Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Signs Point to Mandarin Oriental Becoming Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

There’s been a good deal of secrecy around the future of the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas hotel, but we don’t have patience for secrets, we are a blog.

MGM Resorts recently announced Mandarin Oriental would be sold for $214 million, but few other details were shared.

We have it on good authority Mandarin Oriental’s days are numbered, and Aug. 30, 2018 could be the last day for this luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Word is Mandarin Oriental will soon become Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, a Hilton Worldwide brand.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

Waldorf Astoria is the flagship brand in Hilton’s portfolio, assuming Wikipedia knows what it’s talking about.

The announcement about the upcoming transition to Waldorf Astoria was made internally at a meeting at the Aria resort.

Also imparted was the fact a $50 million renovation will accompany the change in ownership.

While no official announcement of a buyer has been made, we’ve reported it could be the owner of Hilton Lake Las Vegas, real estate investor “Ronnie” Lam and his Kam Sang Co. Employees attending the Aria ballroom event were informed the buyer is an “Asian investor.”

Lending credence to our Waldorf Astoria news is the fact a domain name was recently registered, WaldorfAstoriaLasVegas.com, which redirects to the main Waldorf Astoria Web site.

Mandarin Oriental has no casino, so it’s difficult for us to care too much about it, but scoop is scoop.

We honestly have no idea why there’s been an attempt to keep the buyer of Mandarin Oriental on the down-low, but in most cases, it means there are loose ends to tie up prior to an official announcement.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, expect an official announcement about Mandarin Oriental becoming Waldorf Astoria soon.

Update (5/16/18): Our story has been confirmed, as if you had any doubt.

Mandarin Oriental Sold and We Might Know the Buyer

MGM Resorts International recently announced it would sell the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas for $214 million.

It’s anticipated the deal will close this summer, but so far, the buyer of the non-gaming Mandarin Oriental hotel hasn’t been announced.

We love a good mystery!

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

You can grab a condo in Mandarin Oriental for about $2 million. The average cost of a wedding at Mandarin Oriental is between $23,000 and $33,000.

For some time, insiders believed Mandarin Oriental could become a Ritz-Carlton, then employees learned the buyer is a “private investor.”

The latest rumblings are the buyer of Mandarin Oriental could be Kam Sang Co., the owner of Hilton Lake Las Vegas.

Hilton Lake Las Vegas originally opened as a Ritz-Carlton, but closed in 2010. It later opened as Ravella, then became a Hilton in 2013.

The California-based Kam Sang Co. is controlled by real estate investor Man Ho Lam, better known by his nickname, “Ronnie” Lam.

If this rumor pans out, it’s probably for the best Mandarin Oriental is a non-gambling hotel. Man Ho Lam was previously denied a gaming license when the Nevada Gaming Control Board found he “failed to satisfy their burden of proving their qualification to be licensed.”

Kam Sang Co. also owns several hotels in California, including Courtyard Los Angeles Baldwin Park, Sheraton Garden Grove, Embassy Suites Los Angeles and Residence Inn La Mirada Buena Park.

Again, this is just a rumor, until it’s not. If it’s in a news release, it’s too late. Our inquiry to the company received no response.

It’s unclear what the sale of Mandarin Oriental means for the five-star hotel, and it remains to be seen whether it will be rebranded once the deal is consummated.

Update (5/7/18): We’ve now heard employees believe Mandarin Oriental could become part of the Curio Hotel by Hilton family.

Update (5/15/18): Latest word from two sources is employees (at an event inside Aria resort) have been informed Mandarin Oriental will become Waldorf Astoria, a Hilton Worldwide brand.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

Let’s hope the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is as fancy as it sounds.

As further confirmation, the domain WaldorfAstoriaLasVegas.com now redirects to the main Waldorf Astoria Web site. Word is $50 million will be invested in renovations as the hotel is rebranded.

We hear August 30, 2018 is the last day for Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

Update (5/16/18): It’s been confirmed Mandarin Oriental will be a Waldorf Astoria.

Update (8/30/18): It’s been confirmed the buyers of Mandarin Oriental are “commercial real estate developer Tiffany Lam and the co-founders of the Panda Express restaurant chain Andrew and Peggy Cherng.”

