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Glenn Haussman is editor-in-chief of Smithtown, N.Y.-based Hotel Interactive Network (HIN), a leading producer of lodging industry content and events, including the successful BITAC and HI Connect Design shows.
“For groups, Las Vegas is a cost-effective destination offering competitive hotel rates and reasonable air fare,” says Haussman, a regular visitor to Vegas in connection with HIN events such as BITAC Food & Beverage West 2013 at the Mirage in September. “At the forefront of responding to emerging and future consumer behavior trends, Vegas is also an incredible incubator for lodging design and service concepts that often hit the national scene.”
Keeping pace with other investments in the destination’s future, here are some notable developments on the hospitality front.
Of late, Vegas is adapting an established lodging concept—the boutique hotel—with two properties from Caesars Entertainment. Opened at Caesars Palace in February, the 181-room, Japanese-inspired Nobu Hotel features the world’s largest Nobu restaurant and lounge. Scheduled for early 2014, meanwhile, the 188-room Gansevoort Las Vegas replaces Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon in a $185 million renovation that includes a 65,000-square-foot rooftop pool and dayclub/nightclub. Caesars also expects to finish renovations at The Quad Resort & Casino, formerly the Imperial Palace, later this year.
MGM Resorts International is partnering with boutique leader Morgans Hotel Group to rebrand MGM’s THEhotel at Mandalay Bay as Delano Las Vegas, a 1,100-suite property opening this year. MGM and other partners have invested more than $450 million in other upgrades, such as the $40 million renovation of all 819 rooms and 109 suites in the Spa Tower at the Bellagio.
Following $200 million in renovations, the New Tropicana Las Vegas opened in January. Under a franchise agreement, Tropicana Las Vegas will continue to own and operate all 1,500 rooms in the 35-acre resort under the DoubleTree by Hilton brand.
Plans are under way to transform the former Sahara Hotel & Casino into the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino by 2014.
In January, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced plans for a new event venue called The Chelsea. Scheduled to open at the end of 2013, the 50,000-square-foot venue can accommodate 3,000-plus people for a diverse range of events.
Following the recent transformation and upgrade of its 80,000-square-foot exhibit hall into a pavilion, South Point Hotel & Spa, added its 11th restaurant, the 165-seat, Asian-themed Zenshin. Announced in April, South Point is developing a new bowling complex. Set to open in September 2015, the facility will host yearly tournaments of the United States Bowling Congress from 2016 to 2023, under a partnership deal between the parties.
Of course, Vegas always has at least one mega-project in the works. In March, Malaysia-based conglomerate Genting Group announced the creation of Resorts World Las Vegas, an 87-acre Asian-themed resort complex replacing the unfinished Echelon Place development. Expected to open in 2016, the multibillion-dollar project will include 3,500 rooms, a half-million square feet of convention space and attractions including a replica of the Great Wall of China.
HENDERSON/LAKE LAS VEGAS
Opened in 2009, M Resort, Spa & Casino is the first resort-casino to greet drivers arriving in Las Vegas from Southern California. With 390 rooms and suites, it is an appealing buyout choice, offering more than 92,000 square feet of space and a 100,000-square-foot pool and entertainment deck. In November 2011, the property debuted LUX, its transformation of the entire 16th floor into dedicated function space, outdoor terrace included. LUX offers spectacular Strip and mountain views.
The luxurious Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, reflagged from the former Loews Lake Vegas in March 2012 after a $4 million renovation, is a distinctive lakeside oasis featuring 493 Moroccan-themed rooms and suites. The resort offers 95,000 square feet of space, including 45,000 square feet of flexible interior function space and 50,000 square feet of exterior space wrapped in lush gardens overlooking the lake.
Several properties in this lively city on the Colorado River 90 miles south of Las Vegas have announced expanded group space, including Edgewater Casino Resort, Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall, Golden Nugget Laughlin and Aquarius Casino Resort.