While most of Caesars Entertainment’s resorts in Las Vegas have reopened, Cromwell has remained a mystery.
Today, an internal Caesars Entertainment communication shared the working date for reopening Cromwell is Oct. 3, 2020.
Formerly, Barbary Coast. Never forget.
According to our sources, all Cromwell reservations prior to Oct. 3 will be shuffled to Caesars Palace, just across the street.
The news is interesting given rumors Cromwell is one of the Las Vegas casinos up for sale by new Caesars Entertainment as part of its merger with Eldorado Resorts.
The internal communication also included references to Planet Hollywood, Rio and Linq (currently, its casino is open but the hotel is closed). The memo suggested working dates for these casinos at August 5, 2020, but those dates appear highly unlikely to stick at this point.
On the bright side, Caesars Entertainment did manage to open Bally’s Las Vegas on July 23. Soft demand, especially midweek, made that scenario a risky move, but the classic resort opened, anyway.
We kid because we love. Not you, Grand Bazaar Shops. We love Bally’s.
As with all casino reopening information, there are caveats galore with the Cromwell news.
The landscape continues to shift in Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 crisis, but we’ll take all the good news we can get.
Cromwell is a player-friendly destination, and Vegas isn’t quite the same without all the WTF of Drai’s nightclub and Giada’s popular restaurant, among other offerings.
Cromwell will reportedly be the site for season two of “Love Island,” whatever that might actually be. Pre-production has presumably already started at Cromwell.
Thanks to our tipsters, without whom we would just be writing 69 jokes all day, and nobody wants that.
When we first heard about plans for a massive karaoke bar at Palazzo, Kamu Ultra Karaoke, we didn’t pay much attention.
For starters, we aren’t exactly a karaoke person, and it also felt like the wrong time to open an ambitious, sprawling new venue.
Well, we’re an idiot.
From the moment you walk in, Kamu is like a thrill ride for your eyes.
Kamu Ultra Karaoke isn’t just another karaoke bar, it’s precisely the kind of eye-popping, over-the-top, high-tech, let-it-all-go escape from reality Vegas and the world could use right now.
Kamu Ultra Karaoke does everything right. It brings people together (with 40 private rooms), but keeps them safely distanced. It offers high-end, nightclub-inspired VIP experiences, but also
caters to family-friendly fun (adults only after 8:00 p.m.).
The food and drink is far better than it has to be, and perhaps the best part: Karaoke is optional.
Hey, you don’t need to play golf to love Top Golf, and straight guys have fun at Chippendales.
Kamu’s rooms are sound insulated so you only have to listen to the terrible singing you choose to listen to.
Let’s start at the beginning. Kamu is Korean in origin, a mixture of “ka,” meaning “song,” and “mu,” meaning “dance.”
Kamu Ultra Karaoke is the manifested dream of a dude you’ll want to party with, Jeff “Kemo” Kim. This isn’t Kim’s first karaoke rodeo (we should probably trademark that term), as he’s had a successful karaoke lounge in Korea Town in L.A. for more than a decade.
Jeff Kim says he’s been working on Kamu for more than two years. Nailed it.
We had a lot of preconceived notions about what karaoke is, but Kim’s Kamu Ultra Karaoke turned all that on its head.
Kamu isn’t a big room with an audience enduring strangers singing. It’s 40 rooms, each with a custom design, where groups of friends can eat and drink and party. And, yes, if they insist, sing.
The rooms start at $50 an hour, typically, but there are lots of upgrades and a number of rooms that look more like luxury suites at Vegas resorts. There’s also bottle service, because somebody needs to pay for this colossal, 17,000-square-foot space.
Each karaoke room is cushier than the last, and each has a distinctive theme. One is adorned with glorious neon signage. You’ll never guess which room we chose.
This was the precise moment we became a karaoke fan.
As this review is an unqualified rave, we reserve the right to poke fun at Kamu just once!
Do not get us started on these dice pips! Let’s just call them Easter eggs for hardcore Vegas fans.
The singers will be happy to hear there’s a massive selection of songs. Guests also have the option to play the music from their iPhone (or YouTube) on the impressive sound system.
Each room is also equipped with sound-activated lighting. Guests can completely control their experience, from the volume of the music (thankfully) to the light displays and just about every other element of the space, including the room temperature.
There’s a call button for servers, too.
And speaking of servers. Boom. Behold our new favorite cocktail, the Lychee Love.
Please don’t tell Captain Morgan. He’s sensitive.
The Lychee Love features Roku gin, Pomp & Whimsy gin liqueur, Nagomi lychee syrup, fresh lemon juice and San Pellegrino Limonata.
