This week was another look into the future of Las Vegas. Two off-strip casinos that I used to love visiting as a tourist but not as much as a local are turning over a new leaf. Palms debuted their new KAOS pool this weekend and it looks great. Virgin Hotels finally looks like they’re going to get it together and transform the Hard Rock into a new property.
Before jumping into the news I want to share an old Las Vegas gambling story that resurfaced this week: “How Joe Francis’ Bad Night At A Blackjack Table Resulted In Him Losing His Bel Air Mansion To Steve Wynn.” Remember “Girls Gone Wild?” If you don’t remember the days of GGW, you might find some interesting info in the google. Let’s get to the news.
KAOS Pool at Palms is Open
Last week we shared some thoughts on Palms “Unstatus Quo” campaign. This week we have a little more insight into their plans. KAOS, the new day/night club, opened and so did the new pool. While most people seem fixated on the 65 foot Damien Hirst statue in the middle of one of the main pools, I’d rather look at the pool area overall.
The pool complex is beautiful. The 39 cabanas surrounding the pools almost look like Station Casinos built a small motel. Most of the cabanas have their own pool and a press release says this is the “highest number of pools of any resort in North America.” The event rates for cabanas at KAOS start at $3,000. I reached out for non-event cabana pricing and haven’t heard back but I imagine they’ll be slightly less expensive.
The renovations that have opened at Palms all look great. Will people make the trip off the strip to check out the refreshed property? I don’t know. I do know that they’re offering a 2 for 1 buffet deal daily right now if you need an excuse to check out the changes.
Related: Palms is following other casinos in offering a super high roller package. You can read about the Million Dollar weekend here. Oh yeah, here’s the headless demon in the pool that is so polarizing.
1st Intermission: Quick Hits
Here are some quick hits of Vegas News to break things up.
- You can now book a room at Binion’s Apache Hotel. Prices right now are $200 per night for weekends and $100 per night for midweek. More information here.
- You’ll be able to shoot arrows at the “Hunger Games” exhibition coming to MGM Grand in May. Read more here.
- “Platinum-selling recording artist Ja Rule returns to the (Flamingo) GO Pool for the third time on May 25.” The full lineup of performers has been released. Read more here.
- Vanderpump Cocktail Garden is open at Caesars Palace. Read more here.
- Florida Georgia Line are returning to Planet Hollywood for a limited engagement. Read more here.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Delayed Again…But There’s A Plan
The rendering above is the first we’ve seen for Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. There’s really not much to see from the entrance but it’s the first sign that they might actually be ready to finally renovate the Hard Rock. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas was introduced just over a year ago.
Initially, the plan was to open the renovated and rebranded Hard Rock later this year. Well, after a couple of delays it looks like we might be on course for an opening by the end of 2020. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will remain open until early 2020. (Chip collectors might want to make a pitstop on their next visit.) The transformation is now scheduled to begin after the Super Bowl next year. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is now expected to be open after election day.
Changes Already Happening
Coincidently, Circa is slated to open in December 2020. All rooms and the five acre pool area are slated to be renovated. The Center Bar and Vinyl will also be replaced. There will also be new restaurants and other amenities announced as they make progress. The renovation budget is only around $200 million. For contrast, that’s less than 1/3rd of the $620 million being spent on the renovation of Palms.
Changes are already happening. Craft + Community has replaced Culinary Dropout (RIP mini grilled cheese) and Breathe Pool Lounge is now open on the second floor. The renovation budget is relatively small compared to Park MGM and Palms. I’m curious to see how drastic the changes and upgrades are to the property. We’ll find out soon enough.
Related: Hard Rock Rock is switching to paper straws. Read about it here.
International Visitors To Las Vegas
Ever wonder what countries visit Las Vegas the most? Well, now ya know the top 10 countries that visit Sin City.
Resorts World Is Getting Serious
I usually drive by Resorts World so there’s really no time to take in the progress of the construction. I was picking someone up at Encore this week and got stuck at the light exiting the property. This gave me a few minutes to take in how much movement has been made. Resorts World Las Vegas broke ground on May 5, 2015. Very little, if any, progress was made until last year.
This year, you can really see how massive the hotel towers at the casino will be when it’s complete. Opening by the end of next year still doesn’t seem possible but I’m not a construction manager. The should push the opening until 2021 with Circa and Virgin slated for late 2020. On Saturday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Scott Sibella, former president and COO at MGM Grand, is the new head of Resorts World Las Vegas.
Just a few weeks ago he was rumored to be running the Rio after Soho House purchases the casino. It looks as though Genting has new financing secured for Resorts World Las Vegas. Maybe we’ll see serious action now that they have someone ready to run the property when his non-compete clause expires next year.
2nd Intermission: Quick Hits
Here are some more news nuggets from Las Vegas.
- MGM Resorts 2020 plan now has a digital “architech” of sorts. It’s actually an interesting read on how they want to position themselves. Read more here.
- Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon registration begins today. The race is in November. Visit the website for more info.
- Last week we gave you a heads up on some of the food at the new Las Vegas Ballpark. Now comes word that there will be an offshoot from Border Grill and I’m stoked! Read more here.
- Jimmy Kimmel comedy club is opening on May 2. Read more here.
- I finally made it to the new William Hill sports book at The Strat. Between the less than stellar restaurant, excellent bar, and sportsbook this is the nicest part of the casino by miles. You can see my video of the sports book here.
- Last but not least, the Game Of Thrones fountain show at Bellagio is phenomenal. It runs for another week leading into the premier of the final season of the TV show. We can discuss MGM Resorts selling fountain show ads another time. At least this is cool.
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