• MGM Resorts completed a $130 million expansion of its MGM Grand Conference Center this past December. The project increased the facility by approximately 250,000 square feet for a total of 850,000 square feet. The new space includes an outdoor courtyard spanning 5,500 square feet, as well as 22,000 square feet of Stay Well Meetings space taking up the entire second floor of the conference center. Among the characteristics of MGM’s Stay Well wellness-meetings experience are air-purification systems, aromatherapy capabilities, circadian lighting, menu options designed by nutritionists from the Cleveland Clinic and guided video meditation exercises as narrated by wellness guru Deepak Chopra.
• The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas recently remodeled all of its 3,033 guest rooms, adding new artwork, better lighting, user-friendly technology and an energy-conscious design. The new 1,050-square-foot Reception Suite, suitable for entertaining friends or colleagues, is outfitted with configurable seating, meeting space and a wet bar. All of the reimagined rooms (including new wraparound terrace suites) sport technological enhancements, among them a new WiFi infrastructure that offers blazing-fast, complimentary access for all guests, with download speeds exceeding 100Mbps. Even the hotel’s chatbot, Rose, received a makeover and now incorporates AI and speech recognition. Guests can partake in a new tour experience in which Rose guides them via chat to explore the resort and discover some of its more obscure spots and off-the-menu items.
Fighting A Scourge
Caesars Entertainment has teamed with the nonprofit ImpactLV to create The Shared Future Fund, an investment fund that will support victims of human trafficking and others. ImpactLV will manage the fund, which will benefit vulnerable populations in the community, including the homeless and recent immigrants. An inaugural fundraising event is being planned to take place this spring.
• Caesars Entertainment became the first official casino sponsor of the National Football League when a deal was inked in the early days of 2019. The $30 million-per-year, three-year agreement kicked off during this year’s playoffs, according to the Associated Press, and will not include any aspect of sports betting or fantasy football. Rather, NFL fans will be able to partake in unique experiences involving Caesars properties, celebrity chefs, entertainment platforms and more. Caesars gets exclusive rights to NFL trademarks and will host parts of the 2020 draft.
The agreement is the second deal Caesars has signed in anticipation of the relocation of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020. In November, the gaming giant became the first founding partner of Las Vegas Stadium, a 65,000-seat facility currently under construction to host the team. Caesars will sponsor a branded stadium entrance and drop-off zone as part of a deal that extends to digital signage, media assets and appearances by players, team alumni and cheerleaders at select events. Exclusive VIP experiences for elite customers and Total Rewards members might include access to a branded Owner’s Suite at the 50-yard-line, dinners on the field, training-facility events and more.
• Former Nevada governor Brian Sandoval has joined MGM Resorts International as president of global gaming development. Sandoval will lead the company’s global expansion, particularly in Japan, as well as focus on state public-policy initiatives as they relate to sports gaming. MGM Resorts president Bill Hornbuckle will now lead global casino marketing, collaborating with Sandoval to drive international expansion and growth.
• As 2018 came to a close, the 2,700-room Park MGM celebrated the final stage of its rebranding from the former Monte Carlo Casino Resort. The $550 million project was officially unveiled with the kickoff of Lady Gaga’s residency at the Park Theater, the opening of the 40,000-square-foot Italian marketplace Eataly and the debut of a new speakeasy and club called On the Record. Lady Gaga, who will appear on select dates over the course of 2019, will alternately present two shows: “Enigma,” featuring her pop hits, and “Jazz & Piano,” focused more on selections from the Great American Songbook. The Las Vegas debut of Eataly features a Strip-facing entrance and can accommodate more than 1,000 people amid its food counters, bars, cafés and restaurants. The vinyl-centric On the Record, meanwhile, is a vast, three-room club hidden behind a functioning record-store entry. Within are found both indoor and outdoor spaces, dance floors, a patio bar and three hidden karaoke rooms. Also inside the Park MGM complex is the luxury boutique NoMad Las Vegas property, which adds 293 guest rooms to the mix.
New Park Place
Park MGM, the former Monte Carlo Casino Resort reimagined, completed its rebranding in late 2018. An enormous sculpture by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira welcomes guests from above in the lobby.
