Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

All Net Resort and Arena is Doing Its Best to Impress

Like many Las Vegas observers, we’d pretty much written off All Net Resort and Arena as yet another whimsical project with no actual financing behind it.

In March 2017, All Net Arena generated some buzz with news it would begin work installing utilities and building underground parking on the site situated between SLS Las Vegas and the abandoned Fontainebleau.

All Net Arena

Yes, there’s a lot of nothing. We’re interested in the not nothing.

We figured a few trucks would show up, push some dirt around, and the project would again fade away.

But that didn’t stop us from taking another look, and what we saw was a genuine surprise.

It seems not only have the trucks not gone away, they’ve multiplied, dramatically.

A veritable fleet of dirt-hauling trucks (23 rigs, to be exact) are now on display on the 27-acre site, along with other earth-moving equipment.

What does it all mean? Who knows? But it certainly is impressive.

All Net Arena

It looks like a North Korean military parade, but without all the goose-stepping.

Ultimately, we suspect there’s a bit of resort development theater going on at the All Net Resort and Arena site.

It’s likely All Net Arena’s developers are putting on a show to impress upon potential investors how viable the “full steam ahead” project is.

Here’s a closer look at all the hardware currently adorning the the All Net Arena site.

The All Net Resort and Arena is supposed to cost $1.4 billion, and the project has pushed back its opening date numerous times. Most recently, project officials stated construction will be completed by 2019.

If, by some miracle, the project gets financing, it will have a 44-floor hotel, 20,000-seat arena and a shopping and dining district.

While skepticism is warranted with All Net Resort and Arena, it’s important to remember longshots hit in Las Vegas all the time, and we absolutely love shiny new things.

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Forbidden City Resort Could Bring Pandas, Cricket Fighting to Las Vegas Strip

We get giddy when we hear about new Las Vegas casinos in the works and this one’s a doozy. We’ve got the inside scoop on a proposed $5 billion Asian-themed resort called Forbidden City Palace Casino and Hotel Resort.

Forbidden City seems to have flown under the radar, but it’s an ambitious project its developers claim “will set the standard for excellence in Las Vegas.” Now, that we’d love to see!

Here’s a look at Forbidden City, a resort that will “bring unparalleled examples of Chinese architecture with feng shui principles” to the center of the Las Vegas Strip.

Forbidden City Palace Casino Hotel

The standard for excellence in Las Vegas isn’t going to set itself, people.

Exciting, right?

Forbidden City is being developed by AEPA, “a limited liability corporation under the direction of its President, Alfred Liu.” According to the project’s promotional materials, there are also Chinese companies involved to “carry out the plan, including experienced developers and material manufacturers.”

Forbidden City is an ambitious project, to say the least. The array of proposed attractions and amenities are stunning.

The “unique and spectacular offerings” include “Royal Weddings,” “Cricket Warfare,” “Cultural Integrity,” “Exotic Experiences, a giant panda habitat and Entertainment Center.

Naturally, “Cricket Warfare” and giant pandas jumped right out at us.

First, “Cricket Warfare.” The developer says, “Once the exclusive game of the Emperor, cricket fighting has been a popular sport in China for centuries. Watch the drama unfold and the tension build as powerful fighting crickets square off when AEPA brings this popular, imperial gaming sport to the Forbidden City.”

AEPA, PETA. PETA, AEPA.

Next, pandas. Everyone loves pandas!

Pandas

People love pandas so much there was actually a show at Palazzo called “Panda.”

Apparently, the aforementioned Mr. Liu knows a guy. The resort’s proposal says, “Mr. Liu’s strong relationship with the former Governor of the Sichuan Communist Party has created the exclusive opportunity to bring the giant panda to the Forbidden City. A proposal submitted by the Sichuan provinces is pending before the State Council.”

If you’re in China and looking to get a great table in a packed restaurant, everyone knows you drop this line to the hostess and you’re golden: “Good evening and please be aware I have a strong relationship with the former Governor of the Sichuan Communist Party. Thank you.”

Interestingly, a competing Asian-themed resort, Resorts World, once proposed a panda exhibit, but dropped the idea when it got what experts call “a clue.” That means Forbidden City will have the only pandas in Las Vegas. Take that, Resorts World.

So, what else do we know about Forbidden City Palace Resort?

Well, as mentioned, Forbidden City will be located in “the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.” Check out the site plan, below.

Forbidden City Las Vegas

Unless you get pandas and fighting crickets, your luck is about to run out, Lucky Dragon.

