Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Lego Las Vegas Skyline Goes on Sale

Lego has released its much-anticipated Las Vegas skyline set, easily the most interesting edition of its Architecture series.

Lego Las Vegas Architecture

We’ve never been so excited to experience severe foot injuries.

The new Lego Architecture Las Vegas set has 501 pieces (shout-out to all our fellow OCD sufferers) and sells for $39.99 on Amazon.

Which is where you should purchase the set because if you click through to Amazon via our link we get a little piece of the action. Hey, this Captain and diet isn’t going to pay for itself.

The Las Vegas skyline set features a number of immediately recognizable buildings, including Bellagio, Luxor, Encore, Stratosphere and the Fremont Street Experience.

The set also boasts a miniature “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Lego Las Vegas Architecture

Fun fact: We work at Fremont Street Experience as our day job, so we wrote that portion of the booklet which accompanies the Las Vegas skyline Lego set. You should buy it, anyway.

As we’ve shared previously, Bellagio wasn’t originally in the set, but replaced Mandalay Bay following the tragedy of Oct. 1, 2017.

Another adjustment was made to the Las Vegas Lego set in that an early version of the collection identified Encore as Wynn. It’s believed that switch was made in the aftermath of Steve Wynn’s sexual harassment scandal.

Hey, it wouldn’t be a Las Vegas Lego set without a little drama.

Here’s a look at the set being assembled, for whatever reason.

The swap-out of Mandalay Bay for Bellagio means the set is somewhat out of whack in terms of geography, but at least the thing has been released.

We’ve ordered ours, so order yours, and expect an update with photos of our completed Las Vegas skyline sometime in 2022. We are a blog, not an AFOL.

Yes, there’s a name for Lego fanatics. AFOL stands for “Adult Fan of Lego.” Apparently, that means we’re an AFOLV.

We’ll wait.

W Hotel Shown the Door at SLS Las Vegas

It took longer than expected, but W Hotel is no longer a hotel-within-a-hotel at SLS Las Vegas.

SLS marquee

The W sign no longer sits atop the SLS marquee. Thanks a lot, Illuminati!

We were the first to share that SLS would discontinue its relationship with W Las Vegas.

Initially, the plan was to integrate W back into the SLS resort in May 2018, but talks between the two entities hit a snag.

Soon after, it was announced W would be “reincorporated back into SLS Las Vegas as the SLS Grand, a Starwood hotel” on July 20, 2018. Nope.

W hotel notice

The best laid plans.

At one point, W Las Vegas employees were let go, rooms were redecorated to remove W branding and a crane showed up to take down the W sign. Because a deal couldn’t be finalized, employees were invited back, all the rooms in the tower were reverted to the W branding and the crane was asked to turn around.

Finally, the deal between the new owners of SLS (Meruelo Group) and W Las Vegas was done and W is officially out as of Aug. 17, 2018.

Our eagle-eyed reader Michael A. captured the removal of the W sign from the SLS marquee.

W hotel sign removal

Paging M Resort. You should totally bid for this on eBay!

The W sign went up in Oct. 2016. Yep, less than two years ago, making it one of the weirder Las Vegas casino stories in quite some time. (We’re looking at you, The Quad.)

Here’s a shot of the W sign as it was being foisted into place with much fanfare back in 2016. Or maybe it was hoopla. We always get those mixed up.

W Las Vegas at SLS

Not awkward. At all.

So, W is out. Bygones.

All visible signs of W Las Vegas branding have been removed at SLS, and the W tower has been renamed The Grand Tower.

A news release explains, “SLS Las Vegas will assume full operational control of the resort’s reservations system from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and the SLS Las Vegas brand will discontinue membership as a Starwood Tribute Portfolio Hotel & Resort.”

We have only the most superficial understanding of what that means, so you’re on your own.

One of the more distinctive design touches at the W Hotel valet entrance was a wall fashioned from 20,000 poker chips.

W hotel Las Vegas

No, we didn’t count all 20,000 chips. We have a life. Sorry, we probably should’ve put quotation marks around “life.”

