Why Vegas for Your Next Meeting or Event?
Seems like Las Vegas always has something new to discover: In 2021, nearly $4.9 billion was invested in the city’s tourism infrastructure, resulting in 5,179 more hotel rooms and 670,000 square feet of gleaming new convention space — not to mention amenities like the VIP pool at Resorts World (above).
Venue Additions & Renovations
- The newest hotel complex to open in the city, Resorts World Las Vegas, revealed its 5,000-seat Resorts World Theatre in late 2021. The multilevel venue, a joint venture between Resorts World and Concerts West/AEG Presents, has already hosted residences from pop star Katy Perry and country hearthrob Luke Bryan. The property, which opened in late June 2021, is home to three Hilton-run hotels: the 1,496-room Conrad, 1,774-room Las Vegas Hilton at Resorts World, and 236-room Crockfords Las Vegas, an LXR Hotels & Resorts property. Resorts World also features a 117,000-square-foot casino, the 27,000-square-foot Awana Spa & Wellness, a 5.5-acre elevated pool complex and more than 350,000 square feet of event space. The property has more than 40 food-and-beverage options and a wealth of retail space, too.
- Apollo Global Management has completed the purchase of the Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo (formerly the Sands Expo and Convention Center) from Las Vegas Sands. Aside from that name change, convention-goers should notice few changes. As for the future, the owners say they are committed to ensuring that the development of the highly anticipated MSG Sphere remains on track. Apollo has entered into an ongoing partnership with Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. to work on the $1.9 billion, 17,500-seat venue being built behind the Venetian. The ball-shaped entertainment facility — the world’s largest spherical venue, they say — will feature the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED screen, as well. Scheduled to open in late 2023, the Sphere will host everything from concerts to movies to multimedia-performance extravaganzas.
- Allegiant Stadium, the $1.9 billion home of the Las Vegas Raiders, recently completed its first full season of hosting fans for the relocated NFL team. But the new facility has likewise been the site for numerous concerts and special events, and has far surpassed the preopening projections for its success. Already more than 1 million people have attended an event at the 65,000-seat stadium, representing all 50 states and 91 countries of origin. The stadium offers half a dozen event spaces for groups of 300 or less, five additional venues for groups of as many as 5,000, and can do buyouts for as many as 65,000 people.
- The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a fully renovated, 4,500-person capacity entertainment venue managed by AEG Presents, opened for business last September and has been regularly hosting headlining performances since then. The debut of the venue marked a milestone for the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, which opened just a few months earlier. Formerly the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the new Virgin went through a year-long renovation and redesign before emerging under its new name. The 1,500-room property also hosts the 60,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Casino, the first gaming floor in town to be operated by a tribal company. Additional amenities include a 5-acre “pool oasis” that features the Élia Beach Club and an event lawn; a ballroom that can accommodate 650 people; and a dozen food-and-beverage outlets.
- The Las Vegas Convention Center’s $1 billion expansion wrapped up in 2021, and its 1.4-million-square-foot West Hall has been hosting events since last June. The new facility offers plenty of natural lighting along with 600,000 square feet for exhibits, including a 328,000-square-foot, column-free space. The hall also has an open-air atrium with a 10,000-square-foot digital screen, and a 14,000-square-foot terrace that accommodates receptions for up to 2,000 attendees.
- The underground transport system known as the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, built by Elon Musk’s Boring Co., began operating in June last year. Tesla vehicles transport attendees in tunnels underneath the convention center campus, traversing in just two minutes what would otherwise take as much as 25 minutes to walk. Current plans also call for an extensive Vegas Loop expansion that will cover 29 miles and 51 stations in total. Those tunnels would connect the Convention Center Loop to the Strip, downtown and Harry Reid International Airport. The first stop outside of the convention center is expected to open at Resorts World this month.
- MGM Resorts International is acquiring the operations of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for $1.625 billion. The 3,032-room luxury resort sits alongside MGM’s CityCenter on the Strip, which includes the Aria and Vdara resorts. The deal is expected to close in the first half of this year, at which time MGM will enter into a 30-year agreement to lease the property from the group that has purchased the Cosmopolitan’s real estate. The resort’s guest rooms, most of which come with a terrace that overlooks the Strip, were renovated in December 2018. The property offers 243,000 square feet of meeting space, the 3,200-seat Chelsea theater, 26 food-and-beverage outlets, a 40,000-square-foot spa and fitness facility, a 110,000-square-foot casino, a nightclub, a dayclub, and retail space.