We adored the Lychee Love and the hits just kept on coming.
A close second was the Kamu Cooler, with 21 Seeds Cucumber Jalapeno tequila, Aperol aperitif, watermelon juice, lime/mint sour and Fever Tree ginger beer.
We don’t care for ginger beer, but Kamu has a way of making us love even the things we think we hate. Including singing. Unless it’s the Bee Gees. We’ll spare you the video.
A dozen Kamu Coolers and you’ll think you’re Celine.
The drinks are just the beginning at Kamu.
That’s because the venue has a secret weapon, kick-ass executive chef Marty Lopez. Lopez and his team have put together a winning menu, many dishes intended for sharing, most with an Asian flair, familiar but new.
Lopez has an arm-long list of Vegas restaurant credentials, including 35 Steaks + Martinis at Hard Rock, Alize at Palms, Andre’s at Monte Carlo, Delmonico at Venetian, as well as stints at Bacchanal Buffet and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars.
We dove headlong into the Caviar and Chips to start.
Chips, but fancy.
The top dish of the evening was the Korean Fried Chicken. These wings had a kick, and while we don’t tend to like spicy, Kamu once again made us a believer.
The dry-aged tomahawk was prepared to perfection, and the parmesan truffle fries were simple but irresistible.
A highlight was the Honey Toast, which we didn’t even realize was a thing until our visit to Kamu. We couldn’t put this dish (with buttered sugar toast, Dulce de Leche ice cream, and honey whipped cream) into our face fast enough.
We quite enjoyed learning about Korean culture through the medium of ice cream.
Whether one enjoys karaoke or not, the food and drink, combined with private spaces, is an
undeniable draw. Kamu is ideal for office parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, divorce parties, the list goes on and on.
While there are some temporary procedures and protocols in place, they aren’t intrusive.
Upon entry, guests get a temperature check and walk through a sanitizing unit.
We don’t know if it does anything, but you feel disinfected.
Inside the karaoke rooms, the mics have disposable covers.
Always a good idea in Vegas, if you know what we mean.
Here’s a free hack.
Put the mic cover over your camera lens.
Don’t laugh until you see the finished product!
It’s a great way to get a soft, dreamy effect. Are you not entertained?
Kamu has no idea they’re giving away valuable camera lens filters!
The bottom line is we love Kamu Ultra Karaoke and can’t wait to go back.
On the way in, make sure to check out a sweet digital water curtain designed by Aqua Reign. The display has programmable patterns, the water droplets acting as pixels. We’d have captured some video, but we were busy learning about the nuances of lychee, if you get our drift.
We were pleased Kamu is easily accessible via Palazzo’s self-parking garage. Grand Canal Shoppes can be challenging to navigate, but Kamu is within a few feet of the elevator, near the popular Sushi Samba restaurant.
Free parking is a great perk.
Sorry, but you sort of can’t not sing this song. It’s the law.
Another perk is the front lounge at Kamu, one of the big draws in the early weeks of the venue’s debut. Many guests just do drinks after taking a tour of all the karaoke rooms.
Thanks to Kamu Ultra Karaoke for hosting our visit and for far surpassing all our misguided expectations.
Kamu Ultra Karaoke is a must-do Vegas experience. It’s the karaoke place for people who may not even like karoke. And for the people who do, it’s a wannabe pop star’s wet dream.
For the moment, Kamu Ultra Karaoke is open seven days a week from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Adults only after 8:00 p.m.
Big props to the team at Kamu for opening during a surreal time in Las Vegas. If anything can succeed despite the obstacles, Kamu can.
Get more details from the official Kamu Ultra Karaoke site, and enjoy more pics from the first of what we expect will be many visits to this awesome new Vegas party destination.
We got our hands on another internal Caesars Entertainment document and the information is revealing.
The document is a message from Anthony Carano, President and Chief Operating Officer of the new Caesars Entertainment. Caesars Entertainment just merged with Eldorado Resorts, and the company has wasted no time in shaking up its management ranks.
The document shows the company’s new Senior V.P. and General Manager organizational structure, and it contains some sweeping changes. Effective immediately.
There will be a quiz.
Here’s page two of this illuminating document.
We were kidding. Quizzes are so 2004.
The first observation is: Holy crap, the new Caesars Entertainment has some serious work to do on gender diversity.
Our quick tally shows 35 top executives who are male and just five who are female.
That’s a massive gap, especially because the old Caesars Entertainment has constantly touted its track record for diversity and inclusion.
Vital Vegas: Photoshopping what everyone else is thinking since 2013.
Another item of note: Note the grouping of Planet Hollywood with Rio Las Vegas. The Rio was recently sold and will be managed by Caesars Entertainment, and this move indicates that could also be the plan for Planet Hollywood.
