Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo Convention Center Reportedly Up for Sale

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t possibly be jam-packed with any more WTF, Las Vegas Sands—owner of Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo Convention Center—is reportedly exploring a sale of these beloved fixtures on the Las Vegas Strip.

Deep breaths.

According to Bloomberg, Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is focusing on his true moneymaker, Asia, so he’s looking for a potential buyer for Venetian, Palazzo and the convention center.

The estimated asking price for these gems? About $6 billion.

Venetian Palazzo

We love certain kinds of change, but we’re not sure this is one of those.

Big picture, this makes a lot of sense for Sheldon Adelson, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting.

We’re personally upset because Bloomberg reported this story before us, and we’ve broken the news of pretty much every Las Vegas casino sale in the last seven years. But it doesn’t always have to be about us. Probably.

It’s also upsetting because this potential sale says a lot. As Adelson looks to Macau and Singapore, he’s taking his eyes off Las Vegas.

Venetian Las Vegas gondola

Mr. Adelson, all due respect, but now may not be the best time to rock the boat.

It doesn’t take Sheldon Adelson’s keen foresight to see the convention business in Las Vegas isn’t coming back full force anytime soon, and that has been the bread and butter for Las Vegas Sands.

Las Vegas doesn’t really work without conventions, and things have been looking undeniably bleak due to the pandemic.

Adelson’s U.S. business only accounts for 15 percent of the company’s total revenue, so a sale won’t really move the needle for the bajillionaire one way or the other.

A sale could move the needle for fans of Venetian and Palazzo, however.

These hotels are reliably ranked two of the best in Las Vegas, and a change of ownership could mean a giant question mark for visitors.

Also a question mark is what happens to the MSG Sphere if Las Vegas Sands sells its casino and convention center.

MSG Sphere

Las Vegas Sands donated land for this new entertainment venue. So many questions.

Another aspect of a potential sale: Sheldon Adelson owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal. If he sells off his other business interests in Las Vegas, does he need to own a newspaper? Yes, there are still newspapers! Don’t be a smartass.

Another juicy question: If Sheldon Adelson sells off Venetian and Palazzo, what happens to his 12-plane whale delivery system and terminal at McCarran airport?

Bloomberg says the discussions of a sale are “very early” and the deal has not been finalized.

We’re actually a little unclear who might be in a position to buy these casinos at the moment.

While we love the drama of a casino sale (or two), we’re sort of secretly hoping Sheldon Adelson keeps “exploring” well into 2021 or beyond.

Behold the Biggest Circa Las Vegas Resort Preview Photo Gallery in the World

Circa Las Vegas, the first new downtown casino resort for decades, opens Oct. 28, 2020.

As usual, we couldn’t wait, so we’ve put together the biggest pre-opening photo gallery of Circa in existence.

Vickie Circa

Nearly done, but Vegas Vickie’s already a knock-out.

During our recent visits, we got the witness the resort putting the final touches on Circa (which is why you’ll see some ladders, exposed wires and plastic-covered tables in the pics).

We can’t thank Circa enough for letting us get an early look at this amazing new Las Vegas destination.

The bottom line: We loved every inch of the place. If you get our drift.

Circa

This isn’t even her best side.

We were literally breathless seeing Circa’s massive sportsbook for the first time, and we are not even a sports person.

Rumor has it the manufacturers of Circa’s sportsbook screen, upon seeing it for the first time, were equally stunned. And they made the thing!

Circa sportsbook

Come get your swoon on, sports fans.

Circa’s restaurants were cranking out delicious food during an employee play date as bartenders and dancing dealers were put through their paces.

Thanks to Circa owner Derek Stevens, we were given the honor of being the first to share Circa’s chips (photo below).

The reveal of the chips was topped by Stevens’ “secret” project, the creation of casino plaques. He was giddy to share these beauties he describes as “highly desirable.”

Circa's casino chips plaques

One of each of Circa’s chips and plaques, please.

