Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Red Rock Resorts Will Reportedly Jettison Five Restaurants and Clique Hospitality

There’s a shake-up on the way, and it could mark the end of five restaurants at Red Rock Resorts casinos in Las Vegas.

Rumors are Red Rock Resorts, also known as Station Casinos, will sever ties with one of its main restaurant partners, Clique Hospitality Group, at the end of 2017.

In the parlance of Las Vegas restaurants: This could be a really big deal.

Red Rock Resort

If you guessed we wrote this entire article as an excuse to share this kick-ass photo we took of Red Rock resort, you could be right.

The change in relationship between Station Casinos and Clique Hospitality is going to mean a number of restaurants will be rebranded or replaced.

If the rumors are true, Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar, Salute Trattoria Italiana and Libre Mexican Cantina will soon be out at Red Rock resort.

At Green Valley Ranch, Bottiglia and Borracha Mexican Cantina will be getting a swan song as well.

Bottiglia

It sounds like Bottiglia is one of the restaurants about to get whacked.

Clique Hospitality was founded by Andy Masi, founder of Light Group, and his partners Brian Massie and Shane Monaco.

Clique Hospitality is, at its heart, a relatively well-regarded nightlife company. The firm’s expansion into restaurants has been less successful. (Don’t even get us started about our experience at their “restaurant” at Mirage, The Still. It was so disappointing, we couldn’t even bear to write about it.)

Replacements for the outgoing restaurants have yet to be finalized. Red Rock Resorts could seek other partners, or just retool the restaurants and manage them in-house.

An interesting side note is Red Rock Resorts recently bought the Palms resort. We predicted Clique Hospitality would play a key role in rebranding the resort’s restaurants, but that now
seems an unlikely scenario.

Palms recently announced it will open a new 24-hour cafe, Lucky Penny, on July 1. The Bistro Buffet at Palms closes June 30, with a new food hall concept coming in December 2017. In the meantime, a temporary offering, Social Table, will operate in the hotel’s former Hooter’s space. Clique is nowhere to be found in plans for the Palms.

Clique Hospitality

What doesn’t kill us can still be fairly awkward.

The falling out with Red Rock Resorts means a hefty chunk of Clique’s restaurant portfolio could be wiped out by the end of the year.

We quite enjoyed Clique Bar & Lounge at Cosmopolitan, so here’s hoping Clique Hospitality will continue to seek out nightlife opportunities around town with other resort partners.

Update (6/15/17): According to Lori Nelson, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Station Casinos, the rumors in our story are unfounded. She states, “The rumors in your blog about the restaurants at Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch Resort are false. We value and enjoy a great relationship with Andy Masi and Clique Hospitality.”

Thanks to the folks at Station for taking the time to reach out.

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Caesars Entertainment Explores Restaurants From Jennifer Lopez and “Deadliest Catch”

Caesars Entertainment, the casino giant that operates 10 resorts on or near the Las Vegas Strip, loves it some surveys.

A recent survey provides a gold mine of information about restaurant partnerships being explored by Caesars, including Jennifer Lopez and the reality series, “Deadly Catch.”

The first question mentions a potential new restaurant created by a celebrity or performer, and asks customers which celebrity’s dishes the restaurant should feature.

Caesars survey

Just a random list of celebrities, right? Have you learned nothing from this blog?

If you’ve seen enough of these surveys, you know that while Caesars appears to be fishing, they’re actually leading survey-takers down a path. That path leads to Jennifer Lopez.

How do we know? Ponder this question: Which celebrity, out of all the celebrities listed, has a super successful residency at Planet Hollywood, a Caesars Entertainment resort?

Hey, we can make up leading questions, too.

Answer: Jennifer Lopez.

Jennifer Lopez

We’re fairly sure Jennifer Lopez would spend about as much time cooking in her Las Vegas restaurant as Guy Fieri does in his.

While Lopez has no culinary training we know of, Caesars Entertainment has had a lot of success creating restaurants with folks like Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis. Jennifer Lopez would seem a good fit for a restaurant offering, although we’d love to see what hottie Chrissy Teigen or golfer Phil Mickelson might bring to the table. Literally.

Next on the survey is an intriguing question about a buffet inspired by a TV show.

Caesars survey

Just some random shows, right? Ah, now you’re getting it.

While this blog loves it some Pioneer Woman, Caesars is actually hoping our gaze lands upon “Deadliest Catch.”

How do we know?

Caesars survey

You’re getting the hang of this. You should start a Las Vegas blog. The hours are awful, but the groupies.

That’s right, Caesars Entertainment is considering a buffet inspired by one of the best reality shows of all time, “Deadliest Catch.”

