Still Here, Still Fabulous
It’s almost 4th of July weekend, and this national holiday – always a huge event in Sin City – is also going to also be the massive “Back to Vegas” celebration we’ve been waiting for since March 2020!
Are you excited to get #backtovegas??? You should be – just look at everything you’ve missed! We’ve got new hotels, new stadiums, new convention spaces, new concert venues, new residencies, new pools, and new attractions, not to mention the return of some of our favorite shows and iconic resorts taking advantage of the downtime to get a little facelift.
We’re #stillhere, #stillfabulous, and #stillvegas – in fact, Vegas is now better than EVER!
Here’s what you’ve missed.
Resorts World Las Vegas officially opened to the public on June 24 but they’re celebrating their grand opening with a Fourth of July weekend bash with headliner Miley Cyrus, who will perform at the resort’s Ayu Dayclub, and another massive rooftop fireworks display. The performance will also be broadcast on the resort’s 100,000-square-foot LED screen that covers one of the hotel towers.
Resorts World is the first new resort built from the ground up on the Strip since the Cosmopolitan opened in 2010, and at $4.3 billion, it’s also the most expensive resort in Las Vegas history! The resort offers 3,500 luxury guest rooms in partnership with three different Hilton brands, and each hotel brand has its own entrance, lobby, and distinct guest accommodations.
Here’s some other highlights:
- The 117,000-square-foot casino features all the latest in contactless and cashless technology.
- The 5.5-acre pool complex features the only infinity-edge pool on the Strip.
- The resort will have 250,000 square feet of flexible meeting space along with the first connector station to the Las Vegas Convention Center via the underground Vegas Loop by Elon Musk’s the Boring Company.
- A 27,000-square-foot spa will be opening soon.
- The 70,000-square-foot District will feature some of the top luxury and lifestyle retailers.
- Zouk Nightclub and Ayu Dayclub by Singapore’s Zouk Group will feature headlining residencies with DJs Tiësto and Zedd.
- The 5,000-seat theatre will open in November with exclusive residencies by Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan.
- There are over 40 food and beverage options inside, ranging from fine-dining and quick-service venues to original and first-to-market concepts.
Plus, their tagline is “Stay Fabulous,” and you know I can get behind that!
The 777-room Circa Resort & Casino is another brand-new, ground-up hotel and the first-ever adults-only (21+) casino in Las Vegas history. It is also the first new resort built on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas since 1980. At 35 stories, it’s also the tallest hotel north of the Strip!
The 1.25-million-square-foot resort boasts the world’s largest sportsbook, standing three stories tall with capacity for 1,000 people, stadium seating, and private boxes for groups. The 78-million-pixel screen is also the largest screen in sportsbook history, and even if you don’t want to hang at the book itself, you can hang at the Overhang Bar above it, which gives you a birds-eye-view of the massive screen. Stadium Swim is a rooftop, a massive six-tiered pool amphitheater with six pools open 365 days a year and a 143-foot screen for watch parties and events. The resort also has a vintage-glam steakhouse, Barry’s Downtown Prime; a hip, pan-Asian eatery called 8 East; and more.
Vegas Vickie’s is an elevated cocktail lounge and lobby bar that features the iconic neon “Vegas Vickie” sign, which has been completely restored and will be the centerpiece of the bar (and a sure-to-be new selfie hotspot). The elegant rooftop Legacy Club overlooks the city, serving Instagram-worthy cocktails against a stunning backdrop looking out over the Las Vegas Valley with the full length of the Strip in view. They’re hosting a 4th of July event with an open bar featuring their specialty cocktails and the best perch in the city for watching all the fireworks!
Just off the Strip, the newly renovated Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, previously the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, is designed to be a “modern desert resort oasis.” The property has been completely transformed from its previous life as the HRH, with 60,000 square feet of fully-renovated casino space, over five acres of luxe outdoor space including the resort pool and the new Élia Beach Club, and 130,000 square feet of remodeled meeting, event, and convention space. “The Joint,” the iconic live music venue inside the old Hard Rock, has been rechristened as “The Theater” and will start hosting concerts in September.
