Despite the fact we were summarily given the boot for taking photos during our last visit, we’re determined to keep you apprised of developments, so here’s the latest.
Summarily, it should be noted, is the worst kind of boot to be given. By far.
SLS is in a state of flux. We just hope they know what the flux they’re doing.
The new owner of SLS, Alex Meruelo, has said he’ll invest $100 million in “revitalizing” the former Sahara. That’s a whimsical number, but there’s no question a dramatic facelift is taking place in the resort’s casino.
There’s been a dramatic shift in the look and feel of the perennially under-patroned casino, including new carpeting and a rethinking of the dark, unfinished industrial ceiling of SLS.
They’re apparently going for the classic portobello mushroom look.
The interior design of SLS was distinctive, but SLS was an unmitigated financial flop, having never made a profit since the day it opened.
Was the decor a contributing factor? Hard to say.
Alex Meruelo and his team clearly believe so, hence their decision to try a more traditional vibe.
Nothing new or edgy here, but SLS was new and edgy, and we know how that went.
While changes in the SLS casino are most visible, Meruelo has been chipping away at the resort’s challenges behind-the-scenes as well.
Cost-cutting has been a big priority, with a number of departments pared down to shore up the bottom line.
In most casinos, chairs don’t generate nearly as much money as slot machines. This chilling area’s days may be numbered.
The restaurant line-up at SLS has also been scrutinized. Holdovers from the SBE Entertainment era of the resort, Cleo and Katsuya, are unlikely to survive the summer from what we hear.
Look for the introduction of new dining concepts, including a food hall concept, expected to be a welcome addition for value-seekers.
We’ve also heard a buffet could be in the works. SLS had a buffet on the hotel’s second floor when it opened, but it was underwhelming it didn’t last long.
Low ceilings in casinos fosters intimacy. We are always on the lookout for intimacy in casinos, which is one of the reasons we have a bailbondsman.
When the time is right, SLS will presumably get a new name: Grand Sahara Resort. (Alex Murelo also owns the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.)
It remains to be seen if the changes at SLS will help turn the struggling casino around.
The resort’s location continues to be an undeniable challenge, as a number of north Strip projects are on hold (Wynn West), dead on arrival (Lucky Dragon) or plodding along at a snail’s pace (The Drew, Resorts World, All Net Resort).
Little foot traffic means the casino needs to get creative with marketing. Easier said than done.
Casino carpets typically have busy patterns to better conceal stains. Now you know.
A casino refresh at SLS can’t hurt. Ultimately, though, casino resort fundamentals need to be in place for a venue to succeed.
Loosen up those machines. Give loyal customers generous perks. Pour liquor from the bottle (rather than the gun). Provide value. Keep parking free. Dump the goofy statue out front. Bring back the awesome video screen that was above the casino bar. (That’s the plan, by the way.)
Oh, and let people take photos.
Las Vegas casinos resemble its roadways more with each passing day.
The pattern has been Park MGM (MGM Resorts) making lavish offers these performers can’t refuse. Britney Spears was going to make $500,000 per show, and Lady Gaga is reportedly making $1 million per show.
Celine’s run at Caesars Palace has resulted in the two highest-grossing residencies in Las Vegas history, but it’s entirely possible she’s not done yet.
It’s worth noting Celine attended Lady Gaga’s premiere at Park MGM. It was thought she was merely being supportive of her fellow diva, but if Dion is making the move to Park MGM, lots of pieces of the puzzle fall neatly into place.
It’s also rumored Celine Dion is building a new house in Las Vegas. That doesn’t sound like somebody who’s hanging it up.
At this point, Celine Dion’s move to Park MGM hasn’t been officially confirmed, but if it is, remember you heard it here first.
Thanks to @Celiniacs for pointing us to this scoop.
Update (1/15/19): The LVCVA says their post was a goof. They didn’t go so far as to say Celine won’t be doing another Vegas residency, however.
We’ll take them at their word, but trust and verify (in June 2019).
A new show is headed for MGM Grand, and it’s about as Vegas as you can get.
“The Naked Magicians,” quite simply, perform magic naked.
The only downside is they’re dudes. All due respect.
Australian magicians, and extraordinarily brave souls, Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne will perform at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club inside MGM Grand starting Feb. 13, 2019.
It’s the duo’s first Las Vegas residency, but they’ve performed in more than 200 cities.
If only these guys could come up with a marketing hook.
In a news release, Christopher Wayne says, “It’s kind of crazy because magic is the second-oldest profession and we couldn’t believe no one had combined the two things that everyone loves: magic and nudity.”
Define “no one,” magic boy. It’s Vegas!
Ever hear of “Showgirls of Magic”? It had a decent run at Hotel San Remo, now called Hooters.
And let’s not forget the sheer awesomeness of “Centerfolds of Magic” which ran at the Plaza for 15 minutes. (Three weeks, actually, but who’s counting?)
History lapses aside, “The Naked Magicians” has potential, and we’d see it despite our longstanding loyalty to “Puppetry of the Penis,” mainly because the cast was on our podcast.
We’re definitely looking forward to seeing “The Naked Magicians” perform the classic cups and balls.
Oh, like you didn’t know we’d make that joke.
Tickets for “The Naked Magicians” start at $55. This is a 21-or-older only show. See more at the show’s official Web site.
Bonnie Springs Ranch was fun while it lasted, and it lasted a long, long time. The place was originally built in 1843.