- Hard Rock International has agreed to purchase the operations of the 3,044-room Mirage Hotel and Casino from MGM Resorts, for $1.075 billion. The new owners intend to rebrand the property as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and build a guitar-shaped hotel tower on-site. Hard Rock International purchased those licensing and naming rights in 2020, when the former Hard Rock Hotel was converted to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Meanwhile, MGM Resorts will retain the rights to the Mirage name, and lease it to the new owners during the rebranding period so the resort can continue to operate. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022; a time line for the rebranding hasn’t been publicized yet.
- This spring will bring the reopening of the 766-room Palms Casino Resort, which has been closed since March 2020. The resort’s new owners, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, announced last summer they were purchasing the property from Red Rock Resorts for $650 million, and in December the deal received the go-ahead from the Nevada Gaming Commission. The property requires very little upgrading, since an extensive renovation was completed shortly before the pandemic struck. The resort will have 190,000 square feet of meeting space, several restaurants, a 2,500-seat theater, a pool, a spa, Palms Place condominiums, and the 55th-floor Ghostbar, once a major nightclub hotspot that drew the hip and famous to the off-Strip resort.
- Next month, Caesars Entertainment will begin rebranding the 2,814-room Bally's Las Vegas the Horseshoe Las Vegas, transforming the center-Strip resort into a gaming-friendly hotspot as it prepares to host the World Series of Poker May 31-July 19. The property’s exterior will be renovated, as will the casino floor and public areas; and new entertainment and food-and-beverage venues will be added. The original Horseshoe — also the original World Series of Poker host — was in downtown Las Vegas, at the site now known as Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel. Caesars now owns the Horseshoe brand and currently operates six other Horseshoe Casinos around the country. The rebranding should be completed by the end of 2022.
- Circa Resort & Casino, a 777-room property that opened downtown in the fall of 2020, will debut 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space this coming September. Among the five customizable areas will be a ballroom, mid-sized meeting rooms, boardrooms, prefunction areas and a 1,600-square-foot outdoor terrace. The new spaces will complement the unique offerings already at the resort, such as a multilevel, year-round pool amphitheater.
- Bally’s Corp. intends to close on its acquisition of the 1,470-room Tropicana Las Vegas sometime this year, at which point the resort will very likely be rebranded as Bally’s. The gaming company formerly known as Twin River purchased the Bally’s name from Caesars in the fall of 2020 and changed their company name shortly thereafter. Caesars retained the right to license the name for its Strip resort but, as previously noted, will be rebranding that property as the Horseshoe Las Vegas. Bally’s is planning major changes to the resort once the deal closes, but has not revealed details.
- After reacquiring the site of the shuttered Fontainebleau Las Vegas project last year, the resort’s original developer has rekindled plans for his vision, and is targeting an opening date of Q4 2023. After periods in which the resort would be called the Drew, followed by an expected J.W. Marriott, the north Strip property is once again slated to be known as Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Being built directly across from the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new West Hall, the property is expected to have more than 3,700 guest rooms; more than 550,000 square feet of indoor/
outdoor meeting and convention space, including a 105,000-square-foot pillarless ballroom; a three-level, 92,000-square-foot theater; and a 26,000-square-foot “hospitality garden.”
- The $850 million, 720-room nongaming Majestic Las Vegas is scheduled to open in 2024. Being constructed alongside the Fontainebleau development and across from the new West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Majestic will rise on the site of the former Clarion Hotel. The health-and-wellness-focused property is expected to offer a unique 70,000-square-foot fitness, nutrition and medical spa facility on-site.
- Station Casinos is developing a 200-room property in the Southwest Las Vegas valley called Durango, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, to open in 2023.
- The Boring Co. was expected to complete its tunnel connecting Resorts World to the Convention Center Loop in time for the National Association of Broadcasters convention April 23-27. The new station will be the first resort stop on the transit line.
Vegas Group Venues
In the midst of January’s Omicron surge, CES
still managed to draw 40,000 attendees to Las Vegas — and leave the community better off for it. Nearly 1,000 boxed lunches were donated to local food banks, via partner Sodexo Live!
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, is a community hub downtown that hosts a wide variety of concerts, plays and speakers. Private events can be booked here, as well, in one of the facility’s 14 venues, lobbies or outdoor spaces. Options range from the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall and the stately Grand Lobby, to the Troesh Studio Theater, and the 1.9-acre Symphony Park, with its outdoor grass setting and views of the city.
