It’s the Year of the Rooster! The Palazzo decked out their atrium to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This big guy is huge and quite a sight. I prefer the display from the previous Year of the Rooster display. There were life-sized roosters scattered throughout the atrium and it was fun to look for them all. This display is impressive in a different way. You can get an idea of the scope of this huge rooster in this video.
The highly anticipated Momofuku opened at the Cosmopolitan last week. All of the positive reviews probably made me a bit too excited for the opening. I’ll give the next new restaurant a week or so before visiting. You can read the review here.
The next restaurant opening at the Cosmopolitan will be Zuma. The 9,000 square foot restaurant features three kitchens and will open on January 28. This high-end Japanese restaurant has a great reputation from their locations all over the world. I’m curious to see and taste Zuma first hand. I’ll wait a couple of weeks after it opens before visiting.
Staying inside the Cosmopolitan, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill will be closing tonight. The restaurant will be replaced with a different concept from the same chefs and operators. Don’t expect many design changes here, Blue Ribbon Brasserie will open sometime this spring.
The long awaited In N Out Burger at The Linq opened last week. This is the fast food burger chain’s first and only location on the Vegas Strip. As you’d expect there’s a markup from their locations off the Vegas Strip. The convenience makes up for the higher prices. For what it’s worth, an ice cream shake is under $2.50, which makes it one of the best deals at Linq. The burger joint closes at 1 am during the week and 1:30 am on the weekend.
Nevada Casino Revenue
Since I’m on the topic of new restaurants let me start this section with the rise of dining in Las Vegas. In 1984 dining was just 12.25% of revenue for Nevada casinos. In 2016 dining accounted for 15.34% of casino revenue in Nevada. In that same time, the percentage of revenue for casinos from gambling went from 61.95% to 42.64%. You can see the gradual change in casino revenue in these charts from UNLV Gaming. You can read a synopsis of the raw data in the Las Vegas Sun.
Downtown Las Vegas is Crushing
Revenue for downtown Las Vegas casinos was $1.1 billion in 2016. That is a 6.1% increase over 2015. Unlike the statewide revenue breakdown, more than half of the revenue in downtown Las Vegas casinos came from gambling. Gaming (the official name for gambling by the government) revenue was $549.6 million in 2016. This was a modest 3.9% increase from 2015. You can see a breakdown of revenue in downtown Las Vegas in this article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The most interesting thing to note is that hotel occupancy increased to 87.46% last year. This helped the average hotel room rate increase almost $9 per night to $138.48.
It’s Not That The Taxi Companies Don’t Want Your Money…
It’s that they don’t care. Their response to Uber and Lyft taking rides from their taxis was to do nothing. You can read about it here. You can also download the ride-sharing apps and pay less money to get around next time you’re in Las Vegas. Before you know it, there won’t be taxis in Las Vegas…
New Driverless Shuttle Bus Being Tested In Downtown Las Vegas
This is just a 2 block test for a few days but it’s pretty nifty. Last Tuesday the city began a 10-day test of an electronic driverless bus/shuttle in downtown Las Vegas. The test will take you from Flippin’ Good Burgers to the Downtown Container Park. This test might be the beginning of a new driverless bus system in Las Vegas some day in the future. If you’re in town today, you can check it out for the next few days. The rides are free. You can find more information at VegasExperience.com
Dunkin’ Donuts In and Vanity Out at Hard Rock
I don’t visit the Hard Rock very often anymore but it always seems to have a new coffee shop. Dunkin’ Donuts has taken the place of Fuel Café as the place to grab a quick cup of coffee. The bigger news that Johnny Kats is reporting at the Las Vegas Review-Journal is that Vanity Nightclub will be closing later this year. The only nightclub at the Hard Rock should close this summer to be renovated for a production show.
The Hard Rock has been undergoing a multitude of renovations in the past couple of years. I used to visit this casino at least one night every trip I used to make when first visiting Las Vegas. The Hard Rock is where I learned how to play craps and it will always be a special place for me. The once rockin’ casino lost that identity over the years by expanding and trying to cater to many different customers at once. It will be interesting to see what the final result of all the changes looks like.
“Pinup” Closing At Stratosphere
After 4 years and more than 1,000 shows “Pin Up” announced that the show at the Stratosphere will be closing March 4. Adult-oriented shows in Las Vegas seem to be disappearing faster than any other kind of show. Even though there are rumors of replacements, nothing has been announced yet. You can read the statement and see pictures of Claire Sinclair on the Pin Up Facebook page.
Power Went Out at MGM Grand and New York-New York
It’s amazing what happens when a casino operator maintains their building infrastructure. High winds knocked the power out at MGM Grand and New York-New York last week. MGM Resorts was able to get power back up after just 75 minutes. You remember that it took Caesars Entertainment a few days to restore power at Rio All-Suite Hotel at the end of 2016.
Direct via Hainan Airlines Las Vegas Charms Asian Travelers
A recent article in the New York Times discusses the new nonstop flight from Beijing and how Asians were approximately 13% of the international visitors to Las Vegas in 2015. There is also mention of Lucky Dragon Las Vegas, which we have covered extensively at TravelZork.
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Our non-Vegas “weekly” travel update, Miles, Points and Travel “Habiliments” | Weekly Round Up, be sure to check it out.
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