Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 25, 2008

Strip Walk October 2008

Posted by Hunter

Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. This one covers Encore, Treasure Island, City Center, The Mirage, Palazzo and more.

Photos are here:

Thanks Mike! Enjoy!

Treasure Island

Some walls in the shopping row were taken down. A former store space (sorry, can't remember what it was) is a new watch store, while the old kids toy store was an empty storefront at the time of this visit.

The Mirage

There was some water at the north end of the pond, but the volcano effects were still being installed.


I wandered through here to try and imagine myself as a guest and compare it to Venetian next door. The atrium connecting the Venetian to Palazzo has some pumpkins, vines going up the wall, and other fall touches. It's certainly no Bellagio conservatory, but it's the kind of thing that LVS is usually associated as not bothering to do. Beyond the giant waterfall, the water features on the sides were turned off. There's a lot of change in those fountains. I guess the challenge of tossing coins off a moving escalator is popular. This room otherwise seems otherwise a bit sterile and if I ran the place I'd probably use the room to put some sort of large, attention getting display in an idea similar to the Conservatory but not as elaborate. Thing is, Venetian and Palazzo need to better distribute traffic between each other, and this room seems like a good place to put a visual attraction so that Palazzo customers who come see it can say "well, Venetian is right there, let's go through it this time," and vice versa.

Circus Circus

As you've no doubt heard by now, they're doing some kind of work on the clown. The LED bigscreen is out of it, but that was a pretty low quality screen by modern standards so there's no telling what's going on yet.


A tunnel extends from the theatre area past some storefronts to a pair of doors at the end with some leaves and butterflies over the doors, but good luck getting any shots of this as it seems to be patrolled by a worker during any sane hour. Perhaps like the CityCenter model, this is something you'll have to get pictures of late at night. I don't know why they're so protective since it's just a construction zone, unless the proximity of the count room has something to do with it, or maybe any cameras in the area aren't working. There's a lot of shots of the front in the photos. A white dome with butterflies was added on top of the porch structure inbetween the two visits that make up this update.


The building has expanded out to the old "columns" along the road, and along the side facing the Riv there's a lot of construction. The eastern corner facing HIlton has some facade up on the lower building. It's a white wall with some blue striping.


There's a massive wall up over the entrance to the Star Trek area. It may just be me, but the rest of the casino seems to be slowly slipping into the old SpaceQuest zone now. A lot of lighting features are off, and I swear there's a new carpet but I might be wrong.

Hard Rock

A few shots of the new tower were added. I was a here for a concert and for some reason the club desk area was shut down and temporarily moved into an otherwise unused hallway off the casino. On a note of simple observation, this place feels dead on a 5PM Saturday night. I was having dinner (not a good time, by the way) and waiting in line for a concert from 4 to 6, and for both hours the place seemed like it must have been devastated by the competition that has sprung up recently like the Palms. I stepped out of the concert at around 10PM and suddenly it was a madhouse with people everywhere, crowded hallways, guys running their own bathroom butler services in the men's room, and hired dancers gyrating on poles to the muzak. Whoa. Still, the small casino in the round thing doesn't do it for me. It reminds me of Summerlin's Rampart Casino, which targets a very different audience. In fact you could probably say Rampart is the Hard Rock time-warped 40 years into the future. :-P


Read archived comments (10 so far)
October 25, 2008 11:51 PM Posted by joe

That shot of bellagios pool/ vdara/ cosmopolitan totally wrecks its Mediterranean theme. PS palazzos "vines" don't really fit (in my opinion).

October 26, 2008 5:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, great photos. I haven't seen Fontainebleau in person, but it looks absolutely massive in your shot looking north up the Strip from Wynn. And, I'm not saying massive in a good way. It looks overpowering. I didn't realize the Palazzo condos were so close to the Strip. I hope the residents will enjoy the sounds of Sirens of TI every evening.

October 26, 2008 7:20 AM Posted by Brian Fey

As excited as I am about Encore, is Wynn going to take the butterfly thing, just a bit too far?

October 26, 2008 9:54 AM Posted by mike_ch

Joe: A year ago when it cranes and construction looming over Bellagio, I agreed with you. I think the Cosmo and Vdara are fairly attractive buildings compared to most of the neighbourhood, and don't destroy things too bad, but I can see how a regular visitor might feel something is spoiled because it used to be a very isolated location.

Realistically, though, people at Paris' pool can see Bellagio and Bally's, people at Caesars pool used to see lots of things before they were cornered in with construction, people at Mandalay can see Luxor (it often pops up in the background of promo shots even), people at Mirage's pool can see Caesars and maybe Harrah's and IP depending on where you are, etc.

It was a pretty idyllic place to be, but now it's simply no worse than any other hotel's on the street. That pretty much defines Bellagio's new role in a post-CityCenter Vegas.

October 26, 2008 10:18 AM Posted by Phil

Its interesting how the "in colors" change and come back as time goes on. I remember the days of the original MGM Grand and how red was the dominate color of that interior casino floor, now Encore (at least in the hallway) seems to be going in that same direction.

Of course I hope its just an upgraded LED screen for Circus Circus, to tear down that sign would result in an immediate firing of whoever made that call. Like I said before if anyone from MGM-Mirage reads this board. Nowhere in the world can you see a sign like that, so why tear it down for some amusement park idea that was bantered around.

Lastly, there is a lot of buzz on Dubai boards I go on about the cost of oil dropping and how that effects the ability to finance new Dubai projects. I'm curious if anyone heard any buzz about any concern relating to completing City Center on time.

October 26, 2008 10:21 AM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: FB would certainly benefit from some more modern construction in that area. Aside from the condos, it's basically alone for now. I imagine a lot of people who don't walk up to the base and see the signs saying what's coming are assuming it's a condo tower.

Their building is a kind of odd panorama design that gives a lot of views of the south, east, and west at the expense of the view north (the wings on either side.) It's a view that would be wrecked if something big were to appear immediately to the south of them. They were betting the farm that the outrageously huge Crown Tower would not be built.

October 26, 2008 1:23 PM Posted by donnymac

Thanks for another great report Mike. Have you been inside NYNY lately? I am wondering if their casino renovations are close to being complete.

October 26, 2008 5:36 PM Posted by mike_ch

Nope! It's been about a month since I was there. They're probably done with their high limit renovation by now.

Last time I went in there, the story wasn't so much that they were under renovation but that how so much renovation was done. The casino had a bit of a TI pulled on it, because I see where things everywhere was removed and then not replaced with anything.

October 27, 2008 12:46 PM Posted by Andy S

Thanks for the update Mike!

I see that they have relaced the Mirage signs in the volcano lagoon with the current Logo. It would have looked much better to of put something like that on the strip entrance rather than that cheap plastic sign and the Riviera style resaurant signs. The new volcano could be impressive though.

While nothing MGM does surprises me now, the changes at NYNY are so pointless, they had a really unique property, I dont understand why that is such a terrible thing!

I will be there in January so will be interesting to see what they have done.

Cheers, Andrew

October 31, 2008 6:31 PM Posted by Pikes

Great pics, Thanks Mike! Is it me or am I missing more online sites that show Encore's construction progress? If so, Thanks Hunter!