Monthly Archives: March 2021

Resorts World Confirms Plans for Epic Food Court

Resorts World has confirmed our February scoop, the soon-to-open casino resort will have a kick-ass food court. The name: Famous Foods Street Eats.

East and West will bump tasties at this 24,000-square-foot food hall from Zouk Group, a nightlife brand out of Singapore.

Resorts World food court

Resorts World is about to implode everything you think you know about food courts.

The “Asian hawker-inspired food hall concept” will have 16 food options, a center bar and even a speakeasy.

Zouk Group’s Executive Chairman Hui Lim (also known as Lim Keong Hui, son of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Genting Group, owners of Resorts World) and CEO Andrew Li recruited some of Asia’s top food hawkers and brought them to the U.S. for the offering at Resorts World.

Here are the major players at Zouk Group. There will be a quiz.

Famous Foods Street Eats will be located just off the casino floor and promises lots of neon signs.

Resorts World is speaking our language right now, and we haven’t even really gotten to the bar and speakeasy parts.

Resorts World restaurants

Translucence not required for entry.

As we first reported back in February, the dessert station will have a 10-foot-tall Lucky Cat.

The Lucky Cat will be made from “gold coins.”

Resorts World lucky cat

We trust they aren’t actual gold coins, or the Lucky Cat would needs its own security detail.

A news release about the Resorts World food hall says, “With food ‘edutainment’ at the forefront of the Famous Foods experience, guests can enjoy Michelin star meals at an affordable price while learning about the different cultures and origins of these authentic cuisines. Famous Foods will also feature two commissioned art pieces by Red Hong Yi, a popular Chinese-Malaysian contemporary artist known for her mixed media interpretations.”

Not only is our mouth watering for this new venue, our eyes are watering as well. Eye saliva should be a thing.

The release also mentions guests will be welcomed to the food hall by 18,000 tea bags. Now, that’s Las Vegas hospitality!

Oh, wait, it’s a mural made of 18,000 tea bags. We probably shouldn’t skim news releases. Moving on.

Let’s get into the food stalls!

Eastern stalls:
googie Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling
googie Boon Tong Kee
googie Fuhu Shack
googie Geylang Claypot Rice
googie Googgle Man’s Char Kuey Teow
googie Pepita’s Kitchen
googie Springleaf Prata Place
googie Ten Suns Braised Beef
googie Tiger Sugar
googie Dessert
googie Mamak

Western stalls:
googie Streetbird Las Vegas
googie Kuru Kuru Pa Yakitori
googie Mozz Bar by James Trees
googie Blood Brothers BBQ
googie Nori Bar

Worth noting, Kuru Kuru Pa Yakitori was developed by noted chef Steve Aoki. Yes, that Steve Aoki. He also DJs occasionally.

Mozz Bar comes from one of our favorite Las Vegas chefs, James Trees. Trees is also responsible for the incredible Esther’s Kitchen downtown and equally incredible Al Solito Posto in Summerlin.

Mozz Bar Resorts World

All these incredible Asian restaurants and we have our eye on the Italian place. That’s so us.

What an eclectic, jaw-dropping line-up of eateries. We are agog. The scale, the variety, the curation.

This is next level food courtery. Feel free to use that in your advertising, Resorts World.

Of course, one does not live by Peking Duck Burritos alone, so Resorts World is delivering on the hooch as well.

The Famous Foods Center Bar will have 16 seats, with a “self-pour and automated beer system that will offer a rotating selection of dozens of beers from around the world, along with cocktails and wines, all on tap.”

Resorts World bars

Oh, yes, we will most certainly be tapping that.

Then there’s the Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den, described as “an elegantly grunge speakeasy discretely tucked away.”

Resorts World speakeasy

This is not your grandpa’s food hall.

Is there anything Resorts World can’t do?

Zouk Group is managing several components of Resorts World, including Zouk Nightclub and Ayu Dayclub. “Ayu” means “beautiful.”

There’s also RedTail (a social gaming bar) and the aforementioned Fuhu restaurant. Fuhu means “lucky tiger” in Mandarin, by the way.