There was some truly unique and remarkable moments at the Circa play date, as Derek Stevens actually got to gamble at his own casino, a no-no for owners when actual money is being wagered.

Stevens tried his hand at video poker, roulette and craps.

Derek Stevens slot machine

Top casino tip: You don’t have to be a casino owner to get freebies. Always use your players card.

Fun fact: Stevens and his wife Nicole won $183,000 in pretend money at dice thanks to his wise choice to find a “virgin” shooter, his executive assistant, Yivi.

Circa is as beautiful as the renderings, and Circa has pretty much delivered on the hype, much of it ours. Yes, we’ve been a Circa cheerleader. That’s because beyond loving what we’ve seen and consumed so far, it’s objectively awesome. Circa is also the good news Las Vegas could use right now.

Mega Bar

Let’s just say Circa isn’t “under-barred.”

The only asterisk is Circa’s much-touted “adults-only” status isn’t technically accurate. A contractual loophole means kids will be allowed into the resort’s steakhouse, Barry’s. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The centerpiece of Circa features the long-awaited return of Vegas Vickie, an iconic Las Vegas neon sign which sat above the former Glitter Gulch strip club.

She is absolutely glorious, and Circa is making the most of this newly-refurbished blast from the past.

We are confident enough in our masculinity to admit seeing Vickie lit up for the first time was one of several times we started opening weeping during our initial visits to Circa. Ditto our first Captain Morgan and diet.

Circa cocktail

Seal broken.

There’s far too much ground to cover in one blog post, so we’ll set you on your visual journey through Circa via our photo gallery.

There, you’ll get an inside peek at Circa’s special places (hello, high limit slot salon), its restaurants and menus, its artwork and its casino floors.

Circa screens

Want behind-the-scenes? You’ve got it. This is the hidden area where technicians can replace modules in the sportsbook’s video screen without the use of cranes.

We’ve made no effort to hide the fact we’re smitten. We love what Circa co-owners Derek and Greg Stevens (more from the latter on our next podcast episode) have done downtown and Circa is the crown jewel.

Big socially-distanced hugs to Circa for letting us share these work-in-progress, unretouched, plastic-wrapped, home stretch blemishes-and-all images.

Circa casino

Nothing beats that new felt smell!

Circa has already exceeded expectations and it hasn’t even opened yet! Say “hello” to our new home away from home, Circa Las Vegas.

Related: We get the question about how much Circa Las Vegas cost often. Since we’re the only one with the answer, here it is: While it’s never been officially announced or confirmed, our information is Circa resort cost $1.156 billion to build.

Source Says Cromwell Resort to Reopen Oct. 29

An employee says the lone remaining closed casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Cromwell, will reopen on Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas has been closed since March 18, 2020.

Cromwell

Welcome back, you boutique beauty, you.

The other Las Vegas casinos still closed due to the pandemic are: Palms, Rio, Main Street Station (Downtown), Fiesta Rancho (North Las Vegas), Texas Station (North Las Vegas), Fiesta Henderson (Henderson), Eldorado Casino (Henderson) and Eastside Cannery (Boulder Highway).

While Cromwell was closed, it played host to a reality TV show, “Love Island.” It’s worth noting we’re using the term “reality” very loosely here.

Cromwell is a beloved Vegas casino, with a player-friendly casino, the excellent Giada restaurant and the popular Drai’s Nightclub.

It’s unknown which of Cromwell’s venues will be back upon reopening.

The Cromwell

Sexy AF. Formerly, the quasi-sexy Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and the old-school sexy Barbary Coast.

Midweek demand remains soft at Las Vegas hotels, but Cromwell only has 188 rooms, so it should fare relatively well upon reopening.

We’re thrilled for the employees of Cromwell, as it’s been a long period of uncertainty about the future of the resort.

We’ve heard several parties have explored a potential purchase of the casino at one of the most visible intersections in Las Vegas, the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Whimsical, Wondrous WTF Abounds in New Atari Hotel Las Vegas Renderings

The project has been light on details, but that’s not stopping Atari Hotels from showering us with some glorious renderings of the possibly-happening Las Vegas project.