• Two new meeting venues in the Park MGM, the Ideation Studio and the Madison Meeting Center, joined IACC in late November, making the property the conference-center association’s first member on the Las Vegas Strip. Both venues are tailored to smaller gatherings: The 10,000-square-foot Madison Meeting Center, a designated Executive Meeting Center, accommodates groups of 10 to 50 with 10 flexible rooms and two self-service lounges. The 7,000-square-foot Ideation Studio features cutting-edge Cisco WebEx Boards and the Cisco WebEx Teams platform. The board is a high-tech, touch-sensitive display that can be used for presentations, note-taking and video communication, while WebEx Teams provides virtual meeting spaces and communication capabilities that go beyond the meeting room itself. The 10 rooms that make up the Ideation Studio offer configurations designed to enhance engagement and learning.
The Vdara Club Lounge opened last month, an exclusive outpost for guests of the luxury and club suites in CityCenter’s Vdara Hotel & Spa. The area offers concierge services, buffets and collaborative workspaces.
• Caesars Entertainment broke ground on the Caesars Forum last summer — a $375 million, 550,000-square-foot conference center located just off the center Strip, across from Caesars Palace. Due to open for business in 2020, the facility promises more than 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including two 110,000-square-foot pillarless ballrooms, said to be the largest in the country. Two 40,000-square-foot ballrooms — divisible into 38 and 39 sections, respectively — as well as six boardrooms also are planned. A 100,000-square-foot outdoor event venue, Forum Plaza, will be constructed just outside the facility.
• Phase 2 of the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project should be ready in time for the mammoth Consumer Electronics Show in January 2021. The project will give the facility a presence on the Strip — on the site where the old Riviera once stood — and add 1.4 million square feet to the current convention center. Phase 3, which will occur over the two years following the completion of the second phase, will entail a renovation of the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility. No business will be displaced as a result of the construction, thanks to the phased approach.
Construction of the 777-room Circa Resort & Casino, the first new-build hotel to open downtown since 1980, is underway. The Fremont Street Experience property will be the largest tower north of the Strip and offer numerous restaurants, a spa, a two-level casino, a multi-tiered pool/amphitheater and a central parking structure dubbed the “Garage Mahal.”
• This past September, Las Vegas Sands and the Madison Square Garden Company began construction of the MSG Sphere at the Venetian, a big ball of an entertainment venue to be unveiled in 2021. The 18,000-seat Sphere, which will be behind the Venetian on Sands Avenue, will indeed be voluminous, clocking in at more than 360 feet high and 500 feet wide. And if the size and shape alone weren’t enough to attract attention, the cutting-edge technology should guarantee it. The building’s exterior will be made of LED screens, an enormous brandable display for upcoming events and/or sponsors. Inside, what’s being touted as the world’s largest LED screen, at 160,000 square feet, will wrap around the interior. A specially designed, dynamically adaptive sound system is meant to ensure that every guest has the optimal listening experience, while an “infrasound haptic flooring system” will deliver driving bass beats right through the floor. Next-generation wireless infrastructure will generate a 25 megabits-per-second connection for every guest in the place.
• Wynn Resorts is constructing a 400,000-square-foot convention center between the Wynn and Encore properties, slated to debut in Jan. 2020. The facility will offer 200,000 square feet of net rentable space. Wynn shuttered its golf course early last year to make way for the convention center and the surrounding Paradise Park — an ambitious, Carnivale-themed development built around a man-made lagoon. However, the company recently ditched the park plan in favor of another, improved golf course. Tom Fazio, the designer of the original course, has created an updated version — accounting for the new convention center — that is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of this year. Future major Wynn developments will more likely be destined for the parcel across the street from the Wynn Resort, on the former site of the New Frontier — a piece of land purchased by Wynn last year. Look for design proposals for that site to come within the next couple of years.
• The Drew Las Vegas, a resort collaboration between Marriott International and the development firm Witkoff Group, is slated to be built on the long-in-limbo site of the former Fontainebleau development on the North Strip. The luxury resort is expected to consist of two Marriott-branded hotels — an Edition and a JW Marriott — and offer half a million square feet of convention and meeting space.