You can read more specifics about the metric hell-ton of restaurants at the official Resorts World Web site. You’ll want to gird your taste buds.

The over-the-top extravagance of the Famous Foods Street Eats food hall harkens back to a time when everything was over-the-top in Las Vegas.

Genting has spared no expense in making Resorts World a world-class destination, and has done it during one of the most challenging periods in the history of Las Vegas.

As visitors flood back to Las Vegas, Resorts World is poised to welcome them with open arms.

You know we’ll keep spilling the tea as the opening of Resorts World approaches in May or June.

From what we hear, there are more surprises still to come.

Katy Perry Residency Confirmed for Resorts World

Way back when things were relatively normal (Feb. 2020), we shared some scoop Katy Perry would have a residency at Resorts World.

That rumor has finally been confirmed. Thanks, Billboard, despite your irksome paywall.

Katy Perry’s residency at Resorts World is expected to begin toward the end of 2021 and will run into 2022, about a four-month run (although everything’s negotiable if a show’s a hit in Las Vegas).

Katy Perry

Prediction: Katy Perry’s Las Vegas show will feature “Waking Up in Vegas.” We’re prescient like that. We’d actually put money on that being the name of her show.

Katy Perry’s show will run in Resorts World’s 5,000-seat theater, sorry, Theatre.

Resorts World sign font

We exclusived the hell out of this Resorts World sign.

The deep pockets at Genting Group (owners of Resorts World) snagged the Katy Perry residency, but they weren’t the only suitor(s).

Perry was also wooed by MGM Resorts, and she is rumored to have stayed at the Mansion at MGM Grand during the holidays of 2019 as she was being unsuccessfully sweet-talked.

Few confirmed details are available about the specifics of the Katy Perry residency at Resorts World, but the headline-making booking should provide a nice awareness bump for the resort that opens in summer 2021.

Among the rumors floating about the residency: Her show will be circus-themed, like her most recent album, “Smile.”

There are also some rumblings Perry could follow in the footsteps of Lady Gaga with two versions of her show. Gaga did one over-the-top extravaganza (as Perry’s is expected to be), as well as a more intimate version.

Katy Perry

Dismiss our drunken Tweets at your own peril.

As we’ve shared (also more than a year ago), Celine Dion is also expected to have a residency at Resorts World, and a number of other high-priced (sorry, world-class) performers will reportedly be joining the line-up of talent. Money is no object in Las Vegas!

Resorts World is making a play to become a heavy-hitter in Las Vegas entertainment, and Katy Perry’s residency is just the beginning.

Rio to Be Remodeled, Towers Will Get Hyatt Brands

The new owner of Rio casino, Dreamscape, is partnering with Hyatt Hotels, and the underwhelm is palpable.

Dreamscape announced it signed a deal with Hyatt that involves a major renovation as well as rebranding its hotel towers, but the resort will keep the Rio name.

Rio Las Vegas casino

Rio is tired of being everyone’s punching bag. We could also have ended that sentence with “tired.”

Dreamscape acquired Rio from Caesars Entertainment for $516.3 million in December 2019.

One hotel tower, presumably Masquerade Tower, will have 1,501 rooms and be rebranded Hyatt Regency.

Beyond that, Rio will be rebranded into “multiple Hyatt full-service brand flags.”

There are a metric hell-ton of Hyatt brands to choose from for a rebrand.

So, it’s a lot like what’s happening at Resorts World, with three “flags” operating under one umbrella. In the case of Resorts World, it’s three Hilton brands: Hilton, Conrad and Crockfords.

Cosmo has Marriott. Virgin has Hilton. All the cool kids are doing it.

Rio Las Vegas sign

Whatever you do, Dreamscape, don’t muck with the sign. Unless you’re fixing it, then muck away.

On the bright side, the resort’s “revitalization” will include all public spaces, including the casino, retail, bars and restaurants, spa and pool complex.

The renovation and rebrands will happen in phases.

It’s been painful to watch the slow decline of Rio. Dreamscape’s plans at least provide a glimmer of hope the resort could be a thing again.

Still, one need only look across the street to Palms to see where big investments and plans have failed to pan out. Palms has yet to reopen since closing in March 2020, and our sources say it won’t reopen again under its current ownership, Station Casinos.

