Why Vegas for Your Next Meeting or Event?
It's already a meetings Mecca, but Las Vegas isn't a town to rest on its laurels. New developments -- and new meeting spaces -- abound in a city that mixes hefty doses of business and fun. Among the projects on the drawing board is Caesars Forum,
a $375 million conference center scheduled to open in 2020.
Venue Additions & Renovations
ALL IN ACTION
Pepper, the humanoid technical ambassador at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, answers property-specific questions, gives directions, tells stories, dances and poses for selfies -- and can even detect guest mood.
The construction of Caesars Forum, a $375 million, 550,000-square-foot conference center rising just east of the center Strip, is 70 percent complete. When it opens in March 2020, the facility will offer 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including two 108,000-square-foot pillarless ballrooms. Two 40,000-square-foot ballrooms, high-tech boardrooms and a 100,000-square-foot outdoor plaza also are among the plans. Caesars Forum, which is being built to earn LEED Silver sustainability certification, will be directly accessible to several Caesars Entertainment properties, including the Linq Promenade, Harrah's Las Vegas, the Flamingo Las Vegas and the Linq Hotel & Casino -- a total of about 8,500 guest rooms, and within walking distance of 20,000 Caesars Entertainment hotel rooms in total. Already, more than 1 million room nights have been booked at the venue, representing more than $390 million in group business.
MADE TO ORDER
The multifunction venue Enclave
, which opened last spring, offers 75,000 square feet of flexible event space, including a 9,000-square-foot unobstructed ballroom as well as both rooftop and garden outdoor areas.
As of late October, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has completed more than half of the 1.4 million-square-foot expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center. The new West Hall, being built in Phase Two of the expansion, will have 600,000 square feet of exhibit space, the largest column-free space in North America, according to the LVCVA. The second phase is scheduled to wrap up in Dec. 2020 — in time for the January 2021 Consumer Electronics Show. The third phase, which will renovate the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility, will begin in the summer of 2021; the entire $1.52 billion expansion and renovation project is expected to debut in 2024. Once complete, the LVCVA will be able to handle larger shows and have the space to host several events simultaneously.
MGM Resorts International sold two properties in mid-October, the Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Las Vegas and the Bellagio. The former, which first opened in 1968, was sold to Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin for $825 million. Ruffin is also co-owner of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Circus Circus comes with a 10-acre lot for recreational vehicles as well as 37 acres of festival grounds, all on North Strip real estate. Ruffin reportedly intends to construct an entertainment venue on the festival grounds. The resort also is known for its 5-acre indoor amusement park.
Business should continue as usual at the Bellagio, on the other hand, as MGM will still operate the resort. The company has formed a joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust and will lease back the property. MGM gets a cash infusion of about $4.2 billion as a result of that deal, and a subsidiary of the company will pay an annual rent of about $245 million.
FOOTING THE BILL
WiFi is now free throughout the 240,000 square feet of event space at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center and Priefert Pavilion, thanks to a three-year agreement with sponsor Lucchese Bootmaker.
MGM Resorts celebrated the official completion of the 2,700-room Park MGM project in late 2018, with the debut of the 40,000-square-foot Eataly marketplace, a speakeasy called On the Record and an exclusive Lady Gaga residency at the adjoining, 5,000-seat Park Theater. The $550 million rebranding project transformed the former Monte Carlo Hotel Casino to Park MGM — and included as well the debut of the 293-room NoMad Las Vegas, a boutique hotel on the same grounds. The resort offers 77,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 10,000-square-foot Madison Meeting Center, a designated Executive
Meeting Center, which accommodates groups of 10 to 50 with 10 flexible rooms
and two self-service lounges; and the 7,000-square-foot Ideation Studio, which features cutting-edge Cisco WebEx Boards and the Cisco WebEx Teams platform. In August 2019, MGM Resorts acquired a significant stake in the Sydell Group,
parent company of NoMad hotels and restaurants and a key collaborator on the rebranding project.
Caesars Entertainment, which earlier this year was acquired by Eldorado Resorts, agreed in September to sell the 2,563-room Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to a real-estate investment firm. Caesars will continue to operate Rio for at least two years, and the new owners will have the option to extend that arrangement.
The 45,000-square-foot Spa at Wynn has a new design and treatment menu. A darker, dusky color palette creates a sense of nightfall throughout, and new furniture, fixtures and artwork can be found in all of the 44 treatment rooms, hydrotherapy areas and dressing rooms. Extravagant new art pieces line the corridors.