Now, SLS has taken a page from Park MGM playbook and replaced the chips with greenery.

SLS rear entrance

This isn’t the first time a Las Vegas casino has made chips disappear.

Otherwise, the W Las Vegas lobby and bar area remain largely untouched.

W hotel lobby

This is the Living Room at the former W. And just as with your own living room, there’s mismatched furniture, a bartender and possibly prostitutes.

Just in case SLS decides to overhaul the former W Las Vegas lobby area, we would like to call dibs on three decorative items.

First, this dice display.

W hotel dice

You’d be surprised how seldom “dibs” actually works once you reach adulthood. Sorry, we should’ve put quotation marks around “adulthood.”

Second, this textured wall accent, inspired by the bumps on a craps table. Glorious.

W Las Vegas

These “alligator bumps” run floor to ceiling and we absolutely love them.

Third, Belvis.

W Las Vegas Belvis

Belvis is like Zoltar, but much, much cooler.

Wresting back operational control of the W Hotel is just one of many changes happening at SLS.

Owner Alex Meruelo and his team have been aggressive at cost-cutting measures so far, and a $100 million “re-imagining” is planned.

How about this? Imagine being profitable for the first time in four years!

Fun fact: SLS opened on Aug. 23, 2014, so the hotel’s fourth anniversary is the very same day we’re publishing this story. You go, synchronicity.

Part of the resort’s re-imagining will undoubtedly involve a name change, most likely to Grand Sahara Resort. The new name plays off the Reno resort owned by Meruelo, Grand Sierra Resort.

Plans for the hotel’s venues haven’t been announced, but we’ve heard Bazaar Meat and the Northside Cafe are likely to be the only restaurants to survive the transition. It’s rumored Bazaar Meat will not only stay, but will get an expansion.

Bazaar Meat

How serious is Bazaar Meat about its meat? This serious.

Since SLS opened, it’s been rumored the resort’s restaurants generate more revenue than its casino.

Cleo is not only our favorite restaurant at SLS, it’s one of our favorites in Las Vegas. Sadly, our “Save Cleo” campaign hasn’t gained much traction, but only because you probably haven’t dined there yet. Ahem.

We’ve long been a cheerleader for SLS, as the quirky spawn of the classic Sahara has a lot to like, despite its challenging location.

SLS casino chip

The crane will be back for this guy. Dibs.

Here’s hoping the new owners and management can defy the odds, turn plans for a turnaround into action and make the north Strip resort a success.

Including keeping Cleo. Yes, we’re saying it again. Traction doesn’t just magically happen, you know.

Lego Reveals Tweaked Las Vegas Set

Lego has unveiled its revamped Las Vegas set, including the replacement of Mandalay Bay following the shooting of Oct. 1, 2017.

A previous version of the Las Vegas Skyline Lego set (referred to as “Lego Architecture 21047 Las Vegas” by Lego aficionados) featured the Mandalay Bay as part of the skyline, but the set was redesigned to avoid sensitivities around the shooting.

Mandalay Bay has been replaced by Bellagio.

Lego Las Vegas set

If you thought stepping on a Lego was painful before, try stepping on the Stratosphere.

It’s worth noting the Bellagio is assembled using something Lego nerds call the SNOT technique. You might think that’s something we made up, but it’s SNOT.

We’ll wait.

SNOT stands for “Studs Not On Top.” And we are, apparently, 12.

The Las Vegas Lego set is expected to sell for about $40, with nearly 500 pieces.

The Las Vegas Lego set features the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, Luxor, Wynn, Stratosphere and Fremont Street Experience.

Lego Architecture Las Vegas

In our day job, we work at Fremont Street Experience, and we personally helped write a portion of the booklet that accompanies the set. Please, no autographs.

Images of the new Las Vegas Lego were shared by Brothers-Brick.com. Find a review of the new set at BrickArchitect.com. It got a “good” rating (three out of five). Ouch.

