Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

July 6, 2007

Weekly Open Topic-July 6

Posted by Mike E

We're a little early in our post of a new weekly open topic, but for good reason: today is Hunter's birthday!

I personally wanted to say how much we appreciate all the hard work you've done both here and on, Hunter. Cheers to another great year!


Read archived comments (44 so far)
July 6, 2007 5:15 AM Posted by motoman

Amen to Mike E's remarks!

It can't be possible that this blog has been in existence for only something like 2.5 years, it seems like such an institution. The community you've created here, the level of discussion it has fostered, and the amount I've been able to learn from the participants here, are amazing. Thank you!

July 6, 2007 5:43 AM Posted by Michele

Happy birthday, Hunter! I just want to echo Mike E's sentiments and say thanks for all the great work you do on this site.

July 6, 2007 9:10 AM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, the blog started in February of 2005 but it does seem like it has been around longer... I give all the credit for the place to you guys - that's what makes it great. Thank you.

July 6, 2007 9:29 AM Posted by BillyInLasVegas

Congrats Hunter, Happy Birthday!

July 6, 2007 9:37 AM Posted by Dave

Happy birthday, Hunter! Thanks for maintaining this excellent blog.

July 6, 2007 12:20 PM Posted by Historian

Good a place as any to make my first post.

Congrats Hunter. You've got a really quality site here, with some very knowledgeable posters.

I've enjoyed it very much in just the short time I've been lurking.

July 6, 2007 1:09 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Same here, Happy Birthday Hunter, you are but a mere child @ the tender age of 28! Fortunately you find yourself in a position to have the advantage of access + a tremendous amount of experience to learn from your "elders", myself included, who will hopefully continue to contribute, in a constructive fashion, to the future of this very relevant Internet enterprise that you created 2 1/2 yeras ago. Regardless of the controversy created by contributors like myself, your non-biased POV (although we all know deep down you are a devout Wynnoholic) please keep up the good work. :-)

July 6, 2007 1:31 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, you mean you were only 26 when we first met in Vegas? Every generation thinks it's an exciting time to be young, but I think it's especially true now. You're going to see, and contribute to, huge changes in our world during your lifetime. The 20's are great, but, imo, the 30's are the best. Good health and many, many more. I owe you a drink in Vegas!

July 6, 2007 1:59 PM Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to all!

Detroit - yes, I was only 26 when we first met. I'm of course much older and wiser now. ;-)

Hopefully many more good years to come!

July 6, 2007 5:09 PM Posted by John

Happy Birthday Hunter. I, alond with others, thought you were running this blog much longer than I really thought you were. I thought it was up for at least two years when I stumbled onto it in Aug. 2005.

Well, all the better, it's been quite exciting to see the blog grow during that short amount of time. I've been able to meet quite a few contributors here, made friendships with people I probably never would have, and can't wait to meet even more contributors. And all of that was due to you and the blog, Hunter. Congrats and I wish you continued success with everything.

July 6, 2007 6:35 PM Posted by Mike T

Even though I am new here, and we haven't met, I too would like to say happy birthday to Hunter. I just found this blog recently, and have enjoyed reading it. Keep up the good work.

July 6, 2007 8:14 PM Posted by David F.

Well they say time flies when you are having fun!!

It will be the Big Three Zero before you know it!!!!

All the very best, and thanks to all for the continuing insight into all that is LV.

July 6, 2007 9:41 PM Posted by Hunter

I know, 30 is just around the corner... Then I won't be 'that kid' any more, I'll be old like (most of) you people!

July 6, 2007 11:52 PM Posted by Mike E

Age doesn't matter; you're wiser than your years and that's all that counts... grandpa!

July 7, 2007 5:40 AM Posted by detroit1051

Monorail ridership rose in June to a daily average of 23,790, the highest in 18 months. Since they need 32,000 riders a day to break-even, it can't be called a success. I doubt that tourists staying at properties on the west side of the Strip would consider walking east across the Strip and then all the way through Harrah's, Bally's or MGM Grand to wait for the monorail. It worked for me to go back and forth from MGM Grand to the LVCC and to get such a great view of the Wynn Golf Course, but otherwise I wouldn't consider it.

July 7, 2007 9:30 AM Posted by mike_ch

Happy birthday.

I'm going out on the town for a few nights with a friend in a couple weeks. Staying downtown, going to try Four Queens. It will almost certainly be the end of my regular Strip Updates columns as I desperately will be seeking work after this visit is over. I'll still go out from time to time, but I'll probably just sporadically drop changes I see than commando-marching through all the casinos for new stuff and construction site photos.

Sorry, but I hope the next (last?) one is a good one!

