Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Set to Open Jan. 15, 2021

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, “Hotels,” though there’s only one) has announced its opening date: Jan. 15, 2021.

The resort, undergoing a major renovation from its previous incarnation, Hard Rock, was supposed to open in Nov. 2020, but COVID has ruined everything.

Channel 13 chastity belt

It’s hard to overstate the gloriousness of Channel 13 using our Photoshopped rendering of Virgin Las Vegas, complete with chastity belt. Because Virgin.

Hard Rock closed Feb. 4, 2020.

Hard Rock was purchased by JC Hospitality and bajillionaire Richard Branson on March 30, 2018.

The launch of Virgin Las Vegas is estimated to be costing in the neighborhood of $200 million.

In case you wondered, the push-back of an opening date for Virgin had everything with the business climate in Las Vegas due to COVID-19, not the financial state of Richard Branson or his Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Group.

Virgin recently showed off some renderings of its rooms (which the resort refers to as “chambers,” despite our best efforts), so let’s take a look.

Virgin Richard's Flat

This room is called Richard’s Flat. It refers to Richard Branson, but may also be a nod to the resort’s CEO, Richard Bosworth. Sly.

Here’s the living room for Richard’s Flat.

Virgin Vegas hotel rooms

Yes, we zoomed in on the liquor. No labels!

Virgin will have three towers: Opal, Canyon and the all-suite  Ruby Tower.

Virgin Vegas rooms

Oxymoron of the day: Canyon Tower.

Here’s the Opal tower room.

Virgin Hotel rooms

This is the Opal Tower. If you’re getting a feminine vibe, it’s because Virgin is known for appealing to female business travelers, among others.

Virgin will be part of Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program boasting 108 million members.

It’s worth noting, Virgin announced it will be rebranding its popular showroom, The Joint.

There’s a good amount of anticipation building about Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, including ours.

We’ve got a solid stretch of newness in the works, from Circa (Oct. 28, 2020) to Virgin (Jan. 15, 2021) and Resorts World (summer 2021), and we look forward to gambling and drinking and debauching our way through each one.

Not necessarily in that order.

Scaled Back Tropicana Reopens on The Strip

Tropicana was down, but it’s definitely not out. The classic casino reopened on Sep. 17, 2020.

Tropicana has been closed since the Las Vegas casino shutdown on March 17. Most casinos reopened June 4, 2020, but Trop choose to remain closed to gauge demand.

The old girl is back, although she’s been trimmed down a bit, so expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

Tropicana Las Vegas

Trop has some of the sexiest glass in town.

Tropicana’s showroom is dark, obviously, and dining options are few at the moment.

The resort’s best dining options are closed temporarily, including Robert Irvine’s Public House, Bacio, Lotus Asian Kitchen and one of our go-to steakhouses on The Strip, Oakville.

Trop reopening

Give it a minute.

The beverage situation is in flux as well, with Trago Lounge out of commission so far.

Guests can still get snacks and drinks at venues like Trop & Go, Starbucks and the Chill’m Bar just off the casino floor.

Trop

This is where they store the brain freezes.

The casino is taking things slowly as well, with fewer table games, but when it comes to gambling, something is always better than nothing.

There were rumors Tropicana might not open again under the current ownership as Penn National Gaming has said it’s up for sale, but we were happy to see Trop return while a sale is being sorted out.

Technically, Trop is owned by Gaming & Leisure Properties, Penn’s REIT (real estate investment trust). Long story.

Tropicana

Tropicana’s had its ups and downs, but it’s hard to imagine The Strip without her.

A temporarily streamlined Tropicana is still a great time, and there’s an ample selection of slot machines, or as we like to call them, “Retirement Windfall Delivery Devices.” (Actual results may vary.)

While Trop’s amenities may be limited for now (no valet), the resort’s pool and spa are open.

As is the case with lots of Strip hotels, Trop has some excellent deals at the moment, so you’ll want to take a look. Midweek rates are $39. That’s not great news for Tropicana, but it’s spectacular news for visitors.

We enjoyed our first visit to Trop since it reopened, although we did miss Trago and Oakville.

Trop

Same back at you, Tropicana.

Cautious optimism is probably wise at this juncture, but there are signs Las Vegas is ready to spring back to life, especially now that bars have reopened.

Tropicana has been a fixture on The Strip since 1957, and you’ll want to add it to your list of stops when you’re in town, even if you’re just checking out the casino’s glorious, 4,000-square-foot stained-glass ceiling.