Rumor: Signs Point to Cosmopolitan Sale to Hard Rock International

It’s the juiciest rumor we’ve heard in weeks: Cosmopolitan is strengthening its bottom line for a potential sale to Hard Rock International.

Hard Rock Las Vegas

Don’t toss out those signs from the Hard Rock casino quite yet.

We’ve been Tweeting furiously about odd news out of Cosmopolitan recently, that staff layoffs were taking place and credit lines were being halted and reviewed.

Now, we know why.

Cosmopolitan ownership reportedly brought in a company specializing in business efficiency and steps have been taken to make the resort more appealing to a surprise suitor, Hard Rock International.

Here’s just one example of the recent cost-cutting measures happening at Cosmopolitan: We’ve learned in March 2018 the resort switched from Coke to Pepsi, about a 10% savings by some estimates.

The Cosmopolitan

Rumors have swirled for some time about a sale of the Cosmo, but this one could have legs.

Details are few about the potential sale to Hard Rock International, but who has time to wait for a news release? Don’t be surprised if there’s official news of a sale in the near future.

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan

Just another day at Cosmo.

Rumors of the sale of Cosmopolitan to Hard Rock International comes on the heels of a sale of the nearby Mandarin Oriental and confirmation the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas was sold to Virgin Hotels and a group of investors.

When we first shared rumors of the sale of Hard Rock Las Vegas, it was Hard Rock International believed to be the buyer—it appears they had their eyes on a bigger prize.

Hard Rock Las Vegas wasn’t part of the Hard Rock International family, it was owned by Brookfield Asset Management. There will be a quiz.

MGM Resorts was reportedly eyeballing Cosmopolitan for a purchase at one point, but has since moved on.

Interesting times in Las Vegas, to be sure.

More sales, mergers and acquisitions are anticipated in the months to come.

Update (5/3/18): Following our story, two well-placed sources have confirmed Hard Rock International has entered the “due diligence” phase with Cosmopolitan. What’s “due diligence”? That’s where a hotel being sold provides an metric ass-ton of documentation to a potential buyer. Here’s a sampling (.pdf) of what’s involved. More to come!

Update (11/15/18): We’re hearing fresh intel about a Cosmopolitan sale to Hard Rock International, and from what we’ve heard, the company plans to rebrand Cosmo as a Hard Rock. Multiple sources confirm Hard Rock International is deep into the purchase process and the sale is being described as a “done deal.”

Hard Rock Las Vegas Sale Finally Officially Confirmed

After months of us sounding like a crazy person, the sale of Hard Rock Las Vegas has been confirmed.

A news conference was held at the Hard Rock in conjunction with the long-awaited announcement. Watch it.

The Hard Rock was purchased by Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels in partnership with a group led by Juniper Capital Partners and Fengate Real Asset Investments along with their partners Dream, Cowie Capital Partners and other private investors.

The sale closed March 30, 2018.

How much did the Hard Rock Las Vegas resort sell for? About $500 million.

Virgin Hotels

It’s about time you showed up!

In attendance at the news conference were Richard Branson (described as a “partner” in the deal), new CEO Richard “Boz” Bosworth, Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal and a number of young women dancing around in bikinis.

We first got wind of the Hard Rock sale back in March 2017, then reported the involvement of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels earlier this year. We love when a plan comes together, no matter how long it takes.

Virgin Las Vegas

It’s officially official.

During the news conference, it was announced Hard Rock will continue to operate under its current name through 2018.

A major renovation of the resort will happen in 2019. Changes will be “phased in” according to Virgin Hotels, and the resort will officially become a Virgin Hotel in late 2019.

We’re pleased about this news as it allows us to share this rendering we made. Because chastity belts. And virgins.

Virgin Las Vegas rebrand

Hey, you keep something under wraps this long, we’re going to fill in the gaps.

“We’re going to spend hundreds of millions in transforming this property,” said Richard Bosworth of Bosworth Hospitality.

According to a news release, “The hotel will feature 1504 well-appointed Chambers, Grand Chamber Suites and Penthouse Suites; a 60,000 square foot, fully-renovated casino, multiple pools over five acres, world-class restaurants, lounges and bars, including new nightlife venues and the brand’s flagship space, the Commons Club, as well as numerous meeting and convention spaces.”