July 7, 2007 3:33 PM Posted by motoman

Thanks mike_ch, I've especially appreciated your updates and photos. Makes us feel like we're there. Anything from such an observant local will continue to be appreciated!

Probably don't even need to mention this, especially to you, but you realize a whole wing of rooms at Four Queens is directly above the Fremont Street Experience, right? Unless you're definitely not an early sleeper, it might be wise to specify elsewhere in the hotel....

July 7, 2007 5:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Yeah, but I think the rooms over the FSE are closer to the door and I thought I could get a room high up. CheapoVegas suggested if you stay over the fourth floor it should be alright. I don't know, I'll try and come up with something that works, but this is a whirlwind tour of the city in two days! I don't think there will be much sleeping.

July 8, 2007 8:49 AM Posted by mike_ch

Made my res' today, won't be going to Queens after all. Prices went up downtown, and I'd rather not stay at the Fitz if I had the option, so I went with Excalibur. I have some secret ways to get to the MGM Grand Monorail in almost no time flat from there, and tickets are a buck each for locals, so I shouldn't have as much of a wait getting around.

Stay tuned, I ordered their basic junky room (just need a place to rest) so we'll see how bad it is. I can't imagine it was worse than some of the joints I saw in Laughlin last week.

July 8, 2007 12:06 PM Posted by Michael Lu


i heard that excalibur has renovated some of their rooms. maybe you'll get lucky and score a free upgrade to one of their widescreen rooms.

July 8, 2007 6:41 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, Mike E or anyone else: I read a Skylofts trip report on LV Talk in which the writer talked about having breakfast at the restaurant in The Mansion. He and his wife ate "outside" under the giant glass dome. Is this something new? Ia it available only to Skylofts and Mansion guests? Is it open for dinner? Thanks.

July 8, 2007 7:51 PM Posted by Mike E

Hey Detroit:

You'll notice I already commented just after that report. This must be something new and is in the plans for my Skylofts stay in a few weeks. I don't know how open they are to a breakfast reservation for a party of seven (or even how open my friends will be to a $50+ per person breakfast), but we'll see. I had asked the Skylofts concierge for a tour of The Mansion and they said that'll be determined during my stay. Not one to play things by ear, I called The Mansion directly and asked for a tour and was pleasantly surpirsed with a "Certainly, sir!". Having my name in their system for a two-bedroom loft seemed to give me some weight. They said the manager will contact me to arrange a time, but I have yet to hear a thing.

People sometimes argue about which "hidden" breakfast spot is the best gem: Tableau, Veranda, or Bouchon. I expect The Mansion will blow all three away.

July 8, 2007 8:36 PM Posted by John

You know, honestly, I've never been all that impressed with Bouchon. Tableau is on my breakfast list for the next trip, but when I tried Bouchon in December it was just "eh". I mean, for a Thomas Keller restaurant, I really expected something out of this world. Yeah, the brioche french toast is an interesting item, but it just wasn't that great. Maybe I should give it another try, but I just don't think it's that great. I am hoping, though, that Tableau will be quite different. I've heard incredible things and I'm sort of ashamed to say that I haven't tried it for breakfast yet. Well, I'll have tried it come August.

July 8, 2007 10:15 PM Posted by Mike E

John, I've had breakfast at Tableau three times and am honestly one for three in great experiences.

That great experience was the first time I dined there where I was graciously treated by Detroit1051. It was fantastic. We had a wonderful server and great food.

The other two weren't necessarily bad, just not paralleling all the glowing reviews of the place. Still, when the weather's nice, sitting on the terrace by the pool makes even the most subpar service forgivable.

July 8, 2007 10:20 PM Posted by Jason Robar

Mike_ch, try to get a widescreen room if you
can. Those are the "renovated" rooms.

(I think they should use the term "refurbished"
instead of renovated - the layout of the room has
not changed in any way, just the furniture has
been replaced with newer items.)

Here's a link to pictures of the room:

(At some point, I'll get around to doing a trip
report or a review of the room. The way things
have been goign though, that should be sometime
in, oh, August or September.)


July 8, 2007 10:58 PM Posted by mike_ch

Well, my plans changed once again. I found a similar rate at a location closer to where my guest is, so I'm checking into the world famous... Imperial Palace!

I've paid for the one of the rooms Harrah's has renovated, so hopefully I won't find any nightmares.

July 9, 2007 12:00 AM Posted by motoman

Hello again Jason, nice photos of the new Excalibur rooms! I'll bet Hunter would like 'em to compare with the shots of the old rooms if you haven't already.