Resorts World Announces Hotel-Within-a-Hotel, Crockfords Las Vegas

Resorts World Las Vegas has revealed details of its hotel-within-a-hotel, Crockfords Las Vegas. Which you probably already knew because you read headlines.

As with Nobu at Caesars Palace or Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay, Crockfords Las Vegas will be a distinct experience at Resorts World, according to the news release.

Mostly, we like pretty renderings, so let’s go.

Crockfords Las Vegas lobby

If the first thing you thought of when you heard “Crockfords” was shoes, you are not invited.

The $4.3 billion Resorts World is slated to open in summer 2021, and when it does, Crockfords Las Vegas will account for 230 rooms of the resort’s overall 3,500.

Crockfords Las Vegas is part of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s newest luxury brand. Although, it’s owned by Genting Group, owners of Resorts World. Resorts World will also feature two more Hilton brands, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Conrad.¬†There will be a quiz. Read more and please explain it to us when you have time, thanks.

Crockfords Las Vegas

A gloriously twerk-free pool area at Crockfords.

Crockfords will have its own entrance, lobby and check-in at Resorts World, and each guest will receive a foot rub from visionary Elon Musk.

Just had to check to see if you’re still reading.

Crockfords Las Vegas lobby

Crockfords’ lobby sets the stage for all the fancy in store.

Here’s a peek at the Crockfords rooms and suites. The three-bedroom suites range between 1,100 and 3,000 square feet.

Crockfords superior king

This is the superior king room, complete with a variety of sturdy furniture.

The one bedroom is pretty swanky.

Each of the rooms will have a “water closet.” You know it’s a upscale hotel when there’s a special closet to keep your water.

Crockfords one bedroom

Guestrooms feature taupe and nude tones. Fun fact: The Nude Tones were one of our favorite band in the ’80s.

Crockfords will also have two Presidential Suites, two Villas and three Palaces.

Crockfords Villa room

Those blue things are called bed scarves, or runners. Yes, we have far too much free time.

Each Villa and Palace will have its own outdoor garden and terrace.

Topping the list of places we won’t be able to afford is the Chairman’s Villa. It’s 6,000-square-feet of luxury, a show kitchen, private karaoke room and badass views of The Strip.

Crockfords Villa

We were going to comment about the ethereal color palette of the Villa, then realized we would have to look up “ethereal” and possibly “palette.”

Here’s another rendering of a Villa at Crockfords.

Crockfords Vegas

We are currently experiencing Villa envy.

While the whole hotel-within-a-hotel concept is a little baffling to us laypersons, there’s no denying the renderings of Crockfords are bound to get the attention of guests who might otherwise have overlooked Resorts World.

One of the marketing challenges for Resorts World will be pulling guests from the two established powerhouses on The Strip, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.

It won’t hurt that Crockfords Las Vegas will be part of the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Hilton Honors has 108 million members. Yes, we counted.

Crockfords Las Vegas

Behold the Palace suite at Crockfords. Now would be a great time for you to get an inheritance of some sort.

According to the news release, Crockfords was founded in London’s fashionable St. James district more than a century ago. The brand has locations in Cairo, Singapore and Malaysia.

We’re adding Crockfords Las Vegas to the ever-expanding list of reasons we’re watching Resorts World’s opening closely and with growing anticipation.

Yes, that’s our anticipation growing. Don’t make it awkward.

It’s comforting to have a sprawling resort with that new casino smell to look forward to on The Strip in 2021 after all the WTF Las Vegas has endured in 2020.

Resorts World is going to mean a world of new and shiny in Vegas, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Triple Zero Roulette is Pretty Much Everyflippingwhere in Las Vegas

It started innocently enough. An additional space showed up on a roulette table.

It looked innocuous, just one additional space on one table at Venetian back in 2016, no big deal.

Triple Zero Sands Roulette

The logo that started it all.

Then triple zero roulette popped up at Planet Hollywood and New York-New York. No big deal, right?

Well, it depends upon who you ask. Or possibly whom. Have you always been this obsessed with grammar? Lighten up, you’re reading a Las Vegas blog.

Math wizards were quick to point out each additional space on a roulette makes the game worse for players.

Longtime roulette players sometimes joke about triple zero roulette, “More ways to win!”

Um, no.

On a table with two zeros, the house edge is 5.26%. Not great, but a table with three zeros bumps the house edge up to 7.69%, or as we call it, the gambler discomfort zone.

Triple zero Harrah's

Don’t try to hide that extra spot, Harrah’s.