Explore a cinematic comic-book universe at Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., an all-ages facility at Treasure Island Las Vegas. The interactive and educational exhibit is filled with movie props and costumes from the blockbuster franchise, along with a competitive challenge. A private event space is part of the facility, and the entire exhibit is available for buyouts and themed receptions.
The new display at Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, “Flights of Fancy,” is a burst of floral color paying homage to different forms of flight. Visitors can walk amongst the garden art through May 14.
Among the latest and most hotly anticipated restaurants in town:
- Vanderpump á Paris, a 200-seat eatery that resembles an old Parisian courtyard (above), is the latest project from restaurateur, TV star and philanthropist Lisa Vanderpump. Her French entrées can be found at Paris Las Vegas.
- Two outlets from chef Tal Ronnen, Crossroads Kitchen and CB|Crossroads Burgers, will open soon at Resorts World. Ronnen’s restaurants will offer upscale dining and quick-service burgers to vegans, carnivores and everyone in-between.
- Already open, Casa Playa serves sustainably sourced Mexican coastal cuisine from chef Sarah Thompson along the shores of the Encore Beach Club.
Nostalgia Meets NFT
Circa Resort & Casino
, which acquired, refurbished and now displays the 20-foot Vegas Vickie neon cowgirl sign, has turned her into a utility NFT art collection. Artist Jason “Borbay” Borbet live-painted a portrait of the sign, which is now displayed in Circa’s rooftop lounge — alongside a QR code that links to a landing page for blockchain-based investment.
Las Vegas Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 2 million square feet; number of meeting rooms, 144; (702) 892-0711
Mandalay Bay Convention Center; exhibit space, 1.1 million square feet; number of meeting rooms, 75; (877) 632-7900
Venetian Expo & Convention Center; exhibit space, 1,035,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 23; (702) 733-5556
Airport: Harry Reid International Airport, about one mile west of the Las Vegas Strip and five miles from downtown.
- by taxi, $19-$27 to the Strip properties, $34-$40 to downtown
- Uber and Lyft operate in Las Vegas.
On the Las Vegas Strip: room tax, 13.38%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.38%. Downtown: room tax, 13%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%. Sales tax is not applied to guest rooms or resort fees, but is applied to other hotel charges.
Golf: Las Vegas and its environs are home to a wide variety of golf options. Choices include Aliante Golf Club (702-399-4888), Angel Park Golf Club (702-254-4653), Anthem Country Club (702-614-5050), Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock (702-258-2300), Badlands Golf Club (702-242-4653), Bali Hai Golf Course (702-855-3429), Bear's Best Las Vegas (702-804-8500),
Black Mountain Golf & Country Club (702-565-7933), Canyon Gate Country Club (702-363-0303),
Desert Pines Golf Club (702-855-3429), Desert Willow Golf Club (702-263-4653), Dragonridge Country Club (702-614-4444), Durango Hills Golf Club (702-229-4653), Eagle Crest Golf Club (702-240-1320), Highland Falls Golf Club (702-254-7010), Las Vegas Country Club (702-734-1122), Las Vegas Golf Club (702-646-3003), Las Vegas National Golf Club (702-734-1796), Las Vegas Paute Golf Resort (702-658-1400), The Legacy Golf Club (702-897-2187), Los Prados Golf Course (702-645-5696), Painted Desert Golf Club (702-645-2570), Palm Valley Golf Club (702-363-4373), Red Rock Country Club (702-304-5600), Rhodes Ranch Golf Club (702-740-4114), Roal Links Golf Club (702-855-3429), Shadow Creek (702-791-7161),
and TPC Las Vegas (702-256-2000).
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, (702) 892-0711 or (877) 847-4858; vegasmeansbusiness.com
Destination Henderson Nevada, (702) 267-2171
Laughlin Visitor Information Center, (702) 298-3321 or (800) 452-8445
- Best Hotel/Resort, Far West: The Venetian Resort Las Vegas (Gold); Sahara Las Vegas (Silver)
- Best Décor/Design, Far West, Gold: The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
- Best Hotel/Resort Event Space (On-Site), Far West, Gold: The Venetian Resort Las Vega
- Best On-Site Support Staff, Far West: The Venetian Resort Las Vega (Gold); Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Finalist)
- Best Sustainability Initiative, Far West, Gold: The Venetian Resort Las Vega
- Best Food and Beverage, Far West, Silver: The Venetian Resort Las Vega
- Best Convention Center, Far West, Silver: Las Vegas Convention Center (Silver); Caesars Forum Conference Center Las Vegas (Bronze)