Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Sources Say Circus Circus Las Vegas is Sold

Circus Circus, long considered the red-headed stepchild of the MGM Resorts family, has reportedly been sold. All due respect to red-heads. And stepchildren.

We have it on good authority the sale of Circus Circus casino is a done deal. It’s unknown when an official announcement of the sale will be made.

We first got wind Circus Circus was in play for a sale back in August 2019. See below if you’re not on the Twitters.

Circus Circus sold

We have the best sources, ever.

It seems there were two phases to Circus Circus being shopped to potential buyers.

In the first round, the sale was to include one hotel tower and the Rock in Rio site (Las Vegas Festival Grounds). There we apparently no takers for that offering.

Next up was a sale of the entire resort, including the adjacent Las Vegas Festival Grounds.

Our sources say the Circus Circus sale encompassed a whopping 102 acres.

The rumored buyer is Phil Ruffin, owner of TI.

Circus Circus sale

The lights that launched a thousand engorgements.

Plans for Circus Circus are unknown, but a sale bodes well for the likelihood of further investment in sprucing up the place, including what’s likely to be a much-needed renovation of the rooms.

Circus Circus has long served a customer other Strip resorts don’t, extreme value seekers and families.

Despite its profitability, MGM Resorts has never quite known what to do with this offbeat casino that doesn’t fit neatly into the company’s portfolio.

A casino we love, by the way. See our 10 reasons to love Circus Circus.

Steakhouse Circus Circus

“Whatever you do, don’t touch the steakhouse!” we all said in unison.

The sale of Circus Circus will provide a bump to MGM Resorts’ pool of cash as it continues to pursue its MGM 2020 initiative to increase profitability.

Additional investment (or any, really) in Circus Circus by MGM Resorts just wasn’t in the cards, so a sale makes a lot of sense.

Stay tuned for confirmation and an official announcement about the sale of Circus Circus.

You heard it here first!

Update (9/20/19): Here’s the latest on the sale of Circus Circus via Bloomberg. The publication says about MGM Resorts, “An accord to sell the resort could be announced as part of a larger transaction involving the company’s real estate portfolio, which also includes the Bellagio and the flagship MGM Grand.”

Update (10/15/19): The sale of Circus Circus for $825 million to TI owner Phil Ruffin has been confirmed. Try to act surprised. Some have asked if Circus Circus will be torn down. While some suspected Circus Circus would be imploded, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Ruffin plans to run Circus Circus, and will probably find a partner for the festival grounds.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Busts Out More Sweet Renderings

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, but there’s just the one so far) has shared some sweet renderings.

Hard Rock will transition into Virgin starting in February 2020, and here’s a peek at what’s in store.

Virgin Las Vegas

If we ever have Richard Branson money, this will be our living room.

The renderings were shared as Virgin Vegas announced its design and construction partners.

We aren’t entirely sure who some of these companies are, but we thought we’d list them here to prevent the renderings from slapping together.

Virgin Vegas

Let’s drink, already.

Virgin’s design and construction partners include Rockwell Group, Klai Juba Wald Architecture + Interiors, Studio Collective, Taylor International Corporation and McCarthy Building Companies.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Virgin will have a whole new groove.

Rockwell Group is probably the most recognizable of the partners, as they’ve done a number of projects in Las Vegas, including Greene St. Kitchen and Kaos at Palms, as well as Omnia nightclub and Nobu at Caesars Palace.

Fun fact: Rockwell Group also did the set designs for the movie “Tootsie.” Yes, we knew that off the top of our head, not because it was in the news release.

Virgin Las Vegas

Let’s play, already.

Here’s another fleek rendering from the upcoming Virgin hotel in Las Vegas. And, yes, we’re using “fleek” ironically. We are not a complete idiot.

Virgin Las Vegas

We love the art inspired by our ex.

When we shared these renderings on our wildly popular Twitter account, there was universally positive feedback, and Twitter tends to hate everything.

That bodes well for Virgin, and we’ll keep you in the loop with all the latest developments. Read more about the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas renovation timeline. Virgin Hotel Las Vegas is expected to open in Nov. 2020.

Exhibition City: The Biggest Las Vegas Project You Haven’t Heard About Yet

We’ve got the scoop on the biggest Las Vegas development project you haven’t heard about!

How do we know you haven’t heard about it? Because we haven’t, and we know everything.

