Why Vegas for Your Next Meeting or Event?
Las Vegas pours major investments into its infrastructure because the return is clear: Visitor spending in 2022 exceeded prepandemic levels and hit an all-time high of $44.9 billion, exceeding the 2019 mark by nearly 22 percent. Competition for those visitor dollars is high, and there is no shortage of new venues to consider — featuring amenities like the VIP pool at Resorts World (above).
Venue Additions & Renovations
- Major League Baseball's Oakland A's have been investigating a move to Las Vegas, and despite an agreement the team signed last month to purchase 49 acres of land west of the Strip to build a stadium, A's ownership has reportedly signed a new deal with Bally's Corp. to build a $1.5 billion ballpark on the site of the Tropicana Las Vegas. Bally's completed its acquisition of the Tropicana Las Vegas last fall, and in recent months the site has been publicly discussed as a potential home for the new ballpark. Team ownership is hoping to build a 35,000-seat stadium on the land, with a partially retractable roof. Bally's could potentially build a new casino adjacent to the ballpark; in any case the new stadium would be easily accessed from a number of Las Vegas Strip resorts.
- The 2,916-room Paris Las Vegas is slated to get a new, 756-room hotel tower — courtesy of the neighboring Horseshoe Las Vegas. Caesars Entertainment, which owns both properties, will renovate what's currently called the Jubilee Tower at Horseshoe, rename it the Versailles Tower and attach it via skybridge to Paris. The $100 million-plus project will overhaul both the exterior and interior of the tower, resulting in spacious luxury guest rooms that start at 436 square feet apiece. Some of the new rooms will have new 55-square-foot balconies that overlook the center Strip. The room makeover is expected to be complete in late 2023, with the pedestrian skybridge scheduled to make its debut in early 2024.
- The long-awaited Fontainebleau Las Vegas will open in December 2023. Being built directly across from the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall, the property will have approximately 3,644 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 Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed to sell a 10-acre parcel of land on the Strip, just south of the Fontainebleau project, for $125 million. The two developers who purchased the land are said to be considering a retail and entertainment complex for the site, and possibly a nongaming hotel. No official plans have been revealed.
- The LVCVA will use the proceeds from the land sale to help fund Phase 3 of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s massive makeover, which kicked off in April. The two-year project is a $620 million renovation of the North, Central and South Halls. Among the upgrades will be new executive offices and a boardroom in the South Hall, doubling the size of the current meeting room. The facade of the North and Central Halls will be redesigned to resemble that of the newer West Hall, which debuted in 2021. The majority of the work is scheduled for 2024 and 2025 to accommodate the facility's trade show schedule, and the entire project should be complete in December 2025, in time for CES 2026.
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- The $2.2 billion, 17,500-seat MSG Sphere at the Venetian will open in September. Irish rock legends U2 will christen the unique venue with an eagerly anticipated performance. What promises to be the world’s largest spherical venue will feature the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED screen, as well. The Sphere will host everything from concerts to movies to multimedia-performance extravaganzas, and will display video footage from major events — such as the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix auto race in November.
- Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino completed a $100 million renovation of its 2.1 million-square-foot convention center last fall. Significant technology upgrades were made, notably new Ethernet cabling that doubles data-transmission frequency and results in exponentially higher download speeds. Eleven digital walls were added, as well, some as large as 24 x 13 feet, allowing planners to display sponsor branding or targeted event messaging. Additional digital signage and more than 200 motion-detection cameras also were installed. The technology enhancements under the hood fuel a noticeably brighter and more vibrant look that complements the tropical-inspired brand of the resort, with lighter colors and more floral patterns.
- Caesars Entertainment has rebranded the 2,814-room Bally’s Las Vegas as the Horseshoe Las Vegas. The center-Strip resort has been transformed into a gaming-focused property and the home of the World Series of Poker. The exterior of the resort has a new look, as do the casino and public areas. A 7,000-square-foot, all-ages gaming space called Arcade opened in the resort in October, with more than 80 arcade games and a number of immersive, multiplayer virtual-reality experiences, as well.