• The Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino is constructing a third tower, which will add 495 rooms to the property’s existing count of 629. The new building, slated to debut in mid-2020, will be on the east side of the hotel complex at the intersection of 4th and Ogden Streets in downtown. In all, the addition will create more than 250,000 square feet of space, including seven floors of guest rooms, an increased street-level presence and a slew of suites — 67 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites and three presidential suites spanning nearly 1,500 square feet each.
Phase 2 of the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project is underway, scheduled to wrap up by late 2020. The project will add another 1.4 million square feet to the facility.
Las Vegas has more than 150,000 guest rooms citywide. The largest properties, all of which are on the Strip, include the 5,044-room MGM Grand, 4,400-room Luxor Hotel and Casino, 4,028-room Venetian Las Vegas, 4,004-room Aria Resort & Casino, 3,981-room Excalibur Hotel Casino Las Vegas, 3,980-room Caesars Palace Las Vegas, 3,933-room Bellagio Las Vegas, 3,767-room Circus Circus Las Vegas, 3,460-room Flamingo Las Vegas, 3,211-room Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 3,066-room The Palazzo Las Vegas, 3,044-room Mirage and 3,033-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Hotels with approximately 1,000 to 3,000 guest rooms include the 2,956-room Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino; 2,916-room Paris Las Vegas; 2,884-room Treasure Island–TI Hotel & Casino; 2,814-room Bally’s Las Vegas; 2,716-room Wynn Las Vegas; 2,700-room Park MGM; 2,530-room Harrah’s Las Vegas; 2,522-room Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas; 2,496-room Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino; 2,427-room Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, BW Premier; 2,300-room Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino; 2,253-room Linq Hotel & Casino; 2,163-room South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa; 2,034-room Encore at Wynn Las Vegas; 2,024-room New York–New York Hotel & Casino; 1,728-room Signature at MGM Grand; 1,615-room SLS Las Vegas, a Tribute Portfolio Resort; 1,505-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas; 1,495-room Vdara Hotel & Spa; 1,470-room Tropicana Las Vegas–a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel; 1,282-room Trump International Hotel Las Vegas; 1,117-room Delano Las Vegas, and 1,003-room Plaza Hotel and Casino.
Meeting hotels with fewer than 1,000 rooms include the 826-room Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa; 781-room California Hotel and Casino; 717-room Tuscany Suites & Casino; 711-room Gold Coast Hotel and Casino; 646-room Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall; 599-room Palms Place Hotel; 575-room Palace Station Hotel; 548-room Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel; 496-room Alexis Park All Suites Resort; 426-room Suncoast Hotel and Casino; 424-room Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas (in the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino main tower); 400-room Main Street Station Casino Brewery and Hotel; 390-room M Resort, Spa and Casino; 389-room Waldorf Astoria; 322-room Hampton Inn Tropicana; 300-room Mardi Gras Hotel and Casino; 300-room Silverton Hotel and Casino Lodge; 299-room SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center; 293-room NoMad Las Vegas; 286-room Embassy Suites Convention Center Las Vegas; 278-room Las Vegas Marriott; 255-room Platinum Hotel; 202-room Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa; 202-room Hyatt Place Las Vegas; 200-room Santa Fe Station Hotel Casino; 200-room Texas Station Gambling Hall and Hotel; 190-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Las Vegas Airport; 188-room Cromwell; 182-room Nobu Hotel and Restaurant; 155-room Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South; 149-room Courtyard Las Vegas Convention Center; 64-room Artisan Hotel Boutique, and 51-room Skylofts at MGM Grand.
Summerlin, Nev., about five miles north of Las Vegas, is home to the 796-room Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa; 548-room JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf, and 154-room Courtyard Las Vegas Summerlin.
In Henderson, Nev., approximately 17 miles southeast of the Strip, properties include the 495-room Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa, 493-room Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, 349-room Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa, 155-room Courtyard Las Vegas Henderson/Green Valley and 145-room Homewood Suites by Hilton Henderson South Las Vegas.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meeting Group’s new venue finder.