Naturally, we round up the latest casino and restaurant news, including items about Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower, the 60-foot sculpture coming to the pool at Palms, plus a cavalcade of updates about shows both new (“The Naked Magicians”) and making moves (“Magical Dream”).
Our “Listicle of the Week” reveals which slot machines have the lowest casino holds, giving you the illusion of control over your gambling destiny.
Listen and learn. Or probably just that first thing. You know how you are.
It’s been a long time coming, but now we know the name of the new casino resort coming to downtown in 2020: Circa Resort & Casino.
The owners of Circa, Derek and Greg Stevens, revealed the name and details of the resort at their Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The Stevens also own The D and Golden Gate casinos.
Here’s a good look at Circa, and it’s about time!
Boom as the kids say. Not very many of them say that, but some.
Not going to lie, we got warm feelings in our special places when we first saw that rendering, and it’s just the beginning.
Ready to experience some warmth?
Circa will be the tallest building in downtown Las Vegas. “Circa” comes from the Latin, “circum,” so you might say it will be circum-sized.
The new resort, expected to cost in the neighborhood of $1 billion, will sit on the former site of the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club.
Circa casino is touted as the first ground-up resort development since 1980. That was the Sundance, which later became Fitzgerald’s and then The D.
The name Circa is meant to “celebrate the timeless spirit of the city while leading the charge for a bold new era with game-changing guest offerings.”
Here’s a slick video about this new Vegas offering.
According to the official news release, Circa “will mix the glamour of vintage Vegas with modern luxuries and cutting-edge technology, honoring the golden age of the city. Guests can expect top-notch entertainment while enjoying honest, attentive and friendly service.”
Shockingly, we actually love the name and we hate everything.
We’re just going to keep sharing renderings until you make us stop.
The only moment of pause we had when we first heard the name (after which we were sworn to secrecy, and it’s been weeks of agony ever since) is it sounded a little like “Circus Circus,” but the feeling quickly passed. We suspect the chances of confusion between these two casinos will be slim to none.
Now, we’re more interested in diving into what in the hell the Stevens and their team of geniuses have been up to. (Disclaimer: We are friends with many of the aforementioned geniuses, and we also work at Fremont Street Experience downtown, however, our opinions are our own.)
From the renderings, it appears they’ve been up to a lot.
Here’s the entrance on Fremont Street where Mermaids used to be. Please stop whining about missing the fried Oreos, they were gross. We know because we had the last one ever sold.
Circa will have 777 rooms, “a range of eclectic restaurants” (to be announced later), the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, a spa (we got to break that one on our podcast in Feb. 2016) and, understatement of the year, a pool.
In our 2016 interview with Derek Stevens, he described downtown as “underpooled,” and it’s clear Circa will seek to remedy that.
The hotel will feature a huge, multi-tiered pool amphitheater, which isn’t something we knew existed until pretty much right now.
There will be six pools and a huge video screen, as well as the anticipated beverages, food, beverages, private cabanas, beverages and DJs. But most beverages. The pool complex will accommodate 4,000 people.
They’re going to need a really big remote.
But wait, there’s more.
If you know anything about Derek Stevens and his crew, you know they love the sportsball (and the puckball also, especially since the Vegas Golden Knights came to town).
It’s not surprising, then, that Circa will have a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook. Since it’s Las Vegas, you know it will also have “the biggest screen in sportsbook history.”
Not your everyday man cave.
The Stevens recently announced a partnership with sports gaming media organization Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) to bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa.
While we’re not a sports person, we’re going to just roll with the punches on this one. Which, it should be noted, is a sports metaphor.
We also snagged this sweet rendering of the casino bar at Circa.
Longbar at The D is shaking in its boots right about now.
Check out this shot of the Circa Las Vegas casino. It will have two levels, rare in Las Vegas, although The D has a two-floor casino as well.
We suspect a good number of our hard-earned dollars will be devoted to beating the pants off the Stevens brothers. They’ll be fine.
Dibs on Wheel of Fortune, wherever it might end up.
The D and Golden Gate recently combined their loyalty clubs, and The One card will work at Circa when it opens as well.
As if that’s not enough sensory overload, you should get a load of the parking garage.
The parking garage will be named, wait for it, Garage Mahal. Told you there are geniuses involved. When we shared that scoop back in July 2018, complete with a misspelling, people thought we were kidding. Rude.
The Taj Mahal was named for an emperor’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, making this the most useless caption in the history of ever.
Why tout a parking garage? Or give it a name? It’s because it’s fun. Remember when Las Vegas casinos did nutty stuff just for entertainment value? Well, there you go.
Garage Mahal promises to be state-of-the-art, designed specifically with rideshare in mind.
Nobody ever thinks to give props to the graphic artist who does these renderings, but we owe them a cocktail.
It will have 1,200 spaces and will be across Main Street between the Plaza and Main Street Station. It will be connected to the main hotel by a bridge. We took a photo of the space awhile back, to help get your bearings.
What’s left to say, other than please dive into the renderings and if you don’t feel things you might be a cyborg.
One final note: Vegas fans will be pleased to know the Stevens have confirmed news we’ve shared previously. The iconic Vegas Vickie statue will be making her way back to Fremont Street as part of the Circa Las Vegas resort.
Vegas Vickie is the counterpart of Vegas Vic, and she once sat above the Glitter Gulch strip club. Read more.
Vegas Vickie will be refurbished and will be a key design feature of Circa’s hotel lobby. Vickie’s coming back, Vegas Vic, so better clean up your act. (Looking at you, Pioneer gift shop.)