Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

22 New or Renovated Things Coming to Palms Resort

The owners of Palms, Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos), is going all-in on the resort with a planned $485 million investment in a metric hell-ton of renovations and from-scratch offerings.

The sheer amount of newness is dizzying, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of changes at the Palms for your convenience. By “comprehensive,” of course, we mean “as comprehensive a list as we can muster while hammered.”

Palms

Love the Palms marquee? Spoiler: Don’t get attached.

1. Nightclub

Palms is partnering with Tao Group in a big way. For starters, Tao will operate a 29,000-square-foot nightclub in the former Rain space.

2. Dayclub Pool

Dayclubs are like nightclubs, but with more sunscreen. The dayclub at Palms, also operated by Tao Group, will be 70,000-square-feet and accommodate 5,000 people, most of whom will be sucking in their gut. The new dayclub will presumably be open year-round.

3. Lounge

Palms is bringing in another partner, Clique Hospitality, to operate a lounge. Think Clique Lounge at Cosmopolitan. Yes, that’s the lounge where O.J. Simpson behaved so badly he was banned from the Cosmopolitan for life. Let’s hope Palms upholds the policy.

Palms

Alize closes at the end of 2017, too. Hint: You’re probably pronouncing it wrong.

4. Bobby Flay Restaurant

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will slap his name on a seafood and raw fish restaurant at Palms. His Bobby’s Burger Palace on The Strip is meh, but Mesa Grill has done well for Caesars Palace, and Flay knows his way around a chermoula, whatever that might be.

5. Mark Vetri Restaurant

Mark Vetri is apparently a legend in Philadelphia, and he’ll bring an Italian restaurant to Palms. When it comes to cuisines, there’s Italian and everything else, so we’re really looking forward to this one.

6. Michael Symon Restaurant

Yes, we broke this story weeks before anyone else, but we’re not about gloating, we’re about newness. Michael Symon is co-host of “The Chew” and will hopefully make Palms one of the few spots you can get decent BBQ in Las Vegas.

Michael Symon

Michael Symon has a successful BBQ restaurant in Cleveland, a city very similar to Las Vegas. And if you managed to read that sentence without laughing, we’re truly impressed.

7. Vandal Restaurant

It’s another Tao Group collaboration, and this one has a record of success in New York. Vandal is known as a hotspot, despite mixed reviews about its food. Vandal’s been described as “specializing in mini-ramen, mini-burgers, mini-knishes and an assortment of ostensibly edible things that have been fried into balls.” They say that like it’s a bad thing!

8. High Limit Rooms

One of our favorite hangs at Palms is the high limit slot room, so we’re excited to hear it will be getting a revamp. There will also be a new high limit room for table games. Casinos have tried combining high limit slots and tables, but not successfully, so Palms is on the right track.

Palms

That wall is the former high limit slot room. Just trust us on this one.

9. Noodle Bar

Strolling through Palms, it’s obvious the resort has many, many Asian customers. They are coveted by casinos like Palms, and Gold Coast just across the street, so a noodle bar is sort of a required amenity.

10. Steakhouse

While Palms has always had a great steakhouse, we’re sort of happy we’ll never have to type “N9NE” again. That affectation aside, we enjoyed the place, but it was a leftover from an earlier era at Palms, and it’s time for some fresh meat.

Palms N9NE Steakhouse

Oh, all right, one last time: N9NE.

11. Front Desk Registration Area

It’s not the most glamorous part of a Las Vegas resort, but anything’s going to be better than the temporary space where guests are currently checking in.

Palms check-in

These are what’s known as “aspirational stanchions.” Which would also make a great band name.

12. Renovated Casino

At the moment, the casino at Palms is 80% construction wall. The entire casino is getting an overhaul, and this blog loves it some new casino smell.

Palms

Palms is doing construction walls right.

13. Center Bar

It seems like only yesterday (four years, to be exact) the Social cocktail bar at Palms made its debut. Well, it’s out with the not-that-old and in with the new because Palms is getting a new center bar.

14. Hotel Rooms

Apparently, when the Fantasy tower at Palms went up, they neglected to finish 60 of the rooms. Well, they’re finishing them now.

15. Room Renovations

Palms plans to renovate 282 rooms and luxury suites. Fun fact: If you slept in one room every day, it would take you 282 days to sleep in all of the newly renovated rooms at Palms. We are a blog, not a fun fact machine.

Palms

China House says “Zàijiàn!” Hey, we’ve traveled. (To Google Translate.)