The 3,000-room Treasure Island – TI Hotel & Casino has joined the Radisson Hotel Group, giving that brand a coveted presence on the Strip. By year’s end guests will be able to reserve rooms at TI via RadissonHotels.com, and Radisson Rewards members will begin earning and redeeming points there in 2020. The hotel will retain its branding and signage.
The highly anticipated Drew Las Vegas is being built on the site of the former Fontainebleau development on the North Strip. The megaresort, scheduled to open in 2022, will have 3,719 rooms divided among three hotels: a JW Marriott, an Edition and the new Reserve by Drew. The property is touting more than 550,000 square feet of meeting space, including a three-level theater and a large column-free ballroom.
The gigantic Resorts World Las Vegas is expected to soft-open at the end of 2020. The property is being constructed on the site once occupied by the Stardust and, more recently, by Boyd Gaming’s failed Echelon project. The 3,400-room resort, owned by Malaysia’s Genting Group, will have two towers of guest rooms, a wide variety of restaurants and more than 100,000 square feet of interactive gaming space.
Just off the Strip, the 720-room Majestic Las Vegas is targeting an early 2023 opening. The luxury nongaming property, to be built on the site of the former Clarion Hotel, will focus on wellness with a 70,000-square-foot spa and nutrition facility.
In downtown Las Vegas, the 364-room El Cortez — the longest continuously operating casino in the city — is heading toward the final phase of a $21 million guest-room renovation. Work on the final 60 rooms to be updated is expected to begin in the spring of 2020. The new room décor sports black-and-white floor tiles and modern furniture, and the guest-room bathrooms are being expanded.
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The 826-room Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa became a nongaming, nonsmoking property in 2018. The former casino floor is now home to a restaurant and lobby bar called Jake and Eli, as well as to upgraded meeting spaces. Four meeting
rooms were added just off the lobby, increasing the hotel's meeting capacity by 20 percent, to 350 attendees. The spaces are flexible, with the option to add a private buffet or menus from Jake and Eli, as well as a dedicated prefunction space. All of the guest rooms were updated in 2018, and the Hibiscus Spa and Salon and Westin Workout Fitness Studio were redesigned.
The Flamingo Las Vegas debuted a $156 million guest-rooms renovation early in 2019. Phase 1 of the project, which was revealed in the spring of 2018, included the makeover of 1,270 of the resort's 3,545 guest rooms. Those new, updated room designs also paid homage to the 72-year history and character of the resort, which was formative
in the Strip's early development. A second renovation phase remade 976 additional guest rooms and included the debut of 14 new, upscale Bunk Bed Rooms and several larger Bunk Bed Suites. The 515-square-foot Bunk Bed Rooms are equipped with two queen beds, each of which has an overhead full-size bunk; the 1,000-square-foot suites include a bedroom with the same bed configuration, in addition to a 550-square-foot parlor with living area and full kitchenette. Two-thirds of the resort's guest rooms have now been remodeled in the past three years.
FEED THE HUNGRY
MGM Resorts has partnered with the Three Square Food Bank to donate surplus hot banquet food to those in need in Southern Nevada. Prepared but unserved banquet meals from MGM properties are expected to provide 800,000 nutritious meals over the next two years to help combat hunger. The initiative began in 2016 as a pilot program at the Aria Resort and Casino.
Wynn Las Vegas expects to debut its new 430,000-square-foot meeting-space expansion in February 2020, about a month ahead of schedule. A two-level, four-ballroom convention center and a 20,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion will bring total meeting space up to 560,000 square feet for the Wynn and Encore resorts.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas wrapped up
a $100 million renovation in late 2017 to its 1,181-room Palace Tower, the resort's largest. The final piece of the extensive makeover was the addition of 10 new luxury villas on the tower's 29th floor. Each of the villas is outfitted with more than $1 million
in exclusive furnishings and curated décor. The villas range from 2,750 square feet to 4,085 square feet and blend different architectural styles to create a collection "worthy of a well-traveled aristocrat," according to the resort. Each villa boasts
one of four aesthetic themes: Ancient Grecian, Biedermeier (German), English Regency or French Empire, and includes touches such as imported stone, architectural lighting and 24K gold-plated bathroom fixtures. Among the villa-associated amenities
are private elevator entry to the 29th floor, 24-hour butler service, limousine transportation to and from McCarran International Airport, and VIP check-in and Total Rewards Diamond queuing privileges at all Caesars Las Vegas resorts.
The city's third REVIV IV Wellness Spa debuted in 2018 on Level 2 in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Hotel guests and locals can take advantage of
the IV wellness therapy to treat ailments that include dehydration, inflammation, vitamin deficiencies and, of course, hangovers. Private and group-treatment areas offer televisions and iPads, in addition to beverages, aroma therapy and views
of the Las Vegas Strip.