The set definitely would be better received if it included a miniature strip club. Just saying.

Here’s a look at the initial version of the set.

Lego Las Vegas architecture

Mandalay Bay and Bellagio are owned by the same company, MGM Resorts, so it’s a wash.

The replacement of Mandalay Bay for Bellagio is understandable, but the set feels out of whack. Presumably, rejiggering the design to put the hotels in their real-life order would’ve been too troublesome or expensive.

You can bet there was a heated debate at Lego about whether to replace Wynn Las Vegas following revelations about its former CEO, Steve Wynn. Making toys is a lot more complicated than you’d think.

The Las Vegas Skyline Lego set will be available in the U.S. on Sep. 1, 2018, and we’ll probably be among the first to buy it.

Because Las Vegas.

Resorts World Las Vegas Whips Out Yet Another Rendering

Resorts World Las Vegas has rolled out a new rendering, another in a series of teases from this under-construction resort on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Here’s the latest from Resorts World.

Resorts World

Fun fact: Resorts World is slated to have 200 elevators and escalators. We are not making this up.

We’re pleased to report that construction of the Asian-themed resort seems to be accelerating in recent months, after sloth-like progress since its groundbreaking ceremony in May 2015.

It’s estimated Resorts World will cost around $4 billion, and its owner, Genting Group, is clearly killing time until there’s sufficient demand to fill the hotel’s planned 3,000-plus rooms.

Here’s our most recent photo of the construction. By our count, about a dozen floors have been added to the Resorts World hotel tower since early 2018.

Resorts World

Yes, they’re going with “Resorts World.” Invest $4 billion in a Vegas resort and you get to call it anything you’d like.

Genting still claims the massive resort will open in 2020, the same year the Raiders stadium will be completed, as well as an expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

It’s fun to compare the new Resorts World rendering to what might have been, Echelon Place. Here’s a look at Echelon, abandoned during the economic meltdown of 2008.

Echelon

Echelon was to be built on the site of the former Stardust. This is the point where we get a little weepy.

It seems more frequent updates about Resorts World may be in order now that there’s visible progress being made.

A recent story on KSNV News 3 in Las Vegas reports Resorts World claims 800 people are currently working at the resort site.

Genting says the two hotel towers are now “more than double their initial height” and workers on-site will increase six-fold in the first half of 2019.

A company rep stated 25 floors have been poured in one tower and 22 in another. Ultimately, the hotel will be 60 stories tall.

Genting further shared glass will arrive and be installed in fall 2018. Topping out of the towers will happen in fall 2019.

The company remains confident construction will be completed at the end of 2020. We predict Resorts World will blow right through that completion date. Experts agree.

We love new and shiny, and Resorts World is shaping up to be downright lustrous.

Golden Gate is Shaking Things Up Again

Golden Gate is back in action again with some dramatic changes and a new casino expansion.

We took a peek behind-the-scenes at what were, until recently, walled off areas of Golden Gate’s casino floor.

The casino’s floor is expanding into the space previously occupied by Du-Par’s restaurant.

Golden Gate expansion

The Du-Par’s kitchen was at left, counter and tables to the right. Yes, we all miss the pancakes. Bright side: Pancakes never gave anyone a jackpot.

Du-Par’s made an abrupt exit from Golden Gate when the restaurant’s owner got into hot water with the I.R.S. for tax evasion. There are no plans to have a restaurant at Golden Gate anytime soon.

The new floor space will accommodate an additional 50-60 slot machines, a significant number for a casino with a very small footprint.

Golden Gate

The door at back leads to Main Street, the one on the right to Fremont.

Here’s one more look at the work-in-progress. The area will be accessible to the public in a few days, and slot machines will be brought in within a week.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate regulars will notice another big change to the casino floor, a move of the casino cage.

It’s moved closer to the hotel’s registration desk and valet entrance. Don’t forget to check out the old-timey slot machines on display nearby.

Golden Gate

Due to strict rules about capturing images of casino cages, we are unable to share this photo, sorry.

