Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

November 4, 2007

Open Topic Discussion - November 4, 2007

Posted by detroit1051

I can't imagine MGM or Wynn having the problems HET has had with unauthorized remodeling. And, I can't imagine the RJ ever going after this story as aggressively if it were MGM or Wynn.

"Harrah's Entertainment has reached a turning point in recovering from bungled remodeling projects at two of its local hotels.
A block of 501 guest rooms at Harrah's Las Vegas returned to active use by patrons on Friday, Harrah's Entertainment executive Jan Jones announced the same day.
Those rooms were pulled from service due to remodeling that had been performed without permits or inspections. They are located on floors four through 19 of the hotel's Carnivale tower. Those floors no longer need a fire watch, which is round-the-clock patrolling by personnel with two-way communication to report any fire, Marybel Batjer, another Harrah's executive, said Saturday. The rooms were out of service for 25 days.
A smaller block of 87 rooms at the Rio also returned to service earlier last week. Those rooms were shut down for less than 25 days. At that hotel, fire watches continue on floors three through 17, plus 19, of the Ipanema tower."
Improper Remodeling: Harrah's Reopens 501 Rooms


Read archived comments (18 so far)
November 4, 2007 8:07 AM Posted by Phil

Hi, first post. Have a 2nd home in Vegas and feel this site and a couple others always keep in the loop when I'm away. Look forward to being more active here when I hear some buzz.

On to the news. I'm a big car guy and just wanted to add that I've heard that Encore is likely getting an Alfa Romeo dealership either within or slightly separated from the hotel. Alfa will not be integrated to the existing Ferrari/Maserati dealership already at Wynn LV. Also the Lamborghini dealership going into Palazzo will have a restaurant as a part of it, the name will be called "Del Toro" (The Bull). The owner, Lamborghini of Las Vegas, will still maintain its current location on Dean Martin Dr. but will use its Palazzo location as strictly a showroom with no service facilities. The plans were finalized in early Sept. and I hear it will blow away the Penske Wynn Ferrari/Maserati showroom.

November 4, 2007 10:37 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Palazzo is going to feature an exotic car dealership? WOW, that's a great idea, they are so visionary over there at Las Vegas Sands.

November 4, 2007 11:57 AM Posted by Mike E

Phil, thanks for sharing your insights.

To bring an Alpha Romeo dealership to Encore is a classic Steve Wynn move. "Most people don't know the brand, but I think their cars are gorgeous and would do well in Vegas." LOL, I'm starting to sound like Mike_ch.

As for Lamborghini at Palazzo, it's fitting of LVS's bigger-is-better and gaudy approach to design. I've never been a fan of either company for these reasons (among others).

November 4, 2007 8:19 PM Posted by DavidF

First off Phil, welcome to the blog, look forward to your future insights�..

Curious, is this coming from a inside rumor from Wynn, or from Alfa�s intended plan to sell Alfa�s in existing Maserati dealerships when they return to the US Next year, which would make the addition at Penske/Wynn Logical.

This should not be a problem in the beginning with only 1 Alfa model being sold when they launch, but with up to another 5 models by 2010 could make life more interesting, but that�s a long way off and things could change, especially with the re-alignment of the way Maserati�s will be built/marketed.

However Wynn wasn�t the first Casino to sell high end cars on the Strip, that honor goes to, believe it or not, the Imperial Palace, where the Auto Collections are still selling all sorts of interesting stuff.

But they were, and still are, the only �Full Service� place in a Casino, i.e. where you can go and get Service/Parts for your Ferrari/Maserati, albeit at some sort of price that I sure makes you wonder if you are paying for a Mechanic or a Lawyer. That for me is what makes Wynn Stand out from others, if I remember it was one of the talking points when the place opened.

If what you say about Palazzo is true, it does stink of �me too� in a low rent way, just like �Exotic Cars at Ceasars Palace�, which incidentally was launched so quickly, they didn�t have a State license to sell cars until a few months after they opened.

With that in mind I am curious to see how its going to �Blow Away�, Wynn/Penske Ferrari. The only way I can think is perhaps they have some sort of �Virtual Simulator� of driving a Lambo, or another type of �experience� but let�s face it, this isn�t meant to appeal to the actual people who will buy the car�.