Prior to the pandemic, the proliferation of triple zero roulette raised lots of hackles. We should know, we were one of the main hackle-raisers.

Mid-pandemic, lots of things we used to get riled up about seem relatively trivial. Still.

There’s a reason you don’t hear much about triple zero roulette anymore. It’s pretty much everywhere in Las Vegas now.

We’ve visited a number of casinos in the weeks since casinos reopened in June, and we’re hard-pressed to remember a casino where there wasn’t triple zero roulette.

Triple zero Flamingo

Pretty sure Ben Siegel would’ve bugged out about this, Flamingo.

We’ve seen triple zero at Harrah’s, Flamingo, Four Queens, MGM Grand, Linq and others.

We used to keep a list of casinos with triple zero roulette, but that list seems almost quaint now.

We naively hoped lower demand would inspire casinos to dump triple zero roulette, but no such luck. So far.

Triple zero MGM Grand

Logos have more of a “Nothing to see here!” vibe than zeroes. Good going, MGM Grand.

So, why do people play triple zero roulette when there’s often a double zero roulette table nearby?

There are two answers: One, lower table limits. Two, they just don’t care.

Lower table limits make triple zero roulette tables tempting despite the greater house edge.

As for the “they just don’t care” aspect, we find ourselves in that camp lately.

We are a recreational gambler. We aren’t playing any game for hours on end. That’s true of most Las Vegas visitors, too. You’re lucky or you aren’t. It’s more about fun than math.

Triple zero Four Queens

We knew we were fighting a losing battle when we saw triple zero at Four Queens and its sister casino, Binion’s. Bonus points for the blue felt, though.

Ultimately, gambling is gambling. The odds are always on the side of the house.

If you’re gambling to make money, while possible, you may want to find other pursuits.

One of the worst things that can happen is to let frustration about odds or rules or pay tables overtake your enjoyment of the gambling experience.

Unless it has to do with paper straws being used in your drinks. Those ruin everything.

Triple zero roulette Linq

Is now really the time to risk irking players, Linq?

While it’s not fun having to report triple zero roulette tables are everywhere in Las Vegas, there are bright spots!

For example, downtown’s Plaza hotel has a single zero roulette table on its casino floor.

Plaza single zero roulette

Behold the unicorn of roulette tables, single zero at Plaza.

Cromwell has a single zero table, too. We miss you, Cromwell.

A few other Las Vegas casinos have single zero as well, but they’re typically tucked away in high limit salons where table minimums can be sky high.

Our advice is to find a roulette table with solid drink service and friendly dealers, and just play for fun.

Lucky Luck will either smile upon you or plant her boot firmly in your posterior.

Gamble for the memories, not the return on investment.

And also avoid keno, because the odds absolutely suck.

But mostly gamble for the fun! Life already has plenty of math.

Charcoal Room at Palace Station Brings the Value

Las Vegas has so many great steakhouses, it’s virtually impossible to visit them all.

We finally got around to trying Charcoal Room at Palace Station, and we’ve added it to our list of go-to Las Vegas steakhouses.

Charcoal Room Palace Station

Charcoal is obtained when carbonaceous material is partially burned. Not the sexiest tagline, but there it is.

Charcoal Room at Palace Station isn’t flashy, but what it lacks in Strip-style glamour it more than makes up for in value.

Palace Station caters mainly to locals, so the price points are appealing, with most entrees about 25 percent less expansive than equivalent offerings on The Strip.

Charcoal Room Las Vegas

Basic math: The less you spend on dinner, the more you have for Wheel of Fortune.

Every part of the meal, from the bread to the steak to the dessert, hit all the right notes at Charcoal Room.

Charcoal Room Palace Station

One does not live on bread alone, but we’re damned well not living without it.

See the full menu on the Palace Station Web site.

We went for the grass-fed filet mignon from Grass Run Farms, whatever that might actually be, and it was excellent.

Charcoal Room Palace Station

Whatever grass-feeding is supposed to do, it’s doing.

A highlight of our visit was a signature cocktail we would like several dozen more of next time.

We would share the ingredients in the Absolutely Bananas cocktail, but that would involve “having taken notes” or “listening to the server rather than drinking our Absolutely Bananas cocktail,” so, you’re S.O.L., sorry.

Charcoal Room Palace Station

We spoke to a manager about receiving this cocktail via I.V. tube. Pretty sure they thought we were joking.

The service at Charcoal Room was top notch, as expected at a place in the Stations Casino family.

