Monthly Archives: August 2019

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 101: Viva Vision Overhaul, Hooters Goes Oyo, Kind Heaven’s Demise and More

Sound the bugle, it’s the first episode of the third season of the podcast your mother should’ve warned you about. And, yes, we get it, nobody’s seen a bugle since 1974, but let’s not get bogged down with details.

In this episode, we chat with the President and CEO of Fremont Street Experience, Patrick Hughes.

Patrick Hughes

Fremont Street Experience President Patrick Hughes has the second best job in the world. Because astronauts, obviously.

Hughes orchestrated the $32 million upgrade of Viva Vision, the world’s largest video screen, and shares insights about the project as well as other news from downtown Las Vegas. The renovated screen will be four times the resolution and seven times the brightness of the existing screen. The project is about halfway done and the fully renovated screen will make its official debut on New Year’s Eve.

Vegas Vic Viva Vision

Vegas Vic approves.

We’ve also got a metric hell-ton of exclusive Las Vegas scoops, including stories about Hooters becoming an Oyo hotel, Kind Heaven being nixed at Linq, Cleo’s closing at SLS (Aug. 25), the closing of the weed museum in Neonopolis, a shake-up at Palms, Strat’s new chips (Stratosphere chips expire Dec. 9, 2019) and more.

Strat new chips

There’s nothing like that new chip smell! Note: Please don’t smell the chips, that’s weird.

We’ve also got the latest rumors about Las Vegas casinos up for sale, including Cromwell, Cosmopolitan, Mirage, Circus Circus and Planet Hollywood. Yes, the Rio sale is still happening, they’re just taking their sweet time announcing it.

Also, there’s tons of news, including the announcement Raiders Stadium will be Allegiant Stadium, Cat’s Meow has opened in Neonopolis, Hans Klok has opened at Excalibur, Moneyline sports bar has closed at Park MGM and whatever else we feel like rambling about incoherently.

Allegiant Stadium

Allegiant got its name in our blog, so totally worth the $25 million a year for 20 years the naming rights cost.

We also give a special shout-out to Vegas PodToons for immortalizing us. See more.

The listicle of the week is “Ten Reasons to Visit the Strat Again.”

Oh, and we talk endlessly about “Land of the Lost.” It’s a Golden Tiki shrunken head thing, just go with it.

There’s also a portion of the show devoted to grasshoppers. Yes, that was a thing, and we got to talk about it on NPR.

This episode is the next best thing to being in Las Vegas, but without all the fees, idiots banging on pickle buckets and strollers in your way. Listen on!

Hooters Casino Could Be Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

Ever hear of Oyo Hotels? If our sources are right, you’re about to.

We’ve learned exclusively Hooters Casino is now under contract with hotel operator Highgate and the company plans to make Hooters Las Vegas an Oyo brand hotel.

Our sources say the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel-casino will close after the hotel rebrands. The Hooters restaurant inside the Hooters resort is said to be the most profitable in the company’s entire chain.

Oyo Las Vegas

We’re fairly sure “OYO” stands for “on your own.” Related: Once you see the face, you can’t unsee it.

Highgate Hotels is a real estate investment and hospitality management company, also involved with the Westin and Renaissance hotels in Las Vegas. The company operates more than 100 hotels around the world. Learn more.

Oyo is a rapidly-expanding Indian budget hotel company which recently entered the U.S. market in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. It now appears the company has its sights set on Las Vegas.

Oyo describes itself as “the world’s fastest growing company and world’s sixth largest chain of operated hotels, homes, managed living and workspaces.”

The company’s portfolio boasts more than 23,000 hotels in 800 cities in 18 countries. Combined, the company has more than 330,000 rooms. See more.

This is the Oyo business model: Oyo partners with existing hotels, rebrands them as Oyo franchises and streamlines booking, pricing and technology services. It then gets a percentage of the hotel’s monthly revenue.

The company reports occupancy increases of 30-40% at Oyo hotels, and revenue increases of as much as 60%, which would be welcomed by the owners of Hooters, of course.

Hooters is owned by Trinity Hotel Investors and operated by Paragon Gaming.

Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

You go, palindrome?

The arrival of Oyo in Las Vegas could bring some drama along with it, as the company’s founder and CEO, 25-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, is not controversy-free. Let’s just say gaming regulators aren’t big fans of controversy. Get details.

Hooters has been known by a lot of names, so if it’s rebranded to Oyo, it’ll join this long list of past names: Paradise, Treasury, Pacifica, Polynesian and Hotel San Remo. There will be a quiz.

Details about these moves at Hooters are scant at the moment, but that’s never stopped us from passing along scoop before!

You’ll hear more when we do.

Update (8/6/19): Here’s our take on Channel 8.

Update (8/7/19): Our sources confirm Hooters restaurant won’t be around following the transition to Oyo. At its peak, the restaurant served a million customers a year.

Update (8/17/19): We’re now hearing the Hooters rebrand to Oyo will happen Sep. 16, 2019.

Update (8/23/19): As if we weren’t already unbearable enough, our story has been confirmed. Oyo has acquired Hooters hotel for a reported $135 million and will be rebranded Oyo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Highgate will manage the hotel and Paragon Gaming will continue to operate the resort’s casino. Read more.