OK enough from me, you have probably guessed my other �bad habit� apart from Vegas by now�.

November 4, 2007 8:36 PM Posted by DavidF

Oh yeah to comment of the main subject in the open topic�.

Thanks for linking the article Detroit, I have only been casually following the story since it broke�..

Hardly Surprising that we have what sounds like a disgruntled ex-employee behind this, but whistleblower or not, the fire safety is eyebrow raising, not that I would stay there, but I get asked for recommendations all the time, makes me think twice about suggesting a Harrah�s property/

I would venture to suggest that given the MGM Connection to the 1980 fire and they are publicly traded, they potential fall-out from this is just not worth the Corner Cutting, Same think for Wynn�s given the reputation for focusing on a quality construction job, at least in my opinion, although other contributors may think otherwise�.

Sadly with Harrah�s now privately owned we are not going to see the effect it has on ADR and Occupancy, but something tells me even the lowliest TR Members are going to get some attractive room offers to Harrah�s in the Coming months�.. Or are they, again it comes down to unless you are a Vegas Junkie - are you even going to hear about this, a quick check in Google news shows minimal coverage outside NV, CA and the Casino Industry Press.

November 5, 2007 3:00 AM Posted by detroit1051

What's wrong with this picture? I fly up to Detroit in a few hours for a week. 80 and sunny here, 40's and cloudy there. Oh well. I intend to make a few visits to the new MGM Grand Detroit and will share my opinions. From everything I've heard, it doesn't fit the MGM Grand image, more like Bellagio and/or Wynn (Yes, in Detroit)! I'll find out for myself soon.

November 5, 2007 9:22 AM Posted by Pikes

MGM Grand detroit compared to Bellagio/Wynn, LOL. It's nice, but I sure didn't see anything that special about it.

November 5, 2007 12:14 PM Posted by mike_ch

LVA says the Mirage tiger glass tank is gone effective immediately to make way for some kind of establishment in the vein of Burger Bar.

Car dealerships in casinos are very overrated. They are not really that popular and even NICE dealerships are generally not thought of as relaxing or low-pressure. Even a car salesman who gets paid like an attorney is still a car salesman, and I suspect the fad appeal of this attraction will eventually lose it's buzz.

November 5, 2007 12:46 PM Posted by Phil

Just to add to my earlier comments. The "blow away" comment came from one of the sales guys at Lambo LV who have seen all the plans. I personally haven't seen them. Feel free to give them a ring, they're a nice bunch of guys over there. Carl is the GM and Nick is their top sales guy.

The Alfa Romeo coming to Encore come from a salesman at Penske Wynn, his name escapes me, but it wasn't Tony the GM there. They really don't have the room to support 3 makes in that showroom and the service bays in the lower level of Wynn LV are crowded already. Add the fact that Ferrari probably doesn't want to share the floor with Alfa anyway even though they're within the same FIAT umbrella, that makes the only option at Encore. It makes sense and adds up with the salesman's comments to me. The debate now is whether to make it internal to Encore or slightly detached. They have a lot of land to play with so anything is possible. Although Alfa's are attractive, its not a draw like Ferrari or Maserati. Besides their introductory $200,000 plus sports car (8C Competizione) the bulk of their cars will sell in America in the $30-$50k range. With that range that showroom will want to sell volume, so I can't imagine them using it as a tourist draw. It almost has to be detached or pushed way back in the hotel away from everything else.

November 5, 2007 4:04 PM Posted by mike_ch

Alfa's are far from common in the US but overseas they're along the lines of Audi or maybe Saab. Not the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a fancypants Wynn shopping center, but there you go. The only thing they can really show off as a rich man's toy is one model Phil mentioned, and it's basically a retuning of that Maserati that Mike E loves so much.

Better than Aston, though, I guess.