16. Spa

Palms has announced it will soon get an all-new spa with 16 treatment rooms. Currently, Palms has Drift Spa and Hammam. The Hammam at Palms, a co-ed Turkish bath, was the first in Las Vegas. We like our Turkish baths just “ed,” thank you very much.

17. Pearl Theater Overhaul

In the mix of all the renovations will be a refresh of the 2,600-seat Pearl Theater. We hear that when the theater opens after its renovation, guests will receive necklaces. We’ll wait.

18. Rooftop Social Club

Ghostbar was a blast, but it’s time for a new take on this popular rooftop haunt. Clique Hospitality will operate the new social club, which is different from a nightclub in that the word “social” seems to resonate with the kids, along with “fleek,” “bomb” and “allowance.”

Palms casino

No, you’re not getting bigger, the Palms casino is getting smaller. It’ll pass.

19. Buffet

If you’re spending $485 million to give your Las Vegas resort a facelift, it had better include the buffet. Bistro Buffet at Palms is getting retooled after closing in June 2017. During our visit, a guest was kvetching about receiving a direct mail piece with a buffet coupon. You’ll get your buffet soon enough, buddy, as will we all.

20. Covered Parking Spaces

Again, not glamorous, but 525 new covered parking spaces are nothing to sneeze at when summer temperatures in Las Vegas are comparable to the surface of Mercury.

21. Hotel Marquee

Hey, it’s not all good news. We love the Palms marquee. We’re hoping the new marquee keeps a lot of neon tube benders busy for years to come.

22. Porte Cochere

“Porte cochere” is a fancy way of saying “that place where you pull up to a hotel in your hooptie.” We’re only about 20% confident that word means what we think it means.

That’s about it! All the Palms renovations and new venues should debut in late 2018 or early 2019.

Our Captain Morgan-fueled list only covers what’s on the way, not what’s already happened.

For example, Palms recently opened a new cafe, the Lucky Penny.

Palms

Pennies are only considered lucky if you find them face up. Some things are non-negotiable.

The food at Lucky Penny was mixed bag, with some of the most exceptional Asian food and boozy shakes we’ve had anywhere.

Palms

Given the incredible Oreo-M-G shake (featuring Stoli vanilla vodka) at Lucky Penny, maybe you are getting bigger after all.

The veggie burger was a crushing disappointment, as was a dish called “Almost Boneless Chicken.” Really, if you’re going to do “almost boneless,” just go boneless. It’s an extra two minutes of preparation time, and well worth the effort to avoid lawsuits.

The desserts, though.

Palms

Nothing says “We need to wrap this up” like sharing a gratuitous dessert photo from Lucky Penny just to please the Pinterest gods.

A temporary dining option, Social Table, opened in the former Hooters space. Social Table goes away at the end of 2017.

The 14-screen movie theater complex at Palms is set for a massage.

We did leave planned meeting and convention space (18,000-square-feet worth) off our list, but only because it’s extraordinarily boring.

Red Rock Resorts seems confident its massive investment in Palms will pay off, calling it a “destination hybrid,” intended to appeal to both locals and tourists.

Palms

No word on whether the mushroom caps are staying or going. We predict going.

The company points to a strong economy in Las Vegas, and a growing population, as reasons the company is spending more on improvements to Palms than it cost to purchase it in the first place ($313 million).

Whether Palms can regain its former glory remains to be seen, but damn, we’ve got a lot to look forward to while we wait to find out.

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One Tower Down, One to Go at Las Vegas Club Demolition

Demolition crews have completed bringing down one of two hotel towers at the closed Las Vegas Club in downtown Las Vegas.

Work on the southernmost hotel tower, about 18 floors tall, was completed on Nov. 10, 2017.

Here’s a “before” photo on Sep. 11, 2017.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Want to see a building disappear? Scroll.

And here’s a look at the Las Vegas Club now.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Downtown now has a lot more sky.

Demolition of the 18 Fremont block began back in February 2017.

The Las Vegas Club hotel towers are being mechanically dismantled with high-reach excavators, as opposed to the typical casino implosion, due to the hotel’s proximity to other buildings.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Here’s a look at the good deal of nothing from the Main Street side.

There have been some fun highlights of the hotel tower’s demolition, including stores of cheerleader uniforms (Las Vegas Club was sports-themed), toilets (no, really) and, most recently, playing cards.

We were shooting video as the excavator tore into a storage room containing thousands of boxes of playing cards. This is about as good as demolition porn in Las Vegas gets, frankly.