In November, Elon Musk’s Boring Company was preparing to drill 40 feet below ground for its first commercial project, a futuristic underground people-mover beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. The $52.5 million development will have three passenger stations, connecting the existing convention space with the 1.4 million-square-foot West Hall that is currently under construction. When complete, the people-mover will transport convention attendees from one end of the 200-acre campus to the other in just one minute.
The space-age transport construction should be up and running in January 2021, with two 1-mile tunnels. The mover will have the potential to be expanded to various other local landmarks, including downtown, the Strip and McCarran International Airport.
West of the Strip, the unique entertainment and event venue Area15 is expected to open in February 2020 for corporate and private events, with a public debut following in the spring. The multipurpose venue will be anchored by the 58,000-square-foot Meow Wolf Las Vegas, an immersive, interactive art space from the Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment group of that name. Installations will fuse architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, mixed reality, music, performance and more. Immersive virtual-reality experiences will be open for groups at the neighboring Nomadic, while the 10,000-square-foot Emporium will be an arcade bar and event venue packed with games, live music, cocktails and local art. Another Area15 tenant, Dueling Axes, is a 6,300-square-foot indoor axe-throwing lounge. All told, Area15 will have 32,000 square feet of outdoor event space and nearly 9,500 square feet of meeting space indoors.
Hot on the Vegas Restaurant Scene
The Las Vegas food scene is hotter than ever, as the city has become an essential location for celebrity-chef outposts. Here are just a few of the buzzed-about restaurants that have recently opened.
Hell's Kitchen, Caesars Palace
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's fifth restaurant in the city is the world's first Hell's Kitchen -- inspired, of course, by his hellaciously popular show of the same name, and the location in which the show's producers are filming seasons 19 and 20. While the food and dining
experience are top-notch, the new eatery also serves a healthy dose of theater. The design is a nod to the show's studio set, with the bustling kitchen conspicuously placed at center stage. This Caesars Palace restaurant
can accommodate nearly 300 diners while offering both indoor and Strip-adjacent patio tables. Two chef's tables are available as well.
Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer, Venetian
Yes, it's a place for burgers, beer and shakes, but this modern take on the classic luncheonette comes with a pedigree: Michelin-starred Joe Isidori is both chef and co-owner, and Black Tap already has made a name for itself with four locations in New
York. This one, the first outside of NYC, debuted in the Venetian in late 2017. Of note are the wagyu beef-based Greg Norman Burgers, as well as the over-the-top Crazy Shakes, replete with colorful candy.
Best Friend, Park MGM
Best Friend, the latest restaurant from acclaimed Los Angeles-based chef Roy Choi, opened at the end of 2018 in the Park MGM. The eatery is a celebration of L.A.'s Koreatown, offering a comfortable,
immersive space within an eclectic environment, combining traditional Korean favorites, L.A. street-food savvy and a bit of Vegas energy. The 150-seat restaurant can fit as many as 200 for a reception; for smaller groups, there is a 14-seat private dining room.
The Linq Promenade, Caesars Entertainment's open-air hub of attractions on the Las Vegas Strip, began offering the Fly Linq zipline experience about a year ago. It is the first and only such ride on the Strip, and it joins
Fremont Street's SlotZilla as the second ziplining opportunity in town. The $20 million Fly Linq features 10 side-by-side ziplines.
An elevator provides open views of the Strip while carrying riders to the top of the launch tower to begin their rides. Groups can fly up to 10 at a time, zooming 12 stories above the Linq Promenade at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, directly towards the High Roller observation wheel. Riders can fly one of four ways: seated, superhero-style with arms outstretched or backwards in either of those positions.
Vegas' Top Group Attractions
Outside the meeting rooms and exhibit halls, Las Vegas is rife with remarkable gathering spots and memorable group activities. Here are but a few of the many opportunities available to planners.
The Mob Museum
Housed in the restored former U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, the Mob Museum offers a surprisingly fascinating journey through the mob-made history of Las Vegas and organized crime. It's also a unique, iconic backdrop for private events, scavenger hunts
and team-building activities. Groups of up to 100 can even gather in the original courtroom, for meetings or receptions that also include access to all museum exhibits. The Underground, a permanent exhibition in
the basement (naturally), tells the history of Prohibition and includes a working speakeasy and distillery.
The flight operator's signature Vegas Nights experience showcases the glitz of the Strip, all lit up, from a luxury helicopter with wraparound glass and state-of-the-art technology. The choppers depart from a terminal right on the Strip; groups can book
a private catered reception at the terminal, from which attendees can lift off for their tours at regular intervals. Or for the ultimate in luxury tours, fly attendees to the Grand Canyon -- where they land at the bottom for a champagne toast, group
photo and breathtaking views.
