Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk.

This time he hits both ends of the Strip with Luxor, Echelon, Encore, City Center and more.

Photos are here:


The eastern side of the strip sidewalk has been shut down out front between Stardust Rd and the Wynn parking garage. I cross over to get what shots I could before I was unable to go any further. They're beginning to apply paint around the strip-side entrance and the entrance along DI looks to be ready for the final touches. More work is going on along the base of of the tower's corner edges.


Though the club itself isn't open yet, a Rok Vegas store has already started up opposite from Coyote Ugly. For a purchase you can give the club free advertising by wearing it's logo on shirts, hats, and (urgh) thongs. In the casino, two new table structures are built with one old one still waiting to be replaced. Meanwhile, they completely got rid of the old cashier building and the phony exchange building on it's backside (old school fans will remember this was originally the desk for the "New York Slot Exchange" club before NYSE sued them into making changes.)


This place is still sitting on the fence, unable to decide if it wants to completely abandon the family market, and re market itself to budget-seekers and college-aged people. It's clear that someone in management had an idea that if the castle theme wasn't TOO strong, it's cheesiness would make it a good party pit for the frat crowd looking for a good time at a dirt cheap price.

There's a good reason not to kick out the kids, though, since anyone who has walked into Circus Circus recently has noticed the place is still pretty packed. On a Monday afternoon the acrobats not only had butts in seats in their grandstands, but gawkers lining up all over the upper level and it's stairwell to the casino below. Of course, it's also the last few weeks of summer so everyone is working to get that last chance at vacation, but it's clear the family concept isn't completely dead yet. Walking in on Monday, I saw 20-ish year old guys holding beers on the movator going in, with children trying to run backwards against the moving platform pushing between their legs. So, the crowd reflects the split personality.

In a move in favor of the poor man's Hard Rock concept, they're holding a free pool party in the afternoons. Think of it as free Rehab except with a less awesome pool and probably(?) less local appeal. Granted, there's a LOT of pools on the Strip that are better than the one at Excalibur, so if you were staying at Mandalay Bay you obviously have no business here, but someone staying a the dinky Super8 down Tropicana Ave might want to come take a dip.

On the other hand, the push away from quality begins with the shuttering of Sir Galahad's Prime Rib upstairs. This place served me the best prime rib meal I've had in the city, and was tied with the SkyCity restaurant in the Space Needle for my best prime rib dinner. It was also my favorite restaurant in this resort, having dined at every one but the Camelot Steakhouse nearby. No more. Perhaps having a prime rib place across from Camelot seemed a bit odd to some manager (though Michael Gaughan has built separate steak and prime rib restaurants at Orleans and South Point) but Camelot really costs too much IMHO. If you're going to spend the kind of money you will at Camelot, then you'll probably cross the Excalibur off your list of places to consider. The wrong meat factory got shut down here, if you ask me.


This isn't really a great place to relax right now, the amount of work going on in the old IMAX building creates a lot of noise, which bounces around the acoustics of the pyramid and into all the halls. They're really tearing up that old cinema building and the rarely-visited souvenir store next to Little Caesars is part of this, too. Something makes me think one of these exhibits will exit out through the food court. They've cleared out the old La Salsa space and the phony waterfall near the registration desk was ripped out.

I should mention that the Luxor Steakhouse has reopened as Tender, which is a very nice looking room, although it may have been a bit too inspired by CatHouse's "bordellos are awesome" idea. Lots of burgundy reds are everywhere mixing with natural wood, and light fixtures wear shades made of frilly black material. Up front is a pretty big bar and lounge, and it follows what seems to be a trend of being open to the casino.

In the middle of things, the area around the old PlayBar and the showroom are covered up. A peek into the curtains revealed that the PlayBar was gone, but the showroom entrance was bordered with a more solid material.

Cranes 'n' Things

There's new photos of F-bleau (and it's sales office located on the other side of the road), a heap of Echelon's current status in it's new "do nothing" phase, and some pictures of CityCenter and the new towers at Caesars as seen by road. The cranes have returned to Palazzo (did they ever really leave?) for the condo tower but aside from a lot of exposed steel there isn't any real shape of a building there yet.


Read archived comments (11 so far)
August 13, 2008 6:21 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike, I like the look of Luxor's Tender in your photos.
What is the pre-cast wall at Fontainebleau with the stylized lower case "f" all over it? Is it permanent? It looks too imposing.

August 14, 2008 1:06 PM Posted by DanDaMan

I agree with you on Sir Galahad's Prime Rib. That place was great and I always went there every time I visited Las Vegas. When they wheeled up that silver wagon to your table, you could not help but get excited. Now I go to Binion's Steakhouse for a good prime rib at a reasonable price.

August 14, 2008 7:22 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: That wall is the F-Bleau sales building on the other side of the Strip, and that 'fb' logo shape is also on the banners hanging on the fence, so it looks like that logo is a go unless they change it.

Dan: Thanks, I keep meaning to give Binion's a try for food sometime, but the low-budget atmosphere and attitudes in the casino always scare me away.

August 14, 2008 7:26 PM Posted by mike_ch

Oh, about the Wynn shuttle, we've talked before about whether they're actually driving people down the strip, and while I was walking past the Sky I snapped this shot where you can clearly see it heading down the road. I can only guess it's the return trip from the CC though I swear I've also seen it driving north in front of Harrah's.

August 17, 2008 8:39 PM Posted by Hunter

I walked past the High Limit Slot room at the B this AM - no change.

August 18, 2008 9:17 AM Posted by Joe

Say, what was at club prive' and caremel before it was build? I cant remember.

August 18, 2008 9:24 AM Posted by Hunter

Caramel was originally the 'Allegro Lounge'.

The area across from the craps pit on the way to the main tower elevators was slots and the keno area originally, now replaced with the Salon Prive and some slot machines.

August 18, 2008 9:40 AM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, Allegro was my favorite lounge at Bellagio. I never set foot in Caramel as my small protest.
I used to relax in the keno area in those very comfortable chairs. Mike P, regarding Salon Prive, consistency has never been my strong point.

August 18, 2008 10:10 AM Posted by mike_ch

Sort-of-an-update: Remember how the other month they tore down one of the two huge Bellagio marquees along the freeway that straddled Industrial Rd? Well, yesterday I saw they were getting to work on the remaining one.

So little had been done that I'm not sure yet whether it's a demolition or a refurbishment. I'll see if I can get a look at it tomorrow.

August 18, 2008 10:35 AM Posted by Joe

DARNNNNN!! they better not be taking that other marquee down!

August 24, 2008 7:28 PM Posted by Joe

Mike, have you got a chance to see what they're doing to bellagios rear marquee?

Also, I wonder what the Monte Carlo - CC - and bellagio monorail is going to be like. Will the whole think be modern you guys think? I hope they do the monorail will the Italian theme for MC and the b. I have seen a rendering on vegas today and tomorrow (city center section on the bottom) of bellagio monorail stop and it was (of coarse modern) it I doubt it will be like that.

Well call me dumb but have a feeling that the reason why all of themed resorts becoming all modern (mostly TI and luxor) is because MGM is testing room design for city center. but if thats not the reason then whats with the resort de-theming most of all the b! I hate the modern new suite designs and its driving me crazy trying to figure out is the b de-theming or is it still sticking with the lake como thing?