Demolition of the Las Vegas Club’s sole remaining tower has already commenced.

A key difference between the two Las Vegas Club hotel towers is the just-demolished structure was concrete. The north tower is steel. The base of the building was designed, and built, to hold an additional 20 floors that were never added, so the next phase of the project could be a bit of a slog for demolition crews.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Taking old stuff down is almost as much fun as putting new things up.

The target is to complete the demolition by the end of 2017.

A new resort from Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of The D and Golden Gate, is expected sometime in 2020.

If you’re a fan of demolitions, check out all our Las Vegas Club demolition coverage.

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Monte Carlo Undergoes Dramatic Transformation to Become Park MGM

A poplar Las Vegas resort, Monte Carlo, is in the throes of an unprecedented transformation: The casino is becoming Park MGM.

Recently, there was a very visible signal the change from Monte Carlo to Park MGM is kicking into high gear. Here’s a peek.

Monte Carlo facade

Your days are numbered, old girl. Yes, Monte Carlo is a girl. We checked.

Inside, Monte Carlo is virtually unrecognizable.

Nearly all of Monte Carlo’s restaurants have closed, and entire swaths of the casino have been walled off.

Monte Carlo casino

Mystery walls abound at Monte Carlo, all in service of giving the world some Las Vegas voila.

Here’s a list of all the Monte Carlo bars and restaurants that have closed in recent months.

  • The Pub at Monte Carlo
  • Brand Steakhouse
  • Andre’s at the Monte Carlo
  • Hit Lounge
  • Yusho Japanese Grill & Noodle House
  • Blvd Creamery
  • D. Vino Italian Food & Wine Bar
  • Dragon Noodle Co.
  • The Buffet at Monte Carlo
  • Food Court at the Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo

These signs are everywhere. Soon, there will pretty much be no “other outlets.”

Yes, there’s pretty much been a clean sweep of the restaurants and bars at Monte Carlo, all to make way for new offerings at Park MGM.

But wait, there’s more.

Most recently, Minus 5 Ice Bar closed (Oct. 29, 2017).

Monte Carlo Minus 5 Ice Bar

Minus 5 Ice Bar was always a fun place to chill.

On Nov. 5, 2017, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria. The forgettable pizza restaurant will move to New York New York.

The Sambalatte coffee shop closes Nov. 7, 2017.

Also on Nov. 7, Diablo’s Cantina will close. We were the first to share this turn of events, way back in Dec. 2016, but we aren’t one to brag.

Diablo's Cantina

Adios, awkward appropriation of Mexican culture.

In a strange turn of events, it doesn’t appear Double Barrel Roadhouse is going anywhere.

As a slew of restaurants close, two have opened in recent weeks.

We popped in for photos, and look forward to giving these new eateries a taste.

First, there’s Primrose.

Primrose Park MGM

Primrose is one of the first things you’ll stumble upon as you enter Monte Carlo from the self-park garage. And we do mean stumble. We know how you are in Vegas.

The official Web site says, “Modeled after a country home, Primrose is our tribute to the South of France. Come by for garden-inspired dishes and cocktails in the drawing room, dining room, or beneath the trees in the outdoor terrace and garden.”

Primrose

If we never hear the phrase “vegetable-forward cuisine” again, it’ll be too soon.

On the restaurant’s Web page, the cuisine is described as “French-ish.”

And they weren’t kidding about the “beneath the trees” thing. A few feet from the entrance to Primrose, in an area being used for hotel registration, there’s a massive tree root protruding from the ceiling.

Monte Carlo tree roots

One thing this definitely isn’t is freaky.

Also new at Monte Carlo, sorry, Park MGM, is Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar.

Park MGM Bavette's Steakhouse

Your humble portal to a new world of protein.

The original Bavette’s is in Chicago, and it’s won numerous awards for its classic steakhouse fare with French cooking influences.

It’s almost entirely dark inside Bavette’s, but here’s a photo, anyway.

Park MGM Bavette's Steakhouse

We’ll say it: This is the kind of lighting that gets people pregnant.

Strolling through the Monte Carlo casino is a surreal experience.

Construction walls conceal closed venues, and familiar features inside the resort have vanished.

Signs for Park MGM haven’t really been put up yet, but this one was displayed prominently, including what appears to be an attempt at a logo.

Park MGM logo

Fingers crossed this logo is just a placeholder. You don’t spend $450 million on a makeover and have a teen on Fiverr do your logo.