If you’re a fan of “Blade Runner,” gird your loins!

Atari Hotel Las Vegas

So many lofty Las Vegas projects are like tears in the rain. Let’s hope this isn’t that.

The history of Las Vegas projects that never get beyond the rendering phase is girthy, to say the least.

That doesn’t make them any less fun!

Atari hasn’t yet shared where the Atari Hotel will be located in Las Vegas, or how it will be paid for, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

There are more renderings, several of which depict buildings in the background that don’t actually exist in Las Vegas.

It’s really important you stop obsessing over such quibbles and just get ready to see how effectively Atari is “infusing synthetic reality into every aspect of the hotel.”

Atari hotel Las Vegas

The Strat’s eyeing the Transamerica Pyramid thinking, “Oh, hell, no, you did not move up on me like this.”

Atari Hotel Las Vegas is one of several planned across the country.

Other, less interesting, Atari Hotel locations include Phoenix Austin, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

Here’s an overview of what they’re going for: “Atari Hotels perfectly blends the past, present and future of video games and entertainment for a destination that offers guests a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience, complete with state of the art amenities for esports fans and content creators.”

We don’t entirely know what to make of that, so let’s hear more from Atari.

The news release says, “Guests can enjoy the latest in video games, experience cutting-edge immersive entertainment, purchase exclusive Atari Hotels merchandise, and play the night away in retro-style gaming arcades. A speakeasy and fully-equipped nightclub will be available for adult guests, as well as themed restaurants and bars. Atari Hotels delightfully plays with the themes of retro-futurism, pop culture, and nostalgia–offering fun for the whole family.”

How dare you question a business plan that “delightfully plays” with “retro-futurism”?

Oh, look, another sweet rendering!

Atari Las Vegas

If you have an iconic logo, you’d better damn well use it in your hotel design.

We sort of see where Atari’s going, but it remains to be seen of the project comes to fruition, and if it does, whether gamers are up for it.

A popular misconception is gamers are teens with little disposable income. The average gamer in the U.S. is 35. Just a third of gamers are younger than 18.

Tellingly, the Atari news release includes this item, “Analyst firm Newzoo estimates that the world’s more than 2.5 billion global video gamers will spend roughly $160 billion in 2020 and anticipate the video game industry to grow to an impressive 2.7 billion gamers generating over $200 billion in revenue by the year 2023.”

Will those numbers translate into a successful Las Vegas resort? And have you noticed when we don’t know the answer to something we ask it in the form of a question to cover our ass?

As with most ambitious Las Vegas projects, we’re rooting for it to happen, especially because we’re a huge fan of dirigibles.

Atari hotel Vegas

Nothing screams Las Vegas like rain and umbrellas!

As mentioned, there have been few details shared about financing, location or timelines for Atari Hotel Las Vegas, but there is a fancy Atari Hotels Web site, so that’s something.

We have so many fond memories of playing Atari games, we’d love to get the opportunity to see them brought to life in a Las Vegas resort.

Atari changed the world with its games, so we’re curious if it can change the game in Las Vegas.

Busted Vegas Myth: Flamingo Wasn’t Named After Bugsy’s Girlfriend

Las Vegas myths come and go, but this one has legs.

The myth is the Flamingo casino got its name from Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s girlfriend, Virginia Hill. Hill reportedly had long, thin legs, so her nickname was “Flamingo.” Another theory says she got her name because when she drank, her cheeks got pink.

The story about the naming of Flamingo after a long-legged “mob queen” is very dramatic and makes perfect sense until you realize this whimsical tale isn’t actually true.

Bugsy's Bar Flamingo Las Vegas

Bugsy’s alive and well at Flamingo, hoochwise.

While the flamboyant “Bugsy” Siegel is often credited with building Flamingo, the casino was actually the brainchild of Billy Wilkerson, founder of the Hollywood Reporter.

Wilkerson’s the one who gave the Flamingo its name, before “Bugsy” ever entered the picture.