It’s hard to tell from the site plan, but two of our astute blog commenters, Graham and Denver Gambler, have noted Forbidden City could very well have its eyes on the Rock in Rio site (owned by MGM Resorts) at the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd.

Forbidden City

It may as well be the Rock in Rio site, as Rock in Rio won’t be using it.

That would be an expensive piece of real estate, but the developers of Forbidden City have no doubt taken everything into account as they put together their financing.

Speaking of financing, it sounds like Forbidden City is going to have no problem finding the estimated $5 billion needed to complete the project.

The developer says, “All construction materials will be fabricated in China and assembled by AEPA’s experienced workers in Las Vegas. The favorable wage and quality service provided by skilled Chinese craftsmen lowers the construction cost and improves the efficiency of the project.”

Made in China, assembled in the U.S.A. We’re curious to know how the pandas are going to feel about that.

Anyway, we love everything about the proposed Forbidden City Palace Resort, from the Performing Arts Center with a 1,600-seat “symphony theater” to food carts with “Shanghai, Cantonese and Beijing delicacies” roaming the casino floor.

Forbidden City casino Las Vegas

Fireworks were invented in China during the Tang Dynasty, an era which would later inspire the name of a powdered drink popular with astronauts. Millennial translation: Long story.

Does Forbidden City sound like a whimsical project? Sure. Is Resorts World, despite all the hoopla surrounding its groundbreaking, all that much further along in its construction? No.

Take a look at the full Forbidden City proposal (.doc format).

And if you think Forbidden City is out of the realm of possibility, why are indexes of upcoming construction listing it?

It’s time Las Vegas finally had a Forbidden City. A few years back, a similarly-named project, Dynasty Forbidden City, was proposed, but failed. Another failed resort, Xanadu, planned a Forbidden City restaurant. No go. Resorts World says it will have a Forbidden City Retail District. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Thanks, by the way, to eagle-eyed sleuth and loyal reader Deena E. for pointing us in the direction of the Forbidden City Casino project.

And to the developers of Forbidden City, we share the words of Arthur O’Shaughnessy, or possibly Willy Wonka, “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

It’s worth noting that later in O’Shaughnessey’s ode are less-known words, “With wonderful deathless ditties, we build up the world’s great cities. And out of a fabulous story, we fashion an empire’s glory.”

The glorious empire that is Las Vegas was built by dreamers, so dream on, Forbidden City, dream on.

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Caesars Entertainment Resorts Roll Out Paid Parking, Vegas Surprisingly Still Awesome

Las Vegas visitors and locals have had some time to adjust to the idea of paid parking, and now things have gotten real. Parking fees for self-parking are now being rolled out on the “other half of The Strip,” specifically, at Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Paid valet parking has been in effect for several months at Caesars Entertainment casinos, and since mid-2016 at MGM Resorts hotels (valet and self-park), but now guests will get dinged for self-parking at Caesars Entertainment destinations in Las Vegas, too.

So far, paid parking has been instituted at Linq Hotel & Casino and Caesars Palace. Next up is Paris and Bally’s (April 6, 2017).

Here’s a look at the newly-installed parking machines at the Linq casino.

Linq paid parking

Maybe John Connor could come back and terminate these.

Unlike at MGM Resorts hotels, self-parking will remain free for Las Vegas locals at Caesars Entertainment resorts (for the first 24 hours).

Parking is also free for visits of 60 minutes or fewer.

You can also park free at Caesars Entertainment resorts if you reach the upper tiers of the casino’s loyalty club, specifically, Platinum, Diamond and Seven Stars.

Linq paid parking fees

Lesson: If you rack up charges over multiple days, lose your ticket. Just saying.

One can also avoid being charged for parking by getting the Total Rewards Visa card. There’s no annual fee, and getting the card bumps you up to Platinum membership, so you can sidestep parking charges. The same tactic works with the M Life Rewards card through MGM Resorts.

Parking fees vary at different Caesars Entertainment resorts, just to keep things interesting.

At Linq, Harrah’s and eventually Flamingo: One to four hours, $5; four to 24 hours, $8; more than 24 hours, $8 per day.

At Caesars Palace, Bally’s/Paris, Cromwell and Planet Hollywood: Up to four hours, $13; four to 24 hours, $18; more than 24 hours, $18 per day.

At the moment, there’s no plan to charge for parking at Caesars Entertainment’s ugly stepchild, Rio Las Vegas.

Harrah's paid parking

For the moment, the paid parking machines at Harrah’s are living by the motto, “No glove, no love.”