Changes are happening outside, too.

There’s been a lot of work in the Monte Carlo’s pool complex.

Monte Carlo pools

You can still be lazy, there’s just no river to do it in.

Now, there are three pools. One’s square, the others are akin to lap pools.

Monte Carlo pools

Petite pools mean they’re likely to be for hotel guests only.

It seems like only yesterday we were breaking the story Monte Carlo would undergo a major renovation and rebrand. Now, it’s becoming a reality.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren has described the Monte Carlo transformation as a “top-to-bottom, stem-to-stern type of re-imagining.” We can’t disagree.

Las Vegas don't get attached

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because new bars.

Some fret Monte Carlo will become an upscale resort and price out longtime fans. Others say it was time for a Monte Carlo refresh, and Vegas thrives on shiny new things, even when they’re not completely new.

Many are taking the transition period as an opportunity to bid farewell to an old friend.

Monte Carlo

Yes, we got photo releases from everyone because that’s exactly how the Internet works.

Enjoy a few photos from our recent walkabout at Monte Carlo, and we look forward to sharing more about Park MGM as it emerges, sticky and warm, from the womb of the wizards at MGM Resorts. Or something.

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Caesars Palace Development to Include New Hotel Tower

For months, Caesars Entertainment officials have said the company will develop seven acres in front of Caesars Palace, now we’ve got the scoop on what that development will be.

According to our source, the space in front of Caesars Palace won’t be what may have suspected, retail. The upcoming project is a much bigger move.

We’re hearing Caesars Palace is set to build a new hotel tower.

The new hotel tower is currently waiting for board approval, but we anticipate that approval, and an official announcement of the project, will come soon.

Caesars Palace fountains

Caesars Palace currently has 3,976 rooms. Yes, we counted.

It seems the new Caesars Palace hotel tower will sit in the space where the “Absinthe” tent is located, but it’s unknown what that means for the popular show.

Absinthe tent Caesars Palace

This is the area where the new tower will go. The “Absinthe” tent is much fancier now.

While the success of “Absinthe” has generated substantial revenue for Caesars, it would pale in comparison to the potential profit which would come from increased room inventory and convention space.

Absinthe tent

There’s no timeline for when the new tower is being built, but it’s a good idea to see “Absinthe” while you still can.

The new Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, formerly Serendipity 3, will sit at the foot of the new tower. Hell’s Kitchen is expected to open in December 2017.

Caesars Entertainment has played its development plans close to the vest, saying the land is ideal for “additional convention space to retail.” A new hotel tower could feature both.

While the cost of the hotel tower project isn’t known, the resort’s 26-story, 949-room Augustus tower cost $289 million.

Caesars Entertainment is flush with cash at the moment, about $2 billion, having recently emerged from bankruptcy, because ‘Merica.

The arrival of another hotel tower in front of Caesars Palace would change the profile of the resort dramatically. And we thought it was a big deal that a retail store was constructed on the casino’s fountains.

Caesars Palace fountains

Not all changes in Las Vegas are happy changes, but many are.

Ultimately, Caesars Entertainment is looking to bolster its bottom line by making the most of under-utilized space.

We love shiny new things in Las Vegas, so we’re already on board and can’t wait to see what’s in store for this iconic Las Vegas resort.

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Resorts World Doubles Its Number of Cranes (To Two)

Resorts World has become the “molasses in wintertime” of Las Vegas resort construction projects.

While progress has been agonizingly slow, we have seen recent signs of activity. Specifically, Resorts World has doubled its number of construction cranes.

Now, there are precisely two. We’ve shown you the one in back of the building, now take a gander at the one in front.

Resorts World

Maybe it’s not about how many cranes there are, but how willing they are to work on weekends and eat lunch at their desk.

Have you noticed nobody ever leaves a gander? Always take, take, take.

Resorts World is being built on the bones of the abandoned Echelon Place.

Resorts World

Oh, look, the second crane, trying to look busy.

When Echelon Place was being built, it was not uncommon to see a dozen cranes looming over the site.

Now, not so much. Take a look.

Still, a closer peek reveals more materials at the site’s “laydown yard,” an area where construction materials are delivered and stored until needed for installation.

Other than that, any changes aren’t particularly visible.

Resorts World construction

Laydown yards are awesome because who doesn’t love yards and laying down?

In May 2017, it was announced “major construction” was “imminent.” Let’s just say there’s a reason certain words are in quotation marks.

