In an interview earlier this year MGM Resorts CEO, Jim Murren, said that his company would no longer theme their hotels. “We are not going to name it something from somewhere else. Those days are over,” Murren told Johnny Katz from the Las Vegas Sun about the future of the Monte Carlo at the opening of The Park.
In Murren’s eyes, de-theming MGM Resorts properties will begin with Monte Carlo. Some may say that the de-theming started a few years ago by removing much of the Egyptian theme inside Luxor. Going way back, MGM Resorts started to de-theme their hotels by removing the emerald city from MGM Grand.
The actual pyramid structure at Luxor may never go away but the theme might continue to evaporate. Last year on their October earnings call, Jim Murren mentioned that MGM Resorts would be renovating Excalibur and possibly Luxor. The buildings may not change but their essence might. Look for an official announcement that this will happen after Monte Carlo is renamed and rebranding begins.
Good News For Fans Of Themed Resorts
Some might say all decoration is a theme but that’s a story for another day. Las Vegas hasn’t seen an overtly themed casino open since Palazzo opened in 2007. If the semi-minimalist decor isn’t overt enough you’ll have to go back to 1999 when The Venetian opened or 1998 when Bellagio opened to find very distinctly themed properties opening in Las Vegas.
The MGM Resorts news isn’t great for those who fell in love with Las Vegas, in part, because of the themed properties but there’s some good news on the horizon. The next casino-hotel slated to open in Las Vegas will be a themed property. From the outside, Lucky Dragon will look like a modern boutique hotel. The inside will be almost exclusively Asian themed. Everything from the casino to the dining to the Tea Garden will exude an Asian influence. (see also : The Dragon Rises )
Lucky Dragon sounds as though it will be a mix of modern design and theme. Let’s take a look at what Lucky Dragon plans to offer when the hotel-casino opens later this year:
All dining at Lucky Dragon will have some sort of an Asian theme. The food served will be legitimately Asian and, according to CEO Andrew Fonfa, won’t include any eggrolls. That’s more of a symbolic reference the authenticity of their Asian dining. This won’t be a hotel of Panda Express type restaurants.
- The night market will emulate street food markets of Asia. Dishes will rotate and include regional delicacies, fresh and live seafood, dim sum, barbecue, boba tea and more for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- A dim sum restaurant will feature live seafood that will be flown in daily. They plan on this restaurant serving among the finest dim sum served in North America.
- There will be a fine dining restaurant which will feature a menu that includes rare Chinese and Asian delicacies. The 60-seat restaurant will feature a private balcony and an extensive wine list. The intent of this restaurant is to offer an Asian dining experience unlike anywhere in Las Vegas.
- Jewel Kitchen will be the only show kitchen in Las Vegas that extends directly onto the casino floor. I’m not sure how I feel about smelling a kitchen while playing cards. Jewel Kitchen will serve as the hub of Lucky Dragon’s culinary action.
The casino at Lucky Dragon will be among the smallest in Las Vegas. The casino was originally planned to be 19,000 square feet but the new plans call for a 27,500 square foot gaming area. The new footprint will be just smaller than the Fremont Hotel & Casino (30,244) in downtown Las Vegas and larger than Casino Royale (17,500 pre-sports bar & book renovation) on the Vegas Strip.
- Table Games – Original plans called for 50 table games with a focus on Asian games like Baccarat, Pai Gow and Sic-Bo. The new plans haven’t revealed a change to the number of tables.
- Slot Machines – The original floor plan had the casino with 500 slot machines. Depending on the new layout there might be room for even more slot machines.
- High Limits Gaming – There will be two high limits rooms. The main high-limit gaming area will be called the Emerald Room. The will also be an ultra-lux VIP gaming on the second level.
- Design – The gaming floor will be centered on a pagoda-shaped bar (see rendering above) that will be punctuated by a 1.25-ton glass dragon sculpture which will be suspended from the ceiling.
The modern contemporary designed boutique hotel will have 204 rooms and 23 standard suites which will average 625 square feet. The largest suite will occupy the top floor. The 1,300 square foot penthouse suite will offer panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip, a formal dining space and more.
- Tea Garden – Lucky Dragon plans for their tea program will be among the most specialized in the city. There will be both indoor and outdoor space in this part of the property.
- Spa – The 4,500 square-foot spa will focus on reflexology treatments and also feature four traditional treatment rooms.
- Pool – There will be a small pool area located just off the hotel lobby, neighboring Golden Steer steakhouse.
Lucky Dragon will be located just off the Vegas Strip at 200 West Sahara Avenue. The nearest landmarks within walking distance are SLS Las Vegas, the Stratosphere, MGM Resorts’ Fairgrounds and Golden Steer steakhouse. Unlike a lot of new casino properties (“super-casinos”), Lucky Dragon Won’t Be All Things to All People.
There isn’t a specific opening date set for Lucky Dragon yet but it’s slated to open in late 2016. Keep an eye on (TravelZork) Sunday News for an official announcement later this year.
Renderings: AV&A Architects
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