Behold Exhibition City, a massive, 240-acre project proposed for just south of the Las Vegas Strip.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

Part retail, part arena, part hotel-casino, part auto pavilion, whatever that might actually be.

Details of the project are few, which would tend to make our WTF senses tingle, but it appears one of the world’s most successful and revered architectural firms, Gensler, is involved, so we’re going to reserve judgment in lieu of the kind of tingling we get when somebody proposes a new casino.

Simply put, Gensler is legit.

What we know is Exhibition City is a mixed-use development with three major components: Auto City, Oasis City and Expo City.

Auto City is described as “2.5 million square feet of auto pavilions surrounded by testing tracks, along with retail and a hotel.”

Translation: That’s a metric buttload of feet, square or otherwise.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

We couldn’t find a GoFundMe page for Exhibition City, so that’s probably a good sign.

Oasis City features “extensive retail, a larger hotel combination and an 18,000-seat arena.” As a basis of comparison, that’s about the capacity of T-Mobile Arena when the Vegas Golden Knights play.

Expo City is described as “anchoring” Auto City and Oasis City, and it will have its own hotel and casino.

That sound you hear is us getting warm in our special places. Yes, that makes a sound. It’s probably best to move on.

That’s all the information available about Exhibition City, but even those scant details have our undivided attention.

Exhibition City Las Vegas

They didn’t even mention the fashion pavilion! We are so there.

There’s no mention of who Gesler’s client is, and there’s been no official announcement of the project. There’s a chance that lack of announcement could be an effort to avoid what happened to another very expensive project, Bleutech. Namely, we poked fun at them, and nobody wants that.

The biggest missing piece of information about Exhibition City, of course, is the price tag.

We’ll venture a guess: Two. Billion. Dollars. Give or take a billion.

It’s too early to predict whether this ambitious project will become a reality, but we’re almost always on the side of new and shiny, so we’ll place a judiciously small wager on “yes.”

Because renderings are a terrible thing to waste.

Rumor: Resorts World Las Vegas To Abandon Asian Theme

Ever since Resorts World resort was announced, way back in March 2013, the intention was for the new hotel-casino to have an Asian theme, including pandas, a Chinese garden and a replica of the Great Wall of China.

Now, we’ve heard Resorts World Las Vegas will change course and abandon its Asian theme.

“Change course” doesn’t quite do it justice, actually, because absolutely nobody saw that coming.

Hey, Resorts World, if you’re losing the theme, might be a good time to rethink that name, too. Just saying.

Resorts World has been a source of fascination for Vegas watchers. The Resorts World saga has included not only construction delays, but also a lawsuit claiming Resorts World looks too much like Wynn and Encore.

Originally, the $4 billion Resorts World was to break ground in 2014, with the first phase to open in 2016.

The ground breaking happened in 2015, now the opening is slated for late 2020. Ish.

Our most recent photo of Resorts World. Since then, the hotel tower has been topped out (Aug. 15, 2019).

While some consider the sloth-like pace of construction at Resorts World a source of concern, we say it’s a cunning business move.

Las Vegas visitation and room demand isn’t exactly booming at the moment, so if Resorts World brought its 3,000-plus rooms online now, it could be disastrous.

Also wise is the decision to move away from an Asian theme, should that come to pass. Such a theme could limit the appeal of Resorts World, and de-theming of casinos in Las Vegas has been a trend in recent years. (Treasure Island is now TI, for example.)

Challenges related to international travel could very well be a factor in Resorts World reconsidering its theme. (And don’t get us started on the dumpling fire that was Lucky Dragon.)

The official statement in response to our story about Resorts World dropping its Forbidden City theme is a tad on the vague side.

Resorts World statement

Translation: Confirmed.

Doubt our sources at your peril!

Which leads us to wonder if the new vision for Resorts World includes a theme at all.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Resorts World, but rest assured pandas won’t be part of the equation.

Hard Rock Will Close Eight Months to Become a Virgin

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has updated its construction schedule and will now close for eight months in 2020 as it transitions into Virgin Hotels.

The eight-month duration of the renovation hasn’t changed, but originally the resort was to be closed for half that time. Oh, that’s right, we broke that news, too. Thanks for remembering!

Leadership at the resort thought better of the original “phased” approach, and has now opted to close completely for the eight-month renovation period.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Among the many changes, Virgin is having its front opening rejuvenated.