Carnival World Buffet

For a time, this was the bomb. Or just bomb. We are a blog, not an Urban Dictionary.

Off-Strip resorts are a tricky business, and it remains to be seen if Dreamscape’s plans are, indeed, its plans (so many juicy rumors), and whether those dreams fulfilled could mean a chance at success for our beloved and beleaguered Rio.

For now, we’re reserving judgment on where all this could go. At least until Dreamscape removes the apostrophe in “Caesar’s Palace” on its Web site. They might have deep pockets, but they have a lot to learn about Las Vegas. We’ll wait.

Virgin Reveals Its Rejuvenated Opening

The construction walls are down outside Virgin, and we’ve got a peek at what’s in store when the new resort opens at 6:00 p.m. on March 25, 2021.

The fence came down sans hoopla, now those anxiously awaiting the debut of Virgin can get a clear look at how far the casino has come since it was Hard Rock.

Virgin entrance

It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.

Virgin’s signage is going full bore, promoting its new offerings and touting the fact the resort will open with no resort fees.

Virgin no resort fees

One of the greatest phrases ever invented: No resort fees.

Here’s another pic of the shiny new porte-cochere (fancy talk for driveway) at Virgin Las Vegas. Technically, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Which is awkward, but we’re so excited about having a new casino in Las Vegas, we’ll give it a pass.

Virgin porte cochere

Rumor has it spaces in the parking lot won’t be numbered, but lettered. Good luck finding the G spot.

One more shot of the Virgin entrance for posterity. We suspect it’s the last time the surface parking lot will be empty at Virgin.

Virgin Las Vegas

Fun game: Find the suspicious security guard.

The only other thing we’d add is Virgin Las Vegas is really close to the airport (at the corner of Harmon and Paradise).

The planes fly so close, you can almost reach up and scratch their bellies. Or something.

Virgin sign

Just spit-balling here, but Virgin should sell “flight path view” room upgrades for all the aviation nerds.

Check out our exclusive pics of some Virgin venues, and get all the scoop on Virgin’s new bars and restaurants. Emphasis on bars.

The opening of Virgin Las Vegas is close at hand, and we can wait to get inside her.

Luxor Shows Off Pyramid Tower Room Renovations

Luxor thinks a new batch of renovated rooms will be a draw for customers. They may have a point.

We’re pretty sure you need to circle back to read that first paragraph again. We’ll wait.

Because Luxor is in the shape of a pyramid.

We don’t have all day, so here’s a photo of one of Luxor’s overhauled Pyramid Tower rooms, the Pyramid King.

Luxor room reservation

Luxor opened on Oct. 13, 1993, because people were much less superstitious in 1993.

The Pyramid tower is the 30-story pointy one. Luxor also has twin 22-story towers. They’re referred to as “ziggurat towers,” but because we have no idea what that means, we’re just going to breeze right by it.

The remodeled Pyramid Tower rooms will be available for stays starting in mid-April.

Here’s another room.

Luxor room renovation

This is the Pyramid Two Queen room. In poker, a pair of queens are called “ladies.”

Here’s a fun fact: No hotel room window in the history of Las Vegas has ever had the view from that window.

There are lots of reasons for that, including the fact many views just suck.

Mostly, though, it’s because the contrast between the light level in the room (artificial) and outside (sunlight) is so great, either the room ends up being too dark or outside is washed out. Even with HDR (high dynamic range) software, photographers and graphic designers swap out what’s in the window with a better resolution image to enhance the appeal of the room.

Look, this whole story is about a couple of hotel rooms, so we needed to pad it a little to keep the photos from slapping together.

Oh, look, a renovated bathroom!

Luxor

In ancient Egypt, a toilet was basically a stool with a hole in it. A container with sand was placed underneath. Classy.

The news release about the renovated rooms says, “Luxor’s new Pyramid King and Pyramid Two Queen guest rooms are inspired by Moroccan and North African cultures with bold splashes of orange and blue, with brilliant gold accents.”

Wild coincidence: The name of our band in high school was The Bold Splashes.