Photo Credit:Sam Morris/LVCVA News
The Vegas Loop celebrated its 1 millionth passenger in March, an exhibitor at the CON-EXPO/CON-AGG trade show. The milestone occurred just after the Boring Co. bought a parcel of land near the Thomas & Mack Center for a future station, one of 69 planned stops on the proposed 65-mile underground system.
- The 390-room M Resort in Henderson could be in line for a $200 million expansion, based on plans filed by operator Penn Entertainment. The project is slated to include an additional 375-room hotel tower, a 40,000-square-foot convention center and a multiplex theater. Resort executives previously announced plans to embark on an expansion later this year; no timeline has been associated with this latest development.
- Construction of the 531-room Dream Las Vegas on the South Strip has stalled, as the developers seek new financing. The project, on which construction began last year, is estimated to cost $550 million to $575 million. The luxury hotel had been projected to open in 2024, with a 20,000-square-foot casino and 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and a 90-seat theater. Seven dining and nightlife options are expected, along with a rooftop pool and club. Hyatt just acquired the Dream Hotel Group in February, a deal that was not expected to have any bearing on the Dream Las Vegas name or development timeline.
- The 5,044-room MGM Grand Hotel & Casino recently remodeled the 700 guest rooms in its Studio Tower, formerly known as the West Wing. The new design has a “retro desert feel” meant to evoke Palm Springs, with midcentury modern décor, and a palette of pinks and greens. New furnishings include rounded window seats, enlarged headboards and globe sconces, while the bathrooms have space-saving barn doors, marble shower floors and new chrome fixtures. The new design is reflected in the lobby and elevator areas, as well.
- Wynn Las Vegas unveiled a new look for its 2,674 guest rooms and Wynn Tower Suites last summer. The updated design gives guests more control over lighting and general functionality, and provides a comfortable, more residential atmosphere. The new furniture, fixtures, lighting and artwork were custom-designed for the makeover. More storage space has been created in the bathrooms, dressing spaces were expanded, and a multipurpose table was added for working or dining. Plenty of power and data ports also were added.
- Construction continues on the $850 million, 720-suite Majestic Las Vegas across from the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall, with the new hotel scheduled to debut in 2024. A four-level, 70,000-square-foot wellness center, the Spa Majestic, will be a centerpiece of the nongaming resort. The hotel’s upper floors will feature “corporate sky suites” to be used as offices and gathering facilities for companies that wish to invest in space near the convention center.
- Hard Rock International's $1.075 billion purchase of the 3,044-room Mirage Hotel and Casino from MGM Resorts was finalized last December. The new owners are honoring all prior room reservations and group bookings, and will continue to operate the property as the Mirage until an ambitious renovation and rebranding is completed over the next 18 to 24 months. The iconic volcano will continue to erupt for most of this year, and Cirque Du Soleil’s “The Beatles Love” show will continue to run through 2023, as well. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat has closed, however. Planned renovations include the addition of 596 guest rooms, a 94,000-square-foot expansion of the casino, and the debut of three new restaurants and a Hard Rock Live entertainment venue. And yes, a guitar-shaped hotel tower is still in the master plan.
- 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 hosted residences from pop star Katy Perry and country hearthrob Luke Bryan. The resort complex, 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.
- The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a fully renovated, 4,500-person capacity entertainment venue managed by AEG Presents, opened for business in September 2021 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 underground transport system known as the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, built by Elon Musk’s Boring Co., began operating in 2021. 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 65 miles and 69 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 opened at Resorts World.
- Circa Resort & Casino, a 777-room property that opened downtown in the fall of 2020, debuted 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space in September 2022. Among the five customizable areas are a ballroom, mid-sized meeting rooms, boardrooms, prefunction areas and a 1,600-square-foot outdoor terrace. The spaces complement unique offerings at the resort such as a multilevel, year-round pool amphitheater.
- 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 late 2023.
Vegas Group Venues
The much-anticipated Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix will take over the Strip Nov. 16-18. While the motorsports event lasts only three days, some of the infrastructure being built around the course will become permanent additions to the city, available for year-round activations.
