This was the kind of week a Vegas dork like me loves. There wasn’t a real theme to the news but some interesting nuggets on what is happening, what will be happening and what might be happening soon in Las Vegas. Let’s start with something happening right now.
Starbucks at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The news about another Starbucks opening on the Vegas Strip could be the least exciting thing I ever mention but that’s not the case here. Since being purchased by Blackstone the Cosmopolitan has been bringing the “Just The Right Amount of Wrong” property a little bit closer to the mainstream. The new Starbucks balances the original Cosmopolitan vibe with the most mainstream coffee shop that will surely help their bottom line.
The Starbucks is right on the Vegas Strip and behind the beautiful new sports book and features the first-ever permanent public art installation by the French artist and photographer Georges Rousse. Yes, it’s another Starbucks but it fits the identity of the Cosmopolitan perfectly. Check out this video about the design.
The location of this new coffee outlet offers an option near each hotel tower at the Cosmopolitan. Unless I’m watching a game in the new sports book I think I’ll always walk to Va Benne on the west side of the property since I like their Illy coffee better than Starbucks. The 2nd-floor location of Va Benne has closed and a replacement for the space hasn’t been announced yet. There are more changes coming to the Cosmopolitan throughout the year. We’ll keep you posted.
Ku Noodle Out At SLS Las Vegas
On the north end of the Vegas Strip, SLS Las Vegas has announced that Ku Noodle will be closing on April 1. This has been a rumor for a while as SLS changes focus from an LA-centric property to a more mainstream low-end luxury hotel (TZ review LUX King) with a more broad appeal than people from LA.
The new SLS Las Vegas began last year when the Griddle Cafe was closed and reopened as Northside Cafe. The de-LAing of SLS continued as the Fred Seigel retail outlets all closed. Don’t be surprised to see other licensed names go away. In fact, Vital Vegas is saying that Umami Burger will be the next brand to leave SLS.
SLS is slow re-inventing itself after a slow start. Restaurant brands are slowly changing and there has been a major shift in entertainment. Foundry Hall has replaced LiFe nightclub and is hosting sold out concerts while Sayers Club and Foxtail Nightclub have been steadily focused on bringing different entertainment than you’ll find in other casinos.
Later this year W Las Vegas will open at SLS and should continue to change how we see the property. I’m not sure how the changes will affect how people view SLS but at least, they’re trying to make things work.
McCarran Airport Traffic Skyrocketing
Visitation to Las Vegas is growing like gangbusters to start the year. Traffic at McCarran Airport for the first two months of 2016 is well ahead of last year’s record pace. February had an 8.9% increase in passenger traffic over February 2015. Overall traffic is ahead of last year by 8.1%. Increased visitation in February might be tied to the extra day for leap year but the increase for the first two months is significant and should be noticed.
Increased visitation could mean that prices will continue to rise as demand increases – especially on the Vegas Strip. Planning at trip to Las Vegas in advance and looking for alternative places to stay off the Vegas Strip are some ways you can keep your vacation expenses down. You can read the full report on the McCarran traffic here.
New Fremont Street Experience Canopy?
If budget is a concern when visiting Las Vegas then the hotels and casinos in downtown Las Vegas might become an option for more people. Just about everything costs less downtown and the casino games generally have a lower house edge than those offered on the Vegas Strip.
Overall, downtown Las Vegas has undergone a lot of changes in the past few years and the Fremont Street Experience might be the next area downtown to see significant changes. The year started with a new organization of the buskers performing on the street and there could be more changes coming above your head. The new President of the Fremont Street Experience, Patrick Hughes, thinks that the canopy above the buskers is due for an upgrade. He hasn’t come up with a plan but it’s a thought he mentioned in this article at DTLV.com and this is something that makes sense. Maybe it’s time for a millennial Fremont Street Experience.
Mr. Las Vegas may return to The Vegas Strip? | The Return Of Wayne Newton? Yes! Somewhere? Maybe?
Vegas nostalgists will be stoked to hear that Wayne Newton is returning to the Vegas Strip for a residency. While his report “confirms” that Mr. Las Vegas has signed a deal with Caesars Entertainment, Robin Leach, doesn’t know the venue for said residency. He speculates that the show will be placed at Bally’s Las Vegas but doesn’t seem to confident about that. Leach is about 50/50 with his rumors so expect half of this to be right. A return of Wayne to the Vegas Strip will certainly put smiles on a lot of faces so I’d like to see this happen, regardless of location.