Restaurant concepts include Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake restaurant Nobu, the Morton Group’s celebrated MB Steak, Casa Calavera by Hakkasan Group, Olives by Todd English (previously located inside the Bellagio), L.A.’s highly lauded Night + Market, and Kassi Beach Club by L.A.’s hip Kassi Club. Money, Baby! is a sportsbook-meets-club space with indoor and outdoor patios merging with the pool deck, delivering a unique sports-viewing experience, even by Vegas standards.
During the last year, some of the most iconic properties in Las Vegas took advantage of the slowed-down tourism for some much-needed remodeling. The “Forever Fabulous” Flamingo just completely overhauled their Flamingo and High Roller view rooms with sleek, modern touches like custom lamps by famed potter and designer Jonathan Adler. Harrah’s has been undergoing a full overhaul inside and out, and their Mountain Deluxe rooms are the most recently renovated in 2020. Paris actually finished renovating their rooms in 2019 before the shutdown, but the beautiful French countryside-inspired remodel is well worth a look.
Bellagio has been busy renovating all the rooms in the resort’s main tower, and while that project is ongoing, some of the new rooms are already available and are, as one local personality put it, “sexy AF.” The Luxor has been touching up some of their Pyramid King and Pyramid 2 Queen rooms with furniture previously in the Bellagio. TI (Treasure Island) took advantage of the 2020 shutdown to completely renovate every single room in the resort.
Over at the Wynn, a $200 million project is underway that will retouch every room in the Wynn tower in 2021 & 2022. The STRAT, Sahara, Plaza, and El Cortez all also underwent significant room renovations in 2019 that are still fresh and new.
New Convention Space
Las Vegas already had 11.5 million square feet of meeting space, but in this last year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority added 1.4 million square feet to the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center; Caesars Entertainment debuted the brand-new Caesars Forum with a 550,000-square-foot conference center and an additional 100,000-square-foot outdoor meeting and event space; and Wynn opened its new two-story, 430,000-square-foot meeting space.
That’s roughly 3.5 million additional square feet of brand-new meeting space, on top of recent expansions and enhancements at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Aria, MGM Grand, Park MGM, and Luxor Las Vegas. The new resorts are also adding to the available space: Circa’s six-tiered pool area Stadium Swim is available for events (15,756 square feet), Virgin Hotels Las Vegas boasts 130,000 of new and remodeled indoor and outdoor event spaces; AREA 15 offers over 40,000 square feet of customizable event space; and Resorts World will soon debut an additional 250,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.
Between all the new and remodeled meeting and convention space, Las Vegas now has over 14 million square feet of meeting space! And the major events are starting to return: World of Concrete was held at the convention center in June with about 60,000 attendees – the first major post-pandemic conference in Las Vegas and the first-ever event held in the newly expanded West Hall.
The New Stadium
Maybe you’ve heard that Las Vegas has an NFL team now? The Las Vegas Raiders, as they’re now called, have a brand-new home in the brand-new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, also home to the UNLV Rebels as well as massive concerts from mega-entertainers like Garth Brooks and Guns N’ Roses, and let’s not forget the BIG GAME in 2002. Wynn also opened a new nightclub in the north end zone, known as the Wynn Field Club, so you can have the experience of watching the game at a nightclub with an A-list DJ and bottle service while being AT the actual game! And even if you can’t attend an event here while you’re in town, you can still take the tour (which I highly recommend!).
The Newest Entertainment Multiplex + Interdimensional Immersive Art Attraction
Look, I really don’t know how to describe AREA 15 other than to say it’s absolutely incredible and you MUST see it. It is a multi-concept events venue, an immersive art and entertainment complex, and the next evolution of experiential retail environments. A giant LED-lit “maple tree” serves as the centerpiece of the main area, where you can sip on cocktails at Oddwood Bar under the glow of the 23-foot-tall digital tree and watch the lights pulse and change colors in time with the live DJ.