The company behind Resorts World, Malaysia-based Genting Group, has said a lot of the work being done on its $4 billion resort involves things people can’t see, like “utility lines and working out easements.”

We’re pretty sure “working out easements” is a euphemism for something.

Resorts World

Resorts World is testing some mirrored windows. That’s new!

The fact remains the Asian-themed Resorts World is moving at a panda’s pace.

Presumably, delays have been related to the “devaluation of Malaysia’s currency and the unavailability of construction cranes.”

We have to wonder if Genting, in high school, blamed the dog when it forgot to do its homework.

Resorts World construction

There’s a chance this is fancy, imported Malaysian dirt! Don’t hate.

It’s time Resorts World got serious about itself. More cranes. More steel. More people in hard hats cat-calling passersby.

Because Vegas shines most brightly when it makes new things.

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Caesars Palace Reveals Addition to Iconic Fountains and Everything is Ruined

It’s either a creative way for a casino company to generate revenue from “unproductive” space or a swift kick to the groin with a steel-toed boot: Caesars Palace has unveiled a new addition to its iconic fountains and our Las Vegas WTF meter is about to have a meltdown.

First, let’s take a look at what was arguably one of the most spectacular photo ops in all of Las Vegas.

Caesars Palace fountains

Soak it in. Stunning, right? You might even say jaw-dropping. Now, take a deep breath.

The image above is one of the things that pops into our mind when people say “Las Vegas.” The other is boobs, but that’s probably just us.

On Sep. 28, 2017, Caesars Palace debuted a Samsung Galaxy Studio sitting atop its fountains. The fountains, we should mention, an estimated 20 million people a year stroll by along Las Vegas Boulevard.

Here’s a look at the Samsung Galaxy Studio that will reside on the Caesars fountains through the end of January 2018.

Caesars Palace fountains

We wish this has been done with Photoshop, but sadly “ani.” That’s “no” in Korean. Samsung is a South Korean company. Please try and keep up.

The Samsung Galaxy Studio is a place for guests to get “hands-on experience exploring the latest Galaxy products.” The pop-up shop has a virtual reality theater, offers customer care for existing customers, boasts interactive art installations and has a retail component.

This location is, honestly, possibly the best location in the world if you’re Samsung.

But here’s the thing.

Just because Samsung offered Caesars a metric hell-ton of money to have a store on their fountains doesn’t mean the offer had to be accepted.

Maybe we’re naive or overly romantic, but it feels like the Caesars bean counters have flagrantly shat upon the entire history of one of Sin City’s most venerable megaresorts? And how mad must we be to use the word “shat” for only the second time in the history of this blog?

What dollar amount has been assigned to an epic Las Vegas photo op that’s been taken and shared by millions of people around the world?

And, trust us, just because this particular use of the space is temporary, there’s no way this is a one-off.

Granted, we are a blog. We don’t have to pay salaries or answer to shareholders. Caesars Entertainment, owner of Caesars Palace, is slowly, finally emerging from bankruptcy. It’s a business. We get all that.

We also don’t have to like it.

Caesars

Why do you insist upon making us weep, Gaius? That’s really his first name, so spare us the hate mail.

It was all fun and games when an April Fools’ joke about Bellagio’s fountains being converted into retail space from our friends at Vegas Bright went viral. It was so believable, many reported the story as fact, and we even went on TV to talk about it.

The recent monetization (which we’re still not convinced is a real word) of “idle space” at Caesars is an illustration of how such stories can gain momentum. Because when things like this happens, in the words of Billy Crystal, “It’s not fun, it’s not funny.” If you think MGM Resorts hasn’t pondered a scenario similar to the one at Caesars Palace for its own fountains, we have a half-scale Eiffel Tower to sell you.

Update (9/30/17): Our friends at KTNV did a follow-up to our story, and included our thoughts, so it’s well worth a look, because you can never get too much us.

In the story, Caesars Entertainment says, “The Samsung Studio is a temporary structure where guests can experience the newest in Samsung products and an interactive virtual reality experience. With only five locations in the U.S., Samsung has selected Las Vegas for this surprise and delight attraction and Caesars Palace is excited about bringing this experience to its center Strip location. Additionally we are receiving positive feedback from our guests and passerbys.”

First, it’s “passersby.”

Second, claiming there’s been positive feedback from guests and passersby about a Samsung pop-up store is easily one of the most absurd things we’ve ever heard, and we’ve heard a lot of absurd things, trust us.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, even if you think we should get over it, so share a comment.

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