We trust “chambers” are like rooms, only more “Virginy.”

Here’s more about the sale of Hard Rock Las Vegas and its transition to Virgin Hotel.

At the news conference, as if it needed asking, one reporter asked, “Why Las Vegas?” Richard Branson said, “Virgin’s all about fun, entertainment and not taking ourselves too seriously.”

Richard Branson passed on giving specifics of the cost of Hard Rock.

While Branson didn’t get into details about the sale at the news conference, when asked about rebranding the hotel’s entertainment venues, he said, “The Joint’s got a fun name.”

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas will continue to have a casino, thankfully. A gaming partner will be announced at a later time, per Virgen Hotels CEO Raul Leal.

As for the Hard Rock’s memorabilia, it’s staying.

Richard Branson has been quoted as saying, “You’re not going to walk into slot machines the moment you walk into a Virgin Hotel like you do the Hard Rock, but we’ll be tasteful, fun, and we’ll get the right balance there. I come from the rock ‘n’ roll business, and the memorabilia is something that fortunately comes with the hotel. So it’s incredible for me to suddenly have this collection of wonderful rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.”

Hard Rock Las Vegas

Dibs on this sign.

It’s been a tough slog for the Hard Rock recently, and this sale will breathe some much-needed new life into the resort.

Richard Branson said, “It’s been allowed to get a bit tired over the years, but it’s got fantastic staff and that’s the absolute key.”

Virgin Hotels is an intriguing brand that’s been described as “disruptive,” and Las Vegas loves disruption as much as we do.

It was fun while it lasted, Hard Rock, and welcome to Las Vegas, Virgin Hotels.

Wynn Boston Harbor to Rebrand as Encore Boston Harbor

We have a long-standing policy of not writing stories about places other than Las Vegas, but scoop is scoop.

Word is Steve Wynn’s name will be stripped from the Wynn Boston Harbor project.

The $2.4 billion resort will be rebranded Encore Boston Harbor, according to a reliable source.

Encore Boston Harbor

We’ve never said Wynn Resorts doesn’t make pretty things.

Reportedly, promotional videos and other marketing materials for Encore Boston Harbor are already in the works.

Wynn Resorts executives have confirmed a rebrand is coming, but have not yet officially said the resort will be Encore Boston Harbor. That’s why you have us.

The change of course with Encore Boston Harbor follows an avalanche of sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn who recently stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts. Wynn has also been accused of rape.

Wynn sold all his stock in the company as well. Yeah, it’s big deal.

Why are we expending precious keystrokes on a resort that’s not even in Las Vegas, making it 95% less interesting?

Well, here’s why: Wynn Resorts clearly understands its brand has been tainted by the Steve Wynn scandal and is making moves to control the damage.

We say there’s a very real chance Wynn Las Vegas will also rebrand as the fallout continues. Wynn executives claim otherwise, but it’s becoming increasingly clear some executives at Wynn Resorts are full of what industry insiders refer to as “horse manure.”

Another shift in branding is the Wynn Paradise Park project, which is currently being referred to as just Paradise Park.

The latest word is Paradise Park will be completed before whatever Wynn West turns out to be, a flip from previous reports.

The odds of the hotel announced for the former Alon site has a roughly zero percent chance of being called by its original name, Wynn West.

We were the first to report the Alon site sale, as well as the fact a new resort would be built on the site. Oh, like we weren’t going to mention that.

Alon site

Here’s the former Alon site today. There’s a bit of work to be done.

Wynn Resorts finds itself in a maelstrom at the moment. The only imaginable way Wynn stays on the side of Wynn Las Vegas is if Steve Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, takes the reins and there’s a purge of the company’s board.

Rumors inside Wynn Resorts abound that this scenario is possible if not probable. Elaine Wynn has a 9.26% stake in the company.

It’s time to come clean and hold those who covered up decades of bad behavior accountable. Read more about the Steve Wynn allegations and enjoy your Silkwood shower.

Update (3/30/18): The Boston Herald confirmed Wynn Resorts has registered multiple domain names based upon Encore Boston Harbor.

Update (4/27/18): Wynn Resorts has confirmed its plans to rename Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor.

