hasn't hurt them too much.

March 20, 2007 7:00 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, thanks for the floorplans for the Bellagio Lakeview Suites. I've only caught glimpses of them from the hallway when Houskeeping was in them. They're not on Bellagio's website with the other rooms and suites. Since they're on all floors, are they used more as business hospitality suites than for high-rollers?
The Mirage sent me an email survey on slots. It was quite extensive and asked questions such as:
*What is the best casino on the Strip for Slots? Why? (I answered Wynn because I perceive them to be looser than MGM Mirage properties.)
*Do you like lively, energetic casinos or quiet?
*What is your opinion of the Slot floor at The Mirage?
*Opinion of VIP services, staff, new restaurants, JET, etc, etc.
I liked the fact there was opportunity to write comments in addition to rating on a scale of 1 to 5.

March 20, 2007 7:14 PM Posted by detroit1051

On the survey and on Mirage's website, the tagline is "The Mirage... Remixed." I hadn't noticed that before.
Also, this week's Eye on Vegas has a story on Bare at The Mirage. The Light Group is going to make it THE European pool in Vegas.
"Billed as an �exclusive adult alternative to the typical pool experience�, BARE hopes to capture a piece of the lucrative pool business by providing a very VIP and intimate experience that includes pool-side bottle service and live DJ performances."
The story is about a third of the way down the column:

March 21, 2007 5:31 AM Posted by Jason Robar

"Here you will read about...Mandalay Bay"

False advertising! ;)

Thanks for the notes Hunter.

March 21, 2007 6:05 AM Posted by Hunter R.


In a couple weeks I am staying in one of those two bedroom grand suites at Bellagio and will be able to provide some photos. I will be sending them to Hunter for posting on this site.


March 21, 2007 9:42 AM Posted by Hunter

Whoops. I had a section in there that I removed - wasn't too interesting. Forgot to update the top bit.

March 21, 2007 4:46 PM Posted by detroit1051

I never thought we would have more than one Hunter here. Hunter R, that's great. I'd enjoy seeing the photos after your trip.