From what we could see at the Linq casino, the roll-out of paid parking is going fairly smoothly. The company has installed the promised upgrades to the parking facilities, including availability indicators (rather than green and red, they used green and purple and blue).

Speaking of red lights and green lights, it’s ironic the parking gates at Linq light up red and green. This is the same system we first reported Caesars Entertainment using to monitor comped drinks at its casino bars.

It’s important to note that as you’re exiting the resort, you can pay at the gate on the way out, but those machines take credit or debit cards only. If you only have cash, pay inside the casino.

Caesars Palace paid parking

Caesars Palace visionary Jay Sarno would be spinning in his grave. In celebration. Because who are we kidding? Rich guys get rich by making money.

And, so, paid parking in Las Vegas is pretty much universal. There are a few hold-outs on The Strip, but they’ll eventually have to cave as bargain-hunters make their way to the free lots.

A few of the remaining Strip hotels with free parking include Tropicana, Circus Circus, SLS Las Vegas and Stratosphere. Hooters and Lucky Dragon, just off The Strip, are also free.

While paid parking is a break from tradition in Las Vegas, it’s clearly here to stay, and ultimately a business necessity for casinos as gambling revenue declines. Gambling used to pay for all the freebies in the casino, but now each part of the casino’s business has to be profitable or at least self-sustaining.

Caesars Palace paid parking

Caesars Palace still has a few wrinkles to iron out with its space counter thingys.

Sure, parking fees are irksome, but it’s good to keep things in perspective. Las Vegas remains one of the premier travel destinations in the world, and paid parking is the norm in every major city in the country.

bally's paris paid parking

Update (4/7/17): Paid parking is in effect at Bally’s and Paris. Bonjour, le suck.

So, either budget for parking fees or take advantage of the various ways you can skip paying for parking altogether.

Paid parking doesn’t make Vegas any less Vegas, just as paying for sex doesn’t make it any less sex. Allegedly.

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All Net Arena Takes Part in Las Vegas Ritual of Pointlessly Pushing Dirt Around

For Las Vegas projects that can’t get financing, there’s a time-honored tradition: The technical term is “Pushing Dirt Around.”

Alon did it before its plug was pulled, and now workers at the All Net Arena and Resort site, between SLS Las Vegas and the abandoned Fontainebleau resort—the former location of the Wet ‘n Wild water park—are doing some dirt pushing of their own.

All Net Arena construction

Of all the projects not happening in Las Vegas, All Net Arena is certainly one of those.

The folks behind the troubled All Net Arena and Resort project, led by ex-NBA player Jackie Robinson, are grading the site, which is a fancy way of saying, you guessed it, “moving dirt around.”

Presumably, there are plans to build underground parking and install utilities as well. Why one would do these things, when there’s virtually no hope the project’s ever going to fly, we have no idea. Las Vegas developers may not always have financial backing, but they rarely lack optimism.

Along those lines, Robinson says the project should open in December 2019, or roughly around the time we all have flying cars.

All Net Arena construction

“Grading” is the process of ensuring a site’s subsoil is level to provide a solid base for an erection. Oh, just make up your own joke.

The All Net Arena and Resort will cost $1.3 billion, and is supposed to have a 22,000-seat arena, a retail and restaurant complex and a 500-room hotel.

There’s been lots of asshattery behind the scenes with the project, including lawsuits galore. Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, currently the only entity with the patience to wade through all this crap.

All Net Arena construction

It’s the construction site version of “Where’s Waldo?”

Despite the bleak outlook for All Net Arena, we’re rooting for its success, because we love new Las Vegas things, and the north end of The Strip can use all the help it can get.

Somebody obviously scraped together the cash to do the grading of the site (trust us, nobody’s working on credit with this organization), so anything’s possible.

All Net Arena Las Vegas

Sure, there’s a whole lot of nothing at the All Net Arena site now, but just wait until you see the amount of nothing there will be in 2019.

Whether All Net Arena gets off the ground or not, abandoned underground parking is far less an eyesore than a hulking carcass like Fontainebleau or 250-foot concrete pillars.

We’re looking at you, SkyVue observation wheel.

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Caesars Entertainment Toys With Renaming Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas

It appears Caesars Entertainment is considering a name change for The Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas.

The company sent out a survey testing what we assume is one of several names in contention, Caesars Republic.

The customer survey suggests Caesars Republic “commands attention” and says “the air is filled with magnetic energy.” The survey also claims, “At every turn, guests are enveloped by sumptuous, contemporary design, while fun, whimsical accents keep things interesting.”

