Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Resorts World Project Shows Long-Awaited Progress

It’s time to check in on the long-awaited Resorts World project.

Watching the construction activity at Resorts World is akin to watching paint dry, but lately, there’s quite a bit more paint. Or something.

Resorts World

The sloth is Resorts World’s spirit animal.

We got a little excited when we spotted a couple of cranes on the site, but now there are several, so we’re optimistic there’s some momentum building.

Resorts World

And not just cranes. Other stuff, like crane parts.

During our recent visit to the Resorts World site, we spotted actual construction dudes doing construction things.

We saw perhaps a dozen construction workers. A resort this size would typically employ hundreds of workers, so things are still moving at a modest pace.

The president of Resorts World Las Vegas has said 1,000 construction workers will be on the site “by 2018.”

Resorts World

You go, construction dudes. Yes, they’re dudes. We can’t solve all of society’s injustices. We are just a blog.

Resorts World sits on the site of the abandoned Echelon project, which was supposed to take the place of our beloved Stardust.

Resorts World

Much of the work that’s been done at Resorts World has been behind-the-scenes, and that’s the story they’re sticking to.

Resorts World will be an Asian-themed resort, and while the anticipated opening date has been a moving target so far, executives say the hotel-casino will open in 2020.

Update (12/16/17): Look at all the cranes!

Resorts World cranes

It appears Resorts World is officially, undeniably a thing.

Let’s look around the Resorts World site.

Resorts World Update: Legit Cranes

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Hyatt Acquiring Land for Hotel Near New Raiders Stadium

It’s hard to get too excited about a Las Vegas hotel without a casino, but we’re sharing, anyway.

According to a source close to the deal, Hyatt Hotels Corp. has purchased a plot of land for a new hotel in a primo spot near the airport and new Raiders stadium.

The land is sandwiched between Mandalay Bay, the Bali Hai Golf Club and I-15 freeway, not far from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

Hyatt land Las Vegas

The giant red arrow was not included in the sale.

Not many specifics are known about the project at this point, but the new hotel will have to keep a low profile due to the proximity to McCarran International Airport.

In anticipation of the arrival of the Raiders stadium, lots of real estate and development deals are in the works nearby.

Another hotbed of activity is in Henderson, where we first reported the Raiders will have its training facility.

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10 Reasons the North Las Vegas Strip is About to Explode

The struggle is real on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

SLS Las Vegas, formerly the Sahara Hotel and Casino, has struggled. Lucky Dragon has struggled. All Net Resort and Arena, Resorts World and Fontainebleau Resort have all served as symbols of the struggle.

SLS Las Vegas

Ownership of SLS is just one of the big changes coming to the north Strip, so bid farewell to this goofball.

But all that, all of it, is about to change. In recent months, there have been numerous signs the north end of The Strip is about to explode. Here’s a quick look at what’s already happening and what’s on the not-too-distant horizon.

1. Resorts World is Alive

The long-delayed Asian-themed resort has had more construction activity in the last month than in the previous year, and word is Resorts World is shifting into full-blown construction mode. The company has awarded $400 million in contracts and new cranes are popping up on the site with each passing week. The wait is finally over, and the construction of Resorts World is shaking loose other dormant projects on the north Strip, too.

Resorts World

This is the start of something big at Resorts World. This photo was taken on Nov. 28, 2017.

2. All Net Resort and Arena is Funded

We honestly thought we’d never see those words in that order, but “All Net Resort and Arena is funded.” Many thought this resort, which will be located between Fontainebleau and SLS, was a pipe dream. Well, dreams come true, and insiders insist this is that. All Net Resort recently applied to increase the size of its hotel tower, and we’ve even heard additional financing (by Credit Suisse, no less) is in place to acquire (wait for it) an NBA team. While having an NBA team is far from a done deal (MGM Resorts, which recently purchased a WNBA team, may have something to say about that), the Vegas Golden Knights have broken the dam for those who questioned if pro sports can be a thing in Las Vegas.

All Net Arena

We’ve been skeptical about All Net Resort, too, but watch what happens.

3. Fontainebleau is Sold

We broke the story, so you know it’s a big deal. The abandoned structure was sold for $600 million to buyers Witkoff and New Valley. While the buyers are in an assessment mode at the moment, we hear they’re actively lining up a hotel partner (rumored to be Marriott) to manage the resort. Sorry, no casino from what we hear. The upcoming expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center, right next door, pretty much assures this project is moving full steam ahead.

Fontainebleau wrap

The sale of Fontainebleau is a wrap.