If as you said on Flikr you get excited over a thermostat and bathroom fan, then I'd say you've found a home here ;-)

As for the toilet, comparing it to the photos here, it looks like they finally put a water-saver unit in the new rooms. 'Bout time. (But why no double sink in that great big counter...?)

July 9, 2007 12:06 AM Posted by motoman

The Imp, huh mike_ch? Was it you who reported from there last? The noisy AC unit and view of the parking garage? It will be interesting to hear what level of renovations have been done in lieu of dropping the place..

July 9, 2007 6:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike E, thanks. I don't check LV Talk as much as I should, and I read the Skylofts report without looking at the comments. It will be interesting to see what you find out. The Mansion has always been the most exclusive, hidden away place in Vegas. I hope the commercialization of having a restaurant there doesn't take away from the ambience or turn off the ultra-high rollers.

Regarding Tableau, I'm sure the reason you enjoyed it so much was your scintellating breakfast companion. LOL.

July 9, 2007 6:36 AM Posted by mike_ch

motoman: Nope, never stayed there before. Every time I go in I get lost, every time I've tried to gamble I lose money, and every time I look at the amenities I'm pretty disgusted. I've also had a creepy experience in one of their elevators that take so long to arrive.

I ponied up the extra cash for a renovated room because I don't like cockroaches running through my room while I sleep.

July 9, 2007 10:41 AM Posted by Hunter


Are those your shots?

If so, I'd love to re-publish a few if you don't mind.

Drop me a line:


July 9, 2007 11:04 AM Posted by detroit1051

Wynn VP resignation:
"Denise Randazzo, vice president of public relations and advertising at Wynn Las Vegas since it opened, has resigned, effective today, to open her own hotel marketing company, Randazzo Partners."

July 9, 2007 1:28 PM Posted by detroit1051

"Nicolas Kurban has been named vice president of food and beverage for the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City. Kurban had been director of fine dining for Wynn Las Vegas Casino & Resort, Las Vegas."
Maybe Leonard has sensitized me to watch for personnel changes at Wynn, but there does seem to be a lot of turnover at Wynn. In this case, it looks like Kurban has moved up in his career. I would like to get a better sense of mid and upper level management morale at WLV and to know turnover rates at Wynn compared to Bellagio and other comparable properties.

July 10, 2007 4:32 AM Posted by detroit1051

Randazzo's replacement is certainly familiar with Wynn Resorts:
"Jennifer Dunne Promoted to Vice President of PR and Advertising of Wynn Resorts
July 09, 2007: 04:00 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, July 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wynn Resorts, Limited is pleased to announce that Jennifer Dunne has assumed the position of Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising for Wynn Resorts. She will be responsible for overseeing the advertising, public relations and creative services for Wynn Resorts and its subsidiaries.
Dunne, who joined Wynn Las Vegas in July 2006 as Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Sales, has accumulated more than 15 years experience spanning North America and Asia-Pacific. As head of marketing for Cirque du Soleil's Resident Shows Division, Dunne led the launch of such productions as "O" at Bellagio and "The Beatles LOVE" at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Headquartered in Singapore from 2000-2002, she oversaw marketing activities for two touring productions in the region before returning to Las Vegas to open Celine Dion's A New Day ... at Caesars Palace in 2003.
In her new capacity at Wynn Resorts, Dunne succeeds Denise Randazzo, effective July 10, 2007."

July 10, 2007 8:42 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit: Yeah, let's see how long Dunne lasts. Rumor has it that there are many more upper level management planning to depart that hell hole. Wynn Resorts are losing senior executives + upper level management personnel at an astounding rate. They're dropping like flies over there + Macau. The fact is, when other options are available, no one wants to work for Steve. He has alienated, not only rank-and-file, but senior executives as well. I'm afraid that Stevie has lost his luster over the years. The true fact is that quality people simply don't want, or need, to deal with this maniacal tyrant!

July 10, 2007 11:59 PM Posted by Molly

Can someone please explain why Wynn has decided to once again shut down his nightclub?

First, there was Tryst. Then Lure. And now it's closed again to become something else.

Am I the only one who thinks there is a major problem in opening a casino to boast the best nightclub in Vegas, only to redesign it 3 times in 27 months?????

Ditto the theaters.

Ditto the restaurants.

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto......

This is beyond insanity at this point.


July 11, 2007 1:30 AM Posted by Mike E

Molly, have we forgotten the embarrassing "Emerald City" theme of MGM? Or the Nile River ride at Luxor? Change, even after recently opening, is inevitable and no surprise in this city.

Either I'm misinterpreting your comment or you may have your night spots confused: Tryst was the reincarnation of La Bete and remains as one of, if not the most successful nightclub in town. It's remaining untouched. Lure is the ultralounge that opened with the hotel that's about to be renovated.