November 5, 2007 5:29 PM Posted by detroit1051

I just got back from a quick tour of MGM Grand Detroit. I have to agree with you. It was an improvement over the interim casino, but it can't compare with Bellagio or Wynn. It reminds me more of Mandalay Bay. Michael Mina's two restaurants are nice, especially Saltwater. Bourbon Steak is like all the new steak houses, hard surfaces and noisy. I miss the good old days of Hollywood Brown Derby.
I'll go back during the day. I want to see how well Shufflemaster products are represented.
I'll repeat what I posted earlier: What am I doing here in 40 degree, rainy weather?

November 6, 2007 10:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

A few comments on Encore and Tryst:

November 6, 2007 3:50 PM Posted by hail2skins

Thanks for the link to the Sun article, Detroit. If the pool area is going to be one of the attractions and the casino is going to be more intimate in feel......I'm really looking forward to Encore even more.

November 7, 2007 6:02 AM Posted by detroit1051

Excerpts from my Detroit notes:
I was able to tour MGM Grand Detroit's bars and clubs even though not all were open due to it being mid-afternoon. Club V is the high energy nightclub which is already at capacity on weekends. $40 cover, bottle service, state of the art sound system. Not for me, but MGM knows where the money is. The dress code is posted at the door, and I understand they make no exceptions. It must be working because there have been no fights at all.
"Ignite" is on the 2nd floor next to the poker room. It is a huge place broken into several different rooms including a cigar/humidor room, a small show kitchen-like area where they cook appetizers, wall to wall gas flame fireplaces, a more secluded lounge area with large windows looking out. Same dress code applies here, and it also is operating at capacity.
Small, piano bar is outside the casino, next to the hotel lobby for people not wanting a casino or a high energy, noisy place. Lots of other bars. MGM planned this very well.
I learned that the poker room which I said was too small with only eight tables is designed for expansion by just knocking out a temporary back wall to add another 16-20 tables and make the facility large enough for a WPT tournament.
The high end slot and table rooms didn't meet MGM's final approval, so they are being totally redone which will take care of my complaint they're drab and plain. Included will be a VIP Lounge with food/bar for the highrollers.
We had dinner at Saltwater because there were three of us, and we wanted a quiet space. Saltwater is a Tony Chi designed room (Chi is everywhere!) and is very attractive. Food was excellent but very expensive, similar to Michael Mina off Bellagio's Conservatory. Mina's other restaurant, next door, Bourbon Steak seems to be getting bigger crowds, but that's understandable since a steakhouse is always a safe bet for those not wanting to try different stuff. Detroit is a meat and potato town.
I still didn't have time to check out all the tables and carnival games, so I'm going back alone today to spend some time and get a tour of the rooms/suites.

November 8, 2007 11:09 AM Posted by Mike P.

There's a new press release from LVS with lots of Palazzo details:

One thing that caught my eye is that Charlie Trotter is coming to the Palazzo. He runs one of, if not the best restaurant in Chicago. I'm pretty sure this is his first Vegas venture.

I finally got to see a renovated standard room at the Venetian last trip, and they look pretty good. Like everyone else in Vegas they're getting away from ornate themed decor in favor of cleaner contemporary design with Asian touches.

November 8, 2007 12:06 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike P, I see LVS is using the term "soft opening" for December with the grand opening a month later.
It will be worth a trip to experience a Charlie Trotter dinner. Actually, Trotter had a restaurant at MGM Grand in 1995. It was where NobHill is now. Trotter was ahead of his time in Vegas. I had restaurant friends in Detroit who went to Vegas for the first time just to check out Trotter. They came back raving about it, but they said some of the comped diners near them were grumbling about the "weird" food.

November 11, 2007 3:42 AM Posted by Mike E

For what it's worth, Google Earth has been updated. Unfortunately, the images aren't too recent and were taken with the sun casting major shadows west. At least we have overhead shots of the current construction projects, Red Rock Resort, and Villa Soleil at Mandalay among others.

November 13, 2007 7:48 PM Posted by motoman

As I write this, approx. 7:30pm Tues. Nov. 13, "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS is doing in-depth coverage and discussion on the economy in Las Vegas. I'm gonna TiVo the 1am repeat.

(Saw the Google Earth pics, and yeah, the shadows are rather extreme. But you can see Encore rising, and the construction on Echelon and Fontainebleau.)