Update (8/26/19): We’ve learned not only will the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel close, it will be brought to a resort on the Las Vegas Strip. While there won’t be a Hooters hotel on The Strip, an existing resort will be getting a Hooters restaurant and Hooters-branded casino (think casino-within-a-casino, like Pussy Cat Dolls at Caesars or Playboy Club at Palms when those were a thing). More details to come.

Caesars Entertainment Cancels $100 Million Kind Heaven Project, Per Rumor

We’ll keep this quick and awkward: Kind Heaven has suffered the unkindest of cuts.

Our sources say Caesars Entertainment has informed key employees Kind Heaven, a $100 million attraction slated for the Linq casino, is officially canceled.

Kind Heaven

So many questions will now go unanswered.

It’s likely the demise of Kind Heaven, should our information be confirmed, is fallout from the announced merger between Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts.

The looming merger has called into question a number of pending projects, and Kind Heaven was considered a risky endeavor from day one.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kind Heaven, here’s the skinny: Kind Heaven was an Asian-themed walk-through attraction with music festival roots.

Oh, and there were supposed to be holographic fighting monkeys. No, really.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Think “Blade Runner,” but with more pickpockets. Long story.

The attraction was slated to open in the summer of 2019. So, now-ish. As far as we know, no demolition or construction of any kind has happened related to Kind Heaven.

Here’s more about the former Kind Heaven.

The project was touted as the brainchild of noted oddball Perry Farrell, founder of the Lollapalooza music festival.

As recently as Aug. 1, 2019, Farrell was still talking up Kind Heaven, apparently unaware the plug has reportedly been pulled on the project.

While it would’ve been fun to see Kind Heaven come to fruition, it seemed a trainwreck waiting to happen.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

There are so many bummed out monks right about now.

Caesars Entertainment has a lot on its plate at the moment, including a consolidation likely to result in a fair amount of corporate employees being laid off as the merger moves forward, so risky investments of time or resources seem best avoided for now.

The holographic monkeys will just have to find other gigs.

On a related note, another casualty of the Eldorado merger is the demise of “Nitro Circus,” announced for Bally’s Las Vegas. The show is rumored to be seeking another venue, but don’t hold your breath.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas Breaks Bullshit Record With $7.5 Billion Project Claims

This blog loves it some batshit crazy news releases, and this one’s a doozy.

A company called Bleutech Park Properties has announced a $7.5 billion (with a “b”) mixed-use project, Bleutech Park Las Vegas. It’s not happening, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting!

The news release announcing this fanciful project fails to mention where Bleutech Park Las Vegas is supposed to happen, but let’s not get bogged down in details!

The Bleutech Park Las Vegas announcement is easily one of the most buzzword-rich news releases we’ve seen in ages. (Better up your game, The Drew.)

Bleutech Park Las Vegas

Pace yourself, Bleutech Park. You’ve already blown through your 2019 WTF allowance.

Here’s a sample of some of the copious bullshittery:

googie first city in the world to boast a digital revolution in motion, redefining the infrastructure industry sector

googie net-zero buildings within their own insular mini-city will feature automated multi-functional designs

googie autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, supertrees, and self-healing concrete structures

googie showcasing energy generation and storage, waste-heat recovery, water purification, on-site waste treatment and localized air cleaning

googie introducing a new high-tech biome to the desert valley

googie smart buildings equipped with new, self-healing, energy-generating, and breathable materials

googie we are not making this up, swear

googie with the use of unmanned aerial systems and AI, the construction site will become a living, breathing blueprint

googie flooring systems will capture and reuse the energy of human movement

googie buildings will be connected to a broader highly sustainable network of supertrees allowing a 95 percent reduction in imported water consumption and an opportunity for improved biodiversity

googie able to spring forth the IoT with cutting capabilities and applications

googie there’s no way you read this far, we totally get it

googie photovoltaic glass will be standard in all structures

googie these new technologies could create close to a Super-Workforce of the future

googie robotics will be an essential part of the technology ecosystem providing 365/24/7 security using biometrics and other state-of-the-art technologies

Clearly, this is easily one of the most gloriously guano-filled crackerdog news release in the history of Las Vegas-related news releases.

Bleutech Park WTF

Suck it, lawyers, satire! Or possibly parody. Oh, and if you try to sue us, we’re suing you for ripping off Simon for your logo, so suck it.

This wildly imaginative project is expected to create more than imaginary 25,000 jobs, most of them no doubt involving showing up to a vacant lot wondering how to make coffee out of sand.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas will presumably break ground in Las Vegas in December 2019 and will take six years to complete.

That timeline could changed based upon a number of factors, though, including the availability of certain construction materials essential to this project like “boundless optimism” and “unbridled whimsy.”

As is the way of much of our Las Vegas media, this story is being reported as if it’s a real thing. Awkward.

It’s just deeply stupid, and everyone involved should be forced to read the Bleutech Park Las Vegas news release repeatedly until they lose their equilibrium and walk headlong into the trunk of a supertree, whatever that might actually be.

Update (9/24/19): Miami Herald has confirmed this project is a steaming pile of WTF.