So as I watch Caramel at Bellagio and Tabu at MGM die away night after night or as I see nobody younger than my mom's age lining up to get into Studio 54, it's refreshing to see one developer who won't be happy until each and every component of his resort is running at near-full capacity. And keep in mind, there is NOTHING immediately north of Wynn worthy of a special trip so it naturally doesn't get the same pedestrian traffic that Bellagio et al do. I can only imagine each component of WLV becoming more successful as it becomes a more centralized location.

July 11, 2007 9:10 AM Posted by Brian Fey

First of all, Tryst and Lure are two different places. Lure has been there since the hotel opened. The space can be better used so why not replace it.

July 11, 2007 12:23 PM Posted by detroit1051

A follow-up to my monorail comment made here on the 7th:
Looming financial default now "appears probable" for the Las Vegas Monorail, according to the bleakest financial assessment to date of the struggling rapid transit line released Tuesday.
"Officials at the Las Vegas Monorail Co. dismissed concern that either the monorail or a planned $500 million extension to McCarran International Airport are in jeopardy."

How many ways are there to waste money? Give it up already! Tourists aren't going to drag their luggage to a monorail at McCarran and then schlep suitcases down the Strip in 110 degree temps. An additional $500 Million? It's nuts.

July 11, 2007 7:54 PM Posted by Brian Fey

The monorail is too damn expensive, plain and simple. That's why its failing. If a group of four wants to go to the end of the strip, a taxi is not only faster and easier, but its cheaper. Isn't public transportation supposed to be cheaper? In some cases, a party of two can even travel cheaper. Go down to 2-3$ per person, and ridership will more than double in time. When they went to $5 they shot themselves in the foot! No if I could go downtown for $5 that would be a bargain, but not just short hops on the strip.

July 12, 2007 4:58 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Brian: There is no question that TRYST @ WLV was a tremendous improvement over that complete short-lived DISASTER nightclub "La Bete" which cost shareholders millions of dollars to convert. That being said, Steve has a terrible history when it comes to the "creme de la creme" of creating/operating nightclubs, TRYST is no exception. The top rated nightclubs in Las Vegas are divided between TAO/Venetian + PURE/C.P. In terms of revenue, PURE is raking in several times the revenue that TRYST can even hope to realize. For Christ's sake PURE are paying "airheads" like Lindsay Lohan + Paris Hilton up to $500K just to hang out + drink bottles of Cristal in the privacy of the V.I.P. lounge for ONE evening!. Steve made a serious error by contracting Cy + Jesse Waits to run both TRYST nightclubs (WLV + WM). If you remember corectly, TRYST @ Wynn Macau was closed down fairly quickly after it opened as a result of alleged illegal activities, including, but not limited to, drug dealing, prostitution and loan-sharking activities. I'm afraid that TRYST is considered at the bottom of the line when it comes to the 'exclusive' nightclubs in Las Vegas. Other than PURE + TAO, George Maloof has definitely cornered the market for the young, "hip" wealthy customers (superstar athletes, celebrities, etc,) with his new venue offerings @ The Palms Fantasy Tower..

July 13, 2007 9:13 AM Posted by mike_ch

I agree with what Brian said about the Monorail. If I wasn't a local riding it for a dollar, I wouldn't bother with it.

I still think the Deuce buses are the best choice for the low-roller, occasionally springing for a Monorail ride if you need to get from Flamingo to MGM faster than traffic will allow for. Cabs are for sure the most convenient, but also the most expensive and sometimes the most chaotic if you get some of the drivers I've seen.

July 15, 2007 4:39 AM Posted by Molly

Sorry you guys.

I got the name of the clubs at Wynn wrong. I'm not part of the "In" crowd, I guess.

But my point was, why keep changing things when the dust hasn't even settled from the grand opening?

If I built a house two years ago and have completely ripped apart my kitchen and changed it two times already, I'd hope someone I know would knock me upside the head, sit me down, and talk some sense into me.

ESPECIALLY if I was spending someone else's money to DO it!


July 15, 2007 12:44 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Its Las Vegas. If nothing changes, nobody comes back. That's why when Wynn sold Mirage, it was still on top. It was well over a decade old, but year after year they kept changing the places to eat, the places to shop. No matter how good Wynn does, if he sees a place that can be more useful, and make even more money, they why not do it? Wynn and his partner own 50% of this company. Its not just somebody else's money, its Wynn's money also. The company is buying back stock, and busness is better than ever. Man I love this company! And have you seen the stock? Its up over $10 a share in the last few weeks!