Meow Wolf’s mind-bending Omega Mart is a highly experiential immersive art experience: part bonkers supermarket, part interdimensional mystery, and 100 percent full of the most eye-popping collection of expansive art you’ve ever seen (that actually goes for all of AREA 15, and it starts with the parking lot). Museum Fiasco offers an immersive sound and light spectacle that changes every few months; the Emporium is a neon-soaked barcade; Wink World is a psychedelic funhouse; and the A-Lot and Portal are both live music venues that host some of the hottest names in EDM (and not those making a quarter-mil a night playing at the Strip’s megaclubs).
You can also go zip lining, throw axes, play on a golf simulator, get fully immersed in a VR space mission, go on an AR quest inside the building, and seriously so much more. (Keep an eye out for the opening of Lost Spirits Distillery!)
Rest assured that each of the new hotel properties listed above has also opened a slew of new restaurants, bringing back a few old favorites as well as introducing first-to-market and all-new concepts. In fact, this pandemic year has been surprisingly good for Vegas restaurants, with brand-new concepts from Bobby Flay (Amalfi at Caesars Palace), David Chang (Bang Bar at the Cosmopolitan), and Todd English (The Beast at AREA 15 and Olives at Virgin Hotels) debuting, as well as a steakhouse from the Salt Bae himself, Nusr-Et Steakhouse, scheduled to open at The Park later in 2021. The revamped Flamingo also opened Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, a posh addition to Vegas’s dining scene that harkens back to old Vegas but with a sleek, modern, and just a bit playful aesthetic.
The long-awaited Delilah Supper Club is set to open in July at the Wynn, delayed for a year by the pandemic. This is just the latest in a string of excellent new supper club concepts in Sin City, which kick-started with the utterly fabulous Mayfair Supper Club inside the Bellagio just as we were ringing in 2020, and now LAVO’s new Soiree Supper Club Sundays that just launched in June. Both concepts deliver a new spin (rooted in the iconic supper club concepts popular in the Roaring Twenties through the mid-century) on the concept of dinner and show, with live entertainment happening all around guests in the dining room. As for Delilah, she’ll open with all the splendor of Art Deco decadence, with servers wearing white jacket tuxedos and flapper dresses and a band playing onstage.
New Shows & Residencies
The pandemic obviously took its toll on the live events industry, but finally, after a year of shuttered venues, dark shows, and a few trying to make it work under prohibitive restrictions, all of our favorite shows and performers are returning to the stage!
Spiegelworld’s Absinthe and Atomic Saloon Show have already returned. Cirque’s Mystère and O return this week, with KA, The Beatles Love, and Michael Jackson ONE returning later this year. The Blue Man Group is back, and Magic Mike Live and Ru Paul’s Drag Race Live are both set for an August return. Penn & Teller and Piff the Magic Dragon have already been wowing audiences again, and massive festivals like EDC and Life is Beautiful are going forward as scheduled for the fall.
The Vegas residency is also roaring back to life with upcoming engagements from Bruno Mars, who is kicking off Fourth of July weekend at the Park Theatre at Park MGM with show dates through the summer; Usher, Keith Urban, Morrissey, and Van Morrison at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace through this summer and fall; Gwen Stefani and Shania Twain returning to the Zappo’s Theatre at Planet Hollywood later this year and The Scorpions on deck for 2022; and Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan all set to take the new stage at Resorts World in late 2021/early 2022.
It may already be in the steady triple-digits, but things are only just starting to heat up in Vegas! After over a year on “pause,” the demand and the hunger for the kind of experiences that only Vegas can offer is at an all-time high, and with so many new offerings Vegas has never been better!