Here’s What’s Really Happening at Resorts World

Resorts World. It’s an enigma.

The Asian-themed resort from Genting Group is being built on the bones of the abandoned Echelon Place project.

Resorts World broke ground on May 5, 2015. Since then, progress on the bajillion-dollar resort has been agonizingly slow.

Here’s a look at Resorts World today.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Resorts World seems to be perpetually preparing for something to happen.

Oh, yes, there are cranes.

They showed up in late 2017, creating a warmth in our loin we had not experienced in some time given the repeated delays in construction of the $4 billion, 3,000-room hotel-casino.

The arrival of the cranes at Resorts World followed on the heels of hoopla about a construction manager being hired, as well as word Genting had finalized $400 million in contracts with vendors.

Anticipation was at an all-time high that Resorts World would actually be a thing.

Then came months and months of not a whole lot.

Resorts World has said publicly there are 400 workers on the site now.

Resorts World Las Vegas

It was on the Internet, it must be true.

From our observations, Resorts World either has a counting problem or a lying problem. Since casinos never lie, we’ll just assume the official Resorts World abacus is in the shop.

Here’s a look at the Resorts World site.

Four hundred constructions workers? The over/under was about a dozen during our most recent visit.

Resorts World claimed it would have 1,000 construction workers on-site by early 2018. Yeah, not so much.

Unless the construction workers at Resorts World are wearing cloaks of invisibility, it appears the only thing Resorts World is building at the moment is an exemplary record of horseshittery.

Still, there are some symbolic things happening at Resorts World. Beyond the crane theater, that is.

For the most part, those things are orange.

Resorts World Las Vegas

It’s happening at a sloth’s pace, but Resorts World appears to be increasing the size of its erection.

We are not a construction expert, but it appears concrete is being poured at various parts of the Resorts World hotel tower.

Here’s another orange thing.

Resorts World Las Vegas

This is undeniably a thing.

And let’s not forget this orange thing on the Strip-facing wall of the structure.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Most concrete mixes reach 70% of specified compressive strength after seven days, whatever that might actually mean.

Update (3/28/18): A rep of Forming Concepts, Inc. has informed us those orange things are the company’s “formwork,” specifically, “elevator core forms and shear wall lifters.” The forms represent 39 truckloads of equipment. We look forward to learning more!

Another area of progress is what’s been described as a “swatch” on the exterior of the Resorts World tower. We should know because we’re the one who described it that way. You can see it on the lower left of the photo above.

The “swatch” is a test of what the exterior of the hotel could look like, we assume.

Here’s how it looked in July 2017.

Resorts World Las Vegas

We got really excited about this at the time.

Now, here’s what the exterior samples looked like in Sep. 2017.

Resorts World Las Vegas

This reflective version of the exterior would’ve been very helpful for shaving.

Here’s what the exterior test looks like today.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Yes, we have issues, we’re not saying we don’t have issues.

Somebody’s taking a lot of time considering materials and color combinations to determine what Resorts World will ultimately look like.

As we’re rooting for Resorts World to become a reality, we’re going to go with “slow and steady wins the race” as Genting’s construction philosophy.

An alternative philosophy might be, “We’re not opening until we’re sure this puppy is going to make a profit.”

Resorts World Las Vegas

Hey, the crane guy wants to feel like he’s doing something, so just play along.

Resorts World sits at the north end of The Strip, so it could very well be waiting for the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, the opening of The Drew (formerly Fountainebleau), the opening of Paradise Park (formerly Wynn Paradise Park), a renovation for The Strat (formerly Stratosphere), a new direction for SLS Las Vegas (formerly Sahara) and the sale of Lucky Dragon (formerly not in bankruptcy).

That’s right, it could very well be Resorts World is biding its time until there’s critical mass at the north end of The Strip. That’s what we’d do.

If we were building a $4 billion Las Vegas resort. With all our mountains of blog money.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Baby steps are still steps.

Ultimately, progress is progress, even if it isn’t readily discernible to the naked eye.

Here’s hoping “slow and steady” gives way to “a metric hell-ton of construction activity” in the months to come.

We can’t bear any more heartbreak at the former home of our beloved Stardust.