Dig This Las Vegas
For groups that prefer to be grounded, digging in the dirt might be just the thing -- that is, digging with bulldozers and excavators. After a brief safety orientation and warm-up exercise, participants are set loose on the massive construction equipment.
For a particularly cathartic experience, consider the Aggression Session: Here one gets to spray-paint angry thoughts on a perfectly good car and subsequently crush that vehicle with a 30,000-lb. Caterpillar excavator.
For groups looking to chill, construction has begun at the Linq Promenade on what’s claimed to be the world’s largest permanent bar made of ice. A project from the owner of the Minus5 Ice Experience, the 1,200-square-foot Icebar will open by early December, incorporating nearly 100 tons of ice that’s been shipped in from Canada and Minnesota. A dozen professional ice carvers are already at work creating not only the 10-foot-by-10-foot operational bar but also sculptures of Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey players, a true-to-life statue of Evel Knievel depicting his famous motorcycle jump at Caesars Palace, a library, a North Pole scene and more surprises.
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
Sands Expo & Convention Center; exhibit space, 1,035,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 23; (702) 733-5556
Transportation: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, about one mile west of the Las Vegas Strip and five miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $16-$26 to Las Vegas Strip properties, about $5-$10 more to downtown; by shuttle, $8-$12 to Strip hotels, $9-$13
to downtown. Uber and Lyft operate in Las Vegas.
Trip to Strip debuted this summer, an on-demand ride-sharing service for small groups from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. With fares starting at $6, the luxury van seats up to 11 people in comfort, serving McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Resort Corridor to downtown Las Vegas, and south to the M Resort with a stop at South Point Hotel Casino.
Taxes: In the resort corriodor: room tax, 13.38%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.38%. Outside of the resort corridor but within 25 miles of the city center: room tax, 13%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%. Sales tax is not applied to guest rooms
nor resort fees, but it is applied to other hotel charges.
Event Venues: To stroll through the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, the primary outdoor exhibition space of the Neon Museum Las Vegas, is to experience Las Vegas history in an entirely unique
way. The lot is piled high with the signs that defined the main streets of Las Vegas, from the 1930s to the present, all brimming with vintage local color. Guided tours are available, and the photogenic museum also is available for private events.
Up to 200 people can be accommodated in the North Gallery, while as many as 400 can attend an event in the Neon Boneyard across the street. Through Feb. 15, 2020, "Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ The Neon Museum" is on display in the Boneyard, an exhibit of the film director's playfully strange original sculptures, digital installations and, of course, some neon. (702) 387-6366
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).
Top 10 Shows in Sin City
The excitement never ends in Las Vegas, so be sure to make time for these highly rated shows.
- The Beatles - Love - Cirque du Soleil - at The Mirage
- O - Cirque du Soleil - at The Bellagio
- Paranormal - The Mind Reading Magic Show - at Bally's Las Vegas
- Aussie Heat - at Planet Hollywood
- Raiding the Rock Vault - at the Hard Rock
- ALL SHOOK UP - Tribute to the King - at Planet Hollywood
- Wayne Newton: Up Close and Personal - at Caesars Palace
- Human Nature: Jukebox - at The Venetian
- Tenors of Rock - at Planet Hollywood
- The Bronx Wanderers - at The LINQ Hotel
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 Gaming Property, Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Gold), Tropicana Las Vegas - a DoubleTree by Hilton (Silver)
- Best DMC, Far West: Hosts Las Vegas, a Hosts Global Member (Finalist)
- Best Overall Hotel Chain: Caesars Entertainment (Gold)
- Best Décor/Design, Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Bronze)
- Best On-Site Tech/Wi-Fi, Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Gold)
- Best Hotel/Resort, Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Bronze)
- Best On-Site Support Staff, Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Finalist)
- Best Renovation (within past year), Far West: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Silver)
- Best Conference Center, Far West: Keep Memory Alive Event Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Guest Rooms - 3,220
Meeting Rooms - 122
Largest Conference Room - 181,000 sq. ft.
Total event space - 2,100,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $109-$599
The Stella Awards Winner 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Guest Rooms - 4,049
Meeting Rooms - 298
Largest Conference Room - 85,000 sq. ft.
Total event space - 1,500,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $284-$542
Las Vegas, Nevada
Guest Rooms - 4,998
Meeting Rooms - 69
Largest Conference Room - 92,000 sq. ft.
Total event space - 501,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $89-$899