We’re a big fan of the style of service where someone’s helpful when needed, without the constant interruptions to see how things are going.

We also love servers who watch the liquor level in our glass. Ask too soon (glass half full) and it’s awkward, wait too long and it feels like you’ve been wandering the Mojave for a week with holes in your safari hat. Yes, that’s exactly what it feels like.

Thankfully, Charcoal Room nails it on all counts.

Charcoal Room Palace Station

Sometimes, being indecisive pans out.

Palace Station is about five minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, and the Charcoal Room is just off the casino floor.

Charcoal Room is next to the casino’s popular oyster bar. “Popular” is probably an understatement. The line for the oyster bar starts at the entrance of Charcoal Room and often stretches to Hoover Dam.

Charcoal Room

Our first rule of steakhouses and creme brulee: Don’t muck with a classic.

Many tourists don’t venture away from The Strip or downtown during a visit, but Palace Station is worth a little rideshare action.

Palace Station recently got a major overhaul and the casino’s transformation has been amazing. Bottom line: Less train, more urbane.

Charcoal Room at Palace Station

Margarita lovers are covered, of course.

Palace Station has a new dining offering in the works as well. The casino is working with Clique Hospitality to open a new restaurant, Tailgate Social, in November 2020. Tailgate Social replaces the recently-closed burger place, BBD’s. Fair warning, there may be sports.

Big thanks to the Charcoal Room steakhouse for hosting our visit, a refreshing value just off the Las Vegas Strip, and we can’t wait to Absolutely Bananas again soon.

Oyo Las Vegas Reopens, Here’s the Skinny

The Oyo Las Vegas hotel-casino reopened on Sep. 16, 2020, so we had to check it out.

By “check it out,” of course, we mean, “We lost $100 at blackjack in less than five minutes.” Seriously, we lost 10 out of the 11 hands we played. How is that even mathematically possible?

We were happy to donate to Oyo’s bottom line just to have it back.

Oyo Las Vegas casino

You can walk the entire casino at Oyo in under 30 seconds. Twice.

Oyo, formerly Hooters casino, isn’t the biggest casino on The Strip, but we always enjoy our visits.

On the way in, we noted a new slushy drink place being built just inside the front entrance, called Hoyo.

Oyo reopens

We see some epic brain freezes in our future.

You can never have too much slushy.

Heading inside, we were reminded it’s impossible to get lost in Oyo’s casino.

We were also reminded Oyo has $1 blackjack, virtually impossible to find on or near the Las Vegas Strip.

At the moment, there’s no craps available at Oyo. Dice has higher labor costs than other table games, as it requires two dealers, a stickman and usually a manager or “box man.” Yes, the terminology is sexist. It’s craps, get used to it.

Oyo has six blackjack tables. They all had a $10 minimum during our visit on opening day, and each paid 3-to-2, except for the $1 table which paid 6-to-5.

Yes, this stuff matters to many gamblers.

There was a roulette table, with a $5 minimum. Oyo clearly would like people to play.

Oyo casino

Oyo is an initialism that stands for “on your own,” so it should probably be capitalized. We don’t live by society’s rules.

While we had what’s traditionally referred to as “our ass handed to us” at blackjack, it was a great time. Staff seemed genuinely happy to be back to work, and despite being petite, Oyo’s casino has fun, welcoming atmosphere.

The Hooters restaurant was open, although the Hooters Saloon wasn’t.

Oyo Hooters Saloon

Bars have reopened in Las Vegas, so we trust the Hooters Saloon will as well.

Oyo’s Steak ‘n Shake hasn’t reopened yet, ditto the Southside Eatery snack bar.

The poolside Splash Cantina is open, though.

Oyo’s Night Owl Showroom is obviously still closed, but we hear Nevada’s 50-person gathering limit will soon be bumped to 250 people, so that could clear the way for some shows to return.

By “some shows,” of course, we mean “Cherry Boom Boom,” of course.

Cherry Boom Boom

We miss your choreography and character arcs, “Cherry Boom Boom.”

The bottom line is Oyo’s back in the game, and any time a casino reopens, it’s great news.

We’ll be back for wings, dice (when business warrants) and to recoup our 100 clams. Or possibly simoleons. What is money called now? Kale? How lame would be be to say you dropped some “kale” playing blackjack in Vegas? Whatever shekels are called now, we’re getting some back. We are securing the bag. Is that a thing? Oh, as if you actually read this far, anyway.

Welcome back, Oyo!