The answer to the question, of course, is “crab.”

Rio buffet crab legs

Fun fact: The Rio’s buffet serves up 1,200 pounds of crab legs every day.

While we can’t know which resorts might be getting a Jennifer Lopez restaurant or a “Deadliest Catch” buffet, we figure it’s about time for a rebrand of the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.

What conclusions do you draw from this survey? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment.

 

 

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Golden Entertainment to Buy Stratosphere, Three Other Casinos for $850 Million

The Stratosphere is set to be sold, along with three additional casinos, to Golden Entertainment, owners of the PT’s Pub chain.

The deal includes Stratosphere, locals casinos Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Laughlin is very much like Las Vegas, but in sweatpants and without makeup.

The sale of the four casinos will cost $850 million.

Funny Stratosphere chip

Please, Golden Entertainment, make this collectible chip a reality.

When the sale gets did, Golden Entertainment will operate about 15,800 slot machines, 114 table games and more than 5,100 hotel rooms across eight casinos, including the world’s most phallic, Stratosphere Las Vegas.

Stratosphere

Well, hello to you, too.

While Golden Entertainment isn’t the best-known name in Las Vegas, their influence is undeniable given they have about 50 bars and restaurants (known in the business as “taverns”) with a gambling component, many of which we personally frequent for the Caesar salad wraps and Captain Morgan, poured from a bottle. Our favorites include PT’s Gold and Sierra Gold.

Golden Entertainment owns several casinos in Pahrump (Pahrump Nugget, Lakeside, Gold Town), as well as the Rocky Gap gap casino in Maryland.

We’re thinking the Rocky Gap and Stratosphere are going to get along just fine, if you get our drift.

Stratosphere

Value of this view from Stratosphere: Priceless.

The sale of Stratosphere and the other casinos is expected to be a done deal by the end of 2017.

The sale of Stratosphere follows on the heels of news another distressed north Strip casino will be sold, SLS Las Vegas. Casinos in that neighborhood continue to face challenges, with rumors the nearby Lucky Dragon is also struggling to find a foothold.

It’s telling that, in 2008, the Stratosphere alone was sold to Goldman Sachs for $1.3 billion.

Sorry we weren’t able to ferret out this story before everyone else, but we have to sleep sometime.

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Paid Parking Kicks In at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan resort has joined the ever-growing list of Las Vegas resorts now charging for parking.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

Cosmopolitan instituting paid parking is like finding out your mistress is cheating on you. It doesn’t feel great, but it’s not all that surprising, either.

Paid parking applies to both valet and self-parking. Get the skinny on the official Cosmopolitan site.

Fees are waived if you park an hour or less, but after that, it’s $7 for one to four hours and $10 for four to 24 hours.

And, yep, even guests of the hotel have to pay for parking, although they get in-and-out privileges when they pay the 24-hour self-parking fee while non-hotel guests do not.

Motorcycles are exempt from parking fees, which would be great were it not for the fact people who ride motorcycles have exceptionally short lifespans. Buzzkill.

Here are the parking rates at-a-glance.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

It’s $30 for a lost ticket? They must be printing these tickets on Faberge eggs.

Some members of the Cosmo’s Identity loyalty club can sidestep the parking fees. Those who achieve Sterling, Gold or Platinum status can park free with their Identity card.

Parking fees can be paid at pay-on-foot kiosks on each level of the parking garage. Some machines accept cash and credit cards (levels B2 and B3), while others take credit cards only (B4 and B5).

Cosmopolitan paid parking

Obey. Talk about perfect parking kiosk placement.

While parking fees are annoying, they are becoming the norm in Las Vegas, just as they are in other cities.

Cosmopolitan is one of the most spectacular casino resorts not just in Las Vegas but the world, so paying for parking stings a bit less.

If saving a few bucks is important, remember Cosmopolitan is across from the street from the Miracle Mile Shops, where parking remains free. Parking is also free at the Shops at Crystals.

Yes, it took paid parking coming to Cosmopolitan for us to say something nice about shopping.

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SLS Las Vegas Tweaks Loyalty Club Program, Unveils Club 52

SLS Las Vegas has rebranded its player loyalty program following news the resort is being sold to Alex Meruelo and his Meruelo Group.

The casino’s new loyalty club was unveiled June 1, 2017, and is called Club 52.

While the casino hasn’t officially said what Club 52 refers to, we’ve heard the name reflects the fact the Sahara opened in 1952. SLS Las Vegas, of course, was the result of a massive renovation of that classic Las Vegas hotel-casino.