Las Vegas has become a prominent destination for well-known chefs and restaurateurs looking to expand their culinary empires. Check out these latest examples of favorites from around the country setting up shop in the desert.
SADELLE'S, BELLAGIO: The new outpost of New York’s popular SoHo spot brings Sadelle’s elevated Jewish cuisine west. Here are the restaurant’s famous bagels with lox towers, French toast, triple-decker sandwiches and more, served in an upscale eatery overlooking the Bellagio conservatory. Dining begins with Sadelle’s PastryCart, starring Sadelle’s famous sticky buns. A roving Bloody Mary cart can add to the fun, as will the flashy tableside preparation of a variety of tossed salads and de-shelling and dressing of the whole warm lobster entrée. A private dining room is available for groups.
NOMAD LAS VEGAS: The eagerly awaited NoMad Restaurant debuted late last year inside the new NoMad Las Vegas hotel, which itself is within the Park MGM. The restaurant is a collaboration between chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, the same team behind the New York and Los Angeles NoMad locations, as well as New York’s Eleven Madison Park. The casually elegant 3,300-square-foot Las Vegas iteration is available for buyouts for private events, and can seat 225 diners or accommodate 400 guests for a standing reception.
CIPRIANI, WYNN: The latest opening for this classic Italian restaurant marks its Western U.S. debut, complementing an international collection of establishments in destinations such as New York, Hong Kong, Monte Carlo and Ibiza. Cipriani’s classic signature dishes are on the menu, and include carpaccio alla Cipriana, baked tagliolini with ham, vanilla meringue and the world-famous billini — a drink allegedly invented by Giuseppe Cipriani Sr. in 1948 at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy.
THE FACTORY KITCHEN, VENETIAN: This 152-seat Italian trattoria, which debuted in the Venetian at the end of December, is open for lunch and dinner and serves traditional Italian recipes prepared from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Private events are welcome.
Las Vegas Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 2 million square feet; number of meeting rooms, 144
Mandalay Bay Convention Center; exhibit space, 1.1 million square feet; number of meeting rooms, 75
Sands Expo & Convention Center; exhibit space, 1,035,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 350
AIRPORT TRANSIT: 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 here.
TAXES: In the resort corridor: 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.
GROUP VENUES: It’s tough to beat the views of Las Vegas and surrounding environs that you get from the High Roller, staking its claim as the world’s tallest observation wheel. The typical 30-minute ride takes guests soaring approximately 550 feet into the air, ensconced in the comfort of a spacious, glass-enclosed cabin, of which there are a total of 28. Each of the cabins can comfortably fit as many as 40 people within, and they’re available for social gatherings of all stripes, not to mention corporate events and even weddings. Full-hour rides also are available, and the cabins can be outfitted with fully stocked bars, disco lights or, in the summer months, a complete barbecue spread. The High Roller is at one end of the Linq Promenade, an outdoor boardwalk-style food-and-entertainment hub operated by Caesars Entertainment.
The 5,200-seat Park Theater is a truly intimate concert venue, configured so that the furthest seat is just 145 feet from the stage. Residencies have featured such luminaries as Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Cher and Ricky Martin. What’s more, the facility is remarkably versatile and can be converted in fairly short order for all manner of conventions, award shows or sporting events. A center-stage premium-seating area offers patrons bottle service and hand-delivered chocolate delicacies. Seven bars are positioned throughout the theater, and terraces offer views of the Las Vegas Strip and The Park, MGM’s outdoor food and entertainment district.
GOLF: For those who want to add golf to the agenda, Las Vegas has plenty of options. Choices include Aliante Golf Club, Anthem Country Club, Bali Hai Golf Course, Bear’s Best Las Vegas, Desert Pines Golf Club, Las Vegas Country Club, Las Vegas Golf Club, Las Vegas National Golf Club, Las Vegas Paiut Golf Resort, The Legacy Golf Club, Los Prados Golf Course, Painted Desert Golf Club, Red Rock Country Club, Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, Royal Links Golf Club, Shadow Creek and TPC Las Vegas.
CONTACT: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, vegasmeansbusiness.com, or Destination Henderson