4. Las Vegas Convention Center Expanded

The upcoming $1.4 billion (with a “b”) expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center has investors champing at the bit to get in on nearby projects. In November 2017, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved the selection of a design team for the expansion, and the project will add 1.4 million square feet of new space to one of the premiere convention venues in the world. Those 600,000 estimated new Las Vegas visitors need places to fornicate (sorry, sleep) and eat and drink and shop, so the north Strip is about to get a jolt like Sin City has
never witnessed in its history.

Las Vegas Convention Center expansion

No, Cirque du Soleil is not the design firm for the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion. Good guess, though.

5. Wynn Paradise Park Zips Ahead

Casino mogul Steve Wynn’s crowning glory is set to change the Las Vegas landscape, again. Wynn Paradise Park is an expensive, ambitious and somewhat baffling development featuring a lagoon, a 47-story hotel and carnival-themed diversions like bumper cars, a massive carousel, zip lines and nighttime parades with fireworks. Construction begins Jan. 3, 2018, and if anyone can pull off an outlandish concept, it’s Steve Wynn and his team of visionaries.

Here’s the golf course Wynn Paradise Park will be replacing.

6. SLS Las Vegas is Purchased

SLS Las Vegas opened with much fanfare, only to immediately face the realities of a challenging location and an intended customer base that never materialized. Then came news of a sale (we broke that story, too, of course) to Meruelo Group, the folks behind Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. While the sale has recently stalled as details of the deal are hammered out (both sides are dug in, but negotiations continue), a sale is the best chance SLS has of infusing new blood and new ideas (and a new name) into a great resort that could be a big winner in the north Strip turnaround.

SLS 3-D legs

Let’s hope whatever replaces SLS has legs.

7. Stratosphere Changes Hands

The iconic Stratosphere and three other Las Vegas casinos were recently purchased by Golden Entertainment. While this isn’t the flashiest of sales, new ownership inevitably brings new ideas, new capital and new energy to a casino. While Stratosphere sits in a blighted neighborhood, growth and prosperity on the north end of the Strip could change that in a big way and Stratosphere is poised to reap the rewards.

Funny Stratosphere chip

We expect to either get: 1) a box of chocolates from Golden Entertainment or 2) a visit from their lawyers.

8. Lucky Dragon’s Up for Sale

The Lucky Dragon is a quirky, Asian-themed hotel-casino that’s been waiting for fortunes to change on the north Strip. Now, word is out the resort is up for sale, and while there hasn’t been a flood of interest to-date, that’s likely to change as things pick up in the vicinity.

Lucky Dragon

One of the few resorts in Las Vegas that comes with its own dragon.

9. MGM Resorts Festival Grounds to Get New Life

While the clusterful Rock in Rio USA music festival was a financial disaster (it won’t be back), the site is primed to be an in-demand outdoor concert space at the intersection of Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard. We’ve already heard MGM Resorts has nabbed an expansion of the San Diego-based Kaaboo Music Festival, and other new events seem inevitable. More visitors means more hotel occupancy, more room revenue means more investment and newness. Good times lie ahead on the north Strip, mark our words.

MGM Resorts Festival Grounds

This site is going to make beautiful music again in the very near future.

10. Alon Site Up for Grabs

The Alon (pronounced AY-lawn) resort project folded because it never got its promised financing (the announcement of Wynn Paradise Park was the nail in the project’s coffin), but the 35 acres of prime real estate are up for sale for $400 million. Expect the explosion of growth on the north Strip to spark a sale, and if all goes well, a new casino resort will spring up on the former New Frontier site.

Update (12/6/17): We’re hearing Wynn Resorts has purchased the Alon site, development is likely.

Update (12/14/17: Confirmed.

Update (1/22/18): During an earnings call, Wynn Resorts confirmed it will build Wynn West on the Alon site.

Alon Las Vegas

We spend far too much time taking photos of empty lots. Well, the Alon site won’t be empty a lot longer.

Bonus: Sands Concert Venue in the Works

Some might not consider this planned venue part of the north Strip (it will sit behind Venetian, Palazzo and the Sands Expo Convention Center), but its scope is big enough to tip The Strip in that direction. Las Vegas Sands and Madison Square Garden are partnering to build a concert arena with a capacity of 18,500. It’s being described as the “world’s largest venue built specifically for concerts and live entertainment.” Construction starts in June 2018 with an eye toward completion in 2020. More things to do. More money. More OMG.

Sands music venue

Behold the future site of another huge new in Las Vegas.

You can call it “critical mass” or a “tipping point,” but there’s no denying the north end of the Strip is about to experience an unprecedented boom, and that irreversible momentum is destined to transform Las Vegas forever.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you agree with us.

Update: Here we are on the news talking about progress on the north Strip.

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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.”


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Palms Las Vegas

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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.”


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.

Monte Carlo Becomes Park MGM

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