We understand Hard Rock ownership wanted to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of trying to operate during a resort-wide renovation, citing the rebrand of Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo) and refresh of Palms as examples of less-than-ideal outcomes of a phased (otherwise known as “half-assed” in industry parlance) approach.

Hard Rock will close following Super Bowl weekend in 2020.

The last date a guest can book at Hard Rock will be Super Bowl Sunday, or Feb. 2, 2020. Guests will be limited to a two-night stay, so Hard Rock hotel-casino will officially close Feb. 4, 2020.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is expected to open between Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 15, 2020. The specific opening date will be announced down the road. Contractors have said the renovation could potentially be finished as early as Oct. 15, 2020, but the hotel won’t be booking based upon that more ambitious timeline.

Virgin Hotels

Our least favorite definition of “virgin” is “a drink containing no alcohol.”

Estimates put the cost of the rebrand to Virgin at about $200 million, and renovations will touch virtually every part of the off-Strip resort, including an overhaul of all the hotel rooms.

Hard Rock ownership has announced a number of intriguing partnerships. AEG Presents is being brought in to manage The Joint, and as we were the first to share, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will manage Virgin’s casino.

Hard Rock was purchased by JC Hospitality and Richard Branson on March 30, 2018. Hard Rock opened in 1995.

There’s more to come, and you know damn well where you’ll hear it first. Here. In case that wasn’t clear. Please focus.

Hooters Casino Could Be Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

Ever hear of Oyo Hotels? If our sources are right, you’re about to.

We’ve learned exclusively Hooters Casino is now under contract with hotel operator Highgate and the company plans to make Hooters Las Vegas an Oyo brand hotel.

Our sources say the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel-casino will close after the hotel rebrands. The Hooters restaurant inside the Hooters resort is said to be the most profitable in the company’s entire chain.

Oyo Las Vegas

We’re fairly sure “OYO” stands for “on your own.” Related: Once you see the face, you can’t unsee it.

Highgate Hotels is a real estate investment and hospitality management company, also involved with the Westin and Renaissance hotels in Las Vegas. The company operates more than 100 hotels around the world. Learn more.

Oyo is a rapidly-expanding Indian budget hotel company which recently entered the U.S. market in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. It now appears the company has its sights set on Las Vegas.

Oyo describes itself as “the world’s fastest growing company and world’s sixth largest chain of operated hotels, homes, managed living and workspaces.”

The company’s portfolio boasts more than 23,000 hotels in 800 cities in 18 countries. Combined, the company has more than 330,000 rooms. See more.

This is the Oyo business model: Oyo partners with existing hotels, rebrands them as Oyo franchises and streamlines booking, pricing and technology services. It then gets a percentage of the hotel’s monthly revenue.

The company reports occupancy increases of 30-40% at Oyo hotels, and revenue increases of as much as 60%, which would be welcomed by the owners of Hooters, of course.

Hooters is owned by Trinity Hotel Investors and operated by Paragon Gaming.

Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

You go, palindrome?

The arrival of Oyo in Las Vegas could bring some drama along with it, as the company’s founder and CEO, 25-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, is not controversy-free. Let’s just say gaming regulators aren’t big fans of controversy. Get details.

Hooters has been known by a lot of names, so if it’s rebranded to Oyo, it’ll join this long list of past names: Paradise, Treasury, Pacifica, Polynesian and Hotel San Remo. There will be a quiz.

Details about these moves at Hooters are scant at the moment, but that’s never stopped us from passing along scoop before!

You’ll hear more when we do.

Update (8/6/19): Here’s our take on Channel 8.

Update (8/7/19): Our sources confirm Hooters restaurant won’t be around following the transition to Oyo. At its peak, the restaurant served a million customers a year.

Update (8/17/19): We’re now hearing the Hooters rebrand to Oyo will happen Sep. 16, 2019.

Update (8/23/19): As if we weren’t already unbearable enough, our story has been confirmed. Oyo has acquired Hooters hotel for a reported $135 million and will be rebranded Oyo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Highgate will manage the hotel and Paragon Gaming will continue to operate the resort’s casino. Read more.

Update (8/26/19): We’ve learned not only will the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel close, it will be brought to a resort on the Las Vegas Strip. While there won’t be a Hooters hotel on The Strip, an existing resort will be getting a Hooters restaurant and Hooters-branded casino (think casino-within-a-casino, like Pussy Cat Dolls at Caesars or Playboy Club at Palms when those were a thing). More details to come.