In 1945, a friend of Wilkerson suggested that rather than just gambling in casinos, he should build one. Wilkerson made his way to Las Vegas and found a 33-acre site he purchased for $84,000.

Wilkerson named his project the Flamingo Club.

He ran out of funds in 1946, and sought help from east coast mobster Meyer Lansky, a decision that always works out well for everyone involved.

Flamingo neon

Iconic AF.

Financial backing from organized crime involves hands-on oversight by mob associates, and in this case the hands belonged to “Bugsy” Siegel and his cohorts Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway.

Eventually, Siegel took over the reins of Flamingo and when it opened on Dec. 26, 1946, the resort tanked to the tune of about $500,000 in losses over its first few days.

Flamingo closed and did better upon reopening, but Siegel’s mobster friends suspected he was stealing from them. What could possibly go wrong?

Flamingo is considered the first modern resort in Las Vegas, but Siegel wouldn’t be around to enjoy its success or witness its longevity.

Siegel was whacked on June 20, 1947, but his place in Vegas history lives on. The case remains officially unsolved.

The latest homage to “Bugsy” Siegel, as well as Meyer Lansky, can be found at today’s Flamingo. The resort recently opened a new restaurant, Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse.

Bugsy & Meyer's Flamingo

As fronts go, this is a tasty one.

The restaurant is awesome, and a fitting nod to these colorful characters, immortalized in Las Vegas lore.

Now, you know!

Here’s the Scoop on Planet Hollywood’s Reopening Plans

Planet Hollywood has announced it will reopen Oct. 8, 2020, following a months-long closure due to the pandemic.

As has been the pattern of late, Planet Hollywood is taking things slowly, and says its hotel will operate Thursday through Sunday only.

The most important part of Planet Hollywood, the casino, will operate seven days a week.

Planet Hollywood

So many memories. And so many partial memories, which are the best kind, actually.

Dining options will open selectively when Planet Hollywood does.

Guests can seek out sustenance at Gordon Ramsay Burger (formerly BurGR), Strip House, Cafe Hollywood, Earl of Sandwich, Starbucks and, just outside, Chick-fil-A.

Burger Planet Hollywood

One cannot live by burgers alone. The Oreo shake at Burger is a must-try.

Koi will remain temporarily closed, as will P.F. Chang’s, Yolo’s Mexican Grill and the Ringer sports bar.

Our beloved Spice Market Buffet won’t be reopening, and it remains unclear if it ever will.

Spice Market Buffet

We miss our visits to Gluttony Central.

Planet Hollywood’s two popular lounges, Heart Bar and Extra Lounge, will reopen Oct. 8 as well.

The resort’s freshly-rebranded William Hill sports book will be open, along with the resort’s spa.

The adjoining Miracle Mile Shops mall has been open since June 9, 2020.

Worth noting: Self-parking at Planet Hollywood is free, as was the case prior to the shutdown.

Now, all Caesars Entertainment casinos have free parking on The Strip, and we couldn’t be happier typing that sentence.

Crazy Girls statue

“Crazy Girls” may not be back yet, but the butts are, so there’s that.

The reopening of Planet Hollywood is a welcome turn of events. Rumors have been ongoing about a potential sale of Planet Hollywood, with the Seminoles (Hard Rock) being an often-cited suitor.

We’ve also shared industry chatter Twin River has kicked the tires at Planet Hollywood, too.

The announcement by Caesars Entertainment seems to put to bed any uncertainty about whether Planet Hollywood would reopen again under its current ownership. We’d have lost money on that bet.

Planet Hollywood

Welcome back, you beauty.

The reopening of Planet Hollywood is also welcome because the Strip-side walkway that runs along the resort has become a tad sketchy since cleaning crews and security became scarce during the closure.

The general rule: More foot traffic, less WTF.

When Planet Hollywood reopens, we’ll be another step closer to feeling some normalcy in Las Vegas again. The resort is a fixture on The Strip, and it was painful seeing it shuttered.

Let’s Planet Hollywood again.