Here’s a look at the survey sent out by Caesars Entertainment’s market research company, CMB (Chadwick Martin Bailey).

Caesars Republic

Let us not judge marketing copywriters, as we were one of those at Caesars Entertainment at one point.

While Cromwell has been doing well for Caesars Entertainment, it’s possible the company sees challenges with the Cromwell name.

Prior to the hotel becoming The Cromwell, it was Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, and before that it was Barbary Coast.

For a moment, the plan was to call the hotel Gansevoort, until is was discovered one of Gansevoort’s investors had ties to Russian organized crime. The Nevada Gaming Commission tends to frown upon such things, so the name was nixed.

The Cromwell name was presumably inspired by the Cromwell current, “an eastward-flowing subsurface current that extends the length of the equator in the Pacific Ocean” discovered by Townsend Cromwell.

Nothing says “sexy Las Vegas resort” like an eastward-flowing subsurface current.

While the survey doesn’t mention The Cromwell by name, it features a number of images of The Cromwell’s distinctive pool, casino and rooms.

Cromwell Caesars Republic

Holy crap, we were just enveloped by whimsical accents.

Our astute Twitter follower Ryan O. floated the possibility Caesars Entertainment is actually looking to find a new name for Nobu, the boutique hotel inside Caesars Palace. The Cromwell photos may have been included in the survey as a diversionary tactic.

We’re betting Caesars Republic won’t end up being the new name of The Cromwell, as it doesn’t exactly sing.

It’s clear, though, Caesars Entertainment is trying to exploit its flagship brand, Caesars, but it remains to be seen how that might happen without causing confusion between The Cromwell and Caesars Palace, just across the street.

If you got the survey with other potential names for The Cromwell, please share! Thanks to reader Mike C. for sending the survey our way.

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Don’t Be Surprised If Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Is Sold

We fully realize we’ve been light on the rumors and speculation lately, but we’re about to make up for it. From what we hear, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is being sold, so don’t be surprised if the purchase is announced soon.

Hard Rock casino Las Vegas

Fun fact: Hard Rock International boasts 80,000 pieces of music-themed memorabilia. Hard Rock Las Vegas has about 2,000.

Signs point to the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas being purchased by Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Hard Rock in Las Vegas is currently owned by Brookfield Asset Management. It’s operated by Brookfield and Warner Gaming.

Rumors of a sale come on the heels of a recent announcement the Seminole Tribe of Florida has purchased the closed Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City from bajillionaire Carl Icahn. That’s the same Carl Icahn who owns the abandoned Fontainebleau on the Las Vegas Strip. We’re hoping Icahn uses proceeds from the Trump Taj Mahal to buy the Fontainebleau a wrap. No, seriously, it’s an eyesore.

Hard Rock casino Las Vegas

The off-Strip Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas opened in 1995.

Hard Rock International seems to be in expansion mode, so the purchase of the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas makes sense.

Insiders say reps of the Seminole Tribe of Florida have visited the Hard Rock in recent months, and a number of internal organizational changes at the Las Vegas Hard Rock lend credence to the rumblings about the resort’s imminent sale.

Hard Rock employees have been informed of a resort-wide meeting on Monday, March 6, 2017, which may involve word of the sale.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is not to be confused with its neighbor, the recently-shuttered Hard Rock Cafe, just outside the casino. The Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, which leased the name but wasn’t affiliated with the hotel, shut down on Dec. 31, 2016. The Hard Rock Cafe had been in operation for 26 years. The Hard Rock Cafe was snapped up by Brookfield and would presumably be part of the sale to Hard Rock International.

Hard Rock Cafe closes

The former Hard Rock Cafe sign.

Hard Rock International owns or licenses venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.

The Hard Rock brand was consolidated in October 2016, after being split between a variety of owners for 30 years.

If a sale of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas happens as we believe it will, hopefully it won’t disrupt plans for a new steakhouse, MB Steakhouse. Because steak. The “MB” stands for Morton Brothers, specifically, Michael and David Morton. The new steakhouse is slated to open in May. The resort recently got a new Oyster Bar.

There’s also been talk of changes coming to the resort’s Vanity nightclub, although specifics aren’t yet available.

The Hard Rock is set to debut a new male revue, “Magic Mike Live Las Vegas” on March 30, 2017.

The Hard Rock resort recently unveiled a renovated Center Bar, which we’re really only including here because we know how much you like pretty pictures of Las Vegas bars.

As rumors go, the potential sale of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is an especially juicy one. We’ll keep an eye on the potential sale as the story unfolds. Then we’ll fold it up again, because we’re tidy like that.

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