Liberty Media, the parent company of the Formula One Group, bought 39 acres of land in downtown Las Vegas. At the center of this plot will be a 300,000-square-foot paddock building for the race cars. During race weekend, the ground floor of the building, equipped with 13 garages, will be used for the teams, and the top floor will host a watch party with prime viewing of the start and finish line.
“We have plans to activate our paddock building all year round with unique events, exhibitions and more,” said Renee Wilm, chief legal officer and chief administrative officer at Liberty Media. “We have just scratched the surface on the commercial opportunities that lie ahead for our brand-new building." The facility should be ready to welcome nonracing events by early 2024. — Lizzie Wilcox
A massive immersive art exhibition opened last month at Resorts World, built across a two-acre, multilevel venue. Transfix, which bills itself as the world’s largest immersive art experience, will run through fall 2023 before it goes out on tour across the globe. More than 50 interactive, kinetic, illuminated and fire-breathing works of art make up the installation, arranged as a labyrinth that covers 200,000 square feet and will take up to two hours to experience. Along the way, visitors will encounter no less than 10 artist-created bars and speakeasies. Other highlights include a 45-foot-tall, 32,000-pound sculpture by Marco Cochrane; a large-scale outdoor installation from Christopher Bauder and KiNK; and a 25-foot indigo and mirrored pyramid by Kate Raudenbush. Group visits, receptions and buyouts for up to 9,000 people are available.
For those who eschew the otherworldly to go country, Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & BBQ at Treasure Island can host events for more than 1,000 people in an airy space overlooking the Strip. The open-air kitchen and retractable windows can help foster an outdoor-barbecue vibe, and the mechanical bull and live country-dance music allow attendees to unwind in true saloon fashion. The venue features sets by country western, rock or blues performers every Thursday through Saturday, and a resident DJ spins tunes when there’s no band on stage.
If punk is more your speed, rejoice: The Punk Rock Museum opened its doors April 1, 2023, filled with artifacts and tales from the genre’s greatest artists. Some even donated their instruments so museum guests can jam. Guided tours can be booked with some of the punk icons, as well. The space is available for full or partial buyouts, including a stage, and can hold up to 300 people.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts 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. Also part of the complex is the stylish and intimate Myron's, a 240-seat jazz club that's also available for private events.
Gastronomic inspiration isn't hard to find in Las Vegas, with celebrity chefs opening new outposts at a feverish pace. Among the impressive menu of options:
- The iconic New York City restaurant Stanton Social may have closed its doors in 2018, but chef Chris Santos’ concept has been reborn with the opening of Stanton Social Prime in Caesars Palace. The 200-seat restaurant and lounge adds a dash of Vegas extravagance and theatrical presentation alongside old favorites like French onion soup dumplings, and pierogies with potato, goat cheese and truffles.
- Possibly the most romantic dining in town, the two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace offers some of the chef’s most famous signature dishes, like Colors of Caviar and Octopus Terrine. Among private dining options is the six-seat Krug Chef’s Table, where the tasting menu is paired with Krug Champagnes.
- Wally's Las Vegas in Resorts World, the only branch of the venerable Los Angeles restaurant/wine bar/gourmet market outside of California, has an 8,000-label list of adult beverages and sizable portions of mostly Mediterranean-inspired dishes, along with an entire menu devoted to cheese and charcuterie.
- James Beard Award–winner and star of the show "Yan Can Cook," celebrity chef Martin Yan has opened his first Vegas restaurant, M.Y. Asia, in the recently rebranded Horseshoe Las Vegas. A menu that celebrates the cuisines of China, Japan, Korea and all of Southeast Asia is the star here.
- Vanderpump á Paris, a 200-seat eatery that resembles an old Parisian courtyard, 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, are now open at Resorts World. Ronnen’s restaurants offer upscale dining and quick-service burgers to vegans, carnivores and everyone in-between.
- Casa Playa serves sustainably sourced Mexican coastal cuisine from chef Sarah Thompson along the shores of the Encore Beach Club in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.
Photo Credit:Michael Shapiro
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
Stand By for Upgrades
Harry Reid International Airport will invest $31 million in federal funding for upgrades to baggage-claim infrastructure, beginning in Q4 of 2023.
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, $25-$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)