There’s been a lot of chatter about the potential sale of Planet Hollywood, but tribal in nature (the Seminoles have kicked the tires, reportedly), but also involving a company that would be new to Las Vegas, Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
Planet Hollywood hasn’t reopened yet. Let’s just say demand has some things in common with our love life. Soft.
Lastly, these executives can consider themselves lucky, as there are several waves of layoffs in the works, and that was the plan prior to COVID-19. The layoffs have been called “synergies” by the top exec at Eldorado Resorts, and the goal is to save $500 million in these merger efficiencies.
This list confirms Caesars Entertainment has a deep pool of experienced gaming executives with massive institutional knowledge.
The combined talents of Eldorado and Caesars will give the new company its best chance of success during a challenging and unprecedented time.
The Stardust was a beloved Las Vegas casino, and fans looking for a fix can now download a free social app named after the iconic resort, Stardust Social Casino.
The Stardust app is free to play and available on iOS and Android mobile platforms.
Do not ask why three of Boyd’s casinos—Main Street Station, Fremont and The Cal—somehow got on The Strip. It’s Stardust magic.
A casino app serves a number of purposes for a casino company. It gives casinos a platform to market to their customers, of course, but in the case of a social app, the hope is also to already be on player smartphones when social casinos can serve as real online casinos, with actual money involved.
Online casinos are already legal in a few states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. Actually, it’s not “including.” That’s it.
Online casinos aren’t yet legal in Nevada. Thanks, Uncle Sheldon. (The casino mogul has lobbied relentlessly against legalizing any form of Internet gambling.)
Boyd Gaming has a number of brick-and-mortar casinos in Pennsylvania and other states, so the opportunity to make the Stardust app a new source of gambling revenue is not too far down the road.
The Stardust app takes care to note: “The games do not offer real money gambling or an opportunity to win real money or prizes. Practice or success at social casino gaming does not imply future success at real money gambling.”
For now, anyway.
Fun fact: The Orleans, a Boyd Gaming casino, has a number of active slot machines rescued from the Stardust.
The resurfacing of the Stardust name is bittersweet, of course.
The Stardust opened on July 2, 1958 and was purchased by Boyd Gaming in 1985.
Stardust closed on November 1, 2006. It was imploded on March 13, 2007, to make way for a new Boyd Gaming project, Echelon Place.
Echelon Place was abandoned in 2008 due to the economic downturn, and is now the site of Resort World.
In hindsight, Stardust was closed and demolished for no good reason, but Vegas was built on short memories, so let’s put all that behind us and Stardust again.
The Stardust Social Casino is touted as being a way for loyalty club members to get rewards and benefits at Boyd Gaming casinos across the country, along with the enjoyment of the games themselves.
While social games are free, they offer players ways to purchase credits. Those purchases will earn points and Tier Credits within the B Connected loyalty club program.
The app has a fair number of game options, many immediately recognizable to slot fans.
We count 16 games to start. That should keep you busy.
B Connected loyalty club members will want to log in with their member number right up front in case any of those promised perks come to pass. There’s also the option to play as a “Guest.”
Prior to entering the social casino proper, there’s a spin to get credits, a clever incentive for players to use the app daily.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward, but here’s a quick tutorial: 1) Push “Spin.” 2) Repeat.
Please feel free to review our tutorial prior to downloading the app.
Shout-out to some graphic designer with carpal tunnel right now.
Each game has the option to see more information about paytables and game rules. From what we could see, the games are pretty true to the real world versions of the slots.
“Free social casino” may not precisely describe the Stardust app, or any social app, really. First, “social” games aren’t social. It’s you and your phone. Second, slots are just one part of a casino. Third, the games are only free if you play until you’re out of credits and stop.
Social casino games make a surprisingly large amount of money from people buying virtual credits, despite the fact there’s no monetary benefit of doing so. You can only get a virtual jackpot with virtual credits.
On the bright side, you don’t have to pay taxes on a virtual handpay.
No, not everyone purchases virtual credits. They don’t need to. If just one percent of customers purchase credits, it can generate a hefty amount of revenue. We’ve always said gambling is about the fun, not the winning and losing, and virtual credits keeps the fun flowing.
Don’t laugh. You blow $20 in a real casino in two minutes.
While the Stardust app is being touted as “new,” there was actually another attempt to relaunch the Stardust brand online in the form of a Facebook app in 2013. (See photo, below.)
The Stardust Facebook app was available in the U.K., Canada and Australia, but a U.S. version failed to materialize, as far as we know.
The first attempt at a Stardust virtual casino imploded.