Next up at Golden Gate, an expansion of the high limit room.

Currently, high limit is table games only, but with a move into the previous cage space, the high limit room will now include high limit slots.

Golden Gate

More room for high limit slots, or what we commonly refer to as our “retirement plan.”

Here’s a look at the current high limit room.

Our favorite part: The fringe on the walls was inspired by the fringe on the uniforms of the casino’s dancing dealers.

Golden Gate

This is the den we’d have if we were ambitious or even moderately successful.

The high limit room revamp is set to include some intriguing elements inspired (and necessitated) by the building’s original design features.

Here’s a look at the other side of the construction wall. Golden Gate’s original arches will play a part in the design of the new high limit room. Now you know.

Golden Gate arches

There’s a chance these arches were around when Golden Gate opened in 1906, but we aren’t sure. We are a blog, not that guy in the Amish hat on “Pawn Stars.”

The latest changes at Golden Gate follow on the heels of another recent, multi-million dollar expansion that integrated the former La Bayou casino space.

That expansion also included a new entrance, loyalty club desk and beer distribution room. Of course, we got photos. Do you know this blog at all?

Golden Gate has managed to do a lot with a little, and we hear there are still more surprises in the works.

Update (7/11/18): Golden Gate owner Derek Stevens has shared one of the “surprises,” a new sports book. We got a look at the space.

Golden Gate sportsbook

It’s not much to look at now, but give it a minute.

The future sports book space sits behind a temporary wall at the south side of the recent casino expansion into the former La Bayou space.

While we’re providing updates, here’s a look at the most recent casino expansion as slot machines were being installed.

Golden Gate

Not too shabby for a place that’s been around since 1906.

There’s more to come.

Update (7/12/18): We said there was more to come!

Here’s a look at the expanded Golden Gate casino, complete with shiny new slot machines.

Golden Gate expansion

The newest casino space in Las Vegas in the oldest casino in Las Vegas.

Oh, all right, just one more.

Golden Gate casino

Everyone loves that new slot machine smell.

See you at Golden Gate.

Resorts World Rolls Out New Rendering Complete With Sphere

Not to be outdone by the MSG Sphere, Resorts World shared a new rendering complete with an orb of its own.

Resorts World Las Vegas

A clear dome in 120-degree heat? Now, we know where Resorts World will be baking its Bao buns.

The $4 billion Resorts World is an Asian-themed resort being built on the Las Vegas Strip near Wynn Las Vegas.

The proximity to Wynn is relevant because, based upon the new rendering, some have noted similarities between the Resorts World design and that of Wynn and Encore.

The design of Resorts World has been refined since it broke ground in May 2015. The original opening date was, wait for it, 2016. Awkward.

Earlier renderings of Resorts World (see below) featured older Chinese architectural elements, but has been revamped to have a more modern feel.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World has become “more Shanghai than Beijing.” It goes without saying that, since we’re American, we are only pretending to know the difference between those two places.

Resorts World has taken its sweet time, presumably in no hurry to open a resort with 3,000 rooms before there’s more certainty about whether demand can accommodate such inventory.

Those watching the construction project closely have noted the addition of several floors to the hotel, but the pace of construction is still agonizingly slow for those of us who love shiny new things.

We got all up in Resorts World’s business recently, but 5-6 floors have been added since then.

Resorts World cranes

You go, Resorts World. This was taken in March 2018.

Here’s a segment on KLAS about Resorts World and other projects slated for 2020. Yes, we’re featured in the segment, but that’s not why we’re sharing it. Probably.

While 2020 seems optimistic for a Resorts World opening at this point, anything’s possible if the casino’s owner, Genting Group, opens the financial floodgates and uses those cranes for something other than show.

Update (7/2/18): Here’s a look at the progress at Resorts World.

Resorts World update

Hey, it’s not nothing.

And here’s a basic of comparison from Jan. 7, 2018.

Resorts World 2017

Slow but sure.

We’re seeing nine floors added in the first half of 2018. You go, Resorts World.