SLS Club 52

The number 52 not only represents the year Sahara opened, it’s also the number of cards in a deck. It can also represent analysis, introspection and adventure. We are not making this up.

Renaming the player’s club could very well be a hint the resort will undergo its own rebrand, potentially back to Sahara.

Which would quite possibly be the coolest thing, ever.

SLS chandelier

Vestiges of Sahara can be found throughout SLS, including this sweet chandelier made of Sahara door handles.

Fun fact: Keen-eyed reader Mike P. shared that the design flourish inside the Club 52 logo was often used in Sahara artwork and around the Sahara itself during its heyday.

Sahara Buddy Hackett

That’s some serious Vegas throwback action right there.

With the launch of Club 52 at SLS, the tiers and their associated benefits have been rejiggered.

The previous loyalty club, The Code, had tiers named Select, Premium, Elite and Legend.

Club 52 has Preferred, VIP, Elite and Legend.

The SLS Las Vegas Web site lays out the perks of the various Club 52 tiers.

Here’s a look at what play will get you what slot points and tier credits.

Code 52 tiers points

Thank you, screen grab technology, for helping us avoid having to type all this information.

There’s been quite a bit of speculation about what changes are coming to SLS Las Vegas following its sale later this year, including spectacularly insightful ideas like, “SLS needs more casino and convention customers.”

The hope is new ownership at SLS Las Vegas can help a great resort find its footing in a challenging location and keep the legacy of Sahara alive.

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Bellagio Skybridge Loses Its Moving Walkways

In recent weeks, Bellagio has removed a series of moving walkways on the skybridge stretching from Las Vegas Boulevard to the porte cochere of the iconic resort.

Bellagio skybridge

Sorry, we don’t have a “before” photo. Use your imagination.

People-movers, like their spotlight-hogging twins, escalators, are notoriously unreliable and expensive to repair, so it’s likely Bellagio and its owners, MGM Resorts, figured it was time to pull the plug.

Bellagio skybridge

Here’s another stretch of the skybridge that also doesn’t have moving walkways.

The demise of the people-movers at Bellagio seems to be part of a larger trend.

For many years, Las Vegas casinos went to great lengths to draw pedestrians into the casino. The more foot traffic, the more gambling. The more gambling, the more revenue.

Now, as casinos pay closer attention to the bottom line, such amenities may not play the part they once did.

Las Vegas visitation continues to be at an all-time high, and when times are good and demand is strong, casinos know customers are willing to make the trek without the need for expensive devices like moving walkways, also known as “travelators” in parts of Europe.

In 2013, when Caesars Palace renovated its Pure nightclub to become Omnia, its perpetually dysfunctional people-mover was killed off.

Caesars Palace moving walkway

This former moving walkway at Caesars was built in the 1980s, considered by historians to be the last decade where there were virgins.

When Bally’s decided to build its Grand Bazaar Shops, its people-mover also got the ax.

Bally's walkway

We sort of miss you, moving walkway at Bally’s.

Here’s a look at the deconstruction of the people-mover at Bally’s, circa January 2014.

Bally's people-mover

Don’t even get us started about what’s there now.

Another interesting aspect of moving walkways has to do with the trend of casinos expanding closer to Las Vegas Boulevard. In the early days of Vegas, most guests arrived by car, so it wasn’t especially important to build close to pedestrian traffic.

Now, millions of people stroll along Las Vegas Boulevard, so casinos are closing the gap between the sidewalks on Las Vegas Boulevard and the casino.

Caesars Entertainment, for example, has talked about developing the “underutilized” land in front of Caesars Palace.

Bally’s is another obvious example where management has made a conscious to generate revenue from under-utilized space by tapping into the large volume of foot traffic. Not surprisingly, CVS was all over it.

Strip CVS

Formerly not much, currently printing money.

At New York-New York, a major overhaul of the resort’s frontage makes restaurants and shops readily accessible to passersby.

New York New York promenade

We try not to go outdoors, but some people seem to like it. There’s more outdoors next door at The Park, an outdoor dining district.

There were even misguided rumblings Bellagio was going to eliminate its fountains to build a shopping and dining area. Although an April Fool’s joke by our friends at Vegas Bright, such a move seemed plausible given recent trends.

So, if you’re strolling by Bellagio and decide to go in (and you should, it’s gorgeous), expect a bit of a trek.

On the bright side, the skybridge offers great views of the Bellagio fountains and its casino neighbors on the Las Vegas Strip.

And it goes without saying walking is good for you. Unless you’re a human centipede with bad knees. Which we’re going to need some time to unsee, so thanks a lot.

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