You can see all the room types on Luxor’s official Web site. If you decide to book, don’t bother calling. We were on hold 20 minutes, no luck speaking to anyone. The hotels haven’t really staffed back up based upon increasing demand. Give it a minute.

Luxor’s room remodel is ongoing, and will continue through the summer. Eventually, all 1,715 standard king and queen rooms will get a facelift.

Luxor is still about as iconic as it gets in Las Vegas, despite the fact much of the Egyptian theming has been removed inside.

The Luxor beam is only half as bright as when the hotel opened (part cost-cutting, but also it was causing too many crow’s feet due to all the squinting), but got some fancy LED light strips along the pyramid’s edges not too long ago.

It’s great to see MGM Resorts investing in a refresh of its Pyramid Tower rooms, and we are big fans of the color scheme.

Insert pyramid scheme joke here. Hey, we can’t do everything for you.

Update (3/23/21): Wow, this got awkward. Thanks to our alert readers who pointed out Luxor’s room renovations feature hand-me-down furniture from Bellagio.

Luxor hand-me-downs

Chairs, lamps, dressers. At least you tried, Luxor.

Tuscany Gets a New Sports Book, Circa Sports

Tuscany Suites & Casino has a new sports book, and it has a familiar name: Circa Sports.

Circa Sports comes from the folks at Circa Las Vegas, the new resort in downtown Las Vegas.

So, now, guests can place sports bets at Circa Sports at Tuscany.

Circa Sports

Despite our best efforts, sports are still a thing in Las Vegas.

Yes, it’s a little confusing, even to self-proclaimed sportsball authorities such as ourself, so we asked Circa owner Derek Stevens to provide the lowdown, or possibly the 4-1-1.

Why would Tuscany want a sports book with the name of a competing casino (sort of) in their casino? What’s in it for Tuscany?

“I’ll make this simple,” says Stevens. “There are two things that are in it for Tuscany. A) Rent. B) The fact we believe our product is a bit differentiated from other sports books. What we conveyed to the owners was we believe people will go out of their way to go to a Circa Sports sportsbook. They believe by bringing in our sportsbook, it’s going to draw more customers into their property.”

One of the things we like about Derek Stevens is he can explain things so even we can understand it.

Derek Stevens Tuscany

Derek Stevens could get a big media turnout for the opening of a beer can.

This is the first satellite location of Circa Sports in Las Vegas (although the Circa Sports mobile app is available in Colorado).

Why Tuscany?

Derek Stevens says, “For a lot of people that may not know, that might not have Tuscany on their list to visit when they come to Vegas, this is a pretty hot spot. It’s got a huge amount of volume from a sports betting perspective. A lot of it has to do with its location within the property and the ease of access.”

Another thing we like about Derek Stevens is he’s adorable. While we always enjoy visiting Tuscany, we probably wouldn’t describe it as a “hot spot.”

Still, Stevens always seems to make wise business decisions, so we’ll just play along this time.

Circa Sports at Tuscany sits in the same space as the former sportsbook, but now the seating and TVs have been removed. Sports fans will have to watch games at the nearby Pub 365 restaurant and bar.

Stevens is not over-stating the “ease of access” element of Tuscany. Surface parking is convenient and free, making a visit for a quick bet a breeze.

Tuscany Las Vegas

We’re pretty sure the casino carries Captain Morgan now, so we’re good.

Tuscany remains a solid value, and this feels like a good location for Circa Sports to test the waters with a satellite location.

Tuscany is located off The Strip, just east of 255 E. Flamingo Road, between Ellis Island casino and Silver Sevens.

The Circa Sports sportsbook at Tuscany seems an odd partnership, but when it opened, it only took about a minute before bettors began lining up, so we trust that’s a positive sign for the new offering.

Our past forays into the world of sports betting, both of them, haven’t turned out particularly well. This, despite the fact we did several minutes of research involving asking a dude in the men’s restroom at The D (another Circa Sports location, along with Golden Gate) which teams we should wager on.

Seeing sports fans so giddy about a new sportsbook has inspired us to try again, so let us know which teams we’re betting on for March Madness, whatever that might actually be.